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InPlace: Hancock Park

Today, stars and Hollywood moguls treasure Hancock Park for the same reason they did in the 1920s: it’s both ravishingly beautiful and right near the studios (Paramount is just across its Melrose border). Studded with elegant Tudor, English, and Spanish and American Colonial Revival homes, it’s one of the oldest, most well-preserved neighborhoods in Los Angeles … and one of the most intact historic enclaves in the country.

Hancock Park was born in the early 1920s, when developer-philanthropist George Hancock donated 23 acres of land — including his family home — to Los Angeles County. That parcel is now the site of the LA County Museum of Art and the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum. Later, he subdivided most of the rest of the family land into residential lots, reserving 105 acres for what would become Wilshire Country Club.

Hancock commissioned an impressive list of architects to design the homes and required all properties to be set back a sweeping fifty feet from the street with electrical lines behind them. With its quick access to the movie studios, Hancock Park quickly attracted the cream of Hollywood, along with an array of other tycoons and dignitaries. Today, some of the homes are foreign diplomatic residences; Japan, Belgium, Canada, Argentina, to name a few, as well as the 1928 Wallace Neff home of LA’s British Consul-General. 

One of Hancock Park’s early architects was Leland Bryant, a master of storybook grandeur whose work has enchanted stars from Marlene Dietrich to Katy Perry. Bryant’s 1926 French Norman Châteauesque apartment building, Le Faubourg St Gilles (now Country Club Manor) at 316 North Rossmore, is one of the most palatial full service prewar residential buildings in Los Angeles. It’s also Hancock Park's most sought-after condominium complex.

Jill Galloway of John Aaroe Group has just listed the largest one-bedroom, one-bath unit in the landmark structure. The luxurious third floor residence is filled with original period details like high ceilings, intricate crown molding, wainscoting, hardwood floors and large windows. Amenities include a 24-hour full service doorman, valet parking, an elegant spa area and a private gym. It’s a two-block stroll from charming Larchmont Village, with its chic restaurants, sidewalk cafes and upscale boutiques.

“Aside from the beauty and quality of life in my neighborhood, Hancock Park has beengranted HPOZ (Historic Preservation Overlay Zone) status, which ensures these homes will be preserved for generations to come,” says Galloway. “Along with the benefit of preservation, this status allows homeowners to qualify for the Mills Act. Several of my clients have taken advantage of this program. As a resident I am thrilled to live in such an architecturally-intact gem of a neighborhood”

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