Really? Â $12 Million? Â Yes, it's true! Â As the rest of us seem to be cautiously optimistic about the recover, the Irvine family party has another celebration. Â Here's the full article from Jon Lasner, OC Register, April 6, 2012.
A waterfront property that had been owned by Irvine family heirs for more than 80 years has been sold for almost $12 million, making way for the new buyer to tear it down and build a new waterfront mansion looking out toward the mouth of Newport Bay.
The listing agent said when the property hit the market that it was an â€œunbelievable opportunity to develop one of the finest waterfront home compounds in Southern California.â€
But Newport Beach history buffs lamented that the buildingâ€™s sale and probable demolition spells an end of an era for the distinctive Irvine family party house.
The pie-shaped property has nearly 78 linear feet of water front, a boat dock that could be enlarged and is about 115 feet long.
â€œThe views are simply phenomenal,â€ the propertyâ€™s listing boasted. The land commands a 180-degree vista from the Newport jetty to the Fun Zone Pavilion.
Known as the â€œBig Blue Pool House,â€ the shore-front property had been owned by owned by the late Kate Wheeler â€“ great-granddaughter of Irvine Ranch co-founder James Irvine â€“ and her husband, Charlie, who headed the Irvine Co.â€™s cattle operations.
The Wheelers lived in a similarly painted â€œBermudaâ€ blue house on the bluff just above and used the pool house as a place for family social gatherings such as weddings, parties, barbecues and lazy summer days for swimming and boating. A winding path led from the family homestead on the hill down to the â€œBig Blue Pool Houseâ€ at the waterâ€™s edge.
The Wheelersâ€™ heirs divided the hilltop house and the pool house in an intra-family property swap last year. The out-of-town heirs got the pool house and put it up for sale last summer for $14.95 million.
In December, they trimmed the price by $3 million to $11.95 million, which is what the sellersâ€™ got in a deal that closed last Friday, according to online real estate sites Redfin and Trulia.
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â€œThey had rock parties, they had pool parties. It was party central,â€ the homeâ€™s listing agent, Bill Cote, said last summer. â€œThey swam here, they boated here. They sailed out of here.â€
Mimi Juarez, a former neighbor who moved away in the 1960s, said her son got invited to teen parties there about once a month.
â€œThat was the place then,â€ Juarez said.
The Big Blue Pool House was one of at least five prime Corona del Mar parcels held in the Irvine family until recent years, with a combined value of $70 million to $100 million.
A lawn-covered parcel next to the pool house was sold to the next-door neighbor for $11.5 million 2 Â½ years ago. That neighbor is now in the process of building a 17,000-square-foot home.
It would cost a minimum of $4 million to build a 10,000-square-foot home on the land the pool house sits on. That would bring the total cost of land and house to at least $16 million.
But the listing published last summer said the property could accommodate a mansion of up to 23,000 square feet.
â€œIt has the Irvine name associated with it,â€ Balboa Beacon publisher and unofficial historian Gay Wassall-Kelly observed last summer. â€œAnd it always will.â€