A frequently listed Sea Cliff property that’s been on and off the market at various exorbitant prices in the last few years was re-listed after the new year, and appears ready to change hands once again for well under its asking price.
The salmon-hued, Spanish-style mansion at 224 Sea Cliff Avenue was built in 1925, updated around 2002, and it was once owned by actor Cheech Marin, back in his Nash Bridges days. Its most recent owner was real estate investor Luke Brugnara, who was brought up on charges multiple times in the last two decades — including serving a seven-year sentence for mail fraud that ended around 2021.
The property was originally foreclosed upon in 2012, and a lender first listed the property in 2016 for $19.675 million — a ten-fold increase from its 1990 sale price of $975,000. (It’s not clear what Brugnara bought it for in 2002.) That went down to $15 million in 2019, but was back up to $17.5 million in September 2020, after an auction in which a bidder got the property for a steal only to then find out the liens against it — which includes a $90,000 lien and a requirement that any new owner remove the illegally constructed cliffside staircase down to a “private” cove.
It was then re-listed for $15.375 million at least twice between 2021 and 2022.
And it looks like one lender or another re-listed 224 Sea Cliff for $9.95 million in October, and again for the same price on January 4.
Now, as Socketsite reports and as noted on Redfin, the troubled mansion is set to sell for $7.09 million pending a three-week contingency period — and because it’s a bankruptcy sale, another buyer could theoretically come in with a higher offer and take it.
Any buyer has to agree to remove the beach staircase, constructed in 2004 beyond the property lines of the home, which is apparently causing dangerous cliff erosion.
Brugnara allegedly used the house’s garage to store $11 million worth of art shipped in crates from New York — including 16 paintings by Willem DeKooning worth around $7 million. SFGate reported on the case at the time, in which Brugnara would ultimately be convicted of mail fraud for misrepresenting that he had the funds to pay for this art — and it’s not entirely clear what the scheme was with this.
Brugnara was released from prison around 2021, and his company, Brugnara Corporation, took in a PPP loan of $422,500 from the feds in April 2020, in the first round of those loans. ProPublica has the details on that, but no update on the loan’s status.
Brugnara had previously done time for tax evasion, pleading guilty in 2010 in a case connected to $45 million worth of commercial property, and he was also charged with violating the Endangered Species Act for thwarting trout migration by blocking a dam — possibly connected to a reservoir property in Gilroy from which he attempted to sell drinking water to the city of Gilroy in 2008. He was released in that case in 2012.