Shine On

Anjelica Huston’s estate to be turned into private club

Huston's estate is set to become a private members club. (Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic)The tall pale brunette perhaps best known as the matriarch in the 1991 hit The Addams Family is getting into a new line of business, pampering the California well-to-do set. According to reports from the New York Post, Hollywood heavyweight Anjelica Huston has just announced that her Venice, California estate will be transformed into a members-only club, and she'll be having a hand in things as a member of the advisory board.

Huston has been trying to sell her expansive California estate since 2010, when she put it on the market with an asking price of $18-million. The compound was designed for Huston by her late husband, sculptor Robert Graham, who died four years ago.

Often referred to as the "Fortress", the property is anything but modest. According to Vanity Fair, the the estate is made up of a 5000-square-foot home, three condos, and a five-storey artist's loft.

Now, what was once a private home will be opened up to the public — for a price — because Huston's fortress at 69 Winward Ave. was recently bought by Venice Social Club Holdings. The company intends to turn it a private members club, with Huston's full blessing.

The 61-year-old actress, who is currently starring in the TV show Smash, said of the sale, "I bestow my heartfelt support for Venice Social Club Holdings' intention to create a community gathering space that honours Venice's unique legacy at 69 Winward Ave."

[See also: Celebrities who live in modest homes]

Membership will be $2000 a year, and the club will reportedly include a a farm-to-table restaurant, gallery, screening room and cultural programming. There will also be an emphasis on something called "gourmet bathing" which apparently includes "surfing, hot-spring excursions, seltzer-water tastings, and dipping in the club pool."

So how does this proposed club at Anjelica's old pad compare to what we've got going on here in Canada? While we don't have any private members clubs that are housed in a movie star's former abode north of the border, we do have Toronto's Spoke Club, a members-only club that is similar to the proposed Venice Social Club in its emphasis on media, entertainment and the arts.

"One of the greatest benefits for Spoke Club members is the innovative and varied arts programming, which continues to be a key focus," says club president Pierre Jutras. The club's programming includes author talks, master classes, live music, fashion shows, screenings, art exhibitions, dance performances and more, and membership is $800 with a one-time fee of $500 to join.

The club has even partnered with a sister club in New York called Norwood and seven others around the world, though they're currently without a reciprocal club in California. Who knows, maybe the Venice Social Club will be the next partner on the list.

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