Is Bay of Dreams Still a Dream?


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By Carol Dyer
The thing about dreams is that eventually we have to wake up.   When they are pleasant, we are sorry to let them go.  When they are nightmares, we are relieved.   There are many expressions related to dreams:  a pipe dream, a dream come true, your worst nightmare, day dreamer, dream on, living the dream, etc.
Take Ensenada De Los Muertos.   When Steve Games, co-founder of Prudential California Realty, first sailed into this beautiful bay to seek refuge from heavy seas, he thought, “Wow!  This is where I want to be.”   He began buying up property, bringing in investors, and eventually built Gran Sueño, a 25 acre estate complete with 9 hole golf course, equestrian center, tennis courts, several casitas, a restaurant with multiple tracks of model trains, and miles of beautiful white sandy beach.  Steve and his family lived the dream for a number of years here at “The Bay” as it is commonly referred to by owners and staff.  To the locals, the fishermen, and the cruisers, it will always be known as Muertos.  But, if you want to entice wealthy gringos to build custom, luxury homes on the site, Bay of the Dead doesn’t quite project the proper image.  Thus, the development is officially known as The Bay of Dreams.
Except for Gran Sueño and the properties sold or traded out, the development is now owned by PCS Development of Los Angeles.   With a successful record of accomplishments in property development,  Joe Fryzer and Paul Jennings, owners of PCS Development, saw an opportunity to be on the cutting edge of this luxury development on the Sea of Cortez.  That was in 2005.  Over the course of the next 7 years, $73 million was spent on the infrastructure, and PCS eventually acquired the entire project.   Some of that investment went to building an 18 hole golf course designed by acclaimed architect Tom Doak.   Doak’s approach to golf course design is to work within the natural features of the land, not obliterate them to accommodate a fairway or hole.  With the golf course comes the need for water.  PCS Development is serious about being stewards of the land.  Among other things that means minimizing the use of ground water vital to the community at large.  Although there is a 9 million gallon reservoir, the major source of fresh water comes from a functioning water treatment plant.
For the principals involved, the dream to develop this pristine 4,000+ acre site is fading.  The housing market downturn and the U.S. and world economic crises brought the project to a virtual standstill approximately 2 ½ years ago.  At its height, the Bay employed in excess of 130 workers, most of whom worked to clear vegetation, road construction, golf course construction, and maintenance.  Now there are fewer than 60 employees.  These workers provide security, maintain the golf greens and tees (the fairways were allowed to dry out), maintain equipment, operate the restaurant, maintain roads, and provide administrative services such as accounting, human resources, and IT.
The project is for sale and has been for some time.  Land Advisors Resort Solutions is handling the offering.  It includes approximately 4,000 acres; all infrastructure, including off site pipeline, 9 million gallon reservoir, a fully permitted and operating desalination plant with wells to support 75,000 gpd production; all construction/maintenance equipment and vehicle fleet; fully equipped and furnished 3,000 sq. ft. restaurant; the golf course; onsite office and housing trailers; and more.  Complete details may be found at www.landadvisors.com.  If all the t’s are crossed and the i’s dotted, it is possible the Bay, including the Gran Sueño 25 acre resort, will come under new ownership by the end of the year.  When that happens the Bay will no doubt realize a resurgence and begin a new era of development.
The Bay is well worth a visit even if it is just for the view.  Drive south from La Paz on highway 286 towards the small town of Los Planes.  Follow the road until it ends at the water’s edge, about 45 miles from La Paz.   Mosey on into the restaurant and have a taco and maybe a margarita.  Sit back and take in the pristine white sandy beach as you watch the pelicans drive for fish or squabble over the fishermen’s discards.  Afterwards, leave the restaurant to the left and walk along what is called the “Spanish Dock”.  There are remnants of buildings and stone steps leading to the bay.  It is thought these were built during the Spanish settlement in 1535 (the name of the restaurant).  Most likely the docks were built for loading minerals from the mines at El Triunfo and San Antonio.
At its height, The Bay of Dream lots were offered from a range of $300,000 to $7,000,000.  One such lot sold for $1,820,000 in 2007.  That last lot sold was in 2009.  Now you can purchase a lot on which to build your own dream home for as little as $200,000.  If you buy, remember me.  I get a referral fee.
Carol Dyer is the owner of Casa Tuscany Inn and a regular contributor to the Baja Citizen. Carol is grateful to Paul Jennings and PCS Development for the opportunity to work for them.  It is what brought Carol to La Paz in the first place.
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