Home under construction has been shown to potential buyers
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is considering selling his ocean front La Jolla home, despite nearing the completion of a rebuild project that has taken years.
Romney’s attorney confirmed to U-T San Diego and La Jolla Light that the former governor of Massachusetts has hired a real estate broker to show the home at 311 Dunemere in La Jolla. The home, which Mitt and Ann Romney bought for $12 million in 2008, is not publicly listed. A project to tear down what was a 3,009 square-foot ranch house overlooking Marine Street Beach and build a two-story, 11,062 square-foot structure is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
“I can confirm that the home under construction has been shown to potential buyers,” said Matthew Peterson, the Romneys’ attorney, based in downtown San Diego. “No decision has been made to sell at this time. However, it is the Romney’s expectation that if the home were to be sold, it would likely be best sold after it is completed.”
The rebuild project, opposed by some in the historic La Jolla neighborhood called the Barber tract, included new retaining walls, a relocated driveway and a four-car garage with a lift. The entire project, and the lift, became politicized in the 2012 presidential election. While opponents of Romney used the project to paint Romney as a wealthy person who is out of touch, the Romney campaign said the family needed the extra room, and the lift, for their children and grandchildren.
Peterson declined to identify the broker, specify a price range or say whether any offers have been made.
Anthony Ciani, a La Jolla-based architect who led the opposition to the project, said in the past week he’d heard rumors about a broker showing the property. It came as a surprise to him, given that during the approval process Romney always stressed how important this particular home was to his family.
“He could have bought other nearby houses that were bigger and for less, and for less trouble sooner,” Ciani said. “Supposedly the story was that it was really important to him, so this is a contradiction to that.”
The California Coastal Commission rejected an appeal by Ciani in a 7-4 vote in October 2013. The original home was owned by former San Diego Mayor Maureen O’Connor and her late husband, Bob Peterson, founder of Jack in the Box restaurants. Actor Cliff Robertson once owned the famed Philip Barber house to the south.