The Infamous Solar Drive MansionDec 9th, 2011 | By Lindsay | Category: TV Locations
Shortly before Halloween, my good friend Nat sent me a link to an article on the TopTenRealEstateDeals website (an article that I now maddeningly cannot find anywhere online) about the top ten haunted houses then for sale in the U.S. My interest was immediately piqued at one of the properties featured when I read that it had not only been the inspiration for and appeared in an episode of Law & Order: Los Angeles, but that it also had a long and sordid history, the stuff of which movies are made. I quickly added the never-occupied, long-ago-abandoned Runyon-Canyon-area manse to my To-Stalk list and even though my Haunted Hollywood postings had already come to a close, I dragged the GC right on out there to visit the place a few weeks later.
The “Wedding Cake House”, as neighbors are prone to call it, has been clouded in mystery and innuendo since its inception. Just a few of the rumors floating around include that it was built on an Indian burial ground, was once the site of an alien spaceship landing, and that a woman was murdered on a pool table inside of the billiard room. Needless to say, not many concrete facts are known about its history, but from what I was able to dig up it seems that construction on the ginormous pink Mediterranean manse began around the year 1993. Plans for the home were originally drawn up in 1989 by architect Gregg Madeo for a man named Tom Ego. Of the mansion’s early days fave website CurbedLA states, “It’s believed that Ego built the home as a spec house for an Argentinean couple, or sold it to them during the process of building it for himself. Either way, the Argentinean couple divorced while the house was under construction, so the residence was essentially abandoned, and architect Maedo left the project. (Subsequent contractors and architects would come along and “butcher” the original design, according to a rep for Maedo.)”
Due to the property’s on-going vacancy, it long ago became a den for all manner of illegal enterprise, including drug use, teenage raves, gang activity, and satanic rituals. The unauthorized activity got so bad that a private security guard had to be hired to keep watch over the residence, which is often referred to by trespassing partiers as the “Runyon Canyon Clubhouse”. The guard now lives onsite in a Winnebago parked in front of the home’s six-car garage – yes, six-car garage!!
In 2004, music executive Timothy Devine partnered up with former Miss Palm Springs Shauna Giliberti and purchased the unfinished residence as tenants in common for a cool $3.7 million. Things did not go according to plan, though, because Giliberti ended up getting sued by several investors and subsequently filed for bankruptcy. Devine then took over full ownership of the home and, in January of this year, put it on the market for $12.5 million. A few weeks later, the selling price was inexplicably raised to $15.2 million. According to a February 2011 Daily Mail Online article, the home exceeds the city’s zoning limits in both its height and lot coverage, and was built larger than what the original permits (which are now expired) allotted for, so it will have to be torn down, at least in part, by whoever purchases it. The residence also lacks a certificate of occupancy, so it is currently uninhabitable. “Fixer-upper” doesn’t even begin to describe this place!
The unfinished dwelling boasts 5 bedrooms, 7 baths, 9,800 square feet, a 200-bottle wine cellar, a pool, a Jacuzzi, stone flooring, 22 acres of “mostly useable” hilltop land, and, as you can see above, sweeping views that reach all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
The Solar Drive mansion played itself – an abandoned house where ne’er-do-well activity frequently takes place – in the fabulous Season 1 episode of Law & Order: Los Angeles titled “Runyon Canyon”.
The home’s real life interior, which you can see photographs of here, also appeared in the episode. According to several newspaper reports, many rooms in the mansion are covered with graffiti, so I am fairly certain that the “wall art” pictured above is real and not set dressing.
On a stalking side-note – I would like to alert all of my fellow stalkers to a celebrity event that is taking place this Saturday. Planet Green will be hosting The Recycle, Reuse, Rejoice Celebrity Celebration at the Sportsman’s Lodge Hotel, which is located at 12825 Venture Boulevard in Studio City. Such stars as Anthony Denison, Kevin Sorbo, Taylor Gray, Anson Williams, and Kate Linder are scheduled to attend. Entry is free, but Planet Green asks you to bring electronic waste items such as used inkjet and toner cartridges and old cell phones. You can find out more information here.
Big THANK YOU to Nat for sending me the article in which this location was featured!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!