Jared Leto's New Home is a Former Air Force Film Studio
Never one to follow convention, it should come as no surprise to find out that Academy Award winning actor Jared Leto’s new home is the infamous Lookout Mountain Air Force Station, originally built in Laurel Canyon in the 1940’s as a military film studio for documenting U.S. nuclear development. Leto just paid $5 million for the 1.4 acre property, which was most recently leased for use as a questionable rehab center for the wealthy.
But it’s really not as strange an investment as it may sound. The “estate” is actually outrageously cool and well located, and has the facilities and tech for a full-fledged, independently run film studio and/or record label. Going by the listing, the former military compound contains approximately 50,000 square feet of interior space, eight bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, several sound studios, a large sound stage, multiple large rooms recently used as art galleries, a screening room/theater, a number of kitchens, and multiple great room-type gathering spaces. What more could a musician/actor want?
The property has the most fascinating history, beginning in 1947, when the Air Force purchased the land on Wonderland Ave. to build a facility to document the nuclear testing. Back then, its purpose was kept secret and for years it was the source of endless speculation and conspiracy theories. In 1952, the studio’s purpose went on beyond documenting nuclear testing, and began produce Air Force training films, public information films and monthly newsreels.
Moving forward to 1958, the Lookout Mountain Laboratory was renamed “Lookout Mountain Air Force Station.” Among the prominent actors who narrated and starred in the films produced there were Bob Hope, James Garner, Juliet Prowse, Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, Robert Preston, Kim Novak, Glenn Ford and Lee Marvin.
In 1966, the facility was used to document the escalating war in Vietnam, and other military operations. That lasted until 1975, when the property was sold for use private use. Artist Mark Lipscomb paid $750,000 the compound, and used it as a studio, gallery and residence. I’m guessing that the free-form pool was added after the military sold the property.
Several years ago, it was leased to a company that based an upscale rehab center with facilities for 18 well-heeled patients. It’s reported they paid around $50,000 per month to stay there. As you know, rehab centers are a very profitable and popular business here in the Los Angeles area, especially in Malibu and Laurel Canyon, for some odd reason. The one in the Lookout Mountain facility was shut down in 2013, however, after reports of shady activity that included the death of two patients.
So here we are in January 2015, and along comes Jared Leto who appears to be just the guy to rehab the premises. Don’t you just love speculating about the future of Jared Leto’s new home? What will he do with the place? If I hear anything about it, I’ll be sure to let you know.
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