Real Estate

House with hefty price tag could shatter new record

Sun Micro co-founder lists home for $96.8M

Palo Alto's real estate market could shatter a new record with a house whose price tag is $66.8 million more than the most expensive home sale recorded in city history.

Tech entrepreneur Scott McNealy, who co-founded Sun Microsystems in 1982, has listed his 32,000-square-foot Palo Alto Hills home on REX Real Estate Exchange's website for $96.8 million -- or $3,025 a square foot -- the Wall Street Journal reported on June 21. REX is a real estate startup based in Woodland Hills, in which McNealy is an investor and board member.

Located on 13.35 acres off Los Trancos Road, McNealy's four-story home is reportedly the most expensive Bay Area home publicly listed on the market in the last decade, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

The 20-room home includes a pizza room, a poker room, a spa with a sauna and massage table, a disco, a full gym with a climbing wall; an indoor basketball court, a wine cellar, a billiards room, a theater and a 110 yard golf practice area with two putting greens. There's also a 7,000-square-foot multi-purpose indoor ice rink/tennis court with its own locker room. And for overnight visitors, there's a one-bedroom detached guest house.

McNealy and his wife, Susan, have lived on the property with their four sons for the past decade.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Palo Alto Online for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

According to the Business Journal, the couple spent almost $11 million on the two lots that the estate sits on. Construction of the house, including a two-year process to secure the permits, took seven years and was completed in 2008.

The home made local headlines in 2010 when neighbors complained about a gold dome McNealy built to enclose the property's ice rink where he liked to play with his sons. They said the sound of hockey pucks hitting the walls were loud and the dome reflected too much sunlight.

"We have four boys. ... I plead guilty they are kind of noisy. They have buddies over and they do noisy things that boys do," McNealy explained to the Palo Alto City Council. He later replaced the dome with a sound-proof roof that was more visually pleasing.

McNealy told the Wall Street Journal that he and Susan decided to sell their Palo Alto home because they will soon be empty nesters.

According to the Santa Clara County assessor's office, the home was assessed at $16,564,337 in June 2017.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

If the home sells for its asking price, it will become the most expensive home publicly listed on the market in Palo Alto. In June 2017, a 7,550-square-foot Professorville home on Cowper Street sold for a record-breaking $30 million.

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

House with hefty price tag could shatter new record

Sun Micro co-founder lists home for $96.8M

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Jun 25, 2018, 4:43 pm

Palo Alto's real estate market could shatter a new record with a house whose price tag is $66.8 million more than the most expensive home sale recorded in city history.

Tech entrepreneur Scott McNealy, who co-founded Sun Microsystems in 1982, has listed his 32,000-square-foot Palo Alto Hills home on REX Real Estate Exchange's website for $96.8 million -- or $3,025 a square foot -- the Wall Street Journal reported on June 21. REX is a real estate startup based in Woodland Hills, in which McNealy is an investor and board member.

Located on 13.35 acres off Los Trancos Road, McNealy's four-story home is reportedly the most expensive Bay Area home publicly listed on the market in the last decade, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

The 20-room home includes a pizza room, a poker room, a spa with a sauna and massage table, a disco, a full gym with a climbing wall; an indoor basketball court, a wine cellar, a billiards room, a theater and a 110 yard golf practice area with two putting greens. There's also a 7,000-square-foot multi-purpose indoor ice rink/tennis court with its own locker room. And for overnight visitors, there's a one-bedroom detached guest house.

McNealy and his wife, Susan, have lived on the property with their four sons for the past decade.

According to the Business Journal, the couple spent almost $11 million on the two lots that the estate sits on. Construction of the house, including a two-year process to secure the permits, took seven years and was completed in 2008.

The home made local headlines in 2010 when neighbors complained about a gold dome McNealy built to enclose the property's ice rink where he liked to play with his sons. They said the sound of hockey pucks hitting the walls were loud and the dome reflected too much sunlight.

"We have four boys. ... I plead guilty they are kind of noisy. They have buddies over and they do noisy things that boys do," McNealy explained to the Palo Alto City Council. He later replaced the dome with a sound-proof roof that was more visually pleasing.

McNealy told the Wall Street Journal that he and Susan decided to sell their Palo Alto home because they will soon be empty nesters.

