“Grand Lake Villa” was built in the 1920s by William H. Corlett and Walter Reed. Reed and Corlett designed such buildings as Chabot Elementary School, the Modern Safeway Stores Office Warehouse Building on International Boulevard, the Financial Center Building, the 18-story tower constructed for the Oakland Bank of Savings and the Asian Resource Center (formerly the Hebern Electric Code Co.) on Harrison Street.
But that is only one aspect of the Villa’s star power. This home was originally commissioned by Clara and Adolph Jahnigan, whose daughter was Bernice Claire, an operetta singer and Hollywood starlet of the 1930s.
It was also home to attorney Steven Wilson, the son of Oakland’s first Black mayor, Mayor Lionel Wilson. Now, Italian-American film, television and theater actor Mario Guariso calls the Grand Lake Villa his own and has offered it for sale for $5.25 million.
The property is actually an estate, with two homes, extensive grounds, two garages, a pool and a pool house, all on a quarter acre. Such expansive luxury is rare enough already, but being located in the heart of Oakland’s Lakeshore neighborhood makes it a bit of a unicorn.
“It has this magical Mediterranean microclimate feel to it with the gardens and pool,” co-listing agent Shannon Mitchell said. “To have such a private estate of this size a block away from some of the best restaurants and shopping, you just can’t find that,” Mitchell added.