Not since Johnny Depp put his French countryside village up for sale have San Rafael real estate investors had an out-of-town real estate opportunity like the one that grabbed national headlines last week. As markdowns go, it was remarkable. But there were…issues…
This deal was described by Fortune magazine as “a 640-acre desert town that comes with a casino, a 10-room motel, restaurant, post office, and an airstrip.” Fortune apparently missed the mobile home park and convenience store that CNN Money noticed. Originally put up for sale in 2010 for $17 million, Marin investors should appreciate that its newly marked down asking price is just $8 million. Although some potential buyers’ enthusiasm might be dampened by the Google Maps satellite view of the township which shows it to be pretty much, well (honestly) sand—although the airstrip is described as being compose of…dirt. Not that it needs to be reached exclusively by air—the township straddles Route 95, connecting Laughlin (with its many casinos) and Las Vegas (with its many more casinos).
“Cal-Nev-Ari” was founded in 1965 by the current owner, 78-year-old Nancy Kidwell, who Fortune magazine quotes as being motivated by time. “Fifty-one years is long enough,” is her opinion. “It’s time for someone else to do something with it.”
She has a point. Marin County’s real estate investors might be somewhat put off by the most recent review of the casino posted on TripAdvisor:
“When you enter you go through the bar and casino. It is dark and two old men were sitting at the bar. It seemed like the music stopped playing and all eyes were on us when we entered. This place is in the middle of nowhere…”
Another earlier review is more succinct:
“It is difficult to understand why it is there…”
That reviewer must have missed the airstrip and the fact that many of the houses have their own airplane hangars. That’s so that “people can walk out of their living room and fly down the taxiway and take off.”
Part of the deal (San Rafael real estate investors, pay attention!) is the stipulation that the airstrip be maintained and kept open for at least 30 years. On the other hand, included are 520 acres of empty land. Not to mention, quite a lot of sand.
For real estate investors whose focus is closer to home, this spring finds many less exotic (but more easily evaluated) local opportunities—and they are here to be viewed without a lengthy drive through the desert. Give me a call if you are looking for a promising Marin real estate investment…as long as it doesn’t absolutely have to include an airpark/casino/motel/post office/convenience store/restaurant/bar!