When the Star is a Building, Not the Owner...

| By Ruth Ryon | December 15, 2008 11:30 AM ET

(SOUTHWEST FLORIDA) -- There is a house here that is a star named "Buena Vista" for its beautiful views. But Buena Vista is far more than a pretty face.

The home was built in 1992 to create a contemporary structural statement that would stand the test of time and the troubles that could develop from being hit by a hurricane.

Much of the house is on the banks of the Intracoastal waterway. Markus Schultz, a descendant of Paul Schultzan, built the home of concrete blocks, a metal roof and electricity-powered shutters that have a manual override.

After fleeing Germany during the 1940s, Schultzan and his family purchased thousands of acres on which to grow gladiolus. In the process, the family became the largest gladiolus growers in America.

The outcome was to have architect Hernandez Annazone design a family compound on a 5.5-acre peninsula on the waterway, directly adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico.

The 13,000-square-foot house is gated and has 1,300 square feet of water frontage, a private yacht basin, an air-conditioned boat house, a helipad, elevator access to all floors, and a private beach. The home has six bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms, a pool, and a 10-person spa. The asking price is $10.95 million.

Bob Hurwitz of Hurwitz-James Co., Beverly Hills, has the listing.

(BEVERLY HILLS, CA) -- More often than not, houses do not have famous owners in their chains of title, but a substantial number of Beverly Hills homes are the exceptions. The property that comes quickest to mind is Pickfair, the legendary, Beverly Hills home of actors Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Mary Pickford.

They moved in after the hunting lodge on the property was turned into a 22-room mansion by architect Wallace Neff in 1919. After divorcing Fairbanks in 1936, Pickford lived there with her next husband, actor Buddy Rogers. When she died, Jerry Buss, L.A. Lakers owner, bought the home.

Actress Pia Zadora and her husband,  Meshulam Riklis, then bought the house and started refurbishing but soon learned that the house had to be torn down, due to termites. The house was subsequently rebuilt but needs renovating again, real estate sources say.

There are 17 bedrooms and 30 bathrooms in Pickfair. There are elevators, a ballroom, a glass-domed spa, a gym, a home theater, a disco and parking for 30 cars. The house sits on 2.7 acres.

Felix Pena of Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills, has the listing at $60 million.

(MARRAKECH,MOROCCO) -- Palais Rhoul, a family-owned boutique hotel in Morocco, has been put on the market for about $32 million.

At least a couple of celebrities have been associated in various ways with the hotel, but the building, not its owner, is the star of this show. It doesn't look much like Winston Churchill's favorite hotel -- the grand La Mamounia, also in Marrakech, but Palais Rhoul has had some distinguished guests lately -- actor George Clooney and hockey star David Beckham.

The Rhoul family, Parisian restaurateurs, built a Greco Roman-style house for themselves on the outskirts of Marrakech and turned the 12-acre site into a hotel with 20 suites, two restaurants and a garden with silk tents and a spa.

And if a buyer prefers a home to a hotel, Palais Rhoul can be turned back into a house as it was 12 years ago, according to listing agent, Xavier Attal of Immo Best International in Paris.

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