By Meghan Hall
A huge undeveloped property totaling 584 acres has hit the market for the first time in history. The property, which has been owned by a local family for generations, is not only one of the few remaining undeveloped tracks for residential in Monterey County, according to its brokers, but the property is also the second largest—and second most expensive— in Carmel Valley’s history to hit the market. Guidance for the property is about $25.75 million, and the property hit the market just last week.
“It is a premier, undeveloped property in Monterey County,” said Kimberly Wright, of brokerage firm Douglas Elliman. “It is right next to the Bernardus Lodge and Spa; it has views of Monterey Bay, the Santa Lucia Range, and the Pacific Ocean, all from varying points.”
The property, located at 701 Laureles Grade Dr., has been owned by a local auto and repair shop business owner who has been in Carmel for more than 60 years. Originally, the owner had plans to develop the property for family but is now looking to relocate closer to extended family out-of-state.
Wright and Douglas Elliman believe that the property’s location will be a huge draw to a variety of investors; the asset is 7 miles from Carmel-by-the-Sea, 17 miles to Pebble Beach and 76 miles to San Jose and Silicon Valley. The areas surrounding the property attract more than 8 million tourists, two-thirds of which come from the San Francisco Bay Area alone.
“This is Carmel, Monterey California. It’s not some property in Palm Springs or an outlying area,” stated Rod Wright, also helping to broker the property. “That’s one of the things that really sets this property apart. It’s got its own inherent value because of its location.”
The property is zoned for residential with a 5-acre minimum, and can be developed for either a private investor looking to get away or by a developer, looking to snap up one of the few large remaining parcels in the area.
“The potential will depend on the needs of the buyer,” added Rod Wright.
According to the brokerage team, the property is already seeing ample interest, even after just a few days on the market.
“It’s definitely getting attention,” said Kimberly Wright.
The demand, added Wright, is due to two primary factors: need for housing in the San Francisco Bay Area, but also a desire to escape the urban fabric of the San Francisco Bay Area at a time when many have been confined at home due to shelter-in-place.
“There’s no indication that things will significantly slow,” continued Wright. “As far as California as a whole, there’s a housing shortage in California. And, with everything that has happened with COVID-19, it is definitely pushing people towards looking for investment properties that give them land.”
The Laureles Grade Drive property is the second large-scale listing to hit the market recently; at the beginning of June, Apple Co-Founder Mike Markkula placed his Carmel Valley Ranch on the market for $37.5 million this past spring. Totaling nearly 14,000 acres, the property is known as the Rana Creek Ranch. Markkula has attempted to sell the property twice previously: once, in 2013 with a price tag of $59.95 million, and a second time in 2016 with an asking price of $45 million. Markkula originally purchased the property for $8 million in 1992. The ranch is the largest landholding in Carmel Valley.
The sellers of both properties are looking to take advantage of current property fundamentals, as well a growing appetite for tracts of land, a trend that has taken off since coronavirus arrived. According to Rod Wright, affluent investors are now turning their eyes toward bulk property for investment, in addition to—or in lieu of—large dwellings that require more maintenance. “The land is gaining momentum,” he stated.