Which would you rather have in your neighborhood? Sufism Reoriented’s 66,000-square-foot sanctuary or Aaron Spelling’s 57,000-square-foot "Manor?"

I know I might get some angry comments from members of Sufism Reoriented or their friends, but sorry, I couldn’t resist after reading that the mega-house of the late TV mega-producer Aaron Spelling is on sale.
And, come on, there are some visual similarities, certainly from their aerial views. Both are big white structures, and both are monumental, architectural statements to the world views of their creators. By the way, if you are new to this blog, Sufism Reoriented, a Walnut Creek-based religious organization, wants to build a new 66,000-square-foot sanctuary in Saranap, an unincorporated neighborhood between downtown Walnut Creek and Lafayette.
News reports say that Aaron and Candy Spellings’ 123-room Holmby Hills “Manor” will be the most expensive house for sale in the United States. It’s on the market for $150 million. Spelling, who created such gloriously cheesy TV classics as Charlie’s Angels, Dynasty and Beverly Hills 90210 died in 2006 at age 83, and his widow wants to “downsize” to a $47 million two-story condo on the top floor of a building in the Century City district.
But here’s what you get for $150 million! A three-story French chateau-style mansion built in 1991 on five acres. It boasts a private bowling alley, beauty salon, gift-wrapping room, wine cellar, and screening room. Outside is a swimming pool, tennis court, tennis court, and citrus orchard.
Sufism Reoriented’s proposed sanctuary, of course, won’t be a private residence but a school of worship for its some 350 members. It is proposed to be built on 3.25 acres–a tad smaller space than the Spelling property. This sanctuary will be “nestled in a glade of trees” (once they grow in), and two-thirds of it will be undeground. Among the sanctuary’s rooms will be a prayer hall, administrative offices, a film library, publishing and book distribution offices, children’s classrooms, a choral rehearsal studio, and a spiritual bookstore.
But when it comes to parking, the Spelling Manor has the Sufism sanctuary beat: the Spelling Manor boasts a motor court that can accommodate 100 vehicles, plus a 16-vehicle carport. Sufism’s sanctuary plans to make room for only 75 cars.

15 thoughts on “Which would you rather have in your neighborhood? Sufism Reoriented’s 66,000-square-foot sanctuary or Aaron Spelling’s 57,000-square-foot "Manor?"

  1. Scary. Glad I don’t live in Saranap, that’s for sure. Just waiting for the Sufi lovers to chime in about how wonderful people they are, freedom of religion, trees will hide it etc. Like I said, glad I don’t live in Saranap.


  2. Thanks for showing this. Looks like from your description, and the photos & links, that the Spelling Manse “looms” 3 stories above ground (don't really know how many floors below ground…but then that is the point of below ground space).The Sufism Reoriented building is a single story above ground (averagng 17'), with a grass parking lot (where Spelling's parking area is a sea of concrete and storm drain runnoff).Spelling's has straight up walls like the Le Boulevard Apartment building, with almost no landscape screening. Sufism Reoriented's sanctuary will be screened from view behind several layers of trees, but if you do catch a glimpse, it is round in every direction, so it recedes from every perspective, and the walls (about 12 feet to the eave) curve away from view, and the roof curves away from the vertical in the shallow domes.I think you make the case well.


  3. See those open roof wells on Spelling’s place? That’s where the noisy air conditioning and heating units go.Sufism Reoriented’s building doesn’t have those due to the ground source heat pump ground loop system. Nice and quiet, and the mechanical systems are in a space between the ground floor and underground concourse level. Even more quiet.Which would you like to live next to?


  4. “I think you make the case well.”I didn’t realize Sufis and their supporters are sarcastic as well. Duly noted.


  5. This is like a second grade quiz…There are two pictures above:One of these is designed to impress people, be palatial and chateauesque (to direct someone to the power of man).One of these is designed to recede and be serene and quiet (to direct someone to the realms of divinity).You decide.


  6. Cooling towers and air conditioning compressors are not only ugly to look at, they are noisy to listen too. That “thrrummm” you hear, when one kicks in, will be entirely absent in Sufism Reoriented’s sanctuary.A fountain was changed to a reflecting pool to reduce noise and evaporation to save water.No asphalt…no heat sink from the black pavement. Not only quiet, but cooler as well…using less energy to condition the air.French Chateau…not so quiet. Giant paved autocourts…not so cool.Open lacy walls and banks of flowers and trees in an open garden. Low traffic, one story building, screened from view.Oh yea, we have to stop this!! :0)


  7. 1:03 poster: Sufi “overlords”? Do I detect the riffing of a fellow Colbert Report watcher? LOL … All hail, Steven Colbert! … And yes, Crazy in Suburbia Blog Founder, I’d rather have Sufis as neighbors than Aaron Spelling’s family anyday. (You think Sufism is scary; have you looked at a picture of Tori Spelling lately? That is one freaky-looking dame.) Personally, given the Sufis’ track record of community assistance, teaching, contributing, volunteering, etc., I’m thrilled to have them in CoCoCo, complete w/ their new building project.


  8. …ah, so for you it really is about religion. You think they are a cult, and frankly don’t think anything else counts, and they have no rights.Please tell us more. You probably hate the Constitution of the United States as well (if you’ve read it), because it gives these people the right to build this church.You probably think owning a gun is your “god given” right, except you also feel completely justified in hating someone because they practice a different religion than you. Religious bigotry is very ugly…and you are the poster child.No cult exists, except in your imagination.No compound exists, except in your imagination.


  9. 1:37What exactly is it about these perfectly normal and productive citizens of the Saranap that you find so problematic to make you so very afraid of them and call them ridiculous names. Really, what?


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