Playboy Mansion's fate after Hugh Hefner's death

The passing of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner may mark the end of an era for the Playboy empire, but not necessarily the Playboy Mansion.

The property’s current owner — neighboring businessman Daren Metropoulos, who purchased the home from Playboy Enterprises in 2016 — had previously said he intends to join the property with his own and make them his “private residence.”

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Hefner's five-acre, 22,000-square-foot estate, located in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, was originally purchased by Playboy Enterprises in 1971 for $1.1 million dollars, but had been sold in 2016 to then 33-year-old Metropoulos for $100 million. Under the agreement of the sale, Hefner was allowed to live in the mansion until his death — as long as he paid rent to the tune of $1 million per year, according to sources for Business Insider.

Now that he’s passed, however, Fortune reports that the mansion is “completely out of the hands of the Hefner family.” And while it’s unclear what Metropoulos plans to do with the structure of the home itself, he once called the mansion an “iconic property” and a “masterpiece in design.”

“The Playboy Mansion is one of the most iconic properties in the world and the crown jewel of Holmby Hills and the platinum triangle,” said Metropoulos, who acts as a principal in the Metropoulos & Co. investment firm, in a press release at the time of the sale.

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“For the last 45 years, Mr. Hefner has imbued the estate with a rich and storied legacy. The property’s heritage is not only that of a famous address; it is a true masterpiece in design, constructed by a noted architect for a family who played an important role in the development of Los Angeles in the early 20th Century.”

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The Playboy Mansion, which sits on five acres of land, was also home to its own zoo.  (Reuters)

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Designed by Arthur R. Kelly, the mansion has been described as being an example of "Gothic-Tudor" style.  (Reuters)

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The property also includes the Playboy Mansion's infamous grotto.  (Reuters)

It’s also worth noting that Hefner never really owned the Playboy Mansion to begin with: After it was purchased by the Playboy Estate in 1971, Hefner reportedly paid an annual rent of $100 in exchange for working for the magazine, Business Insider reports.

Just before it was purchased by Metropoulos, the mansion went up for sale $200 million in January 2016, People reports. The stipulation that Hefner still be allowed to live on the property was included in a press release issued at the time of the listing.

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Hefner relocated to the 29-room Los Angeles property in 1971. Prior to moving, Hefner had lived in the original Playboy Mansion in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood.

Metropoulis has yet to confirm any official plans for the property in the wake of Hefner's death.