An East Sacramento property loaded with history and possibilities recently went up for sale carrying a premium $3.9 million price tag.
Owned by Mark and Dianne Cohn, the property at 1415 Santa Ynez Way includes a main house and two guest homes on a half-acre site. It is one of the most expensive listings in the Sacramento area.
The main house, which is 3,954 square feet, offers a contemporary design, open floor plan and estate-style grounds. There’s a great room with 30-foot high ceilings, bathed in natural light, an award-winning kitchen design and loft library.
But the history of the property is nearly as impressive to the sellers.
“This was one of the first developments outside the city limits, and this property and this area was annexed in 1910, so that’s really when the history of East Sacramento and this property began,” said Roger Hackney, the Realtor who listed the property.
The grounds originally consisted of three separate city lots, including the original 50-year home site of James Meredith, owner and publisher of the Sacramento Union newspaper from 1921 to 1925.
Century-old bricks from a guest cottage and carriage house that used to stand on the property were used in the construction of the main residence. Granite hitching posts from the carriage house are in the garden.
A new swimming pool was built on the original site of what’s believed to be Sacramento’s first registered swimming pool. Neighborhood children used to come over to the old property, clean up the yard and pool, then go for a swim, Mark Cohn said.
He bought the three lots that make up a major portion of the property in 1977 after driving around the area and seeing a property that resembled an overgrown, abandoned park.
“It was a jungle,” Dianne Cohn said.
“What is this mess?” Mark Cohn remembered asking himself.
He tracked down the owners, who put the price at $35,000.
“They said $35,000, and I thought, ‘$35,000 a lot?’ ” Mark said. “Well, they wanted 35,000 for all three lots. Those were the days.”
The Cohns later added a fourth parcel to the family compound.
When he first checked out the property, Mark remembers finding a guy sitting in the empty original pool with a mattress and a guitar. The old pool contained a metal plate on the bottom, he said, that could be lifted so water would drain directly into the city’s sewer below.
“You could remove the metal plate and hear the water swooshing down there,” said Mark Cohn, who owns Kustom Kitchens remodeling. “You would refill it with a hose.”
The grounds on the family compound include an 8-foot perimeter wall, expansive grounds, a Zen garden sanctuary with a koi pond, waterfall and meandering water course. Across a red bridge, visitors will find a swimming pool, cabana and sports court.
“This is really a legacy property that we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to preserve in its character, not its absolutely original form, but in a major portion in terms of its connection to East Sacramento,” Hackney said.
The listing asks that the property and its three parcels be sold as one, making the listing one of the highest priced in the city of Sacramento.
“The easiest thing in the world would have been for Mark and Dianne to just parcel it out, because inventory levels are so low in East Sacramento and demand is so high,” Hackney said. “But I think it’s the connection that they have to East Sacramento community – and it’s a connection I appreciate, having lived here as long as I did – that we wanted to preserve a little piece of Sacramento history because we are losing it fast if we don’t preserve it.”
Besides the main house, there are two living quarters on the property: one is a two-bedroom, two bathroom home and the other is a two-bedroom, one-bathroom residence.
Dianne’s mother and grandmother once lived with the Cohns on their property. Nearly one in five Americans live in a multigenerational household, according to the Pew Research Center.
At $3.95 million, the Santa Ynez property is the most expensive listing in East Sacramento, and is among the top-10 highest priced properties for sale in the area, according to a recent Comparative Market Analysis report.
“(Those other high-end listings) have acreage and are different properties in El Dorado County, but this is near the heart of the city,” Hackney said.