Ranch & Coast Magazine

March 2024

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Page 68 of 99

S O READS THE PLAQUE AT 16915 Avenida de Acacias, the property directly across from e Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. Positioned at the entrance of the Covenant's commercial district, the property was recently purchased by Laura Barry and Jason Barry of Barry Estates, siblings who grew up in the Covenant and who are now two of the top realtors in the Ranch. "We were both very familiar with the building," says Laura. "When I was a girl, there was a high-end women's boutique in the building. I remember seeing all the beautiful clothes." "It's in one of the best locations in the village," adds Jason. "It's also one of Lilian Rice's first buildings, embodying the image and feel of Rancho Santa Fe. When the opportunity arose, we jumped at it." As has been told many times, the Santa Fe Railway purchased the land that is now the Covenant in 1906 to grow lumber for railroad ties. After much study and experimentation, 3.5 million eucalyptus trees were planted, but despite the trees' phenomenal growth rate, most of the wood was too soft for use by the railroad. e railway was ready to walk away from its failure, but local developer Colonel Ed Fletcher recognized the agricultural value of the land. Fletcher knew if it was used to plant citrus and avocados, the owners could make money shipping the fruit back East. It was from Fletcher's input that the idea of the Covenant's "Gentlemen Farmer" estates developed. With its green awnings, the elegant building was the first office the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company used to sell property in Rancho Santa Fe in the 1920s, and it is now part of the National Register of Historic Places. e care that went into its design is clear in its molded arches and the domed towers embedded into each corner. "It's where the original lots were sold," says Laura, fully aware of the building's history and significance to the area. Because it is a landmark, the Barrys cannot do anything to the façade, and they say they would not want to. ey do, however, have big plans for the interior. e building the Barrys purchased on Avenida de Acacias is currently under lease, so it may be a few years before they fully realize their plans. With the recent purchase and transformation of e Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, the village has been undergoing something of a metamorphosis. "e new owners really understand the exclusiveness of the property," says Laura. Inspired by the luxurious European aura of what the new owners have done at the across the street at e Inn, the Barrys intend to do something in a similar vein. In addition to being home to their offices, they are considering a variety of retail possibilities, including a café, a bookstore, and several other offerings. "What's happened at e Inn has brought in a lot of new energy," says Jason. "We want to add to that energy." HISTORIC PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS PLAQUE: PHOTO COURTESY OF THE RANCHO SANTA FE HISTORICAL SOCIETY @ranchandcoast RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE MARCH 2024 69 16915 Avenida de Acacias circa 1923

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