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Tuesday, Oct 3, 2023

The Best of the Best of Irvine Cove

Inside the high-end community of Irvine Cove, at the northern edge of Laguna Beach along Coast Highway, lies the exclusive enclave of Abalone Point, where one home recently hit the market for an eye-opening $60 million.

It is the first residence to go on the market in more than two years in the area, which counts just 12 homes owned by some of the area’s most notable business executives and wealthiest residents.

Market watchers question whether the $60 million asking price—which has already garnered national and regional headlines—is attainable. But they don’t argue that the neighborhood has a value that few others in the area can match.

“Irvine Cove is the crème de la crème of Orange County, and Abalone Point is cherry on top,” said John Stanaland of Villa Real Estate.

The blufftop neighborhood has the largest share of oceanfront homes in Irvine Cove, the 109-home gated Laguna Beach community, according to area expert Kathryn White of Compass.

The location and exclusivity of Abalone Point, which has its own homeowner’s association, generates the highest sales prices for the neighborhood, already pricier than other luxe OC markets, Stanaland notes.

“Typically, luxury homes trade for $2,000 to $3,000 per square foot, and in Irvine Cove, that price can be anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000,” he said. “Abalone Point is even a step above that.”

Rare Opportunity

Homes rarely become available in Abalone Point, with the last sale occurring in 2018 when Villa’s Steve High and Evan Corkett brokered the deal for 2585 Riviera Drive.

The home sold for a recorded $32.7 million, though the final sale was said to be several million dollars higher as a result of personal property included in the deal.

The recent listing of 2675 Riviera Drive marks “a very rare opportunity to live in one of the best locations in Orange County, where homes don’t often come up for sale,” said listing agent Andy Stavros of Douglas Elliman.

If sold for its listed value, the home would shatter the previous Orange County record for a single-property home, set in June when Dean Koontz’s Pelican Hill compound sold to Glenn Stearns in an off-market transaction for $50 million.

The 13,000-square-foot Abalone Point home counts six bedrooms and nine bathrooms. It was built in 2001 and was extensively renovated in recent years.

Records show current ownership is tied to part-time resident and real estate investor John McPherson, who paid about $23.6 million for the home in 2014. He decided to part with it after receiving several unsolicited offers last year, Stavros said.


The two homes on either side of the just-listed property have been rebuilt in recent years.

The owner of 2695 Riviera, which records indicate is affiliated with local technology executive Nariman Yousefi, recently wrapped construction on his rebuild; the home on the other side is about to finish construction.

Brendan Iribe, who co-founded virtual reality firm Oculus with Palmer Luckey, owns the home at 2665 Riviera, paying $30.9 million for it in 2014, records show.

Unique Attributes

There are just nine homeowners in Abalone Point. One resident, Sue Gross, owns three of the 12 homes.

She acquired the three homes in separate transactions with then-husband Bill Gross, co-founder of Pimco.

White represented the couple in two of the three sales; Sue now owns all three as part of their 2017 divorce.

Abalone Point homeowners have the option to keep the neighborhood as exclusive as they want, with a right of first refusal covenant in the HOA that’s unique to the community’s residents.

“If a home in Abalone Point goes under contract, the current residents have a chance to buy it if they want,” White said.

“These nine people get to determine what happens to each piece of real estate up for sale,” White said.

Another unique perk: homes can be three stories, with one built below and two above ground; the other homes on the ocean side of Coast Highway in Irvine Cove are only allowed to be one level above ground.

“Irvine Cove is considered the most scenic private beach on the coast of Orange County, but Abalone Point is incomparable, and home to the most expensive and desirable properties in the area,” White said. 

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