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UC Irvine offers late professor’s donated Laguna home for sale at $2.3 million

The UC Irvine Foundation is seeking to sell the donated Laguna Beach home of a late professor for nearly $2.3 million.

Compass Real Estate listed the 2,672-square-foot home of Christian Werner, late dean of UCI’s School of Social Sciences and professor emeritus of geography and economics, last week for $2.295 million.

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After Werner’s death in March 2016 at age 81, his estate continued to contribute to the university in the form of two $1-million donations in 2017 and, in April this year, donated his home and $200,000 in cash.

A university news release said proceeds from the sale will support graduate programs at the school, where Werner worked for more than 25 years.

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The three-bedroom, three-bathroom house features light wood floors and glass-lined walls that offer a panoramic view of the Laguna coastline and village from the master bedroom. The living room, which overlooks the canyon, has a deck and fireplace. The property also has a two-car garage.

The contemporary, single-family home is at 657 Buena Vista Way, on the tail of a dead-end street. Compass agents Michael Johnson and Paulo Prietto held an open house Wednesday. They were not immediately available for comment.

The current median price for homes listed in Laguna Beach is more than $2.64 million, according to Zillow, while the median price of homes sold in the city is about $1.9 million.

Werner rebuilt the house in 1996, three years after a fire devastated several homes in the Buena Vista neighborhood. According to the Los Angeles Times, the German-born professor purchased the site in 1972, a year before he was appointed associate dean at UCI’s School of Social Sciences. He served as acting dean for two years and officially became dean in 1975 for a four-year term.

Werner’s work focused on applying mathematical principles to geography, according to UCI. After retiring in 1994, he continued to serve the campus through committee participation.

“It was through our work with students that we got to see firsthand the difference additional funding can have on a student’s ability to focus on academics and research,” Werner’s wife, Kathy Alberti, said in a statement. She worked at UCI’s graduate office for several years.

“Being now in a position to help, I feel really lucky — and so would Christian — to play a part in the education of our next generation,” she said.

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