Eighteen years ago, Point Loma real estate mogul Malin Burnham, along with some other benefactors, including then–Padres owner John Moores scraped together sufficient funds to buy San Diego State University's first presidential house.
Though there had been consideration of acquiring a waterfront mansion in Coronado for then-president Steve Weber, the school settled on a mid-century house at 4545 Yerba Santa Drive in gated Alvarado Estates near the SDSU campus.
Weber was domiciled there, as was his successor Elliot Hirshman, who weathered a 2011 controversy over a $148,000 makeover of the house, including $43,000 for a posh new kitchen.
Then, as Hirshman departed last summer to become president of Stevenson University in Maryland, officials took the opportunity to acquire a grander, walled abode to house SDSU's as-yet-unnamed new leader.
"The university has purchased a new house for the future President," Mary Ruth Carleton, the school's vice president for university relations and development, announced at a September 7 board meeting of the SDSU-controlled Campanile Foundation, which raises money from wealthy alumni to pay for such ventures.
The real estate was purchased by Aztec Shops, another nonprofit university auxiliary, to "allow for flexibility with the selling process in the future," Carleton continued. "We will work with the State on the sale of the current property." Further details of how the new house is to be financed were unrecorded.
County records show that on September 5, Aztec Shops paid $2.3 million in cash for a sprawling mansion at 4811 Yerba Santa Drive, down the street from the former presidential residence. The seller was attorney Jerome R. Moe, who bought the one-acre estate in May 2015 for $1.36 million, records show.
"Expansive Patios, Courtyards, Lap Pool, Atrium/Zen Garden, 4-car Garage+RV Garage total over 2000 sq. ft. Property is walled, fenced & gated w/ Beautiful Lush Landscaping," per an online listing for the 6335-square-foot complex.
Meanwhile, SDSU's former presidential home is on the block with an asking price of $1.75 million. "Mid-Century meets modern updates in this single-story ranch," says the listing on Zillow.com.
"Four bedrooms include a pair of 'Jack and Jill' rooms with bath, 3rd bedroom with private bath and the piece de resistance: luxurious master retreat featuring a grand bath with view, separate shower, double divided vanities and spacious closets."