Despite media reports, the 265-acre More Mesa property listed on the market for $50 million is not in escrow yet.
Listed as 0 More Mesa Drive, the property went back on the market for $65 million in August 2019. The price was changed to $50 million in September 2020, according to redfin.com and realtor.com, and the sale entered pending status on March 6, 2021, but that information is inaccurate, according to its real estate agent.
The property was listed by Taffy Bishara, a real estate agent based in West Covina.
He told the News-Press Wednesday that the property is not in escrow, and no offers have been accepted, despite redfin.com saying the seller has accepted an offer and the property is now pending or under contract.
A local land-use consultant affiliated with the current owner, Mark Lloyd, also told the News-Press the property is not in escrow, but that there are two prospective buyers who have put in offers on the property. He said they hope to go into escrow with one of those buyers. He said he didn’t know enough about the buyers to identify anything about them and would need their permission to discuss the matter.
Saudi Arabian developer Khalid S. Al Shobily purchased the property in 2012 for $25 million, according to local reports.
Santa Barbara County implemented restrictions on what can be done with the property, allowing only 15% of the size of the land to be a buildable area. The Mesa’s northeast 40 acres are allowed for the development of a maximum of 70 homes, and the remaining 225 acres are designated as environmentally sensitive habitat.
The listing description refers to the property, which lies between Hope Ranch and Goleta, as the “Jewel of the West,” “Jewel of the Pacific” and “Jewel of California.” It has been ranked as one of the four most beautiful lands in the U.S., and it’s made up of six lots legally subdivided, yet it is one lot physically.
The space is used by locals for recreation, with beaches and trails for horseback riding, hiking and biking. In addition, the land provides key wildlife corridors for protected species such as the White Tailed Kite, Burrowing Owl and Loggerhead Shrike.
The More Mesa Preservation Coalition opposes any development on the land, including the 70 homes currently allowed, writing on its website that it could “seriously harm existing ecological, scenic and recreation values.”