Huge California ranch owned by McDonald’s CEO Ray Kroc lists

Enormous property in Santa Ynez Valley has enough room to accommodate 100 people

National Weekend Edition /
Oct.October 31, 2020 12:00 PM
Ray Kroc and his Santa Ynez Valley ranch (Wikimedia, Google Maps)

Ray Kroc and his Santa Ynez Valley ranch (Wikimedia, Google Maps)

A sprawling California estate once owned by a fast-food titan is hitting the market — and it’s asking quite a bit more than dollar-menu prices.

The 554-acre ranch once owned by former McDonald’s CEO Ray Kroc, located in the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara, is hitting the market for $29 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Kroc, along with his then-wife, Jane, bought the property around 1965 for just $600,000. That was shortly after Kroc took McDonald’s public and became a multimillionaire practically overnight. He purchased the McDonald’s company in 1961 from its founders, Richard and Maurice McDonald.

The Santa Ynez estate wasn’t just a home for the Krocs, however; in addition to a modernist main “round house” (so named because it’s circular, leading some locals to liken it to a hamburger), the property also has 17,000-square-foot lodge with a conference center and tennis courts, as well as single-family townhouses and a home that was built for Ray’s brother, Bob. All told, the property can accommodate about 100 people.

All of these components got plenty of use; Kroc sometimes used the property for corporate retreats and as a test kitchen. It also served as the headquarters for his charitable foundation, which his brother oversaw.

Over the years, the Krocs acquired neighboring properties to expand the ranch. Joan Kroc, Ray’s third wife, tried to turn the property into a camp for children with cancer after he died in 1984, but was unable to sway local authorities to approve it. She sold the property in 1990 to Gerald Kessler, who died in 2015.

The property is coming to market following a court battle between his widow, children, and grandchildren over control of his estate. [WSJ] — Dennis Lynch 


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