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?

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

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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






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