LOS ANGELES – A mountaintop property once owned by Howard Hughes near the huge Hollywood sign in Los Angeles is up for sale -- for $22 million (euro15 million).
A group of Chicago investors was putting the 138 acres (56 hectares) of land just west of the sign's "H" on the market Wednesday.
The property offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley, says Fox River Financial Resources, which acquired the land in 2002 for $1,675,000.
Hughes once planned to build a love nest on the land for his paramour, actress Ginger Rogers. Their relationship did not last, and the property remained undeveloped and in the eccentric billionaire's trust for decades.
The land, which includes the 1,820-foot-high (555-meter-high) Cahuenga Peak, consists of five parcels -- and homes can still be built on it, a company news release said.
Two years ago, city officials and conservationists tried unsuccessfully to raise money to buy the property to make the peak a part of Griffith Park.
Councilman Tom LaBonge, who led the fundraising, said building homes on the peak would ruin one of the city's most famous views.
"That mountain should not be cluttered," LaBonge told the Los Angeles Times. "It's good for the psyche of Los Angeles."
"The city should acquire this land," he said.
Griffith Park suffered two damaging wildfires last year under extremely dry, hot conditions. A blaze in May burned 800 acres (325 hectares), and one in March tore through the hills near the Hollywood sign and burned 150 acres (60 hectares).