The UC Irvine Foundation is selling an ocean-view, three-bedroom house that the estate of a late faculty member has donated to the university. The house is priced at $2.295 million.
Christian Werner, professor emeritus of geography and former dean of the School of Social Sciences at UCI, died in March 2016 at 81.
The contemporary, 2,672-square-foot house at 657 Buena Vista Way has floor-to-ceiling windows, open interiors, high-end European cabinets and a master suite capturing whitewater Pacific Ocean views, says Michael Johnson of Compass, who is co-listing the property.
The home was part of $4.4 million that Werner’s estate has given to UCI. The money funds an endowment for graduate fellowships at the Social Sciences school. The house was valued at $2.2 million, the school said in announcing the gifts in April 2018.
Werner’s home and others on the street burned in the massive Laguna Beach fire of 1993. He built a new house on the same spot in 1996.
In a 1994 story in the Los Angeles Times about the community’s new chapter, Werner said he never knew the name of a single neighbor and had only brief exchanges until the firestorm that destroyed their homes provided a common bond and forged relationships among the residents.
It’s not often the university gets a house as a gift.
“This is a rarity,” said Patricia Harriman, spokeswoman for the foundation. “However, gifts of real estate are a smart way for donors to support the University and bypass capital gains taxes.” The money from the home sale will be invested to make sure graduate fellowships are “perpetually available as Dr. Werner intended,” Harriman said.
The home hit the market on Nov. 20. It’s remained “pretty true to the original” since it was built more than two decades ago, Johnson said.
He described the $2.295 million sought as a “value price” for the neighborhood, letting the buyer put a stamp on the house.