David Batchelder, who co-founded an activist investment firm called Relational Investors, is winding down his firm and putting up his ranch for sale. Los Robles Ranch was built on top of 720 acres of land just outside of San Diego that Batchelder purchased for $5 million in 2000. He set about developing the land to be a "family fun compound" by implementing a go-kart track where drivers could reach speeds of up to 40mph. The go-karts were shipped from French manufacturer Sodi Karts through a distributor in Florida, who also flew out to design the custom track. He also added a skeet-shooting range, paint ball course and two fishing ponds to the property.
Batchelder has already sold 80 acres, but the remaining 640 acres, including the track and a cluster of houses, barns and pavilions, are all up for $14 million. The ranch sits thirty miles east of San Diego. The architecture of the buildings was modeled after Argentinan haciendas. The main house is a single story four bedroom, two-and-a-half bath over 4,000 square feet, with an attached greenhouse. There are also two guest houses, one with three bedrooms and the other with two, as well as two caretaker's houses and a small house for a stable worker. At one point, Batchelder said he hosted 30 guests on the property.
The main, 6,800 foot square barn, has stalls for 19 horses along with a tack room, bathroom, and office for the manager. A separate barn has a series of six enclosed rooms for horses and their foals. The equestrian facilities take up close to 40 acres of the property.
Batchelder acquired a cow pond when he purchased the land, which he converted into a 600,000 gallon olympic-sized pool/lagoon. The pool equipment is stashed underneath the pool house he built. There is also a manmade waterfall feeding into the pool, and a beach made out of "safe sand." Batchelder estimates he spent a million dollars on the pool alone.
Batchelder, 65, decided to sell because all of his grandchildren are in college. He recently purchased a farm on the East Coast, where he can enjoy the horses in Pennsylvania, but he will keep his beach house in Del Mar.