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Copley Press is selling nearly 22 La Jolla acres with a beautiful view of the sea. The parcel adjoins Fox Hill, a legendary home on 7 acres that was formerly occupied by the late Helen Copley. That is not included in the deal. Prudential Realty advertises the parcel as "La Jolla's last, largest, most important 22-acre panoramic sea-view parcel." Price: $22 million. Says the ad, "ideal for low-density subdivision." It is not known if neighbors are complaining about the possibility of a subdivision being placed there. The acreage is accessed by Encelia, Country Club and Romero Drives. Fox Hill's address is 7007 Country Club Drive. The ad in the La Jolla Light does not mention the Copley name, but public records indicate the parcel is owned by Copley Press, which is owned by David Copley. As noted on a previous post, Copley Press is also trying to sell its corporate headquarters and library in La Jolla. The Fox Hill home and property are now used for social events, although David Copley lives in his La Jolla home that covers a full block. At one time, Helen Copley owned other real estate parcels in La Jolla, but I haven't learned what has happened to them. Copley Press effectively paid Platinum Equity to take the Union-Tribune last spring, when it sold Platinum real estate assessed at more than $100 million for a bit over $50 million.

Copley's non-profit foundation dropped $10 million in value from 2007 to 2008. Records show that the fair market value of its total assets for 2008 was $14 million-plus, down from $24 million-plus in 2007. On a book value basis, the drop was from $24 million to $18 million. It was formerly named the James S. Copley Foundation. It is now named the Helen K. and James S. Copley Foundation.

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Comments

SurfPuppy619 Oct. 12, 2009 @ 12:42 p.m.

If they sold the 22 acre parcel in 2005/6 the sky would have been the limit.

There is/was an Ocean front, 7 acre Del Mar home, the one at the end of Villa De La Valle where it butts up to Camino Del Mar, that is listed at a whopping $75 million.......this home is older/fixer upper and sold in 1996 for $20 million.

The Del Mar home is severly over priced, but 22 La Jolla acres for $22 million is about $23 sq/ft for the dirt, not a bad deal, even in this economy.

I wonder what Copley is crrently paying in property taxes on the parcel. I also wonder if Copley can write the property taxes off as a business expense??? Any idea Don?

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Don Bauder Oct. 12, 2009 @ 2:31 p.m.

Response to post #1: The taxes on Fox Hill are $29,480 a year. Don't know taxes on the 22 acre parcel that is for sale. Yes, housing prices in San Diego peaked in November of 2005 and are now 40% lower. But the Union-Tribune was worth a billion dollars in 2004 and the company wound up paying Platinum Equity to take it. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 12, 2009 @ 4:28 p.m.

But the Union-Tribune was worth a billion dollars in 2004 and the company wound up paying Platinum Equity to take it.

That is one of the most amazing change of fortunes I think I have ever seen. Ever.

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Visduh Oct. 12, 2009 @ 5:30 p.m.

One would wonder why, in a down market for real estate, David is putting nearly everything on the market. The U-T was understandable in a way, but a huge parcel of empty land in an ultra-prime location? Don, does this make any sense to you? Is he that hard up for funds?

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Burwell Oct. 12, 2009 @ 5:45 p.m.

I looked up the areial images of Foxhill and I don't think the 22 acres are worth anywhere near $22 million. The land looks like it is very rough, and a lot of expensive engineering and grading would likly have to be performed before anything could be built there. With the recent landslides on Mt. Soledad, a developer would likely have trouble finding a lender to finance the deal, or an engineering firm who would be willing to perform the work. Would the city be willing to issue permits on land like this and face the prospect of more landslide lawsuits? I don't see the La Jolla elite allowing this property to be developed into high density condos or single family homes. It looks like the Dr. Suess estate overlooks the 22 acres and I just don't see condos or homes being built there.

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Don Bauder Oct. 12, 2009 @ 8:01 p.m.

Response to post #3: The whole story of that company is amazing. If you turned in a non-fiction account to a book company, it would be rejected because the story was too unbelievable, even for fiction. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 12, 2009 @ 8:05 p.m.

Response to post #4: Certainlty, the LJ headquarters building and library are being sold into a terrible commercial real estate market, although the real estate salespeople say the library can be converted for residential purposes. The 22 acres would be residential. But residential is still hurting. Prices are falling less rapidly. That is not great comfort. And another wave of foreclosures may come as the Federal Reserve ends its buying of long term paper, including mortgages. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 12, 2009 @ 8:09 p.m.

Response to post #5: There is no doubt that these 22 acres present problems. The terrain is quite steep. I agree that there would probably be opposition -- lawsuits, etc. The price of a million an acre may be high, but the first offer generally is. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell Oct. 12, 2009 @ 8:11 p.m.

Is the Dr Suess estate on Via Valverde?????

No. The Suess Estate is located on Encelia, the highest point on Mt. Soledad facing the ocean, and has a 360 degree view. In the 1960s you could see the large concrete observation tower on his property from the park at La Jolla Cove. I don't know if the tower is still visible from the park.

