Yeah, barf. 21st Century American decadence, real estate insanity, and hate-reads about the wealthy all combine in a story about a recently constructed 6,400-square-foot modern Tuscan villa on the Peninsula that some new owners intend to demolish in order build something bigger and more "them."
An investment banker and his wife paid $15 million in January for the sizable property on a 1.5-acre lot at 2186 Parkside Avenue in Hillsborough — a handsome and large home completed in 2013 complete with pool, tennis and bocce ball courts, and loads of expensive, imported finishes. As the Chronicle reports, the couple turned to the town's design review board on Tuesday to get approval for the manse they'd like to build that is twice the size — 13,000 square feet — which will be more specific to their modern farmhouse tastes.
As Palo Alto-based real estate agent Michael Dreyfus tells the paper, the move to tear down this relatively new luxury home is part of a trend on the Peninsula as land values soar. "The premiums paid for location are more intense every day," Dreyfus says, noting that high-end buyers are more concerned about finding the right "spot" for their dream home, and then paying whatever it costs to construct something custom that is commensurate with that spot.
Of course, this doesn't sit well with the neighborhood, who dealt with five years of construction at the same property after a previous New Orleans-style home (of a mere 3,500 square feet) was torn down in 2007, to be replaced by the current structure which has stood for only six years. "We all have a short time on this earth," wrote one neighbor in a letter to the design board. "Living adjacent to a complete teardown and rebuild once is something no one goes looking for. Living next to it twice is an unreasonable expectation."
According to the Chronicle, the city of Hillsborough has issued 61 teardown permits in the last five years — and this is in a small town of 11,000 people.
Ironically, the primary designer of the current home on the property, Jerry Winges, serves on the town's design review board, and he seems to have OK'd the teardown so long as the owners conduct "a careful deconstruction rather than demolition" in order to preserve the valuable finishes and rare woods in the home.
Curbed SF has chronicled the teardown frenzy on the Peninsula over the last few years, highlighting things like this 1,000-square-foot home in Palo Alto that was listed for $1.9 million in 2017, and this 2,000-square-foot ranch in Atherton that was listed a year earlier for almost $3.5 million.