Facebook Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg’s Quietly Expanding Real Estate Collection
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg purchased his first home in Palo Alto, Calif. in 2011 for $7 million.
Ironically, when it comes to the personal life of Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, you won’t find much online — especially when it comes to his real estate.
But the cofounder of the world’s largest social media site, worth $22.9 billion by FORBES’ Thursday count, has been on quite a home buying spree.
Most recently, Zuckerberg snapped up four Palo Alto, Calif. homes that neighbor his main 5,617-square foot residence, according to the San Jose Mercury News, spending just over $30 million in total.
Don’t expect to find his name on any of the property records, however. The four Silicon Valley homes, located next door to and behind his Edgewood Drive digs, were technically purchased by legal entities associated with Iconiq Capital, a San Francisco-based money manager said to represent Zuckerberg and other uber-wealthy techies. A direct link between the LLCs used to make the purchases and Zuckerberg cannot be made, as the on-record paperwork trail ends with Iconiq.
Still, it is quite common for rich and famous home buyers to use straw entities created by wealth managers and family offices to make purchases, a scenario typically employed to ensure anonymity (or some semblance of it, anyway) while limiting liability in the case of unforeseen financial or legal woes. When Zuckerberg purchased his first home in the Crescent Park neighborhood for $7 million in 2011, he used a third party LLC. And the local broker babble seems pretty confident that the Facebook chief is involved in these deals.
What we can confirm: the first deal closed last December, for the property directly behind Zuckerberg’s main residence; the other three deals closed last month. One of the properties, a 2,650-square foot home on a 0.4-acre postage stamp of land, closed for roughly $14.5 million, a lofty sum that breaks down to nearly $5,500 per square foot; the average price per square foot in Palo Alto is $1,000.
According to the Mercury News, Zuckerberg is back-leasing the homes to the sellers, meaning he’s becoming his neighbors’ landlord. Why? For privacy reasons. Zuck supposedly found out that a local developer was angling to buy and tear down the existing homes and build a spec mansion in their place.
Interestingly, Zuckerberg’s buy-and-hold strategy is not original either. Local brokers point out that other Palo Alto-based billionaires, among them Google chief Larry Page and late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, have amassed similar “compounds” to preserve their privacy, ensuring the left-as-is homes won’t be torn down and neighbors fully vetted.
Zuckerberg’s new “compound” revolves around a historic abode the billionaire purchased for $7 million in 2011. That residence has five bedrooms, five and a half baths, a banquet-size dining room, and glassed-in porch, according to its now-defunct listing page. The backyard boasts a saltwater pool, a spa, an outdoor gazebo with a wood-burning fireplace and a privacy wall comprised of citrus trees. Zuckerberg married Priscilla Chan, a doctor, here in a secretive ceremony in May of 2012, one day after Facebook’s IPO debuted on the Nasdaq stock exchange.
But Zuckerberg’s rumored real estate adventures don’t end there. The Facebook cofounder also allegedly purchased a San Francisco pied-a-terre near Dolores Park earlier this year, spending nearly $9.9 million, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The 5,542-square-foot home in question has had five construction permits taken out on it this year, for renovations that add up to$1.6 million worth of work. Among the proposed plans: an office, a media room, a greenhouse, a wine room and a wet bar.
Public records, of course, name a trust with no direct ties to Zuckerberg.
On the East Coast, rumors have also bubbled up among New York City-based luxury brokers that the Westchester, N.Y.-native may be the anonymous buyer behind the upper duplex penthouse atop glass megalith One57 in midtown Manhattan. That pending sale tops $90 million, a sum likely to set a new record for the city when it closes. The 10,923-square foot condo spans the 89th and 90th floors of the up-and-coming tower constructed by Extell Development.
To date, no sales data has been released regarding the unit in One57 and a company spokesperson will say only that “Extell Development Company does not confirm nor deny any speculation about potential buyers.”
Facebook, too, has declined to comment on any of the alleged sales.