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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Concierge Auction’s latest, an 80-acre coastal estate on the block, comes as firm faces scrutiny

The auction house is a defendant in several ongoing lawsuits over accusations of fake bidding
By Dennis Lynch | March 14, 2019 10:15AM

7292 Exotic Garden Drive in Cambria, California

A sprawling 80-acre estate on the California coast, which had been listed at $60 million, will sell to the highest bidder in a no-reserve auction next month.

Selling the property in Cambria will be Concierge Auctions, which is a defendant in four ongoing lawsuits over accusations it used fake bidders to pump up the prices of homes. The allegations include that Concierge Auctions made sellers think there was more interest in a property than there really was. The Austin, Texas-based firm has been sued 10 times over similar allegations in the last five years, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal. Concierge Auctions denies any wrongdoing.

The upcoming auction will sell The Retreat At Cambria, which has 32,500 square feet of built space. It is spread across buildings on the property between a main house, guest house, staff quarters, and other buildings including a pair of “entertainment pavilions” and a 60-vehicle garage.

The grounds include a vineyard with 6,200 vines and a helipad. Of course, there’s a 3,500-bottle wine cellar for storing vino. The owner is listed on property records as Caspian Properties Inc., a real estate manager in Costa Mesa.

New York-based Concierge Auctions provided marketing material for the sale. Bids will open on April 22. Compass’ Kofi Nartey is a listed broker on the sale.

The auction house has been expanding its business. Late last year it opened an outpost in Vancouver to capitalize on a correcting high-end housing market there. And in January, Concierge Auctions set a record for the priciest U.S. home ever sold at auction, an estate in Hillsboro Beach, Fla. that sold for $42.5 million.

A no-reserve auction means there is no minimum bid required. Placing a reserve on a property at auction means it will not sell until it hits a certain price set by the seller. A no-reserve auction essentially guarantees a sale and often attracts more bidders hoping to get a deal.

The property sits on the coast near the Cambria State Marine Conservation area about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.