San Diego developer Doug Manchester puts former Copley estate up for sale

For decades, a 32-acre La Jolla hilltop estate was the home of Copley Publishing head James Copley and his wife, Helen, owners of the San Diego Union and Tribune newspapers. Their son and heir, David Copley, took up residence after they passed away.

Known as Foxhill, the elegant, ocean-view French country-style manor surrounded by meticulously manicured grounds was a setting for dinners and receptions attended by the rich and the famous, opinion makers and VIPs from all segments of society.

The home, designed by Roy Drew and built in 1959, was purchased from David Copley’s estate in 2015 by developer Doug Manchester under his limited liability company, Manchester Foxhill. Manchester had purchased the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper in 2011, then sold it in 2015.

The veteran resort developer moved in after renovating the Muirlands homestead and adding new and updated amenities: a modernized kitchen, racquetball court, pickleball court, groomed walking trails and additional guest facilities. The main home and guest quarters now have 10 bedrooms (which could be boosted to 15 or more with different furnishings) and together total about 27,000 square feet of living space.


But a new chapter in the Foxhill estate story begins this month as it was relisted for sale.

The 8-acre main home and guesthouse, at 7007 Country Club Drive, carries an asking price of $25 million. (Manchester purchased it for $17 million.) The adjacent 24 acres (with two developable lots, of 4 acres and 1.5 acres, respectively) are offered separately for $12 million. A third listing proposes the entire 32-acre estate for $37 million.

The listings are jointly offered through real estate broker Andrew Nelson, of Willis Allen, and Greg Noonan, who’s affiliated with Berkshire Hathaway, with an assist from Beverly Hills luxury real estate specialists Matt and Josh Altman, who co-star in Bravo TV’s “Million Dollar Listing L.A.”

Manchester, who goes by the nickname “Papa Doug,” owns a second home in the Bahamas. He had been nominated for the position of U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas by President Trump shortly after Trump assumed office. The nomination languished, along with several other presidential appointments awaiting Senate confirmation.

Manchester, long an unabashed Trump supporter, withdrew his candidacy last fall. Threats on his life and those of family members were cited in a statement from his company amid growing publicity over his generous contributions to the Republican Party and Trump campaign.

Sales of high-end La Jolla residential property have languished in recent years.

Grammy-winning singer Alicia Keys and her hip-hop producer husband Swizz Beatz made a splash when they bought the ultra-modern La Jolla cliff-hugging glass house, nicknamed “Razor House,” for a reported $20.8 million last fall.

But most higher-end home sales of late have been along the sandy beaches of Del Mar, Nelson said. Del Mar is 30 minutes closer to the more affluent L.A. and Orange County clientele.

Nelson estimated that Manchester invested $4 million to $5 million in property improvements. His focus, Nelson said, since has shifted to downtown San Diego and his current multiuse development project at the foot of Broadway along San Diego’s harbor.