22 Aug 2014
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Bad Economy Delays Sale of Historic Singer Mansion

After two years on the market, the lavish estate now has a reduced price tag.

Albourne Rancho, or the Singer Mansion as it was known for years, has sat on the market for two years, awaiting a buyer at its now reduced price of $3.9 million.

While the current market makes it difficult for large multi-million dollar homes to sell, the owner and brokers for the home are hoping the mansion’s historical value and its painstaking restoration will attract the right buyer.

Broker Sarah Trent said the home’s historic appraisal was just under $5 million, putting the home “well under market price.”

The lavish estate nestled in the Glendora foothills, safely hidden away in a quiet residential neighborhood of ranch-style homes, opened its doors for an open house Sunday, April 1, but failed to secure a buyer.

Few homes in Glendora embody the opulence of a bygone era as the historic Albourne Rancho.

The Georgian Revival house is reminiscent of a Southern plantation home, with the guesthouse, garage apartment and main house making up 13,000 square feet of living space and 30 rooms.

The sprawling 1.6-acre lot also boasts over 6,500 rose bushes, a lap pool and the fully restored original Glendora schoolhouse.

The Mills Act is in place for the home, which reduces property taxes for the home at $9,000.

The mansion was designed by famed architect Wallace Neff in 1932, and commissioned by Arthur K. Bourne. According to owner Janis Lipson, a history and art scholar, the mansion was the location of many lavish parties hosted by the Bournes.

Over the decades after Bourne’s wife sold the property, it fell into disrepair.  When Lipson purchased the property 11 year ago, she spent years restoring the property back to its grandeur of the 1930s.

“In a house like this what you hope for is that no one does anything to it over the years, because it’s much more expensive to try to restore it to its original glory if someone’s fooled around with it with Home Depot tiles and things like that,” said Lipson.

The home is currently furnished with Lipson’s collection of art, furniture and antiques, inspired by the home’s Georgian Revival character and Lipson’s own world travels and love for art.

For the right price, Lipson said she’s willing to sell the mansion’s items to the home’s buyer.

 But what she hopes to see is the home to someday become an art museum or a historic library for the city.

“It’s hard in this kind of market and you put so much time and attention into the work,” said Lipson. “I have a degree in art history and I am very conscious of architectural importance. I guess I would want a museum to buy it. I wish it could become the Glendora Museum of Art, and library for art.”

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