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Issue date: May 24, 2000

SHORT TAKES: Sale of Mervin Morris home SHORT TAKES: Sale of Mervin Morris home (May 24, 2000)

The buzz

It's a story that seems to be on everyone's lips: how Mervyn-stores founder and philanthropist Mervin Morris recently sold his Park Lane home in Atherton for $45 million. Mr. Morris himself isn't saying a word, nor is a broker involved. But a county appraiser has confirmed that escrow closed on the property April 6.

The Morrises won't be leaving Atherton, we hear. Roz and Mervin Morris have purchased the Atherton home of Sue and Jerry Olson, which they plan to tear down to build a new one-story home, says Mrs. Olson. The Olson house, built in 1964 by Joseph Eichler, was featured in the Home & Garden section of the Almanac in October 1997.

Sue Olson is a residential designer, with a showroom in Sunnyvale, who specializes in updating Eichler homes. She has lived in her Eichler for 26 years and says Mr. Morris has generously offered her any materials she wishes to take from the house. Its prized redwood siding is going to an Eichler home on the Stanford campus. "I plan to recycle a lot," she says. "This way the house will live on."

A well-informed source says the Morrises' former home was bought by one of the four sons of the late J. Elroy McCaw, who founded a cable TV company in Seattle, Twin City Cablevision.

One of those sons, Craig McCaw, expanded the cable TV business after his father's death, and sold it for $755 million in 1987, according to Business Week magazine. With the backing of his three brothers, Craig McCaw built up McCaw Cellular and sold it to AT&T in 1994 for $11.5 billion.

As for Mrs. Olson, she hopes to move to a classic Cliff May house in Ladera. Mr. May is the noted Southern California designer of Sunset's headquarters in Menlo Park and is credited with popularizing the ranch-style home after World War II.

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