April 30, 2011

Another High Asking Price Where it’s Special

Remember the $75 million Los Altos Hills property that Yuri Milner bought?  It turned out that he actually paid $100 million, making it one of the most expensive private residential sales in the United States.  We’re #1!  We’re #1!

This one isn’t #2, but it’s still a pretty healthy chunk of change.

Silicon Valley Estate Hits Market for $59.5 Million

The Wall Street Journal, Private Properties, April 29th 2011

imageA 12-acre Silicon Valley property that belonged to a great-grandniece of Levi Strauss is asking $59.5 million.

The sellers of the Atherton, Calif., property, called Pine Brook, are the children of San Francisco philanthropist Madeleine Haas Russell, who died in 1999. The family has owned it for a century and used it as a summer retreat. There’s a main, English Tudor-style house of more than 11,000 square feet. There’s also a 6,500-square-foot guest house, a swimming pool, pool house, tennis court and gardens.

The family members say in a statement that they always intended to eventually sell the land. Listing agent Mary Gullixson of Alain Pinel Realtors says the estate is an unusually large offering.

Can’t find it on Zillow or Redfin, but a search for “Pine Brook Atherton” yields the address 237 Atherton Avenue, owned by Pine Brook LLC.  And that property is a 5 bedroom, 2 bath, 2050 square footer, with another 2280 unfinished.  And it’s sitting on… 414,600 square feet?  That’s nine and a half acres.  In Atherton.  So how did they get 12 acres, do they own some of the other parcels too?


Here it is from the back, best view there is.


But the WSJ piece says that the property has an 11,000 sf English Tudor main house and a 6,500 sf guest house.  Wonder who at the assessor’s office missed all that?  They sure fooled Zillow; the Zestimate on this place is $1,913,500, and you should be able to rent it for just $7828 a month.  And if you want a comp, here’s ten acres in Atherton with a much larger house that was offered for $22.5 and scooped up for only $18 million.

In 2007.

Obviously this listing is so hush hush that the agent won’t even feature it on her website.

Comments (35) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

35 Responses to “Another High Asking Price Where it’s Special”

  1. SEA Says:

    And with all that RBA housing price appreciation, in 20 years this place will be worth a quarter billion or more. You know, Milner will probably be looking for a new place, or something.

  2. waiting_for_the_fall Says:

    If you carve that land into 14 lots and sell each lot for 1 to 2 million, it’s worth 28 million at most.
    There’s no way it will sell for $59 million.

  3. steve Says:

    it looks like the first two lots along Monte Vista moving E-SE from Atherton Ave also belong to the estate. if you zoom in on the sat view, you’ll see that what appers to be the guest house spans all 3 parcels.

    there are a good number of other structures on the property (greenhouses, garden sheds) but is that a multi-story pool house just in front of the farm?

  4. steve Says:

    not that many arms length transactions nearby, but to give you an idea of the prices in the hood:

    52 Monte Vista (1 acre) $7.75M (2007)
    60 Monte Vista (1 acre) $11.5M (2009)
    51 Monte Vista (1 acre) $6.5M (2006)

    50 Stern (1 acre) $4.3 (2010)
    70 Stern (1 acre) $4.3 (2006)

    5 Faxon (1 acre) $15.9M (2007)
    11 Faxon (1 acre) $15M (2008)

    251 Atherton (2.9 acres) $12M (2008)

    btw, check the bird’s eye pics on 73 Monte Vista. not sure why redfin thinks it sold as property shark doesn’t have the record. perhaps that is when Monte Vista Mgmt Co was created

  5. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    Staff’s gonna cost you a fortune. It’s 2X the size of this place and nice, not like our dump. Staff, staff, staff, you’re gonna need staff.

  6. BogusEstater Says:

    Burbed is known for finding out pink crapboxes. This week is quite a departure from that style.

    Ray and Frenchy in Small Time Crooks turned to Manhattan upper class couple.

