At the Golden Door, a Japanese-style resort near San Marcos, koi circle a pond slowly and green grass welcomes the wind.
Thirty miles away, at the law offices of Latham & Watkins, the Golden Door’s legal team is less tranquil. They have fired off hundreds of pages of letters and lawsuits aimed at thwarting the plans of the resort’s nearest neighbor, Newland Communities.
Newland wants to build a 2,100-unit housing development, called Newland Sierra, across the street and up a hill from the Golden Door. That project, the Golden Door says, is an existential threat to the resort.
For 50 years, the Golden Door has catered to the world’s rich or famous – Oprah, Elizabeth Taylor and Joanne Conway, who went to the resort many times before she bought it in 2012 for $25 million. Conway is the wife of a billionaire co-founder of the Carlyle Group.