PALO ALTO — Four houses surrounding Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s home in Palo Alto will be demolished and replaced by smaller ones, according to an application filed with city planners Tuesday.
Zuckerberg bought the homes in the Crescent Park neighborhood in 2013 after he learned of a developer’s plan to build a house next door tall enough to have a view of Zuckerberg’s master bedroom.
Concerned about privacy, Zuckerberg paid more than $30 million total for the properties.
One of those sales led real estate developer Mircea Voskerician to sue the Facebook co-founder in 2014, alleging a breach in the terms of their property deal. Voskerician settled the fraud lawsuit in March without getting any money from the settlement.
Voskerician claimed in the lawsuit that he sold to Zuckerberg at a discounted price the right to buy the adjacent property in exchange for an introduction to Silicon Valley movers and shakers who might want to buy homes, but Voskerician claimed Zuckerberg did not keep his end of the deal.
A request submitted Tuesday to the city’s Planning and Community Environment Department seeks the demolition of two single-story houses and two two-story houses.
The houses would be replaced by three single-story houses and one two-story house.
A letter from property managers Kimberley Darlington and Alistair Shearer dated May 16 was distributed to neighbors informing them of the application.
“The plans will reduce overall square footage relative to the existing homes and aim to ensure the new structures and surrounding gardens blend seamlessly with the neighborhood,” the letter said.
The new homes will take up about 20 percent less space than the existing footprint, according to the application.
The application does not include a request for a lot merger or a lot line adjustment.
The new structures seek to maintain the character of the neighborhood and trees will be preserved, the application says.
The homes will be demolished and replaced concurrently to minimize the length of construction time and impact on the neighborhood.
It’s unclear whether Zuckerberg will use the new homes, rent them or sell them.
A project spokesman, Miles Radcliffe-Trenner of Sard Verbinnen & Co,, referred questions about any plans to public documents that state the parcels will have single-family homes and declined to elaborate.
Crescent Park resident Norm Beamer said the neighborhood is “curious, but also concerned” about what Zuckerberg has planned for the parcels around his house.
“Is he just developing it or is he creating some sort of compound which will have a constant turnover of visitors and employees?” Beamer said. “It’s a question of whether it’s a normal residential development or some unusual use that might create traffic and security issues and so forth.”
Beamer, president of the Crescent Park Neighborhood Association, said his comments are not representative of the association and are derived from conversations with a sampling of residents.
Neither Beamer nor the association has taken a stance on supporting or opposing the application.
A public hearing will be required for the application. The application was submitted to the city by Walker Warner Architects, Inc., on behalf of RBLKT LLC, SFRP LLC, RFBPO LLC and JPAWW LLC, entities associated with the properties.
Source: The San Jose Mercury News