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Sargent Ranch up for auction

An aerial view of Sargent Ranch's borders, just south of Gilroy.

Sargent Ranch, on 6,500 acres of pristine and undeveloped land just west of San Benito County, is up for public auction this month. 
Located on the west side of U.S. 101 between the Castro Valley Ranch and the San Benito and Santa Cruz county lines, Sargent Ranch has been ensnared in litigation since the former primary owner – La Jolla developer Wayne Pierce – filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2010. At the time, Sargent Ranch, LLC owed more than $90 million on the property.
Pierce previously made a backdoor attempt to build a luxury gaming resort and sand quarry on the property. The news was met with heated contention from the Amah Mutsun Indians, a band of Ohlone/Costanoan Native Americans who revere Sargent Ranch as a hallowed domain of heritage, history and territorial identity.
The sale is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 21 at the Superior Court steps in downtown San Jose, according to a notice of trustee’s sale filed with the Santa Clara County Clerk.
If the property is to foreclose, which will likely happen because of significant debt on the deed, Debt Acquisition Company of America is hoping to obtain the land, according to Howard Justus, managing director for the company. 
Debt Acquisitions’ plans for the company are unclear at this time, but Justus confirmed that no casino plans are in the works. 
“The new ownership group will decide how they will proceed, but I have not heard anybody discussing any plans anything remotely close to what Wayne Pierce had in mind,” Justus said. 
The company has yet to study what their “highest and best” use of the land would be, he said.