Sale

A sales price wasn’t disclosed, however the property had been listed for $68 million.

“I have a great love for our state’s ranching heritage, and have long been committed to preserving ranch lands in California,” Brown said in an emailed statement to The Chronicle. “It is humbling to be able to purchase this historic ranch, and I consider it an honor to preserve its future, protect the land and watersheds, and maintain this amazing property.”

The sprawling N3 Ranch, located in Livermore, spans canyons, trout streams, meadows and oak woodlands in four counties — Santa Clara, Alameda, San Joaquin and Stanislaus — and encompasses 4,089-foot Eylar Mountain as well as a slice of Mission Peak. It is viewed as a tract of rare wilderness in the greater Bay Area, with an area nearly twice the size of San Francisco that stretches from the Del Valle Reservoir to Tracy and between Calaveras and San Antonio reservoirs. It provides range for mountain lions, bobcats, foxes and a herd of elk.

The property was listed for $72 million in summer 2019 by the heirs of a cattle ranching family from Southern California that had owned it for 85 years but hadn’t grazed it for some time.

Conservationists and public land agencies took an immediate interest, touting the property’s wild character and ideal location at the intersection of several open space areas as the perfect centerpiece of the state’s next outdoor recreation destination. It would have amounted to the largest property addition to state parks in 70 years.

“It’s pristine wildlands, important Bay Area watershed and it could provide extraordinary passive recreation opportunities on trails and hills,” state Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda told The Chronicle last year. “This is not something in the foothills of the Sierras. This is in our backyard.”

That vision was contingent on a coalition of interested entities — public land managers, foundations, water districts and counties — pooling their resources to match the listing price. For a while, it appeared that endeavor was on course; Gov. Gavin Newsom even appropriated $20 million in his 2020 budget to help cover the cost.

But this week, that effort officially fell through.

Glazer, a vociferous proponent of the parkland concept, acknowledged the collapse in an email.

“I’m disappointed that we were not able to acquire this special property,” Glazer said, “but we will not be deterred in our enduring mission to purchase and protect Bay Area open space lands for the benefit of nature and the enjoyment of our residents.”

The California Department of Parks and Recreation wrote in an email to The Chronicle that it “remains committed to establish a new state park in California,” one that “will be inclusive and support equitable access for all Californians.”

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The property’s broker, California Outdoor Properties owner Todd Renfrow, said the ranchland had received “a ton of interest” in the past two years. He called Brown’s intent to keep the property undeveloped “a win-win for everybody.”

The N3 ranch in the East Bay has been sold to Bill Brown, the founder and board chairman of Walnut Creek wholesaler Central Garden and Pet Co.

The N3 ranch in the East Bay has been sold to Bill Brown, the founder and board chairman of Walnut Creek wholesaler Central Garden and Pet Co.

California Outdoor Properties

N3 has 14 hunting camps with cabins, a four-bedroom main residence, employee cabins, and some barns and outbuildings, but it is unlikely to be developed further. The property is covered by the 1965 Williamson Act, which gives owners a property tax break in exchange for preserving an area as farmland and open space.

Brown bought the bulk of the N3 Ranch via the William Brown Foundation, which he formed in August. It is “dedicated to conservation and preservation,” according to the statement provided to The Chronicle. The purchase ensures “the ranch’s protection from urban encroachment and future development while preserving the ranch’s diverse ecosystem.”

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As a private citizen, Brown bought a small piece of the property where the ranch’s headquarters and a small home are located.

“I spent a great deal of my youth on my grandfather’s cattle ranch, which helped shape me as a person,” Brown said in his statement. “It is our hope that future generations will have similar experiences to mine and, by being close to nature, they will fully appreciate the need to preserve our open space.”

Gregory Thomas is the Chronicle’s editor of lifestyle & outdoors. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @GregRThomas

Source : https://www.sfchronicle.com/travel/article/50-000-acre-Bay-Area-land-sale-snuffs-dream-of-16555971.php

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