Santa Cruz mountain estate sold for $6 million to billionaires

KSBW ABC News, California/August 12, 2016

By Phil Gomez

Santa Cruz, California —After a decade on the real estate market, Holy City, located in the Santa Cruz mountains near Los Gatos, was purchased for the bargain price of $6 million.

Holy City's new owners are Robert Duggan and Trisha Duggan.

Forbes estimates their worth at $3.2 billion, and they are the Church of Scientology's biggest donors.

Neighbors are wondering what is going to happen to the 142 acres off Old Santa Cruz Highway.

Holy City was founded by William E. Riker in 1919, and over the years, he drew 300 disciples.

Since then, has become a ghost town.

KSBW interviewed Tom Stanton 10 years ago when Holy City was put on the market for $11 million.

Stanton, a longtime resident who recently died, ran a glass blowing business out of Holy City's old post office.

"It was a wacky religious town," he told KSBW at the time.

Neighbors got a hint that something was in the air and someone may have bought Holy City.

"We saw some private helicopters flying in the area. So that was sign number one," said Mateo Uriarte, who lives in Lower Redwood Estates and has a view of Holy City from his backyard.

Folks in this mountain community are curious about what Robert and Trisha Duggan are going to build on the land.

Despite the town's name, a church was never built in Holy City.

The only thing there that looks holy is a cathedral of towering redwood trees growing in a circle.

The grove forms a natural shrine where people have placed statues of the Virgin Mary and Hindu gods, as well as memorials for local residents who passed away.

Neighbors hope if the land is developed the Redwood Cathedral will remain untouched.

"A lot of people go down there and will meditate. We try and upkeep the place. So, we're really concerned that they're going to do away with that," said Uriarte.

For now, neighbors can only guess as to what the Duggans have in mind for Holy City and hope the new owners will reach out and let the community in on their plans.

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