9256 Old Pala Road, Pala, 92059
Previous residents: Brian and Helga Fritz, Chino Greenhouses
Listing price: $29,950,000
House size: 7019 square feet
Sometimes the desire for privacy goes beyond the seclusion offered by a guard-controlled, gated community. For those folks, tranquility might be easier to find on a $30 million, 403-acre ranch tucked into the hills of the northeast San Diego County community of Pala.
Exalta Farms is the name given to the estate at 9256 Old Pala Road, a couple miles east of Interstate 15 off Highway 76. While little farming appears to take place on the estate, the sellers’ representatives suggest that the property might make a good luxury golf resort or horse-breeding facility.
The main house on the property has over 7000 square feet of living area, including “a solarium, library, large master suite with his and her bathrooms, chef’s kitchen with Miele appliances, fountains, [and] eight fireplaces.” Two of the three additional bedrooms also have attached bathrooms and outdoor patios.
The backyard, or at least the portion of it adjacent to the house, features a vanishing-edge pool that looks upon “sprawling views of the ranch and nearby hills . . . includ[ing] majestic oaks, olive, and eucalyptus trees situated along gently rolling farm land,” a terrace deck, and a 600-square-foot “pavilion retreat” with a water feature and spa.
The gated driveway to the house leads to a motor court off of which sits a three-car garage with workshop, another two-car garage, an equipment barn, and a horse barn. The estate has detached employee housing as well as a guest house with its own patio and views.
Three wells supplement the municipal water supply and fill a two-and-a-half-acre fish pond. Groves of persimmon and avocado trees are maintained on the property.
An online brochure advertising the ranch brags that seven golf courses (three private) are within a 15-minute drive, as are four casinos and the San Luis Rey Downs racehorse-training facility.
Exalta Farms is currently owned by Brian and Helga Fritz. According to a San Luis Rey Municipal Water District board of directors profile of Helga, the couple are the longtime owners of Chino Greenhouses, an Encinitas nursery “which has over 350,000 square feet of greenhouse nursery devoted to indoor tropicals,” as well as Coast Research, a nursery-supply company. Both businesses have been turned over to the Fritzes’ children, and now operate under the name Grow Master in San Marcos.
Not surprisingly, it can take time to find the right buyer for a property this unique (and pricey). Exalta Farms was listed for sale nearly two years ago, on April 21, 2011, with an asking price of $36 million, which was reduced about a year ago to the current list price of $29,950,000, making it the third-highest-priced single-family residence listed in all of San Diego County.