Image: "Hollywood" sign
Jennifer Graylock  /  AP
Chicago investors put the 138 acres of land just west of the "H" in the "Hollywood" sign on the market Wednesday. The asking price: $22 million.
updated 2/13/2008 7:17:33 PM ET 2008-02-14T00:17:33

A mountaintop property just west of the "H" in the "Hollywood" sign is up for sale. The asking price: $22 million.

A group of Chicago investors is putting the 138 acres of land — once owned by Howard Hughes, who planned to build a love nest there for then-paramour Ginger Rogers — on the market Wednesday.

The property offers a 360-degree panorama of the Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley, says Fox River Financial Resources, which acquired the land in 2002 for less than $1.7 million.

"We weren't sure at first what we had," Fox River general partner Keith Dickson said Wednesday. "After looking at it, we kind of feel we got a Van Gogh at a garage sale."

Hughes' relationship with Rogers didn't last, and the property remained undeveloped and in the eccentric billionaire's trust for decades.

The land atop the 1,820-foot Cahuenga Peak consists of five legal lots and "the ridges on the top are nice and smooth," allowing for construction of homes, Dickson said.

But Los Angeles City Council member Tom LaBonge said building homes on the peak would ruin one of the city's most famous views.

"That mountain should not be cluttered," LaBonge told the Los Angeles Times. "It's good for the psyche of Los Angeles."

"The city should acquire this land," he added.

LaBonge led the fundraising two years ago, when city officials and conservationists tried unsuccessfully to raise money to buy the property to make the peak a part of Griffith Park. The park suffered two wildfires last year that burned about 950 acres of land.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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