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Don Bauder Oct. 12, 2009 @ 8:13 p.m.

Response to post #6: The Dr. Seuss estate is quite near. I don't know the address. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 12, 2009 @ 8:18 p.m.

Response to post #10: Nor do I know if that tower is visible. All I know is that I loved reading "Scrambled Eggs Super" to our sons, even after they got so tired of it that they begged for something else. Best, Don Bauder

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curmudgeon Oct. 13, 2009 @ 5:11 a.m.

Some have speculated David is selling off assets because he knows his days are numbered. He's regained a bit of weight after the heart transplant.

He may see having some cash now as better than having more cash after he's dead and buried.

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Don Bauder Oct. 13, 2009 @ 8 a.m.

Response to post #13: David had a heart transplant. The life span of those having one is often fairly short. But at the time of the operation, Copley insiders assured me that some people have several transplants. The company said it was counting on David living a good time longer -- 20 years or so. The company got almost $390 million from sale of its Ohio and Illinois papers, and also shed debt. However, a slug of that money went to settle Helen's estate taxes. All told, David would seem to be pretty well fixed, although he is hardly a billionaire. I have reason to believe that the stocks purchased for David and Helen were heavily on the tech/speculative side, and that portfolio may have taken more of a beating than most people are suffering. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 13, 2009 @ 3:01 p.m.

Response to post #15: Yes, that is an aristocrat's haven up there. Other wealthy people live in the area. Fox Hill itself, which is not on the market, is mainly used for entertaining, as I understand it. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 13, 2009 @ 8:26 p.m.

Fox Hill itself, which is not on the market, is mainly used for entertaining,

Which, if done for business purposes, would make it 100% tax deductible.

Must be nice to have that kind of cash flow.

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Don Bauder Oct. 13, 2009 @ 9:16 p.m.

Response to post #17: Yes, there was a permanent staff there (chefs, maids, etc.). There may still be. I have heard that an addition was put on a bit ago, but haven't been able to find that out definitively. Best, Don Bauder

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RealEstateLover Oct. 15, 2009 @ 7:16 p.m.

Are you kidding me? Rough terrain? This is BEAUTIFUL property in a highly sought-after and prestigious neighborhood... and it is far less steep than many La Jolla locations where massive multi-million dollar estates have benefited from pylons and sold for record sums.

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Don Bauder Oct. 17, 2009 @ 12:20 p.m.

Response to post #19: This almost sounds like the real estate ads in the paper. But you may be right. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell Oct. 17, 2009 @ 1:51 p.m.

Are you kidding me? Rough terrain? This is BEAUTIFUL property in a highly sought-after and prestigious neighborhood... and it is far less steep than many La Jolla locations where massive multi-million dollar estates have benefited from pylons and sold for record sums.

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The land is scrub land, difficult and costly to develop. The property is like a fish bowl. There would be no privacy if a single large luxury estate were built on the land. From the satellite images, there appear to be many houses on higher elevations overlooking the property. Owners of the higher elevation properties would likely watch the owners of any estate built there with telescopes. You could not build a wall high enough, or plant enough shrubbery, to eliminate the privacy problem. From the Google satellite maps, it looks like Foxhill has this problem as well. If Copley swims in his pool dozens of other property owners on higher elevations can observe him. The only possible use for this land is high density condo or single family residential development. I do not see this happening because of community resistance. In my opinion, the property is not worth $22 million. It is only worth $5 million at most. Copley should donate the property to the City for use as park land.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 17, 2009 @ 3:28 p.m.

. Copley should donate the property to the City for use as park land.

By Burwell

"Copley Park"

That area is the top of the housing food chain-they would block any attempt at making it a park where the PUBLIC could intrude on their neighborhood.

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Don Bauder Oct. 17, 2009 @ 6:58 p.m.

Response to post #21: There is recreation land nearby. I don't know that the City can afford to maintain the land or make it into a park were it donated. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 17, 2009 @ 7 p.m.

Response to post #22: The notion that the proletariat could enter those environs certainly dims the prospect of the land becoming a park. Best, Don Bauder

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Sportsbook Oct. 20, 2009 @ 11:45 a.m.

Re: 1)The parcel in Del Mar was originally purchased ( maybe still owned by) One of the Jacobs Sons....He wanted to build a real Little league park on it, along with a large home for himself and his family. Del Mar had such a hissy fit, or maybe it was Solana Beach (?) That after years of BS he walked, and the parcel will be sold.

Re: 3) This is happening all over the Newspaper industry. I am surious to see if it hits the NYT Family. ( Salzburgers )I know the collapse of the Newspaper industry have left members of the Hoiles clan virtually wiped out.

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Don Bauder Oct. 20, 2009 @ 5:15 p.m.

Response to post #25: Yes, there can be big battles over parcels surrounded by super-upscale neighbors. Your point that formerly-affluent newspaper families are now suffering is an astute one. Just look what has happened to the newspaper stocks. Best, Don Bauder

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