Blue Heron’s custom rock home spans three levels in San Diego’s La Jolla neighborhood.
This newly built cliffside mansion overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Southern California is being offered at an ambitious asking price of $32.5 million. This is one of the most expensive homes for sale in San Diego County, and this price allows it to break the local record in the picturesque coastal community of La Jolla.
Perhaps more interesting than its potentially record-breaking price is the fact that the house was designed and built by Las Vegas-based builder Blue Heron, who almost exclusively designs and builds luxury mansions in the Mojave Desert.
“I would, without a doubt, consider us the authority and experts in luxury real estate throughout Las Vegas,” said Blue Heron founder Tyler Jones, a fourth-generation Vegas native.
According to Jones, building in the ocean is more like building in the desert than you might think. In both environments, Blue Heron’s design aims to blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living.
“The Mojave Desert is a great place to do this,” he said. “But perhaps, you know, La Jolla, San Diego, is actually a much better place to do it.”
Over the past 18 years, Blue Heron has built several hundred houses over the past 18 years, each of them (except two in La Jolla) in the Las Vegas area, according to the CEO. Today, one of the most affordable desert homes has a starting price of around $1 million, but the average selling price for one of the most recently built desert homes is around $8 million. Just last year, Blue Heron made headlines when one of her special mansions in Sin City broke the record when it was sold for $25 million to billionaire LoanDepot founder Anthony Shay.
Mansion in Las Vegas with an area of 15,000 sq. ft., designed and built by Blue Heron, sold for a record $25 million.
About 300 miles from its core Vegas business, Blue Heron’s new waterfront mansion spans four levels with an expansive deck and infinity pool on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
A glass bridge hovers over the lower living room and takes visitors to the second floor of the house. The nearly 8,900 square foot home includes five bedrooms, eight bathrooms and three kitchens.
The stone and glass bridge appears to float above the seating area and the fire on the lower level.
The mansion, known as Ora House, is the second Blue Heron residence built outside of Vegas. The first, also a private home, located in La Jolla, was on the market for about nine months before it was sold last year for $20 million. According to data provided by real estate brokerage firm Compass, the median price of a single-family home in La Jolla was $3.6 million in the second quarter of this year.
So why would a builder who had been betting big on luxury real estate in Vegas pay attention to breaking a local record at the edge of the Pacific Ocean?
Blue Heron’s Ora House is located on a cliff overlooking the ocean.
Jones said he has a soft spot for La Jolla and it is filled with childhood memories of vacationing in a coastal town with his family. That’s just one of the reasons he turned his attention to the area in 2016 when he bought a $4.7 million oceanfront home at 5228 Chelsea Street. It was what the developers call “teardown”. The blue heron was more interested in this place than in the existing house that was located on it. The company demolished the old home and built a $32.5 million new home in its place over the course of six years.
This price puts the house at the top of the ultra-upscale La Jolla market. According to the header entries, since 2018, the community has recorded 11 sales worth $20 million or more. One of the most high-profile events occurred in 2018 when singer-songwriter Alicia Keys and her record producer husband, Swizz Beetz, spent $20.8 million on a waterfront residence known as shaving house.
The façade of Razor House combines glass and concrete, creating clean lines and dramatic curves.
Gary Castle – Douglas Elliman Realty
But La Jolla’s highest sale price was reached in 2019, when an oceanfront mansion located in 8466 El Paseo Grande sold for $24.7 million, according to public records.
And while Blue Heron’s Ora House 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 $4,000+ per square foot price reached at the El Jolla sale. Paseo Grande.
“People love the San Diego lifestyle,” said real estate broker Brett Dickinson of Compass, who has been involved in the area’s six deals worth $20 million or more. Dickinson, along with Deborah Greenspan of Sotheby’s, is the listing agent for Ora House. Dickinson told CNBC that the area’s appeal is fueled by a tech boom that is migrating from the upstate to the south.
One of Ora House’s five bedrooms with ocean views.
Jones told CNBC that Ora House’s mammoth price tag is partly a function of the cost of development off the coast of California, which requires more time, more effort and a lot more money because development is complicated by heavy regulation.
“For a smaller dollar project, it’s not worth it,” he said.
Rooftop bar and lounge area
But a lot has changed since Blue Heron bought the site in 2016, and the company’s waterfront home is now facing three headwinds: rising interest rates, falling stock markets and soaring inflation.
These are serious factors, Dickinson told CNBC, but are mitigated by La Jolla’s limited housing stock. Typically, the number of homes available for sale in an area ranges from 150 to 200 units, the broker said, but this month there are just 89 homes on the list. The market gets even tighter when you focus on higher priced oceanfront items.
“Stocks are extremely scarce,” he said. “And to build real estate on the seashore is a process of six to eight years.”
This is probably one of the reasons the Vegas-based developer remains confident that the odds in La Jolla are stacked in his favor.
“We have a lot of confidence that we can deliver that exceptional experience that will speak to people,” Jones said. “And I believe that we will find wealthy people who are willing to pay for it.”
They say in Vegas that the casino always wins, but only time will tell if this is true in La Jolla.