Thursday, March 20, 2014

Palo Alto Residential Buildout

Source: Karl Mondon / Bay Area News Group

Demolish to Rebuild on a Scrapped Vacant Lot
(Excerpt) "'For the past three years, 50 to 100 homes a year have been razed to make way for new houses in Palo Alto,' according to associate city planner Scott McKay... The city granted more than 80 demolition permits for single-family homes in 2013.

Location Location Location
'In many ways, the city is built out,' McKay said. But... some existing houses are ripe for replacement. The homes built in the '50s and '60s 'weren't built to last like the homes built with old-growth redwood at the turn of the century,' he said.

Even old, elegant homes fall short of expectations for many people. 'Living has really changed from the 1930s until now,' said Palo Alto architect John Northway. '...a lot of the rooms are pretty small and relatively dark, even in wonderful old Palo Alto houses. Now people want to have bathrooms for each bedroom. A lot of times both mother and father work at home and each have an office. The audiovisual stuff is in another family room. All this drives reasons to tear them down and rebuild them...'

A vintage mission-style house across the street from the home of the late Steve Jobs was torn down by a software executive who bought it in October 2012 for $9 million with plans to build a new house on it. Later, the executive changed his mind, and sold the property for $11.4 million. The lot comes with approved plans for a one-story, 6,000-square-foot home with a 5,570-square-foot basement for a total of 11,635 square feet."

NIMBY Strategy: Purchase the Adjacent Properties

(Excerpt) "[Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg] one of several prominent tech CEOs who own homes on Palo Alto's tree-lined streets. ...Zuckerberg and his physician wife Priscillia Chan paid top dollar -- more than $30 million in total -- for the four residential properties located next door and behind... [their] own home...

[The Zuckerbergs] ...paid different prices for each home, shelling out more than $14 million for one 2,600-square-foot dwelling. A local real estate agent called the amount 'absurdly high,' even for that pricey neighborhood. But James Yang, an agent with Sereno Group who focuses on Palo Alto and neighboring towns, said the price is less surprising 'if somebody wants to buy a property and the sellers don't want to sell.'

Reportedly, the recently married Zuckerberg couple began acquiring properties adjacent to their own home when they learned of a plan for one or more of the existing older houses next door. "The developer was going to build a huge house and market the property as being next door to Mark Zuckerberg."


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