March 27, 2011

Foreigner with Huge Suitcase of Cash is Real

One of the recurring arguments for Real Bay Area (RBA) prices to never go down is that even if the local economy is in the tank, prices will be pushed back up by foreigners with suitcases full of cash.  Yeah, the idea has become a bit of a joke meme on Burbed, but looks like it has a kernel of truth.

Thanks to Burbed readers nomadic and Perfect Angel for sending this one in.

Mystery surrounds buyer of hilltop mansion in Los Altos Hills

By Pete Carey, San Jose Mercury News

Posted: 03/24/2011 03:30:25 PM PDT, Updated: 03/25/2011 11:30:02 AM PDT

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Satellite view of the home on La Paloma Road in Los Altos Hills.

Someone paid $75 million last month for a 25,500-square-foot mansion in Los Altos Hills — complete with its own carwash — the biggest price tag for a house in Santa Clara County history. The big mystery is who.

What is known is that the buyer is La Paloma Property, according to county records. That is a limited liability company registered in Delaware, where business laws protect the identities of the principals in companies and partnerships.

The blog TechCrunch quoted “multiple sources” saying the buyer was Yuri Milner, the Russian venture investor who founded the investment fund Digital Sky Technologies, now known as DST Global.

Milner, a former particle physics graduate student, has made a splash in Silicon Valley with large investments in Facebook, Zynga and Groupon. And he’s been shopping for a home in Silicon Valley, real estate agents said.

Wow, who knew the Merc was still such a digital dinosaur?  I mean, seriously, how difficult would it have been for them to link to the TechCrunch article?  Yeah, it’s a little thin, but it’s got an angled overview of the house and it also says Milner isn’t planning on living there much anyway.

TechCrunch and the Merc didn’t print the address, but we will, because this is a housing blog.  This metastasized monstrosity is at 13310 La Paloma Road, Los Altos Hills.  Redfin only details the 1997 sale for $5.3 million, which was before the house in question was built.  The 2009 property tax bill lists the site valued at around $4M for land and $21M for additions, with a total bill of $200,644.

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The house and 11 acre parcel belonged to Fred Chan, founder of Fremont-based ESS Technology, and was held under Evershine III.  The 5-bedroom, 9 bath house, when construction began in 2003, was going to be the largest private home in the county.  Assessor info says the house was built/renovated in 2009, which means planning and construction took six years from start to finish. Again, the Mercury news says they covered the home groundbreaking, but couldn’t be bothered to link to its old article (no doubt only available as a for-sale-from-our-archive item).  Looks like Chan found a place he liked better: the largest waterfront property in Oahu.

imageWhile some sources claimed the purchaser was not Yuri Milner, the Merc has followed up on its on story and said Milner is definitely the February 3rd buyer of the property.  Milner’s spokesman Leonid Solovyev did deny that pre-IPO shares of Facebook, or any other stocks were used to pay for the home that Milner doesn’t plan to live in much.

Looks like we’re back to the really big suitcase full of cash.

But if Milner doesn’t plan on living there much, maybe he could rent the place out when he’s elsewhere.  Zillow’s rent Zestimate is $4301 a month, which seems a touch low.  I’m sure he could get the upper end of the range, which is $2200-8600 a month.

Comments (64) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:28 am