Developer’s nature house in Newport Beach seeks $32M

Home of the late Harry Rinker has a wildlife-friendly lake overlooking the Back Bay

Harry Rinker and Diane Rinker; 2342 Mesa Drive, Newport Beach (Chapman University, Getty, Google Maps)
Harry Rinker and Diane Rinker; 2342 Mesa Drive, Newport Beach (Chapman University, Getty, Google Maps)

A Mid-Century Modern house with a private lake on nearly 3 acres overlooking the Back Bay in Newport Beach has hit the market for $32 million.

The 5,900-square-foot home of the late Orange County developer Harry Rinker was listed at 2342 Mesa Drive, the Orange County Register reported. The seller is his wife, Diane.

The five-bedroom, six-bathroom house was built in 1966 by the Canada-born developer who after World War II helped replace OC’s orange groves with thousands of tract homes, shopping centers and gas stations.

The one-story gabled home, designed by Modernist architect Philmer Ellerbroek, sits at the end of a gravel driveway on 2.7 acres zoned for horses.

The house, with vaulted beamed ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking more than two miles of Upper Newport Bay, has an open floor plan.

It has a formal sitting room, game room and a den with a pool table and a bar that opens to the outside. A master bedroom takes up an entire wing.

The grounds include a pool, spa, walking paths and an artificial lake stocked with bass, bluegills, crayfish and bullfrogs, sometimes visited by bald eagles, osprey and snowy egrets. 

Mandarin ducks introduced by Rinker 55 years ago flock to and from the property. An outdoor stable has turned into a 10-car garage.

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Broker John Stanaland of Douglas Elliman Real Estate holds the listing.

Harry Rinker, who grew up in a small cabin in the woods outside of Toronto, moved to Orange County after serving in World War II.

At first he tried his hand selling homes. Then he shifted to development, blanketing the region with tract homes, more than 100 gas stations and 60 shopping centers. He died in August 2021 at 100. 

The Rinkers, noted philanthropists, gave $15 million to Chapman University for an Irvine health sciences campus in their name.

Last September, another 2.5-acre spread down the street from the Rinker home once visited by the likes of John Wayne, James Cagney and Clark Gable at 2612 Mesa Drive listed for $25 million.

— Dana Bartholomew

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