For sale: 160 acres of prime Carmel Valley property that includes a piece of outer space history.
As Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon back in 1969, televisions viewers were rightly focused on the accomplishment. What they weren’t thinking about, and maybe never thought about, was how that image made it into their living rooms. Enter the Jamesburg Earth Station. An enormous satellite dish deep in Carmel Valley. It received and re-transmitted this and countless historical events of the last century. Today the Earth Station and surrounding property are for sale and once again drawing worldwide attention. “Somebody from Italy contacted us. Somebody from England has contacted us. Today we had somebody from the Philippines,” said real estate agent Bert Aronson.
Aronson and the owner of the Earth Station, Jeffrey Bullis, head into the 21,000 square foot building with its two-foot thick cement walls. Bullis points out the features that recently led to newspaper and blog headlines like “Great Place for Armageddon” and “Invincible Space Lair for Sale”. “It comes with two, 15,000 gallon water tanks,” said Bullis. “So it’s like if something happened. You not only have your own food supply with the cattle, but you also have your own water supply. And with a little retrofit, maybe some solar panels on top, you will also have your own power supply.”
At first the inside looks much like a repurposed office building. Rooms once filled with desks and chairs, now have beds and dressers. There’s a kitchen and bathrooms. But as you walk further in, signs of this building’s former purpose are clear. Much of the Earth Station’s function was replaced by fiber-optics. So when AT&T closed up shop here in 2002, it left a lot of equipment. “So we’ve gotten rid of a lot of old obsolete stuff,” said Bullis. He says the infrastructure is in place for the satellite dish to work if new electronics were installed. But for Bullis, this place has been less about space adventure and more about life adventure. This was his family’s party house. “It’s a great basketball room. It’s a shooting range.. archery room. Kids come out.. they have fun. That’s what it’s all about now,” said Bullis.
In the document room, fourteen file cabinets line the walls. The drawers are filled with all sorts documents and drawings related to the earth station. Bullis unrolls the plans he had for this place. “That room in the back there was going to be a master bedroom with a huge master bath,” he said. He bought it in 2004 with plans of one day retiring on the property. “Plans have changed. Children have grown. I bought it. My son Adam used to come out here a lot. He loved it out here and uh, he got Leukemia and passed away about four years ago. So my other children, they don’t really, they don’t come out that often,” said Bullis. Now he just hopes somebody else can make good use of the property. His agent Bert Aronson says the global buzz has created all sorts of interest. “We’ve had everything from communications to having a private retreat because it’s secure. We’ve had somebody who wants to put an Arc here because he thinks that we’re close to the end of the world,” said Aronson. Aronson adds he’s received inquiries from scientists, telecom businesses and religious groups. So what’s next for the Jamesburg Earth Station depends on who buys it. It started with a list price of $4.2-million, and now they’re accepting best offers.