Owners of the Kathryn Grayson Estate—which has come to be known as a party house for the routine charitable fundraisers hosted there—have applied to the city to receive reduced property tax assessments under the Mills Act.
The subsidies are meant to encourage the owners to preserve and maintain the historic estate, which abuts the Riviera Country Club on La Mesa Drive.
If a Mills Act contract is approved by the Santa Monica City Council, staffers estimate the property taxes would be lowered to $12,127 from $90,204. Of that, the city would receive $1,940 instead of $14,433.
There are currently 54 historic Santa Monica properties under Mills Act contracts, with reductions ranging from 11 to 82 percent. City staffers' estimate of the Kathryn Grayson estate reductions put it at 86.6 percent.
Built in 1926, the home was commissioned by A.N. Kemp, then vice president of California Bank. It was named for actress and opera singer Kathryn Grayson, who lived there from 1945 until her death in 2010.
Because the home is already fully restored and in good shape, the City Council's Landmarks Commission has recommended it not be enrolled in the Mills Act.
City planning staffers disagree. "The building is in excellent repair but, as with all historic properties, it will require on-going maintenance to ensure preservation of the landmark," they wrote in a report to the council.
On Nov. 14, the City Council moved to shut down the parties thrown at the estate, now dubbed "The House of Rock." After Grayson's death, the home was purchased by Greg Briles and Elaine Culotti.
See: Council Adopts Law Taking Aim at House of Rock
The couple commissioned high-end designers to decorate rooms under the common theme of "music," then began using the home as a venue for charitable fundraisers hosted by corporate sponsors, such as KISS FM and Verizon.
The city's leaders contend the parties are a marketing ploy to sell the estate.