From its Chumash villages to Juan Cabrillo’s nearly 467-year-old musings on the place, from semi-secret surf spots to epic modern-day land-use pissing matches, you would be hard-pressed to find a location along the Gaviota Coast with more historical or modern importance than Dos Pueblos Ranch.
And now, thanks to the economic fallout of family patriarch Rudi Schulte passing away, the roughly 2,175-acre slice of coastal California is up for sale for the first time in more than 30 years. According to real estate agency Kerry Mormann and Associates, the family is asking $100 million for the property, which boasts its own private beach and massive swaths of agriculture. (The portion of the property north of Highway 101 is being offered separately for $24 million.) “Basically, the family is just moving in different directions, and, somewhat begrudgingly, they have decided to sell,” Mormann explained.
In a log entry dated October 16, 1542, legendary explorer Cabrillo described the scene along the shores of a canyon mouth of what is now Dos Pueblos Ranch. Although Chumash settlements that Cabrillo noted eventually succumbed to invaders, the land they occupied went on to become one of the area’s most noted original Mexican-Spanish land grants. In December 1842, Irish-born Nicolas Den applied for and received the approximately 15,500-acre Los Dos Pueblos land grant. About 20 years later, after Den passed away, his 10 children split the land up and sold it, piece by piece. Later, a retired oil baron named Herbert Wylie turned the property into a showplace for thoroughbred horses and various exotic creatures, and later still Signal Oil honcho Sam Mosher helped build the ranch into the world’s biggest orchid farm.
The current owners, the Schulte family, bought Dos Pueblos from Signal Oil in the late 1970s and have owned it since, continuing its agricultural heritage and renting out the lavish Casa Grande structure for weddings and various political events, and-rumor has it-often poaching the gas caps from the vehicles of trespassing surfers. Also, the family entered into a complicated land deal with Orange County developer Matt Osgood a few years back that swapped portions of Dos Pueblos with Osgood’s holdings while also placing more than 2,000 acres into a permanently protected Agricultural Conservation Easement in exchange for lot line adjustments and various building envelope tweaks on the Schulte land. A bit of land use ingenuity, the deal was the grease that helped Osgood gain approval from the county for his Naples development project last fall while also serving the interests of the Schulte family. And while Osgood seems all but destined for a legal battle with the county over that approval-a new incarnation of the Board of Supervisors has struggled in processing the approval, which has prompted Osgood to pull out of the Memorandum of Understanding underlying the project-all parties involved are confident that the potential sale of Dos Pueblos has little to no negative impact on the Naples deal. In fact, according to Mormann, the terms of the deal actually work to “enhance” the potential sale of Dos Pueblos.
“I frankly was surprised when they decided to sell the whole thing,” said Mormann, who has worked closely with the Schultes on a number of property sales over the years. Nonetheless, he said he has already shown the property and has “significant interest” in it. “Obviously, it is going to take someone with a lot of money,” he said. “But I am not talking to developers or even other ranchers. This is a perfect fit for someone looking at a conservation-minded, family legacy property.”