Yes, the Patio del Moro is back on the market. But no, its owner doesn’t really want to sell it.
The apartment building, which is at 8225 Fountain Ave. between North Harper and Havenhurst, was sold earlier this year by Kevin and Susanne McConnell, its longtime owners, to Friedman Capital of Washington, D.C. Lately some West Hollywood residents have noticed a “for sale” listing for the building on Redfin, the real estate website, at a price of $8.5 million.
Brian Friedman of Friedman Capital told WEHOville that he doesn’t really want to sell Patio del Moro, which is one of West Hollywood’s most historic and architecturally significant buildings. However, Friedman said, he has received two unsolicited offers for the building (with one them for $10 million). Because of his fiduciary responsibilities to his investors, Friedman said, he has to list Patio del Moro for sale to ascertain its market value.
Meanwhile, Friedman intends to move forward with his plan to convert the seven apartments into condominiums. He said he wants to do that without invoking the Ellis Act to evict the current renters. “Our plan was to get it converted into condos and then run it as apartments,” he said. “We don’t want to move anyone out.”
Patio del Moro was built in 1925 by Arthur and Nina Zwebell, a husband and wife team of designers with no formal architectural training who were known for their courtyard-style buildings.
Each of the seven units has its own name and character — Villa del Rey Moro, La Casita, Casita para una Estrellita, Casa del Sol, Patio del Fuente, Casa del Orienta and Casa del Alegria. In a story published in West Hollywood Magazine in 2015, architect and critic Gus Heully described them as “highly three dimensional, with two-story spaces punctuated with Juliet balconies and intertwined private terraces and patios that create a variety of communal and fully private outdoor spaces.”
In addition to its architectural significance, the building is known as the former home of old Hollywood celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Joan Fontaine, Humphrey Bogart, Suzanne Pleshette and Joyce Van Patten. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1986.
Kevin McConnell said that if Friedman capital sells the building “I hope they end up selling it to someone who really wants to keep it in the shape we put it into.”
McConnell’s family has owned the building for 53 years and for McConnell and his wife restoring and maintaining it was a passion.