The remaining acreage of the Paul Ecke Ranch home in Encinitas is on the block to be sold to a nonprofit foundation. The Ecke Ranch is famous for the development of breeding and marketing different methods to turn poinsettia into the most popular household plant.
After owning the property for ninety years, the ranch will sell the remaining 67 acres of what was at one time a 900-acre farmland, to the Leichtag Foundation. The foundation has plans to develop something that will benefit the community but will not offer shopping centers, commercial offices, or residential subdivisions.
The property is just east of Interstate 5 between Saxony Road and Quail Garden Drive.
Paul Ecke Ranch sold poinsettias to over half of flowers sold worldwide. The family owned business will stay in a sector of the business but will be conducting plant breeding to various Encinitas greenhouse for another three years until it find a new home as reported by Paul Ecke III.
"I’m really excited," Ecke stated. "I’m thrilled that we’ve got an opportunity for our company to raise some capital. And I’m really excited about who the buyer is … I’m inspired by the vision they have for this property."
An option agreement to buy the property was signed by Leichtag Foundation with plans to develop "cultural and community resource for the San Diego region and the Jewish community," explained James Farley, the foundation’s president and chief executive officer.
Even though the exact plans have not be been decided and well as terms of the sale have not been released to the public. It may take up to one year before the sale is final. The property at this time offers over 850,000 square feet of greenhouse space, with part of the space being used for development, testing and breeding poinsettia plants. The majority of the plants the Ecke Ranch sells are not grown on this property but on ranches in Mexico and Guatemala.
"It’s agricultural property," Farley explained. "We think some of the ideas will fit in those parameters. We think some educational and cultural sorts of things would be consistent with that zoning. But beyond that, we see this as a process that is likely to take several years to create a vision and produce a plan."
He went on to explain that some of the uses for the property can include urban farming, educational and cultural programs, expansion of the San Diego Botanic Garden, "and support of a strong Jewish community in North County."
Patrick Murphy, Encinitas Planning Director, explained the property is zoned for agricultural use and any changes must be approved both by the city and the California Coastal Commission.
"It’s a tough deal," Encinitas Mayor Jerome Stocks stated. "Frankly, I’m a little sad that we won’t have Ecke Ranch here. It’s such a part of the town and we love being famous for the flowers — it’s even on our city logo. We’re hoping the Ecke’s stay in town but they have to run their business as they see fit."
Stocks noted the Leichtag Foundation has an excellent reputation and is composed of "very honorable" people.
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