According to the Santa Clara County assessor's office, the home was assessed at $16,564,337 in June 2017.

If the home sells for its asking price, it will become the most expensive home publicly listed on the market in Palo Alto. In June 2017, a 7,550-square-foot Professorville home on Cowper Street sold for a record-breaking $30 million.

Comments

Stunned
Palo Alto High School
on Jun 25, 2018 at 9:16 pm
Stunned, Palo Alto High School
on Jun 25, 2018 at 9:16 pm
23 people like this

Yes, everyone needs a 32,000 square foot house.
Just kidding.
Hey, as long as he doesn’t preach and lecture to the “little people” about global warming, then I’m ok with it....
I have no recollection of his political leanings, so that is just fine.
Still, talk about a footprint, an impact on the earth with this development, just for a family....
And, many wealthy celebrities have multiple homes, vehicles including fancy airplanes that are heavy polluters of our earth.
As long as they don’t reprimand me/attempt to guilt me, I’m ok with a lavish, excessive lifestyle.
Many Hollywood types are hypocrites, though - I can only hope he isn’t because he IS powerful/influential.


Rob
Atherton
on Jun 25, 2018 at 9:37 pm
Rob, Atherton
on Jun 25, 2018 at 9:37 pm
4 people like this

$96,800,000 in Atherton...Sure! $96,800,000 in Palo Alto, BIG NO! Not even for 1/2 the price.


Quin
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2018 at 2:50 am
Quin, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2018 at 2:50 am
6 people like this

Hey I’m not from Palo Alto and am visiting the area for a short while from the DMV area. (DMV is DC MD VA). Anywho I was shocked by this article. Please can the Palo Alto Weekly writing staff follow up this article with another one outlining the final outcome of who purchased, how much, DOM, general listing information. I’m curious to see how this sale turns out. The DC market seems a bit different from here on cost alone and the path to homeownership outside the reach of many Californians. Am I correct? How do folks create a legacy or generational wealth if the path to owning a home is so hard because folks are trying to just make ends meet?


Athorton? Ha!
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 26, 2018 at 6:56 am
Athorton? Ha!, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 26, 2018 at 6:56 am
5 people like this

[Post removed.]


Wow
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2018 at 7:17 am
Wow, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 26, 2018 at 7:17 am
16 people like this

Imagine paying $96,000,000 for a house, but it's still not a house that was custom built to your tastes.


Me 2
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 26, 2018 at 8:29 am
Me 2, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 26, 2018 at 8:29 am
11 people like this

Let's hold off the record-shattering talk until it's sold.

Also - proof that Palo Alto and the Bay Area isn't "overdeveloped." If it were, what's with all that green around the house?


@Me2
another community
on Jun 26, 2018 at 8:37 am
@Me2, another community
on Jun 26, 2018 at 8:37 am
1 person likes this

We shouldn't espouse suburban sprawl. Green space is good and can be preserved by building up, not out.


Some Russian dude will buy it
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 26, 2018 at 9:24 am
Some Russian dude will buy it, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 26, 2018 at 9:24 am
13 people like this

To 1 up the other rich Russian dude than broke the Los Altos record.

I can't imagine rattling around in a huge house, and I guess the McNeelys can't either. It's a superb property though, in a most superb location, but I'd rather have the Big Sur cliff-top glass house that he owned with some of the other 1990's go-boys.


Me 2
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 26, 2018 at 9:46 am
Me 2, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 26, 2018 at 9:46 am
6 people like this

"We shouldn't espouse suburban sprawl. Green space is good and can be preserved by building up, not out."

Ironically (and sadly), your addiction to green space here is actually *causing sprawl* to Fresno and south of Gilroy.


bike commuter
Charleston Meadows
on Jun 26, 2018 at 10:14 am
bike commuter, Charleston Meadows
on Jun 26, 2018 at 10:14 am
9 people like this

Anyone can list their 1000 sqft property for 200 million, immediately double the record.


Madias
College Terrace
on Jun 26, 2018 at 10:41 am
Madias, College Terrace
on Jun 26, 2018 at 10:41 am
7 people like this

@Wow “Imagine paying $96,000,000 for a house”

Or the annual property tax bill of $1M per year and then growing at 2% compounded per year


bikermom
Mayfield
on Jun 26, 2018 at 11:35 am
bikermom, Mayfield
on Jun 26, 2018 at 11:35 am
94 people like this

I'm mostly curious about the pizza room. We have a pizza room too, it's called the kitchen.


