How's this for adding some cachet to a housing project: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, have bought a 25-acre tract in the Rancho Monte Alegre project in Santa Barbara County -- spending about $4.7 million for the land, public records show.
The Carpinteria project is transforming a historical 19th century California ranch that had several thousand acres of lush canyons, waterfalls and ocean views into an enclave of 25 privately owned estates. About 2,800 acres of the original ranch land were dedicated to the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County for preservation and will remain untouched.
Only 25 home sites have been designated in land parcels ranging from 20 to 720 acres.
This clearly isn't a development for the faint-of-wallet, even here in Grey Poupon country.
The Governator's homesite permits a house of up to a relatively modest 8,500 square feet; nothing smaller than 4,500 square feet is allowed in the development, and only one homesite permits a 12,000-square-footer. The 99 pages of project design guidelines determine in what style a home may be built (in general, a Mediterranean), what kind of plants may be used in landscaping (think native) and pretty much every other detail of construction -- including the style and color of the construction trailers that may be used.
(Memo to governor: Did you catch the part about no floodlights on the tennis court before you inked the deal? Harsh.)
The listing agent was Suzanne Perkins of Sotheby's International Realty, Santa Barbara, sources said.
Don't Google it: Here's the answer
Well, no more searching for the identity of the person who bought Ellen DeGeneres' Montecito estate for about $20 million.
Area real estate sources say the new man hiding behind the gates is Google's board chairman and chief executive, Eric Schmidt.
DeGeneres refurbished the 1926 estate, which has a four-bedroom, Spanish Colonial-style main house, a detached guest cottage, a wine cellar, a pool and a tennis court.
Suzanne Perkins of Sotheby's International Realty in Santa Barbara had the listing.
To see previous columns on celebrity realty transactions, go to latimes.com/hotproperty.