UPDATE, 12:01 AM: More details throughout, including reaction from community members and neighbors.
Coronado's most noted home, the Spreckels mansion – known first because of the powerful man who built it and – awaits a new buyer, now that Jonah Shacknai has disposed of it.
The sale, to a group of unidentified investors, is one of the most expected developments in a situation full of shocks and oddities, from , to , despite being found with her wrists tied behind her back.
The investment group behind the purchase, said real estate agent Scott Aurich, does not plan to hold on to the mansion, but will list it for sale for $14.5 million by Wednesday or Thursday.
Aurich would not disclose how much the investors paid Shacknai for the residence, but he said the deal has been in the works for about two weeks.
So, the house, despite occupying a prime oceanfront spot in a tony community and boasting a storied history, has been placed in the somewhat undignified position of being treated like a property on “Flip This House.”
“I’m not surprised,” said Doug St. Denis, who, as a member of the city's Historic Resources Commission keeps close watch over the community's oldest properties.
“I couldn’t imagine how Mr. Shacknai would be able to live there now. (It's ) a very sad layer of history for that fine old house.”
The sale takes place three months after Shacknai, an Arizona pharmaceuticals magnate, endured two blows. In addition to the death of his girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, 32, his son Max, 6, .
Max stumbled on the home's staircase; Shacknai's brother told authorities he found Zahau hanging outside from a second-floor balcony. In addition to the bindings on her wrists, a rope was around her neck and her legs were tied.
, given the curious timing of the incidents and by San Diego Sheriff's detectives.
Zahau's remains were exhumed last week and , a forensic pathologist. Results have not been released, but talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw is expected to meet with family members in November, said an attorney who represents them.
Shacknai has not commented on the new forensic examination, but said in September that he accepted the Sheriff's findings.
Some activity has been seen around the Ocean Boulevard mansion in recent weeks, including moving vans, but Shacknai has not been spotted. He has removed his belongings, Aurich said, and will not return to the mansion, which he maintained as a summer home.
“He's done,” Aurich said.
Shacknai bought the home for $13 million. It was declared a historic resource in 2008 and reassessed at $7 million, reducing his property taxes. , which is more than 100 years old.
The investment group will proceed with the work, said Aurich, who was part of the 2007 deal that led to Shacknai's purchase of the mansion. The group also plans to alter the interior.
Aurich added that the investors – all of whom he declined to identify, including one local resident – is mindful of the damage that has been done to the home's reputation.
“We're hopeful people will focus on the history of the house, which remains a significant property in this community,” Aurich said.
The 27-room mansion was built by John Spreckels, a one-time owner of the Hotel del Coronado who spread his influence throughout San Diego. Susan Vetter, a Coronado native, believes at some point people again will think of Spreckels when they see the house, and not so much of Shacknai or Zahau.
“I'm glad to see it sold,” she said. “We can get a fresh start and put all this behind us and get back to the history of that place.”
But a neighbor on Ocean said that is unlikely.
“The house is damaged; there is no way they're going to get $14.5 million for it,” said Jefferson Alison. “If it weren’t for its location it would be worth less than that.”
Gloria Tierney contributed to this report.