Blue Heron’s cliffside home spans four levels in San Diego’s La Jolla neighborhood.
This newly built cliffside mansion overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Southern California is being offered with an ambitious asking price of $32.5 million. It’s one of the most expensive homes for sale in San Diego County, and that price puts it in contention to break a local record in the quaint seaside community of La Jolla.
View from the infinity pool and elevated hot tub.
Perhaps more interesting than its potentially record price is the fact that the home was designed and built by Las Vegas-based builder Blue Heron, which almost exclusively designs and builds luxury mansions in the Mojave Desert.
The living room blends perfectly into an outdoor terrace.
“I would consider us the authority and experts on luxury real estate in all of Las Vegas without a doubt,” said Blue Heron founder Tyler Jones, a fourth-generation Vegas native.
Building on the ocean is more like building in the desert than you might imagine, according to Jones. In both environments, Blue Heron’s design aims to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living.
“The Mojave Desert is a great place to do that,” he said. “But arguably, you know, La Jolla, San Diego, is actually a much better place to do that.”
Over the past 18 years, Blue Heron has built several hundred homes — every one of them (except two in La Jolla) in the Las Vegas area, according to the CEO. Today, the starting price for one of the company’s most affordable desert homes is around $1 million, but the average selling price for one of the company’s newly built desert mansions is ‘business is about 8 million dollars. Blue Heron made headlines last year when one of its Sin City mansions broke a record when it was sold for $25 million to billionaire LoanDepot founder Anthony Hsieh.
The 15,000 square foot Las Vegas mansion designed and built by Blue Heron that sold for a record $25 million.
About 300 miles from its main business in Vegas, Blue Heron’s new coastal mansion spans four levels with an expansive deck and Pacific-side infinity pool.
Ora House’s outdoor terrace features an infinity pool, fireplace and impressive views.
A glass bridge floats above a lower living room and brings visitors to the second floor of the house. At nearly 8,900 square feet, the home features five bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and three kitchens.
A stone and glass bridge appears to float above a seating area and fire pit on the lower level.
The mansion, known as the Ora House, is the second residence Blue Heron has built outside of Vegas. The first, also a special home located in La Jolla, was on the market for about nine months before selling last year for $20 million. The median price for a single-family home in La Jolla was $3.6 million in the second quarter of this year, according to data provided by real estate brokerage firm Compass.
So why did a builder who bet big on luxury real estate in Vegas look to breaking a local Pacific Rim record?
Blue Heron’s Ora House is perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean.
Jones said he has a soft spot for La Jolla, and is filled with childhood memories of vacationing in the seaside town with his family. That’s just one of the reasons he had his eye on the area in 2016, when he bought the $4.7million beachfront home at 5228 Chelsea Street. It was what the developers call a “dismantling”. Blue Heron was more interested in the site than the existing house there. The company demolished the old house and, within six years, developed a new $32.5 million home in its place.
This price puts the home at the top of the ultra-high end La Jolla market. Since 2018, the community has had 11 sales at $20 million or more, according to title records. One of the most high-profile dates back to 2018, when singer-songwriter Alicia Keys and her record producer husband Swizz Beatz spent $20.8 million on the waterfront residence known as the The Razor House.
The facade of the Razor House blends glass and concrete to provide crisp lines and dramatic curves.
Gary Kasl – Douglas Elliman Realty
But La Jolla’s highest sale price came in 2019, when the beachfront mansion at 8466 El Paseo Grande sold for $24.7 million, according to public records.
And while Blue Heron’s Ora home is the most expensive home for sale in La Jolla at $3,660 per square foot, it’s actually a relative bargain compared to the price of over $4,000 per square foot. square made during the El Paseo Grande sale.
“People love the San Diego lifestyle,” said realtor Brett Dickinson of Compass, who has been involved in six of the neighborhood’s $20 million-plus deals. Dickinson is co-listing agent on Ora House with Deborah Greenspan of Sotheby’s. Dickinson told CNBC that the appeal of the area is fueled by a tech boom that is migrating from the northern part of the state to the south.
One of Ora House’s five ocean view rooms.
Jones told CNBC that Ora House’s huge price tag was partly a function of the cost of development on the California coast, which requires more time, more effort and a lot more money because development is complicated by a heavy regulations.
“It’s not worth it for a lower cost project,” he said.
Rooftop bar and lounge area
But a lot has changed since Blue Heron bought the site in 2016, and the company’s beachfront home now faces a trifecta of headwinds: rising interest rates, falling stock markets and soaring inflation.
Dickinson told CNBC these are serious factors, but they’re mitigated by La Jolla’s limited housing inventory. According to the broker, the number of homes available for sale in the neighborhood usually hovers between 150 and 200 units, but this month there are only 89 homes listed. The market is even tighter when you focus on high-end beachfront inventory.
The outdoor terraces and balconies of Ora House.
“Inventory is extremely low,” he said. “And building waterfront property is a six to eight year process.”
That’s likely one of the reasons the Vegas-based developer remains confident that La Jolla’s odds are in its favor.
“We’re confident we can deliver this exceptional experience that will speak to people,” Jones said. “And I believe we’re going to find wealthy people who are willing to pay for it.”
In Vegas, they say the house always wins, but only time will tell if that’s true in La Jolla.