View of the shanty from the pool
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Current Owner: Frank Vessels Family Trust

Listing Price: $55,600,000

Beds (main house): 3

Baths (main house): 5

Vessels Ranch, tucked away in the rural North County community of Bonsall, could set a new record for the highest-priced estate in San Diego if it fetches its asking price.

The main home, fully custom and built atop a hill in classic Mediterranean style, has three bedrooms, five baths, and over 7800 square feet of living space. Features include a kitchen with chef’s pantry, his-and-hers dressing areas in the master suite that claims 600 square feet of the living area, spacious living and family rooms with exposed wood and brick arch ceilings, and a grand entryway with dual arched wood doors and wood-encased stained-glass surrounds.

Outside, there’s a circular stone drive with porte-cochère and a landscaped island. In the backyard, the residence’s horseshoe-shaped structure rings a large grass lawn, patio areas, and a pool and spa overlooking the surrounding property.

Main house and horses

Main house and horses

There’s quite a bit of property included — 1390 acres’ worth, to be exact. Included in the sale is a group of other residences, including the original 80-year-old ranch house, two other houses, and two bunkhouses.

The crown jewel of the property, though, is the Vessels Stallion Farm, a racehorse breeding facility. The Vessels family has owned and operated the farm for over 60 years, including 33 years spent at the current Bonsall site, which was chosen “for its stunning natural beauty, gentle topography, coastal proximity, easy access, and abundant natural water.”

According to Pacific Sotheby’s lead listing agent Cathy Gilchrist-Colmar, buying the property offers an opportunity to “continue the property’s legacy as one of California’s premier horse breeding farms, or to place capital in a rare asset with great potential for wealth preservation and creation.”

Equestrian facilities include a 2400-square-foot office as well as a “mare motel” comprised of three buildings with nearly 73,000 covered square feet. That’s not counting a lab and breeding area, hay barn, stallion barn, foaling barn, or 5000-square-foot maintenance shed. There are also outdoor pens surrounded by nearly 20 miles in fencing and acres of open pasture.

Ownership of the property comes with nearly $500,000 in annual income in addition to the racehorse operations, with 261 acres rented to a tomato farmer, two cell phone towers with leased access, and a 60-acre avocado grove with 4200 producing trees.

Not interested in continuing in the Vessels’ horse-breeding footsteps, or enjoying a residual income while living on one of the largest residential parcels in the county? There’s always the possibility of developing the land, which sits just a few miles off Interstate 15 via Route 76.

5820 W. Lilac Road, Bonsall, 92003

“The Property has an overall allowable density of approximately 400 residential dwelling units under the San Diego County general plan,” notes Gilchrist-Colmar. Given that splitting the ranch’s 1390 acres up in such a fashion would still leave an average lot size of nearly 3.5 acres, it’s possible a host of high-end homes could replace the existing massive estate.

Public records verify that Vessels Ranch ihas been held by the Frank Vessels Family Trust since 1981.

The estate hit the market a month ago, on April 8, with a listing price of $55,600,000 — that tops the previous active listing high set by the Rancho Santa Fe property at 5992 Calle Camposeco, featured here in April 2013 with an asking price of $40,000,000, which remains unchanged to this day. It also bests the highest selling price recorded in the San Diego multiple listing service — an oceanfront Del Mar estate that sold in 2005 at the height of the housing bubble for $48,150,000.

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dwbat May 7, 2014 @ 12:24 p.m.

The price is OK. But I don't like the small size and weird shape of the house, so I'll pass!


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