A premiere auction Saturday of the historic Villa Rockledge in Laguna Beach, an ocean front property built by Frank Miller, the man who had a hand in shaping the famed Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside from 1918 to 1922, has been cancelled.

That’s because the iconic property is under contract for a sale, Villa Rockledge owner Roger Jones confirmed. “We reached a deal,’’ Jones said. “There will be no auction.”

The purchase price for the oldest ocean estate in Laguna Beach, one carrying a list price in 2009 of just under $35 million and fell to $24.9 million in 2011, exceeded the minimum auction bid price of $10.5 million, Jones said.

But the final purchase price has not yet been revealed.

Todd Wohl, of Premiere Estates Auction Co., on Friday said those details – and the buyers’ name — are being withheld until property closes escrow later this month.

Jones, likewise, declined to name the buyers, but did say the couple hailed from Denmark and has made prior real estate investments in Laguna Beach.

He described the sale as an “all-cash” deal that involved multiple bids. Contract terms reportedly include a provision allowing Jones and his wife, Sherill Bottjer, to stay at Villa Rockledge for three-months after the 8,064-square-foot estate closes escrow.

“They’re very nice people,’’ Jones said. “We’re very happy to report there will be a sale.”

The largely hand-hewn estate, which Miller fashioned out of rock, thick timber, iron and tile as a summer home for his second wife, Marion, cost $100,000 to build and is best known for architectural features that replicate Spanish mission design elements in the Riverside lodge.

The Mission Inn draws thousands of guests every year, especially at Christmas.

Villa Rockledge had quieter appeal, but its significance in the realm of California architecture is unflappable. The lofty, cliff-side estate was put in the National Registry of Historic Places in March 1984.

The estate features a main home with six villas, a saltwater tide pool on the private beach, coiffed garden with meandering stone walkways and a commanding seaside view. Brick and mosaic tile elements in the home replicate design elements in The Mission Inn, down to mosaic tiles that depict a macaw.

Jones, who wrote the book, “The History of Villa Rockledge,’’ paid $420,000 for the estate in February 1973 to become the fifth owner, after renting a studio-sized villa on the grounds for $85-a-month for five years.

“It’s a good way to end the year,’’ said broker Jeff Knowles of Sage Lang Investment Real Estate.

Wohl said Premiere Estates Auction received three pre-auction offers the Joneses considered before deciding to ink a contract that put the home into escrow.

“We have a 100 percent closing rate once it goes under contract,’’ Wohl said. “The sellers are ecstatic they found a buyer with the same type of passion for this historic property.’’

Buyers who pre-qualified for the Saturday, Dec. 15, auction hailed from Russia, China and California. A pre-auction gala drew more than 250 brokers and real estate agents from Pacific Palisades through the Orange County area, he said.

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Jim the Realtor
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