Infamous Coronado mansion listed for $16.9M

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CORONADO, Calif. — The historic Coronado mansion, which is tied to two mysterious deaths in 2011, is to be sold, it was reported Tuesday.

The Spreckels Mansion is expected to be listed within the next four to six weeks for the asking price of $16.9 million, real estate broker Scott Aurich of Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty told U-T San Diego.

IMG_0400In July 2011, millionaire Jonah Shacknai’s 6-year-old son, Max, was severely injured in a second-story fall while under the supervision of Shacknai’s girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau. Two days later, while Max remained hospitalized, Zahau was found bound and hanging from the mansion’s balcony. Authorities ruled her death a suicide.

Max was pronounced dead in a San Diego hospital five days after his fall.

Shacknai’s ex-wife and Max’s mother, Dina Shacknai, has publicly questioned authorities’ assertion that Max’s death was an accident. She formally requested the investigation into Max’s death be reopened, but authorities denied the request.

Following the deaths, Jonah Shacknai, CEO and founder of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. in Arizona, entered a deal with a group of investors to renovate the 12,750-square-foot house for resale. The terms of that deal were never released.

Aurich said extensive improvements that have recently taken place. The exterior changes include a new roof, new skylights, new copper gutters, refurbished exterior decks, new concrete driveway, new walkways and a new front privacy wall, just to name a few.

Inside the home now boasts a new theater with 130-inch screen and billiard room and a new wine cellar in the basement. There is also a new pool, Jacuzzi, exercise room and rear patio with fireplace. Aurich’s list includes dozens of other improvements.

Shacknai bought the 10-bedroom, 9.5 bath Spreckels Mansion in March 2007 for $12.75 million, the newspaper reported.

The mansion was built more than 100 years ago by architect Harrison Albright for San Diego luminary John D. Spreckels. It includes a main house and two auxiliary residences.  Spreckels had the home built for his son, Claus, and son’s new wife.

The power-broker industrialist, who made his initial fortune in shipping and sugar refineries, moved to Coronado with his family in 1908 and was known as the wealthiest man in the San Diego area in the early 20th century.

At various times, Spreckels, who died in 1926 at age 72, owned the Hotel Del Coronado, all of North Island, the San Diego-Coronado Ferry System, Union- Tribune Publishing Co., San Diego & Arizona Railway, and Belmont Park in Mission Beach.

Spreckels also built several notable downtown buildings, including the Union Building in 1908, the Spreckels Theatre in 1913, the San Diego Hotel and the Golden West Hotel.

Director of the Coronado Library Christian Esquevin said the mansion has changed owners several times and the asking prices in 1975 was $225,000.

“It was the focal point for many years for their residence,” said Esquevin. “But also for a lot of the wild, well I won’t say wild, but entertaining parties for the rich and famous who came to Coronado in the 20s and 30s.”

Esquevin hopes the home can return to being remembered for its historical value.

“That’s recent history that’s unpleasant,” said Esquevin. “It had such a rich, long history for almost 100 years of being one of the jewels of Coronado.”

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