November 17, 2016 / 11:17 PM / a year ago

Germany buys California house built by writer Thomas Mann

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany has purchased the California home that once belonged to Nobel Prize-wining author Thomas Mann for $13.25 million and plans to preserve the historic property, the real estate company that listed the house said on Thursday.

The Pacific Palisades home on the outskirts of Los Angeles was initially listed at just under $18 million, according to the website of Joyce Rey with Coldwell Banker Previews International. The sale closed on Wednesday.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, which first reported the sale, said the German foreign and culture ministries planned to turn the 5-bedroom house into a center for trans-Atlantic dialogue that offered residencies for academics and artists.

Thomas Mann was a Germany novelist and writer who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1929. He went into exile in 1933 when Adolf Hitler came to power. Mann lived in the secluded California home from 1942 to 1952, before his death in Switzerland in 1955.

Thomas Mann’s house provided “a home for so many Germans who fought for a better future for our country and for a more open society,” Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a statement to the newspaper. “It is in this spirit that we want to revive the Thomas Mann villa.”

The newspaper said the renovation of the home, where Mann wrote “Doctor Faustus,” was expected to take about two years.

News that the house was being marketed as a “tear-down” had prompted outrage in Germany, where Mann remains a beloved author.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Sandra Maler

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