The 10,000-square-foot mansion that “burnt to a crisp” in the Coastal fire was “one signature away” from being sold, says the listing real estate agent. Now, that deal literally is up in smoke.

The unidentified owner, who has another home in Canada, watched helplessly from abroad as security cameras showed the fire’s approach and ultimately the Laguna Niguel, Calif., home’s demise.

The mansion, listed for just under $10 million, was perhaps the priciest of 64 houses in the gated, ridgetop Coronado Pointe neighborhood overlooking the ocean and nearby canyons.

At least 20 of those homes were damaged or destroyed by the swift-moving wildfire that overtook the neighborhood west of Crown Valley Parkway. Another house was destroyed a block away on La Vue.

Prices for the fire-damaged homes along Coronado Pointe ranged from $2.85 million to $9.61 million, and averaged just under $4 million, according to the most recent Zillow “Zestimates” of home values. The mansion on the cul-de-sac at the north end of the block had been listed for sale at just under $9.9 million.

Most of the homes ranged from 4,000 to more than 6,000 square feet. It’s impossible to find homes of that size for those values in nearby Laguna Beach.


“It’s a very exclusive neighborhood, … very quiet,” said Leo Goldschwartz, the Newport Beach real estate agent who was selling the palatial, French-designed mansion at the north end of the neighborhood. “It’s an under-the-wire, luxury community that’s little-known.”

The original gated, one-street community of Coronado Pointe dates back to the late 1980s, when a partnership called Coronado Pointe L.P. launched construction, according to news clippings. Most of the homes were built by the original developer, but six at the north end of the street were custom homes built later.

The custom-built mansion at the north end of the block was the crown jewel of Coronado Pointe, with an elegant motor court out front, twin wings thrusting toward the canyon and a curving back wall overlooking the pool, a golf course and Aliso Beach in the distance. The home was built in 1999, designed by a French architect with Feng Shui sensibilities, Goldschwartz said.

“It’s a very special property. You cannot duplicate that home,” the agent, who works for Compass real estate, said. “The house had separate wings. The adults went one way, the kids went another way. … It was like a palace. The house was a really beautiful homes. The finishes were impressive.”

The would-be buyers have been devastated, Goldschwartz said. They had plans to do an extensive remodel. A custom home next door, also heavily damaged by fire, had recently completed an extensive remodel.

The mansion was insured, Goldschwartz added, but fire insurance has been getting increasingly hard and more expensive to get as global warming and drought drive up risks in wildfire-prone California.


The Wall Street Journal reported recently that American International Group Inc. and Chubb Ltd. were pulling out of California’s regulated fire insurance market and offering policies in the higher-cost excess-and-surplus lines.

Goldschwartz said he had a knot in his stomach on Wednesday as he watched the home burn.

“I felt helpless. It’s pretty devastating,” he said. “Especially for my client who could only watch it from abroad.”