March 11, 2012

The Ultimate Man Cave in Carmel Valley. Or anywhere else.

If you’re willing to drive a little, you could either save a lot, or you could have it all.  Thanks very much to Burbed readers CLS and nomadic for sending this tidbit in.

21,000 Square Feet of Cold War Memories for Sale, Satellite Dish Included

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By PATRICIA LEIGH BROWN, The New York Times, Published: February 9, 2012

CARMEL VALLEY, Calif. — Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes the ultimate gift for the Dr. Strangelove in your life: the 21,000-square-foot Jamesburg Earth Station, a satellite relay base from the 1960s that was built to survive a nuclear attack.

120309-jamesburg-dishPerched on a remote hillside overlooking the Ventana Wilderness here on California’s Central Coast, it is a white elephant that costs $3 million, a tech-lover’s paradise on 161 acres equipped with a 97-foot satellite dish. (Though the signs reading “Danger: High Voltage” are perhaps not the best marketing tool.)

In its glory days, this sprawling bunkerlike redoubt on Comsat Road played an essential role in national life. Built in 1968 by the Communications Satellite Corporation, the Jamesburg Earth Station and nearly a dozen others like it helped bring the first televised images of Neil Armstrong on the moon and President Richard M. Nixon in Beijing into America’s living rooms. They also pulled in signals from satellites in geostationary orbit that made international telephone calls fast and easily accessible for most Americans.

“It’s the ultimate man cave,” said Jeffrey W. Bullis, a Silicon Valley electronics mogul, who bought the property in 2004 for $2 million from AT&T and is now selling it, complete with the hand-carved Tiki gods from Vanuatu that he placed at the entrance as a homey touch.

120309-jamesburg-welcomeIf you have a spare $3.5 million burning a hole in your pocket, I can’t think of a better use for it than a historical satellite dish made obsolete by fiber optic technology.  Especially because this 21,000 square foot bunker can also be used as an indoor shooting gallery.  Imagine the fun you will have with your remaining family members here!

While the 102 acre property including the satellite dish and its adjacent 46 acre parcel are currently “off-market,” the listing agent still features it on his website, and the current owner would be delighted to see it placed with someone who would appreciate just what this property is.

120309-jamesburg-houseThis is a must-have property for anyone who remembers the glory days of Apollo 11, and wants to own some of the technology that made it possible. 

Or you could just tear all this crap out and build 28 McMansions on 5 acre ranchettes and go bankrupt much more quickly.

Oh yeah, there is a house on the property somewhere, so you don’t need to bring a tent.  Also, lots and lots of room for storage, and by lots I think they mean enough room to fill a Saturn V.

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:30 am






February 5, 2011

Psst, Want to Buy an Island? Part Deux

Owning your own private island is one way to show you have arrived.  8 bedroom mansion?  How vulgar!  900 acre winery?  That means you’re in trade.  But a private island?  Now that is landownership.

Thanks to Burbed reader CLS for passing this along.

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Last island we featured was a bit wanting in the location, location, location chops.  Not this one.  It’s in San Francisco Bay, with views, views, views!  And it even made the national newsYahoo picked up the story (that’s their photo above), and it’s been around some other sites, too, but this local blog may have kicked it back into collective consciousness.

0 Red Rock Is, San Francisco, CA 94109
$22,000,000

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BEDS: –
BATHS: –
SQ. FT.: –
LOT SIZE: 5.78 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Lots & Land, Other
VIEW: Bay, Bridges, City, Hills, Lights, Panoramic
COMMUNITY: San Francisco County
COUNTY: San Francisco
MLS#: 21022212
SOURCE: BAREIS
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 186 days

Red Rock Island is the only privately held island in San Francisco Bay and is offered at $22M for the mineral rights and bragging rights. It forms the confluence of San Francisco, Contra Costa and Marin Counties. The largest portion of the island is the 4.114 acres in Contra Costa County. It rises to an elevation of 172 feet above the water with fantastic views in all directions and is North of the fog belt. The price includes the mineral rights.

imageAnd it’s a good thing the price includes the mineral rights, because it doesn’t include building rights, water rights, or permit rights.  All you get on are some old stories of possible pirate gold buried here, and, of course, bragging rights. 

Of course, the island has its own website!  It needs to, in order to explain that you aren’t merely buying an island.  You’re taking on a whole new paradigm of land use, such as being divided among three different counties (SF, Marin and Contra Costa), including the City of Richmond, and who knows how many state agencies, plus there’s a 1932 Executive Order signed by Herbert Hoover that prohibits destruction or disfigurement of the island.

Not every real property has to deal with so many government entities, but this one is Real Special!

imageThe Associated Press stated that the current owner bought the island in 1964 for $49,500, and attempted to build a 20 story hotel and casino complex.  The project was blocked by the City of Richmond.  He’s also considered turning the place into a quarry and practicing a little mountaintop removal.

Property Shark has never heard of the place (they say the address simply doesn’t exist), and the San Francisco Assessor’s Office software went all Three Mile Island trying to find it even when I spotted it the parcel number. 

So maybe you ought to consider buying it just to avoid bill collectors and process servers.  Plus if any county deputies come after you, all you have to do is step over the line into your choice of two others!

Really, if Zillow can’t find this place, you’re golden:

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And puh-leeze on the listing being only half a year old.  The owner’s been trying to ditch this sandbar since at least 2007, and look!  It’ was for sale in 2005 for a quarter the price!  According to Yahoo, the asking price was $10 million in 2008.  Somebody better tell the listing agent that the price is supposed to double every ten years, not every two.

Here’s owner David Glickman on why the price keeps going up:

At the time, I thought I’d sell it. The island has a good spot for a marina, and it’s in the bay, so the marina would be useful," he said. "But each time I thought I was going to sell it, something happened to make it worth more money.

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am