Council Will Review 1001 N. Roxbury Despite Challenge

In a continuing drama over the future of the house at 1001 North Roxbury Drive, representatives of the homeowner sent a letter to the city warning the Council not to proceed with reexamining the home’s historic status. In response to questions from the Courier, City Attorney Laurence Wiener reiterated the Council’s intention to press ahead with the hearing, which will take place on June 21.

The 10,000-square-foot property was built in 1942 for Mildred Naylor by Beverly Hills master architect Carleton Burgess in the Regency Revival style. The property has called a parade of A-listers its neighbor over the years, including George and Ira Gershwin, Lucille Ball, Diane Keaton, and Madonna, but itself has never been owned by a “person of great importance,” according to a staff report.

In 2021, the new occupant of the property, StubHub co-founder Eric Baker, who purchased the house for over $39 million in 2020, requested that the city issue a certificate of ineligibility, certifying that the home does not have historic value.

The certificate prevents the Cultural Heritage Commission or the City Council from designating a property as a landmark for seven years, giving homeowners a level of reassurance to move ahead with changes to the property that would be barred were it deemed historic. The process for receiving a certificate is part of the city’s Historic Preservation Ordinance first passed in 2012.

After the city issued the certificate, at a March 15 meeting, Councilmember John Mirisch took advantage of a 30-day window to discuss with the Council whether the certificate was improperly granted. The Council resumed discussion of the topic on April 12 and decided to conduct a formal hearing scheduled for June.

In response to the Council’s decision to review the certificate, land use and development attorney George Mihlsten sent an April 26 letter to the City Attorney requesting “that the City Council cease all further attempts to consider the deemed finding of ineligibility, which would be in violation of the Code’s express provisions and damaging to our client.”

The letter argued, among other things, that too much time had elapsed for the Council to call up the certificate for review. But in response to questions from the Courier, Wiener walked through the timeline of events.

“Under the Municipal Code, the City Council may decide to review a discretionary decision within 30 days after the decision is issued,” he said.

“The Director issued the certificate of ineligibility on March 2, 2022, thus triggering the 30-day period. The City Council first took up whether to review the decision on March 15, 2022, which is well within the 30-day period. Then, with the applicant’s concurrence and waiver of the 30-day time limit, the item was continued to April 12, 2022. On that date, the City Council decided to review the Director’s issuance of the certificate of ineligibility and set the hearing for June 21, 2022.”

Mihlsten did not respond to a request for comment on his next moves.