The house that McDonald’s built seeks $29 million in Santa Ynez


A piece of fast-food history was just served up in Santa Ynez, where a 554-acre ranch once owned by late McDonald’s owner Ray Kroc has listed for $29 million.

Kroc bought the property for $600,000 in the 1960s, according to Curbed, and spent years turning the scenic land into a research and development facility and a vacation spot for himself and other McDonald’s executives.

At the time, he dubbed the retreat “The J & R Double Arch Ranch,” which stood for Jane, his wife at the time, and Ray, himself. Gone are the golden arches that once framed the entry to the property, but many of the structures remain.


The most impressive building is the lodge, a massive 17,000-square-foot space designed by Glenn Marchbanks Jr. complete with a commercial kitchen, a dining room for 100 people, a 3,000-square-foot great room and a 5,200-square-foot conference hall. The lodge itself holds 20 bedroom suites, and the property can host a total of 100 guests.

In the 1970s, a stylish circular house was added atop a knoll with 360-degree views of the surrounding valley. Elsewhere are four single-family homes, two bunkhouses, a gymnasium, resort-style pool, helicopter pad and two tennis courts. For equestrian activities there are barns, paddocks, fenced corrals and multiple trails that wind through the dramatic landscape.

According to the listing agent, the property was purchased in 1990 by Nature’s Plus vitamin mogul Gerald Kessler.

Kroc franchised his first McDonald’s restaurant in 1955 and bought the original McDonald’s brothers out of the business six years later, rapidly expanding the fast-food chain into an empire in the following decades. He also owned the San Diego Padres for a decade and had amassed a fortune of roughly $600 million by the time he died in 1984.

Maria Temmel, Maurie McGuire and Scott Westlotorn of Coldwell Banker Realty hold the listing.