Read the Wall Street Journal Article
Sam Schoensee, a 14-year-old in Cape Coral, Fla., has a hectic soccer schedule packed with club practices, tournaments, and one-on-one coaching. But his thrice-weekly, 7:30 a.m. training sessions before school are a breeze.

That’s because they take place in his backyard, where his parents, Kevin and Nicole Schoensee, spent roughly $120,000 to build a 93-by-40-foot professional-quality turf soccer pitch behind their 8,135-square-foot home, purchased in 2013 for $713,000 and renovated for another $700,000. There, a professional youth soccer coach leads Sam and about five other players his age in drills and other training.

Rod Brind’Amour, shown in red T-shirt, with his family on the athletic court of his Raleigh, N.C., home.
Rod Brind’Amour, shown in red T-shirt, with his family on the athletic court of his Raleigh, N.C., home. PHOTO:ANDREW SHERMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

For the Schoensees, the turf field has not only helped Sam become “a ridiculously talented soccer player,” according to his dad, it has become a cornerstone of their social life. After training, Sam and his friends all walk to school together. In the evening, “the parents have cocktails while the kids play on the field,” said Mr. Schoensee, the 55-year-old owner of an equipment-repair company and commercial real-estate investor.

Homes With Pro-Caliber Sports Facilities

The Schoensees are part of a trend in youth sports in which wealthy parents build quasi-professional sports facilities at their homes—in some cases because they believe their children have the potential to become college or professional players and they want to do everything they can to help them get there. While tennis courts and swimming pools have long been de rigueur in high-end real estate, more families are building gyms, rinks and courts to help advance their child-athlete’s aspirations. Parents say their backyard training facilities cut down on driving young athletes around and give them the extra opportunities for development they need to be on top of their game.

Mr. Brind’Amour with one of his sons practice indoors. The home is on the market for $3 million.
Mr. Brind’Amour with one of his sons practice indoors. The home is on the market for $3 million. PHOTO: ANDREW SHERMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

It’s happening at a time when celebrities, executives and pro athletes are increasingly vocal about their ambitions for their children in sports. Technology executive Scott McNealy listed his Palo Alto, Calif., estate for nearly $100 million in June, touting the home’s enclosed ice-hockey rink, 110-yard golf green and indoor gym that he says helped develop his four sons into top college and professional athletes.

Rod Brind’Amour, head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes who played 20 seasons in the NHL, spent roughly $80,000 to install a volleyball/basketball/hockey facility—with a baseball batting cage and small putting green—in the backyard of his custom home in Raleigh, N.C., about 10 years ago.

The Chicago home of Mason and Abby Phelps has a gymnasium.
The Chicago home of Mason and Abby Phelps has a gymnasium. PHOTO: BOB STEFKO FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The volleyball court was intended for his daughter, Briley, who is now 20 and plays volleyball at James Madison University. A hockey portion has synthetic ice—no freezing arenas here—and allows Mr. Brind’Amour’s oldest son, Skyler, to practice shooting when he is home. ( Skyler Brind’Amour, 19, was selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2017 NHL draft.) The youngest child, 6-year-old Brooks, horses around on all the equipment. Only 17-year-old Reece is not into sports, said Mr. Brind’Amour, who is 47.

The Brind’Amours are looking to downsize as the older children leave home, and they listed the 11,884-square-foot house in May for $3 million. In their next home, Mr. Brind’Amour said “100% we will do a facility like this again,” geared to whatever sports Brooks becomes interested in.

Youth sports facilities spending in the U.S. and Canada hit $3.6 billion in 2017, with $320 million of that spent on private facilities in private homes and residential communities, according to WinterGreen Research, a market-research firm in Lexington, Mass.

“This is a huge, huge thing for rich people to build for their kids,” said WinterGreen’s president Susan Eustis.

