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North County’s Ecke Ranch Has An Option To Sell

The Ecke Ranch in Encinitas is famous for making poinsettia flowers synonymous with Christmas. The historic property may soon be sold to a non-profit foundation.

Almost a century ago, the Eckes began growing poinsettias in Southern California. In the 1920s they moved to Encinitas where they grew flowers in acres of greenhouses. Their flower fields have since moved to Guatemala, and much of the land was sold for development.

But seven years ago the public blocked a plan to build houses on the remaining 70 acres.

Paul Ecke III said he only needs about ten acres to house the research and development facilities. He has now found a buyer for the ranch – the Liechtag Foundation. The Foundation is promising to preserve the historic Ecke Ranch house and use some of the land to expand the San Diego Botanic Gardens on Quail Gardens Drive

"For me this opportunity was a once in a life time deal," Ecke said. "Here‘s someone with money, they are committed to preserving it, and committed to the Botanic Garden. It is going to be ten times better with a better entrance and ocean view. I just didn’t need it for my business any more so we had to do something different. To me this is a perfect solution."

The Leichtag Foundation was founded in the 1990s from the proceeds of the sale of a pharmaceutical company. It is headquartered in Carlsbad. Among its strategic goals are giving people the tools they need to break the cycle of poverty, and promoting a vibrant Jewish life in San Diego's North County Coastal region.

The foundation is exploring what else it can do with the land to benefit the community before making the purchase final next year.

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