California town for sale for $6.6 million

By Andrew ChamingsMay 13, 2024

The entire town of Campo, California has been listed for $6.6 million.

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In one of the most unique real estate listings to hit the MLS this year, a historic California town is currently for sale for $6.6 million.

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The town of Campo in San Diego County has around 150 residents, listing agent Joseph Barela told SFGATE. The sale includes 21 residential buildings, spanning 28 residential units, and seven commercial buildings, including a post office, lumber yard and thrift store. Since the early 2000s, the entire town, located around a mile from the Mexico border and an hour east of San Diego, has been owned by one man: Las Vegas investor John Ray.

After some failed attempts to sell the settlement in recent years, the town hit the market again this week, and residents are hopeful a wealthy buyer comes in and improves the community, Barela told SFGATE.


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The listing agent says residents are hoping for a wealthy buyer to come in an improve the town.

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"They're crossing their fingers for a good owner, somebody who wants to invest into their community," Barela said. "They would like somebody to come in and possibly add in a gym, a daycare. It's a very family-oriented community."

The Campo Valley region has a history of non-Native American settlement dating back to the 1860s, but almost every structure in town today was built during World War II. Camp Lockett, as it was then called, was home to the primarily Black cavalries of the U.S. Army known as Buffalo Soldiers. The infantry was stationed there to guard the southern border from invasion, and the camp also housed Italian prisoners of war.

The town has 21 residential properties.

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Today, Campo's few streets and aging sun-peeled structures are not in total disrepair, but in need of some love. "It's in decent condition," Barela said. "It's not class A or anything like that, but it is livable."


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The town sees an average high temperature of over 90 degrees in summer months and is accessible via State Route 94. It previously hit the market with different listing companies in 2018 and again in 2021, but failed to sell.

The current owner had little to say about his investment in a recent interview with the Orange County Register. When asked why he bought the place, Ray responded, "Why do I buy anything? I don’t know. To make a profit, I guess."

Barela said that his brokerage, Top Gun Commercial Real Estate, is now looking for a buyer with a "heart and a vision" to help revitalize the town.


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"We're getting more interest than we anticipated," Barela said. "It will be a wealthy person. We've gathered interest from tech startups, CEOs and entrepreneurs."

May 13, 2024

SFGATE's Editor-at-Large Andrew Chamings is a British writer in San Francisco. Andrew has written for The Atlantic, Vice, SF Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney's, The Bold Italic, Drowned in Sound and many other places. Andrew was formerly a Creative Executive at Westbrook Studios. You can reach him at [email protected].

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