  7. Real Estater Says:

    With rents climbing and the economic recovery taking hold, I truly believe now is the time to go all in (if you haven’t done so already), both in terms of buying real estate and investing in the stock market. Mark this post. This will be another one of those predictions RE makes that will be proven to be true. Trulia is already issuing a buy signal for San Jose area: http://www.mercurynews.com/real-estate-news/ci_17950061?nclick_check=1

  8. Real Estater Says:

    This article is a must read for Bob:

    Don’t be frugal. Make more money instead!

  9. Real Estater Says:

    Reader’s comment:

    I completely agree with the article, and have lived my life for the last 40 years according to this philosophy. I am now retired, and the side businesses that augmented my salary as an aerospace engineer now completely support me so that I do not have to touch my retirement savings. My philosophy was that you can cut expenses only so much, but there is no limit to how much extra money you can make, and live better in the meantime. I have been to Europe over 40 times, Asia about 10 times and I continue to travel. Most posts I see here make me think we have become a nation of slackers rather than the entrepreneurs we once were.

  10. BogusEstater Says:

    This will be another one of those predictions RE makes that will be proven to be true.

    Thanks for the laugh, Real Estater! As our famous expert once said: Let’s look at the facts, not the predictions..

  11. Ghost of 2010 Bogus Estater Says:

    I am the best predicting ghost. This is what I said in 2010, before I died in 2010.

    I have credible source telling me that by the second half of this year we’ll see a strong economic rebound well beyond the 5.7% growth in GDP seen in Q4, putting us closer to China style growth.

    If you feel like laughing, better remember the record here whenever RE makes a strong statement.

  12. Ghost of 2008 Bogus Estater Says:

    I am the bestest predicting ghost. Nobody can beat me in prediction. This is what I said in 2008, before my death.

    The quotes only goes to show I’ve been right all along. There is indeed no recession. Economy grew at a respectable 3.3%, thanks in part to the stimulus checks. Gas prices has settled down now, and the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac problem just got solved today. Interest rate just came down to boot. We’re all clear for take-off, and the market did just that today.

    Can anyone beat that?

  13. Tea Says:

    From the Mercury news today:

    “Wong finally had the church dismantled. “We moved the pews and organ into storage. It was the first time I’ve ever had to have a church evicted and I felt bad. After all, I’m a human being before I’m a Realtor.”


  14. waiting_for_the_fall Says:

    How many people think that now is the time to buy real estate and stocks?

    Thumbs up if you think you should buy real estate and stocks because you “truly believe now is the time to go all in (if you haven’t done so already), both in terms of buying real estate and investing in the stock market.”

    Thumbs down if you think there are 5 or more years left before the housing bubble has completely deflated and the stock market is headed down or will be stagnant for years to come.

  15. Real Estater Says:


    Are you kidding yourself? Have you seen the home sales numbers in SV lately? Have you checked the DOW?

  16. waiting_for_the_fall Says:

    RE, let’s see how much you believe in what you say.

    How many homes have you purchased in the last 2 years? After all, you said (or your ghost said) that real estate bottomed back in 2008.

  17. Bogus Estater Says:

    How many people think that now is the time to buy real estate and stocks?

    Before predicting anything else, I think Real Estater should predict how many people here will listen to a perpetual optimist. I bet it is going to be zero, unless of course we count SV Shopper and Banker East.

  18. Bogus Estater Says:

    Have you seen the home sales numbers in SV lately?

    Useless aggregate data. 🙂

  19. Petsmart groomer Says:

    Tea, if there is one thing to remember from the Mercury News article, this is it:

    Still, with all the insanity out there, Realtors will tell you what Realtors will always tell you:

    It’s the perfect time to buy.
    “You have incredibly low interest rates and home prices at historically low levels. So, yes, it’s a crazy time, but crazy times are great times to buy real estate.”

  20. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    “Don’t be frugal, just make more money” is the classic trap of these times. I have a friend who’s just barely hanging on at $10k a month income, I *can* get by on $100 a month income, I’m relaxed, eat gourmet food, and have savings. I tried the “don’t be frugal just make more money” and I’m willing to bet most of the denizens of the space under your local bridge have too. The thing is, your operating expenses go up exponentially as your income goes up linearly.

