In early 1987, Mexican media tycoon Emilio Azcarraga Milmo paid $2.3 million for the famed Sunset Plaza Apartments building. Located in the lower Hollywood Hills just a short walk north of the Sunset Boulevard, the 1930s structure was designed by prominent architect Paul R. Williams and occupied through the decades by a litany of Tinseltown stars: Carole Lombard, Charles Farrell, Katharine Hepburn, Mitzi Gaynor and Bernadette Peters, to name a few.
Months after acquiring the building, Milmo demolished it to build a lavish private estate that became his part-time residence. Designed by noted Mexican architect Tomas Cajiga, the hacienda-style compound was completed in 1990. Following Azcarraga Milmo’s 1997 death from pancreatic cancer, that estate was put up for sale at $16 million, though the ask was eventually slashed to $10 million. After the property did not sell, it eventually became a residence of Milmo’s son, billionaire Emilio Azcarraga Jean.
Now offered at a whopping $60 million, indicative of how home values in the surrounding area have soared, the property is an anomaly in many ways. After all, 2.3 acres of usable land is an extremely rare find in the tightly-packed Hollywood Hills, particularly on a property so close to the Sunset Strip and West Hollywood. The estate’s gardens are also some of the most elaborate and manicured in the entire surrounding neighborhood, more akin to a palatial estate in Holmby Hills or Beverly Park.
The setting is also quirky. Though impressively private thanks to enormous hedge walls and mature trees, the house sits directly across the street from a large apartment complex, and it’s immediately next door to a spacious parking lot used by businesses on one of the Sunset Strip’s busiest blocks.
Perhaps that’s why, despite the sky-high $60 million price tag, the place is being marketed as a development opportunity. According to the listing, which provides no interior photos of the residence, the estate is “an ideal canvas for visionary developers” and could be used to construct several new homes or multiple apartment buildings.
But much like the loss of the Sunset Plaza Apartments, destruction of the Azcarraga Milmo estate would be a shame. Featuring appointments “suitable for royalty,” the Mexican Colonial-style property includes two dining rooms adorned with hand-cut stone and centuries-old wood beams, a chef’s kitchen, wine cellar and a library. Outside, stunningly sculpted grounds are decorated by the aforementioned lush gardens, grassy lawns and numerous fountains. There’s also a rectangular swimming pool abutted by a stone patio. And in addition to the 11,000-square-foot main house, the property includes a 2,000-square-foot guesthouse and off-street parking for more than 20 cars.
Alejandro Aldrete and Mauricio Umansky of The Agency share the listing.
Azcarraga Jean remains chairman of Televisa, Mexico’s largest television broadcasting company, though in 2018 he stepped away from the CEO role following two decades at the reins. The 55-year-old owns a number of other homes around the world; in 2016, he reduced the asking price of his 257-foot yacht from $144 million to $102 million.