Just as the race for the republican presidential nomination heats up–a vicious competition which promises to be a real damn Mister Toad's Wild Ride–gajillionaire contender Mitt Romney is making ugly headlines in all the real estate gossip blogs as a real estate size queen.
Three years ago the former Massachusetts governor and his wife Ann dropped a pocketbook punishing $12,000,000 for an oceanfront home in affluent (and republican leaning) La Jolla, CA, a pee in your pants gorgeous seaside enclave where well-documented covenants that ran with deeds once restricted property ownership to white folks of European ancestry only; Jews and other minority populations were, quite simply, not allowed. Those archaic property rules and regs were dropped in the 1960s and there are now all sorts of Jewish people and synagogues but the extremely wealthy community remains predominantly white.
Over the years high profile residents of La Jolla have included Gregory Peck, Raquel Welch, Raymond Chandler, Doug Flutie, Ivan Boesky, Andrew Cunanan, John McCain, Margaret Anne Cargill, and Deepak Chopra. Of course, Your Mama is not making any comment or inference about the prejudices or lack thereof of any of these people. We're only stating that they own or owned property in La Jolla. That's it, got it?
Anyhoo, reports out this week, reveal that Mister and Missus Romney have grand plans to raze their 3,009 square foot single-story Spanish-style ocean front residence and replace it with a two-story structure that comes in at a far more elephantine 11,062 square feet. Apparently, the existing house isn't large enough to hold Mister and Missus Romney's immediate family who include five adult married sons and 16 grandchildren.
The modest by multi-millionaire standards residence was originally built in 1936 and later owned by a man named Bob Peterson, the founder of the Jack in the Box fast food juggernaut. Local news stories state that a report prepared on the property came to the conclusion that besides the chain of hoity-toity owners, the house itself–extensively renovated in the mid 1980s–is of no particular architectural or historical significance. We're not sure who prepared or paid for the report.
Listen kids, certainly Mister Mitt Romney, a former financier turned politician, is free to spend his near quarter billion dollar fortune in whatever manner he chooses. However, the man ain't stoopid and must realize that a presidential candidate who pays twelve million bucks to buy a beach house for part-time use and then wants to knock it down to build an exponentially larger and no-doubt lavish mansion seems grossly out of touch with the grim and increasingly drastic economic realities of most Americans.
Despite a desire to balloon the size of their west coast retreat in La Jolla, Mister and Missus Romney have lightened their real estate load the last few years. In early 2009 the power couple took in $5,250,000 when they sold a faux-rustic luxury ski chalet in Park City, UT and another $3,500,000 when they unloaded the Romney family homestead, a 6,400 square foot Colonial mansion in Belmont, MA. The Romney's still own their $10,000,000 lake front summer house in Wolfeboro, NH.
listing photos: Willis Allen Real Estate (top) and Prudential California (bottom)