Billionaire mansions come and go, but those of America's technology kings have a unique hold on the imagination -- so much so that hungry tech blogs can easily speculate on the real estate follies of the tech gods, regardless of the reality.
Take, for example, Gizmodo's "Exclusive: The Plans for Steve Jobs' New House."
Designed by famed California architect George Washington Smith, the 17,250-square-foot, 14-bedroom Jackling House was once a pristine gem of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. Jobs bought the six-acre property in 1983 at the tender age of 29, with the explicit intention of tearing it down. "[It's] one of the biggest abominations of a house I've ever seen,'' he was quoted as saying in The New York Times in 2004, when he first applied for a demolition permit. The house was ''poorly built. It was never really a very interesting house to start with, so I think I could build something far, far nicer and far more historically interesting down the road."
"Mr. Jobs' representatives haven't submitted anything in years," says Susan George, Woodside's town manager. "This looks like a rehash with a bunch of assumptions added to it." The plans were prepared to show how "someone could take this house and essentially bring it up to modern standards without denigrating the original," she says.
Now that Jobs has been given the go-ahead to demolish the house, she says, "That's not going to happen. You know that, right?"
You can't blame Gizmodo for trying. After all, who can forget Jobs' neighbor and friend, Larry Ellison, and his 8,000-square-foot pseudo-Japanese estate, replete with two wings, guest home, three cottages, five-acre lake, two waterfalls and two bridges?
And what about Bill Gates's 66,000-square-foot mansion, so gigantic that its 2009 property taxes were reported to be $1.063 million on a total assessed value of $147.5 million? Nicknamed "Xanadu 2.0," Gates' home is supposedly the test case for the Microsoft future, featuring a Windows server that adjusts temperature, music, and lighting based on guests' preferences. (No word on whether it runs XP or Windows 7.)
According to Woodside's town manager, it will be at least another 60 to 90 days and possibly a year before Jobs' team even completes the process to get a demolition date on the books. And there is much to be done, including figuring out how to ship off whatever architectural gems are to be salvaged to the town of Woodside, the San Mateo Historical Society and the George Washington Smith collection at UC Santa Barbara.
Most people, she might have said, but not the editors of Gizmodo. They may have had other kinds of payback on their mind.
With reporting by Stefanos Chen
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The "Landscape Description" reads, in part: "The landscape plan is viewed as a land stewardship and restoration project. The primary goals of the design are to preserve the existing trees and plants on the site, and to provide new native trees and plants for the screening of new structures and for the re-vegetation of the areas of structures and paving being removed."
First Floor Plan
Site Development Plan
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