Demand for at-home practice facilities has created a lucrative niche for brands like UltraBaseSystems in St. Petersburg, Fla. These permeable, interlocking panels create a shock-absorbing base under turf. President David Barlow said in the past couple of years, he has provided panels for roughly 12 private homeowners building soccer or lacrosse pitches. One of his designers, Joe DeShayes, owner of DeShayes Dream Courts in Cherry Hill, N.J., builds about 55 courts and 12 golf greens a year. Another designer built a $150,000, 2,000-square-foot golf green for a client’s 12-year-old son, he said.

The Cape Coral, Fla., home of Kevin and Nicole Schoensee. They bought the home specifically so they could build a soccer pitch in the backyard.
The Cape Coral, Fla., home of Kevin and Nicole Schoensee. They bought the home specifically so they could build a soccer pitch in the backyard. PHOTO: ALEXIA FODERE FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Custom Ice in Burlington, Ontario, said some customers have spent $2.5 million to $4 million to build enclosed, regulation-size hockey rinks at their homes. “I call sports today ‘high-school pro,’ ” said vice president Glenn Winder.

Real-estate agents often say that owners who put highly individualized or specialty features in their homes risk losing money when it comes time to sell. Abby and Mason Phelps thought about this while including a basketball gym in their roughly 12,000-square-foot home in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

“We made sure the dimensions of the court are bigger than a racquetball or squash court so it can be reformatted,” said Mr. Phelps, 39, a derivatives trader who played volleyball in college.

The Schoensees’ pool and desk, where soccer players’ parents hang out while the kids train.
The Schoensees’ pool and desk, where soccer players’ parents hang out while the kids train. PHOTO: ALEXIA FODERE FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Jill Silverstein, a real-estate agent who specializes in luxury homes with Dream Town Realty, said that a family friendly feature like the gym could actually help at resale in this neighborhood. Elissa Morgante and Fred Wilson, the architects who designed the Phelps home, said the gym accounted for roughly $350,000 of construction costs in 2014. Ms. Silverstein, who has not been inside the Phelps house, estimated that a comparable home could sell for roughly $6.5 million and $7 million if it were listed today.

The couple didn’t even have children when they began designing the home, but today they have three. Ms. Phelps, 38, who owns two Pilates studios, said sports are important to both her and her husband, but it remains to be seen if their children will embrace them.

“When we first put our 2-year-old down there, she walked to the free-throw line and read a book,” said Mr. Phelps with a chuckle. “But we’re still hoping that they grow into athletes.”


SEPTEMBER 30, 2018 | 7:00 AM – 2:00 PM


The Ken Whalen Surf Challenge is in memory of Ken’s love for family, surf and the beach. The goal for the event is to encourage kids (16 and under) and challenged athletes to strengthen their connection with surfing by competing and having a fun day at the beach with their friends and family.

Contestants will surf in one 15 minute heat (no advancing) and receive a goody bag full of free surf stuff. Lunch will be served to contestants and their families.


Check out the post from the La Jolla Light!










Send your inquiries to Tony Sanfilippo

For the most part, Oprah Winfrey’s list of favorite things is ever-changing. But if there’s one thing that stays constant, it’s the media mogul’s penchant for seriously enviable real estate.

The talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist has reportedly owned homes across country, from a mansion in Montecito and an estate in Florida to a farmhouse in Maui. Her latest get is another island home—but don’t expect to see palm trees and warm white-sand beaches here. Instead, Oprah’s opted to cozy up in the quiet, lush, and impossibly picturesque San Juan Islands.

Read the full article here.

he Rancho Santa Fe Association board reached an important milestone for its Rancho Santa Fe Connect project at a special board meeting held July 30, selecting a contractor to build its fiber-optic network and planning to break ground in August.

At the meeting, the board also finalized the budget and financing, approving a $15 million contract with contractor HP Communications, bringing the total cost of the project to $19 million. The cost is $5 million more than the preliminary estimate of $14 million that was voted on in last year’s advisory vote.

The Association will pay for the construction and own the fiber-optic backbone while individual homeowners will be responsible for connecting their homes to the network. The internet service provider, Race Communications, will own and operate the electronics in the central office located on the RSF Golf Club property, install modems and provide service for customers.

Read the full article here.

