Highway One home near Big Sur trades for $24.5M

First-time sale of 2009 estate ranks as year’s most expensive deal in Monterey County

Coldwell Banker's Michael Gilson and Sotheby's Steve Beutel with 35678 Highway One
Coldwell Banker's Michael Gilson and Sotheby's Steve Beutel with 35678 Highway One (Coldwell Banker, Sotheby's, Google Maps)

An compound with more than 6 acres located right on Highway One between Carmel and Big Sur sold for $24.5 million, Monterey County’s biggest deal so far this year. 

Trusts in the names of the two adult children of “impact investors” Karl and Lisa Kleissner were the sellers, according to public records. Karl Kleissner was the director of engineering at Steve Jobs’ NeXT until it sold in 1997 to Apple, where wife Lisa had been an early employee, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

Their start-up investments made them millionaires when they went public in the late 1990s, and they created a family foundation dedicated to making social and environmental changes through their grants and also started Toniic, a global network of similarly minded investors, according to a Forbes profile on the couple. 

The Kleissners bought 35678 Highway One, a beachfront three-parcel lot where Garrapata Creek hits the Pacific Ocean, for $4.25 million in 2000, according to public record, shortly after their stock market windfall. They spent decades building a compound that includes a three-bedroom, three-bath main home; a two-bedroom, two-bath guest home; and a five-car garage. There is also a site for a third home, according to the marketing notes from agent Michael Gilson of Coldwell Banker. Gilson declined to comment on the deal.

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The buyer was Garrapata Coast LLC, according to public records, which uses the same Mountain View address as wealth managers Aspiriant. Steve Beutel of Sotheby’s International Realty represented the buyers and did not reply to a request for comment. 

The compound came on the market nearly a year ago asking $28.5 million. It went into contract in January and the sale closed May 26. 

Lisa Kleissner started her career as an architect and the couple utilized several prominent local architects on the property, according to the listing notes, including Mickey Muennig, often regarded as the “man who built Big Sur” for his influential residential and hotel designs meant to blend into their natural surroundings. A $35 million listing that went on the market last year was also designed by Meunnig and listed by Gilson, but the property was taken off the market in February.

The luxury market has been making a comeback across the Bay Area in recent months, according to a new Compass report, and Monterey’s April luxury absorption rate of 13 percent was similar to absorption numbers in San Francisco and Marin. Monterey County had only two sales above $10 million so far this year and no other sales were over $20 million, according to Compass data.

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