Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg filed an application with the city planners this week asking permission to raze and replace with smaller buildings the four neighboring houses around his Palo Alto mansion.
The Facebook founder bought the homes in 2013 after hearing rumors that someone planned to build a house tall enough to provide a view into his bedroom just next door. Zuckerberg forked out over $30 million for the four homes.
He even had legal troubles with his former real estate developer who sued him for not respecting the deal the two men had. According to the lawsuit, the developer sold the homes at a lower price asking for Zuckerberg in exchange to open him the doors to Silicon Valley clients for his other homes. Apparently, the billionaire totally forgot about his end of the deal. The lawsuit ended with a settlement but no compensation was given to the plaintiff.
Now, Zuckerberg wants to demolish the houses and replace them with smaller ones. Neighbors learned about the change from a letter submitted by property managers last Monday. According to the letter, the new constructions, which will need 20 percent less space then the older homes, would “blend seamlessly with the neighborhood.”
Zuckerberg hasn’t filed an application for a lot merger, sources familiar with the issue said. Plus, trees and surrounding vegetation won’t be altered in the process. Reportedly, the estates will be demolished and replaced at the same time to reduce the time required for the work and neighbors’ inconvenience.
There’s no word about the new homes’ purpose. Their owner might as well rent them, sell them, or leave them vacant. One of the neighbors said that the neighborhood was both curious and concerned about the new project.
Crescent Park residents are concerned that the tech entrepreneur may turn the surroundings in a compound teeming with workers and visitors. If that is the case, neighbors are worried that the increased traffic may generate security issues in the area.
The Crescent Park Neighborhood Association declined to issue an official statement on the issue. The group said that the individual comments of its members do not represent the association’s point of view. The group so far neither supports nor criticizes the project.
The building permit will be granted after a public hearing, the city’s Planning and Community Environment Department said.
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