After years of planning, false starts and community debate, the Solana Beach City Council approved a mixed-use development at Highway 101 and Dahlia Drive, on the site of a former mobile home park that neighbors described as an “eyesore.”

The action to approve the Solana 101 project came on a unanimous vote of the council following more than three hours of discussion and testimony at a meeting on Tuesday, July 10.

More than two dozen Solana Beach residents filled out speaker slips to address the council, and all of the speakers were in favor of the project to be built by Zephyr Partners. The 1.95-acre parcel is the last large open lot along the city’s coastal corridor. In 2013, the city spent some $7 million on renovating the Highway 101 corridor, in part to stimulate private development in the area.

Read the full article here.

April 17, 2017

Dear Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe and Solana Beach Residents/Business Owners,

We would like to invite you to a community event to talk about the land overlooking North Beach in Del Mar at the corner of Camino Del Mar/Highway 101 and Border anytime from 10 AM- 2 PM on Sat., May 6, or Sat., May 13.

This site has been closed off to the public for over 100 years. As longtime North County coastal residents, we, like you, have walked and driven by this site many times and wondered what was beyond the gates and if we’d ever be able to enjoy it.

When we first learned of it, there was a proposal on the table to build five gated, private estates. We thought it was a shame to keep the land closed off to the public for another 100 years and would like the opportunity to create something that everyone can access and enjoy.

Over the course of the last year, we have been working with the land owners to assemble the site. While a resort that fits into the landscape of Del Mar is the centerpiece of the project, our goal is to create something that Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe and Solana Beach residents will think of as their own seaside gathering spot – a cornerstone of the community where we can come to celebrate special events, entertain and enjoy, with no barriers, for the first time.

As we begin this process, we want your input on the project’s design and are here to collaborate with you on ideas. We feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to the community as stewards of this project and are grateful for the opportunity to bring a shared vision on such a truly, one-of-a-kind location to life.

Both of us, along with key team members and staff, will be available during the event to hear your ideas, and talk about the community impacts and public amenities we are considering – including walking trails, a park, improved access to North Beach and public parking. Exhibits showcasing different architectural styles that might fit into our community will be on display for your feedback.
Onsite parking will be provided for the event; handicapped access is not available but parking is close by. Please wear appropriate footwear and pull into the gates to be directed by our parking monitors. We look forward to meeting you!

Robert Green, President & CEO Brad Termini, CEO
The Robert Green Company Zephyr

P.S. The exact address for the site is 929 Border Avenue;

Does STAGING your home make it more sellable?

By: Catherine Barry

You bet it does – walking into a dark cluttered home with aroma of last night’s dinner is not that appealing to most potential buyers.  Rather a neutral citrus or Cinnamon scent will make your buyers want to stay.  Here are some helpful tips:

1.  Light is very important:  If your house is dark, dark walls, dark furniture, overgrown vegetation,  then you may need to think about painting your home a new neutral light color, also you may want to think about removing any big dark heavy furniture, especially dark draperies.

2.  Furniture placement – don’t walk into the furniture, place your heavy furniture to the side or place it in another room or in the garage and place two side chairs on either side of the fireplace – this will neutralize the weight and balance your scene.

3.  Try to erase the old Tuscan look and focus on neutral colors and eliminate a lot of furniture as “less is more”.

4.  If you have already reduced your asking price, and still no showings, then you may wish to consider “staging” for sure.

5.  Neutral colors will have the biggest impact to make homes more inviting and feel more spacious.  Neutral colors like beige, off white, light gray, etc., will make your home become more desirable.

6.  Once the rooms are arranged to capture the most light possible and a neutral color is chosen for painting, and the aroma of citrus or Cinnamon is present, then you need to look at the most popular style today and try to incorporate these ideas into each room too.

7.  Adding house plants brings in color as well a good source of Oxygen. Setting the dining room table for 4 or 6 with glamourous dishes, helps showoff your home.   Also music will keep people lingering longer.

8.  The outside is just as important as the inside and lawns should be trimmed and alive with green grass, colorful plants and freshly painted trim, front doors, and mail box, if needed.

This is just a start – Tips from the Top Agents.