Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is updating his privacy settings. In a move to prevent prying eyes from peeking into his $7 million Palo Alto residence, the billionaire has bought up four neighboring homes — at the cost of $30 million — just so that he can demolish them.
A city planning application filed on Tuesday has revealed he intends to bulldoze the homes he purchased in 2013. The million-dollar homes will be replaced with smaller, lower-profile abodes that might not be so irksome. According to the paperwork, the new homes will take up 20 percent less space than their current footprint, but give the Zuck 100 percent of his privacy.
Zuckerberg bought his Craftsman-style 5,000-square-foot home in the tony Crescent Park neighborhood in May 2011. Shortly after that, a canny developer announced that he was going to build a huge house right next door and market it to people who "liked" the idea of living in the Facebook billionaire's back yard. That’s when Zuckerberg snapped up all the adjacent properties, reportedly overpaying by around $10 million for one of them.
According to the planning department application, one of the new homes will have “white brick walls, dark steel doors and windows, and a dark gray standing seam metal roof.” Naturally, conspiracy theories abound. Is he building a secret bunker? Homes for his friends and family? Crash pads for employees? Space for his security detail?
One concerned neighbor told the Mercury News, "Is he just developing it or is he creating some sort of compound which will have a constant turnover of visitors and employees? 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."
No word on how long the construction will take, though the application did note that Zuckerberg plans to tear down all four homes at once, thereby minimizing the impact on those neighbors who remain. Lucky them: When the Zuck renovated his $10M Dolores Park home in San Francisco, his neighbors suffered through almost two years of construction, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Those, the paper reported, included “extensive kitchen and bathrooms remodels; an addition at the rear of the house; the conversion of a section of the roof into a deck; construction work on a media room, wet bar and wine cellar; and the building of a garage in the basement which would include a turntable pad that would enable ‘cars to get in and out more easily.’”