In an effort to protect his privacy, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg paid more than $30 million for four houses surrounding his Palo Alto home. According to an application filed Tuesday with city planners, he plans to demolish all four and build smaller houses in their place.
Zuckerberg, whose wealth Forbes estimates at more than $50 billion, began buying the two two-story houses and two single-story houses around his property in 2012 after learning of a developer's plan to build a large house next door, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. He’s said to have paid more than $30 million in total for the properties—including one he bought for $14 million, even though it was valued at the time at $3.71 million.
According to a letter to city planners from property managers working with the Facebook CEO, the Zuck plans to tear down the buildings and build three single-story houses and one two-story house in their place, all of which will reduce the footprint of structures on the properties by about 20%, reports The San Jose Mercury News. It’s not known whether Zuckerberg will sell the new homes, rent them out, or simply use them himself.
Zuckerberg is far from the first 1-percenter to buy a home in order to tear it down. After a protracted battle with local preservationists, tech titan Steve Jobs was allowed to knock down the Jackling House, a Jazz-Age property he purchased as a summer home in Woodside, Calif.
So far no neighbors have come forward to comment on Zuckerberg's application.