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Tuesday, Jun 25, 2024

Copley Estate Sets New Record for La Jolla Property Sales

REAL ESTATE: 31-Acre Property Approved for 5 Additional Homes

LA JOLLA – The La Jolla hilltop home of the Copley newspaper publishing family and their successor, developer Doug Manchester, sold for a record price of $35 million, but below the $49 million that it was listed for in 2022. 

“Pricing is a strategy. It’s not so much that it sold for less but since we took over the property, we priced it for $37.5 million and sold it for $35 million. We did extremely well based on our list price,” said Brett Dickinson, who brokered the sale with Ross Clark, his partner in The Dickinson-Clark Team of Compass. 

Brett Dickinson
Dickinson & Clark Team, Compass

“Our perspective is it doesn’t matter what something was originally listed at. It’s more important what it sells at relative to what anything else sells at in the market,” Dickinson said, adding that the property sold within 120 days of being put back on the market. 

The previous record price in La Jolla was the $24.7 million, 2020 sale of a house at 8466 El Paseo Grande. 

Ross Clark
Dickinson & Clark Team, Compass

Dickinson said that there have been 12 homes sold for more than $20 million in La Jolla. He said that Foxhill was bought by Invoco Two, LLC, which includes Ranch Capital CEO Larry Hershfield. 

“After we put it in escrow, we had one other party that was very interested to take it if it fell out of escrow, but it didn’t,” Clark said. 

Spectacular Property with Room to Grow 

The sale of the 31-acre Foxhill estate included the 22,899-square-foot Copley home plus surrounding property overlooking the La Jolla Country Club that can be developed into five single-family homes. 

The existing 17,000-square-foot home at 7007 Country Club Drive has a commanding view of the golf course and the Pacific Ocean beyond. It has 10 bedrooms, nine bathrooms, five half-bathrooms, formal orchards and gardens, a pool pavilion, a fitness center, a greenhouse and an eight-car garage. 

“To both sides of you and all around you, you have a designated preserve that will never be built on,” Dickinson said. “There’s no other community in La Jolla that can offer that. That’s what was so intriguing for Larry and his partners.” 

Designed by architect Roy Drew, the original home was built in 1959 by the late Jim Copley, owner of The San Diego Union-Tribune, in a style reminiscent of a French Country manor. 

It was extensively remodeled by the late David Copley, who died in 2012, and again by former Union-Tribune publisher Manchester, who bought Foxhill in 2014 for $17 million. 

“In 1959, it was a really great house. Over the years, it’s been remodeled and extended,” Clark said. 

Dickinson said the resulting structure “barely resembles what it was before.” 

“It’s very choppy. It’s just not the same as it was when it was originally built. It doesn’t have the charm,” Dickinson said. 

Manchester also bought the vacant land that’s above the existing home and got California Coastal Commission permits to subdivide it into five residential lots, but never built anything on them, Dickinson said. 

“The thing that’s beautiful about this property is the property is fully gated,” Dickinson said.  

Entrance to the existing home site is protected by two gates and entrance to the vacant property is behind two separate gates, Dickinson said. 

“That’s what makes the property so special, because those are all gated areas,” Dickinson said. 

When the new homes are built on the property, “It’s going to be the most spectacular gated community in all of La Jolla, potentially all of San Diego,” Dickinson said. 

Dickinson said that he would expect the new homes to sell for $17 million to $23 million. 

Strong Luxury Home Market 

Clark said that the market for luxury homes in San Diego remains strong, boosted by people moving into the region from Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. 

“What we’re seeing, and we’ve been seeing this for probably a year-and-a-half now, with all the political turbulence in the Los Angeles and the Bay Area is a lot of people are moving here that wouldn’t have in times past,” Clark said. 

Dickinson said that “San Diego has basically been discovered by everybody in the U.S., in the world.” 

“We have far more people that want to buy beautiful homes than we have to offer,” Dickinson said, adding that multiple offers are not unusual “if you have a great property that’s in excellent condition on a special piece of property and if you price it competitively.” 

“Some people like to price a property pretty high and buyers, even though they’re trying to find a special property, are still very savvy, so they’re looking for prices that are competitive in the market,” Dickinson said. “If you overprice the property, then people will wait.”


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