It's the San Clemente estate where presidents, dignitaries, heiresses and celebrities got to tour lush gardens, a private courtyard, take in stunning views of the Pacific or swim in it, and nosh poolside with the 37th U.S. President, Richard Nixon.
Now the 5.5-acre former estate of Mr. Nixon, La Casa Pacifica, has been listed at $75 million, via Sotheby's International Realty. Mr. Nixon bought the property for $1.4 million in 1969–the year everything big seems to have happened–and it became known as the Western White House because of all the luminaries who have been guests at the house. Current owner, Gavin Herbert, retired founder and CEO of pharmaceutical company Allergan, has owned the estate for 35 years, but it wasn't just a vanity portfolio property. He also volunteered as head gardener on the property before owning it, so all the formal gardening around the property accentuated with vibrant, succulent colorful native plants are his doing.
And boy, are there stories. Apparently, Mr. Nixon asked Henry Kissinger to be secretary of state while they were swimming in the pool. Maybe the views of the Pacific Ocean helped close the deal?
At 9,000 square feet, the main house's Spanish Colonial Revival design was inspired by a similar home in San Sebastian, Spain. It is built around a courtyard, where the Nixons once walked with then-California Governor Ronald Reagan, and Nancy Reagan. In his office, which was built over the courtyard, Mr. Nixon once talked state business with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev–over cigarettes and beverages–in 1973. The Commander in Chief also hosted the Chairman of the Board himself, Frank Sinatra, at the property.
Think $75 million is a bit steep for all of that, plus security gazebos and… ? Well consider this: Western White House apparently has the largest stretch of residential ocean-side property south of Los Angeles. And anyone who is familiar with the California property market knows that private, unobstructed ocean views are worth a king's ransom! And knowing this property, that royal might ask to go to La Casa Pacifica to recuperate from the trauma.