Here’s a real estate listing you don’t hear about every day, as reported in the Orange County Register: 

So what’s the best use of 33 acres of largely undeveloped land in the Orange County foothills in a community filled with housing construction?

The marketplace is about to tell us what land buyers are thinking as St. Michael’s Abbey in unincorporated Trabuco Canyon officially hits the market.

The Norbertine Fathers of Orange, owners of the religious campus and historic property, built the monastery and educational site over six decades. The monastery is moving after acquiring a 55-acre property in Silverado Canyon to the north. So, the original abbey is up for sale with an $18.5 million asking price…

…One wrinkle for any developer is that the fathers want a relatively quick sale to coincide with their move to their new home in 2021. So, the abbey is being sold on an “as is” basis.

This means any buyer looking to significantly redevelop the property will have to take on the “entitlement” risk, which means rezoning in a part of Orange County known for a lengthy, tricky possess to get new construction plans approved.

Note that the abbey’s next-door neighbor is a 222-acre property known as Saddleback Meadows. In 1979, it was approved for a 700-unit mobile home park. After a quarter-century of inaction, another owner won a hard-fought legal battle to build 266 single-family homes on the land.

Construction has yet to begin.

“There are a lot of different directions this deal could go,” said Justin Esayian of The Hoffman Co., who is brokering the property.

Serious buyer interest has been expressed by parties looking at the site for various possibilities. Of course, each potential buyer will have to weigh the dollars — and the sense — of this unique property.

Read on to see what some potential uses for the property might be.

Meanwhile, interested in seeing what the new place will look like? A rendering is below, but a video on the abbey website shows much more.  Check this out.