Horror on the Hill
Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 26, 2018 at 12:48 pm
Horror on the Hill, Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 26, 2018 at 12:48 pm
8 people like this

This home was originally designed by Greg Evard and Alex Bergtraun. The original home took years of design and planning approvals by CPA. The house was a masterpiece of original modern and context sensitive architecture. All of the huge windows were laid out with specific views of SF Bay, hundreds of Valley Oaks and other native plants were placed over the naked hillside, and the prior roof was an amazing tawny sandstone colored slate that exactly matched the setting.

The original owners were the Goldman's who sold it to McNealy and that is where things went downhill.

The house went from being an amazing context sensitive architectural master to just another self indulgent "old" French country villa. Those amazing windows were removed and filled in with 16th century pocket farmhouse windows and the entire building architecture destroyed. The City really lost a beautiful piece of architecture without even knowing it was being desecrated right in front of us.

Hopefully, the new owners (after dropping $100M) will have the taste and good sense to restore it to its originally envisioned beauty. That site and the City deserve it.


I hated the old house
Los Altos Hills
on Jun 26, 2018 at 1:44 pm
I hated the old house, Los Altos Hills
on Jun 26, 2018 at 1:44 pm
5 people like this

Opinions obviously vary and to prove it, I personally thought the new version was a vast improvement!


Criswell
another community
on Jun 26, 2018 at 2:02 pm
Criswell, another community
on Jun 26, 2018 at 2:02 pm
5 people like this

Within 37 years the average price in northern Palo Alto will be $95 million. In 47 years a home in south Palo Alto will average 90 million.


person
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2018 at 2:22 pm
person, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2018 at 2:22 pm
3 people like this

Is this really in Palo Alto Hills? It looks like Portola Valley to me on the map.


Hulkamania
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2018 at 2:39 pm
Hulkamania, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 26, 2018 at 2:39 pm
8 people like this

Looks like ol' Scott had a good time with his Larry money.


Maui Mikie
Crescent Park
on Jun 26, 2018 at 2:43 pm
Maui Mikie, Crescent Park
on Jun 26, 2018 at 2:43 pm
4 people like this

[Post removed.]


Horror on the Hill
Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 26, 2018 at 5:14 pm
Horror on the Hill, Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 26, 2018 at 5:14 pm
2 people like this

@ "I Hated The Old House" sounds like the listing agent ;)


Gus L.
Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2018 at 5:37 pm
Gus L., Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2018 at 5:37 pm
11 people like this

The house(Compound) next door, to the left of the Quarry lake is owned by John Arrillaga.


resident
Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 26, 2018 at 5:55 pm
resident, Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 26, 2018 at 5:55 pm
7 people like this

[Post removed.]


WillAStableRichGeniusBeTheNewOwner?
Crescent Park
on Jun 27, 2018 at 1:07 am
WillAStableRichGeniusBeTheNewOwner?, Crescent Park
on Jun 27, 2018 at 1:07 am
7 people like this

[Post removed.]


musical
Palo Verde
on Jun 27, 2018 at 4:56 am
musical, Palo Verde
on Jun 27, 2018 at 4:56 am
Like this comment

Why bother having a Mega Millions lottery if nothing is that expensive to buy?
Current jackpot estimate $232M for Friday's draw, enough to afford this house.
Of course the winner could spread the wealth, but the whole point of a lottery
is to concentrate wealth. Must be a majority of Californians who desire that.


David
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2018 at 8:32 am
David, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2018 at 8:32 am
7 people like this

This home is on the Palo Alto foothills right next to the city and county line in the 500 & 600 blocks of Los Trancos Rd which is off Alpine Rd. There is a half mile stretch of Los Trancos Rd that is in the Palo Alto city limits next to Portola Valley and and unincorporated San Mateo county. McNealy's home is NOT visible from Foothills Park vista hill.

The house near vista hill is nearly fully screened by the nearly 400 trees and bushes they were required to plant as mitigation and visual screening. It was this home at the end of Alexis Dr that was owned by Goldman prior to his untimely passing.

