The Playboy Mansion Owner Next Door

The Metropoulos family previously tried to buy the property in 2010.

Michael Cieply recently took The New York Times buyout and now resides at the house that Nikki Finke built. Meanwhile, his former colleague and frequent collaborator Brooks Barnes, who has covered the Hollywood beat for the paper since 2007, has this weekend shared an item with a headline that is almost impossible not to click: “Meet the New Owner of the Playboy Mansion.”

DarenMetropoulosUnfortunately, Barnes was unable to secure an interview with the titular J. Daren Metropoulos (pictured), other members of the Metropoulos family or Hugh Hefner. But he did chat with some peripheral players, one of whom, a dean of the L.A. west side luxury real estate scene, offered up an intriguing factoid:

Two real estate agents who worked on the Playboy Mansion sale, which includes a stipulation that Mr. Hefner, 90, and his wife, Crystal Harris, 30, can continue to live in the mansion until his death, did not respond to queries, although a third agent involved, Jeff Hyland, added an interesting tidbit: The Metropouloses had tried to buy the Playboy Mansion six years earlier and failed.

“The offer then was for about $75 million,” Mr. Hyland said.

The purchase price this summer was $105 million. Another fun aspect of the article is that it allows Barnes to revisit a daytime tour of the Mansion that he was given in 2012. The Charing Cross Rd. home was built in 1927 and acquired by Hefner in the early 1970s:

It was gross. The famous grotto pools, linked in 2011 to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, reminded me of one of those fetid animal enclosures at a low-rent marine exhibit. Don’t get me started on the bathroom off the mansion’s main hall. There is a separate house that contains arcade games and has bedrooms with carpeting I could only describe as crispy.

Barnes’ article is on the front of Sunday’s Styles section with a slightly different headline: “New Playboy for a Mansion With a Past.”

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