Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is planning to nearly quadruple the size of his $12 million California beachfront mansion.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and the nominal front-runner for the GOP’s 2012 presidential nomination, is planning to bulldoze his 3,009-square-foot home facing the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, Calif., and replace it with an 11,062-square-foot home, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The Union-Tribune reported late Saturday that Romney has filed an application with the city for a coastal development permit, but that no date has been set to consider the project.
A Romney campaign official confirmed the report, saying the Romneys want to “enlarge their two-bedroom home because with five married sons and 16 grandchildren it is inadequate for their needs. Construction will not begin until the permits have been obtained and the campaign is finished.”
In 2008, Republican presidential nominee John McCain was criticized and mocked when he said he was unsure how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, owned. The answer was eight.
Since then, perhaps sensing that the issue could be a liability for him, too, Romney began consolidating his real estate portfolio. Romney and his wife, Ann, sold for $3.5 million the 6,500-square-foot colonial home in Belmont, Mass., where they raised their sons. They also sold a 9,500-square-foot home at the Deer Valley ski resort near Park City, Utah, for close to its $5.25 million asking price, according to a 2010 Associated Press report.
The couple still maintain a vacation home along Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, as well as a townhouse outside Boston that they consider their primary residence.
Romney, who made part of his fortune as co-founder of Bain Capital, a private equity firm, and his wife have personal financial assets worth as much as $264 million, according to disclosure documents filed with the Federal Election Commission this month.
Romney’s campaign said “a more accurate range” of his estimated wealth is between $190 million and $250 million.
The Romneys have spent considerable time at their home in La Jolla, a wealthy beach enclave in San Diego. Two of their sons, Matt and Craig, as well as several grandchildren live in the area. And Ann Romney, who has multiple sclerosis, has access to horse-riding in California. She believes that riding and the warmer weather have a therapeutic effect.
The Romneys purchased the single-story residence at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac three years ago, according to the Union-Tribune. The Spanish-style home, facing a white sand beach, has three bedrooms and 41 / 2 bathrooms and was constructed in 1936. The newspaper reported that the home was once owned by former San Diego mayor Maureen O’Connor and her husband, Bob Peterson, founder of Jack in the Box, a fast-food chain.
At a book-signing in California last year, Romney told reporters that he bought the home because “I wanted to be where I could hear the waves. As a boy, we spent summers on Lake Huron and I could hear the crashing waves at night. It was one of my favorite things in the world. Being near the water and the waves was something I very badly wanted to experience again.”