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John A. Goetz's Blog

By John A. Goetz | Managing Broker in Bloomington, IN

Christmas Movie Real Estate

Where to start?  First off some rules, it has to be an actual piece of real estate and not a back lot of a movie studio.  Which means you can take White Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life off the list.  They were both movie sets. Same goes for Clark Griswold's 25,000 imported Italian twinkle light eyesore which was actually in a back lot in Burbank, California.  Heresy I know not to include the Griswold's but it has to be real.Without further delay:

5. Die Hard - Fox Plaza, 2121 Avenue of the Stars, Century City, LA.  People forget this was a Christmas movie, probably because it was released in July and had a final body count of 22.  Yet the whole reason John McClain went to Nakatomi Plaza was for a Christmas party, which did not end real well for the host, several guests and most of the party-crashers.  Fox Plaza was instrumental in the plot and much of the movie was actually filmed inside.  Interesting sidenote, much of the production took place at night since star Bruce Willis was at the time spending his days making the TV show Moonlighting.  The building was the last work by noted architect William L. Perreira, whose works also include the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, the "Theme Building" at LAX and the fascinating Geisel Library.  Yippee kai-yay!


4. Bad Santa - 7211 Whitehall Lane, West Hills, CA. Another non-Christmas kind of Christmas movie, but the house is awesome.  It's been for sale but apparently has an offer pending.  It features an acre and a half lot, an infinity pool in the back and fantastic views of the surrounding hills.  No wonder the Bad Santa can't help himself and moves in with The Kid.  Merry Christmas to who ever bought this place!

3. Elf - 55 Central Park West, New York, NY.  "SANTA!"  Will Ferrel (Buddy the Elf) leaves the elf kingdom to find his real father in New York.  And he lives in the same building they used in Ghostbusters!  What are the odds?  This stately pre-war art deco building has numerous units which have recently sold for around $1000 a square foot.  It's proximity to Lincoln Center and Central Park make this prime NYC real estate.  It was even added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.  Former tenants include Donna Karan and Clavin Klein, although I'm not so sure how they'd feel about Buddy's elf attire.

2. A Christmas Story - 3159 W. 11th St. Cleveland, OH 44109.  I consider myself to be one of the fortunate few who actually saw this movie in the theatres.  It wasn't a big success at the time and didn't even make it to Christmas in a lot of places after being released a week before Thanksgiving.  The house itself is a 4bd whose 1800 sq. ft. had been divided into a multi-family unit before the property was sold in 2005.  The new owner picked it up for the bargain price of $150,000 before converting it into a museum all about the movie.  Perhaps his first update was getting rid of the old coal boiler downstairs.  It's still a classic place, reminiscent of everyone's grandparents house if you grew up in the Midwest.  

1. Home Alone - 671 Lincoln Ave. Winnetka, IL 60093.  The mother of all perfect Christmas houses. This gem recently sold for 2.4 million dollars which does not even make it the most expensive place in Winnetka, a posh north end neighborhood tucked in between Glencoe and Wilmette.  The 4200 sq. ft. house was built in 1920 and is less than half a mile from Lake Michigan.  It's also close to the trains and shopping, but you'll have to pay for your toothbrush.  The stairs can get pretty slick in the winter and you'll never know if the lights in the basement are actually an iron.  

That's the list, Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

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