Retired developer lists 42-acre San Juan Capistrano spread for $150M

Robert Maurer has approval for 38K sf mansion on property with avocado and agave farm

Retired developer lists 42-acre hilltop estate in San Juan Capistrano for $150M

A photo illustration of 31062 Casa Grande Drive in San Juan Capistrano (Getty, Douglas Elliman, Artera Haus)

Robert Maurer is selling a 42-acre, hilltop estate and farm in San Juan Capistrano approved for a 38,000-square-foot mansion and two guest houses for $150 million.

The retired homebuilder and his wife, Irma, have listed the 21,000-square-foot compound known locally as Porcupine Hill for its 87 date palms at 31062 Casa Grande Drive, in south Orange County, the Wall Street Journal and Orange County Register reported.

If the estate they call Casa Grande sells at that price, it would be the most expensive home ever sold in OC. The record holder is a cliffside Laguna Beach home that sold in 2021 for $70 million.

Maurer, now 87, bought the land overlooking the Belford Terrace neighborhood his company developed in the late 1970s, hoping to create a legacy property for his family. He wanted to build a home on the ridgeline, but a city ordinance preventing such development delayed his plans.

The property listed for sale includes a 21,000-square-foot compound, built in 2010, that contains three apartments, offices and storage — as well as approved plans for a 38,000-square-foot mansion atop a ridge with 360-degree views.

The plans also include two 10,000-square-foot guest houses and maintenance quarters for the estate’s avocado and citrus orchards. A barn, a stable for up to 10 horses and a distillery are also approved as part of the listing, the priciest ever in OC.

The property’s farm is now transitioning to agave, the plant used in Mexico to produce tequila, which co-listing agent Brad Feldman of Douglas Elliman Real Estate describes as “the new California spirit hot button.”

“When we started to run numbers on this, we couldn’t find anything comparable,” Feldman told the Register. “This is a truly one-of-a-kind property because no one can duplicate it.”

He said the agribusiness and the house may be sold separately.

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It was a half century ago that Maurer tried to build his dream house overlooking the city known for the swallows that return each year to its Spanish mission. But the plans became the subject of a protracted legal battle with the city in the 1980s and ‘90s, and his mansion was never built.

At the center of the dispute was an ordinance, passed after the home was approved, to prevent ridgeline development. In 1993, the City Council finally voted to allow the home’s construction.

But by then, Robert and Irma were older and had begun to “lose steam” on the project, their sons told the Wall Street Journal. 

Casa Grande, perched 4.5 miles from Dana Point, has two entrances, one off Ortega Highway and another through Marbella Country Club that’s gated. It also has direct access to city riding trails.

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San Juan Capistrano, 55 miles south of Los Angeles, is a popular equestrian destination. The median sale price of a home was $1.3 million in May, up 11 percent from a year earlier.

John Stanaland, who shares the listing with Douglas Elliman colleagues David Stoll and Feldman, said the hilltop estate will likely appeal to wealthy buyers shopping for a second home.

“If you take a look at what has happened with Orange County,” he told the Register, “it has always been an ‘it’ destination.”

— Dana Bartholomew

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