A glimmer of light is shining through San Diego’s bleak real estate market, judging from the sale this week of the La Jolla oceanfront home owned by Doug and Betsy Manchester.
The six-bedroom, 11-bath estate, with swimming pool and boathouse, closed escrow Tuesday for $18.15 million. The sale price will make the county tax man happy but, even so, it is 44 percent less than the original $33 million asking price by the Manchesters, who are divorcing.
The buyer is Dallas multimillionaire Darwin Deason, the founder and primary shareholder of Affiliated Computer Solutions, which Xerox Corp. is in the process of acquiring for $6.4 billion. Darwin’s wife, Katerina Panos, is a graduate of La Jolla High School and has strong ties to San Diego.
The Deasons, who will be part-time residents, also own a 205-foot luxury yacht, Apogee, which they plan to bring to Shelter Island next year.
Willis Allen real estate agent Edward Mracek, who with Karen Rockwell represented the buyer, says the high-end market seems to be improving. While there have been higher priced residential sales in the county, he knows of only one La Jolla home that has sold for more — the $23.5 million purchase of a large La Jolla Farms estate by attorney William Lerach in 2005.
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The Deasons also are in escrow to buy a home listed at $10.5 million next door to the Manchester property. They plan to merge the two properties, which once were part of a single estate designed by architect Tom Shepherd in 1929.