Anyone in the market looking to buy 265 acres of land in Santa Barbara – including 5,000 feet of oceanfront property – will have to shell out a pretty penny as More Mesa is now on sale for $110 million.
The land, located adjacent to Hope Ranch, is one of the South Coast’s last undeveloped areas, a fact which has locals concerned with its fate. While privately owned, the property has traditionally been open to the community for such recreational uses as bird watching, hiking, horseback riding, hang gliding and beach access.
“People have been recreating on it for six decades,” said Valerie Olsen, More Mesa Preservation Coalition board of directors president. “More Mesa is one of the last open spaces in Santa Barbara; it gives you a look into what this whole area looked like in the 1800s.”
More Mesa also contains several ecological habitats such as coastal bluff, grasslands, wetlands, coast live oak and riparian woodlands, which are home to many protected species.
“There’s just a huge complement of birds,” Olsen said. “The most important of which is the White-Tailed Kite, a fully protected California bird.”
Despite the sweeping vistas and seemingly prime real estate, Olsen said she doubts the $110 million price tag will attract much interest, as environmental and zoning laws prohibit most of the property from being developed.
However, 40 acres of the property are currently approved for housing development with the potential to build a maximum of 70 residences. Olsen said any potential builder would have to cut through a lot of red tape before they could develop on the environmentally sensitive habitat.
“Most people in Santa Barbara understand how much More Mesa means to this community, and I think it would be highly unlikely to find a buyer in Santa Barbara,” Olsen said.
According to the More Mesa Preservation Coalition website, the group is working in cooperation with the owner and Santa Barbara County in the hopes that the group will be able to raise funds and purchase the land in order to maintain and preserve it.
Charles Peterson, the Coldwell Banker real estate agent who listed the property, declined to comment on any potential interest in the property.