  21. Real Estater Says:

    waiting_for_the_fall Says:
    >>RE, let’s see how much you believe in what you say.
    How many homes have you purchased in the last 2 years?

    You really haven’t been paying attention, have you? I’ve purchased 2 homes in the past year. Both have been rented.

  22. SEA Says:

    OMG! Move over Facebook!

  23. Bogus Estater Says:

    I’ve purchased 2 homes in the past year.


  24. waiting_for_the_fall Says:

    “You really haven’t been paying attention, have you?”
    Can you believe this guy? He expects me to have read every one of his posts, hanging on his every word like it’s some kind of real estate gospel. How arrogant can someone get?

    “I’ve purchased 2 homes in the past year.”
    That explains alot. Now I understand why you are so afraid.

  25. madhaus Says:

    #24, if you had read every one of those posts, you wouldn’t need to ask how arrogant #21 can be, now, would you? But don’t worry, #23 can answer that for you.

  26. Real Estater Says:

    waiting_for_the_fall Says,

    There’s a big difference between having read every post vs. having a pulse. You asked something that even the ADD guys here caught on to. This explains why you’re always waiting – because you are so clueless as to what’s going on.

  27. Real Estater Says:


    Let’s revisit some of the truly laughable events of this forum.

    RE started out here making general commentaries about real estate. One day, Madhaus bullied RE to reveal his zip code. From that point on, a few things happened:

    – RE has been called “arrogant”, even though all he did was to answer madhaus’ question.

    – Skeptics accused RE of lying about his zip, and made up all kinds of crazy theories, including a claim that RE lives in a trailer park in the midwest

    – Now days, rentards have come full circle. Pralay insists RE lives on the “wrong side of Middlefield”, then on “Lincoln Street”. Madhaus claims RE lives in the “Community Center”. Other streets have been mentioned as well.

    – RE announced an intent to acquire investment properties. From that point on, rentards questioned RE on almost daily basis when he will acquire these properties.

    – RE was sincerely looking, but got outbid several times. Pralay made fun of RE and other folks who were outbid

    – Finally RE made the announcement that he acquired 2 investment properties last year. Now the chant of “bogus estater” surfaces.

    – Today, we heard the statement “Now I understand why you are so afraid.”.

  28. Real Estater Says:

    Seriously, things would be a lot easier if you guys just pay attention to what I tell you. There is no need to guess, because RE is all about credibility. I would not tell you I owned something if I didn’t. I would not tell you I live somewhere if I live elsewhere. Sometimes it takes a year, but people here eventually come around to accept the facts.

    Pralay’s only game in town is to try and attack RE’s credibility. He’s been losing for 3 years and counting.

  29. SEA Says:

    Such a poor, tortured, ununderstood soul.

  30. madhaus Says:

    #27, just for you.

  31. Bogus Estater Says:

    There is no need to guess, because RE is all about credibility.

    That’s the Hall Of Phony Claim of the year.

    Where are SV Shopper and Banker East to award the medal?

  32. waiting_for_the_fall Says:

    Looks like I really hit a nerve when I mentioned RE was afraid. The fear is turning to anger now; it’s evident in posts 26, 27 and 28.

    It’s laughable how easily RE can be manipulated. Dance, RE, dance! bwahaha!

  33. Real Estater Says:

    Right. If RE didn’t buy, waiting_for_the_fall would be all over him for not eating his own dog food. If RE did buy, then he is very afraid.

  34. madhaus Says:

    Sold for $53 million per WSJ. Buyer unknown and hiding behind an LLC.

    Way more expensive than mere $20 million property mentioned by Forbes.

  35. SEA Says:

    It might be the most expensive in Atherton, but it’s definitely not part of the RBA:

    “A 12-acre Silicon Valley estate that was owned by a great-grandniece of denim entrepreneur Levi Strauss has sold for $53 million, 11% off its $59.5 million asking price when it hit the market in April. The sales price makes it the most expensive property sold in Atherton, Calif., this year.”

    No right and proper RBA property sells for under asking price, no matter if it is the most expensive property sold.

    At $6M under asking, where will the kids go to school?

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