This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.
PALO ALTO — When your net worth is $25.3 billion, you can afford to spend $30 million to become your neighbors’ landlord. That’s approximately how much Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg paid to buy four residential properties behind and next to the gated home where he and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan live in the Crescent Park section of Palo Alto, California.
The San Jose Mercury News reported Zuckerberg, who turned 30 this week, is uninterested in knocking down the neighbors’ homes and building an estate on the combined properties (which is what Google’s Larry Page is doing on four adjacent lots he acquired in another Palo Alto neighborhood). Instead, in a bid to preserve his privacy, the Facebook CEO is leasing the properties back to his neighbors to keep out developers who may market them based on their proximity to the Zuckerberg residence.
Zuckerberg paid well above market price (reportedly $14 million) for one of them.
So how does this controlling move by Zuckerberg play with his fellow Palo Altans?
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© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.