The passing of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner marks not only the end of an era in the world of publishing, it’s also the end for one of the most famous pieces of real estate in the country.
The Playboy Mansion is now completely out of the hands of the Hefner family. Neighbor Daren Metropoulos bought the estate last August for $100 million—with the stipulation that Hefner would be allowed to live there for the rest of his life.
Metropoulos has previously announced that upon Hefner’s death, he planned to combine his current property next door with the 5 acres on which the Playboy Mansion sits. That will make a 7.3-acre property, which he plans to restore to its original condition when the parcel was developed in the 1920s.
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The Playboy Mansion was the stuff of legend for many people. Its opulent parties helped define the Playboy lifestyle and it was an exercise in excess that fit Hefner perfectly. The 12-bedroom, 21-bath estate was a hedonist’s dream, with a separate game/guest room, a private zoo and the enormous swimming pool, with its attached, world-famous grotto.
In a statement, Metropoulos praised Hefner, though didn’t address the future of the Mansion.
“Hugh Hefner was a visionary in business, a giant in media and an iconic figure of pop culture whose legacy will leave a lasting impact,” he said. “I was fortunate to know him as a neighbor and friend and I extend my deepest sympathies to his family.”
While it’s entirely possible features like the grotto will remain intact, they’ll arguably never have the same cachet. The Playboy Mansion was ground zero for the celebration of sexual freedom Hefner espoused. And it became synonymous with the parties that were held there, often packed with Playboy bunnies in their ubiquitous costumes and other models wearing nothing but body paint.