[Portion removed.]


Interesting
University South
on Jun 27, 2018 at 10:38 am
Interesting , University South
on Jun 27, 2018 at 10:38 am
3 people like this

I thought city codes had pretty restrictive landscaping restrictions limiting the amount of turf,etc. How did this property get approved for chipping and putting greens, or was it approved for that?


A mere 8 Million
Crescent Park
on Jun 27, 2018 at 11:11 am
A mere 8 Million, Crescent Park
on Jun 27, 2018 at 11:11 am
13 people like this

This is more money than the EIGHT million dollars our Planning Commissioner got for his house on Phillips Road in Crescent Park.
That's the one with the possibly legal garage he constructed in front, calling it a carport.


gaming the system?
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Jun 27, 2018 at 1:58 pm
gaming the system?, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Jun 27, 2018 at 1:58 pm
15 people like this

Was this Planning Commissioner who as a member of the commission voted for the city to change the codes to allow carports in front a house, which he then took advantage of for his $8M spec home? Following which instead of a carport he built the shell of a garage and installed illegal garage doors hoping no one would notice?


screed
Stanford
on Jun 27, 2018 at 3:05 pm
screed, Stanford
on Jun 27, 2018 at 3:05 pm
3 people like this

A pizza room?


mauricio
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 27, 2018 at 3:17 pm
mauricio, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jun 27, 2018 at 3:17 pm
3 people like this

[Post removed.]


A mere 8 Million
Crescent Park
on Jun 27, 2018 at 4:48 pm
A mere 8 Million, Crescent Park
on Jun 27, 2018 at 4:48 pm
8 people like this

>>Was this Planning Commissioner who as a member of the commission voted for the city to change the codes to allow carports in front a house, which he then took advantage of for his $8M spec home? Following which instead of a carport he built the shell of a garage and installed illegal garage doors hoping no one would notice?

Yes, that's him. I believe he is a real estate lawyer, manages and develops lots of real estate. This happened in Los Altos:
Web Link


swamy
another community
on Jun 27, 2018 at 5:47 pm
swamy, another community
on Jun 27, 2018 at 5:47 pm
4 people like this

City should make way for a developer to split the land and build multiple properties. It will give opportunity for multiple family to have a home.


WillAStableRichGeniusBeTheNewOwner?
another community
on Jun 28, 2018 at 8:38 pm
WillAStableRichGeniusBeTheNewOwner?, another community
on Jun 28, 2018 at 8:38 pm
2 people like this

[Post removed.]


WillAStableRichGeniusBeTheNewOwner?
another community
on Jun 28, 2018 at 10:14 pm
WillAStableRichGeniusBeTheNewOwner?, another community
on Jun 28, 2018 at 10:14 pm
3 people like this

Why are you removing my post? Can I have a reason please?


WillAStableRichGeniusBeTheNewOwner?
another community
on Jun 29, 2018 at 10:54 am
WillAStableRichGeniusBeTheNewOwner?, another community
on Jun 29, 2018 at 10:54 am
6 people like this

Is it not true that the new owner of this property will pay the same amount special assessment property tax as everyone else in Palo Alto?


Rob
Atherton
on Jun 29, 2018 at 11:58 am
Rob, Atherton
on Jun 29, 2018 at 11:58 am
5 people like this

@WillAStableRichGeniusBeTheNewOwner: Palo Alto Online always, unfairly removes people's comments for no reason. Looks like if they personally disagree or don't like your opinion on something, it quickly gets deleted. As I'm sure this comment of mine will get deleted shortly. They're always doing this. It's ridiculous


musical
Palo Verde
on Jun 29, 2018 at 4:06 pm
musical, Palo Verde
on Jun 29, 2018 at 4:06 pm
Like this comment

@Will... , the new owner will also pay the same sales tax as everyone else in Palo Alto, and the same for a gallon of milk or gasoline. Probably won't be able to get a discount parking permit in our RPPs though.


Foodie
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 1, 2018 at 10:14 am
Foodie, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 1, 2018 at 10:14 am
Like this comment

Good grief, folks. Anythng having to do with property, rights/zoning, hefty price tags, public figures, etc. brings out the worst (and sometimes best) in this forum. Why doesn't someone put out a list of all the mega mega properties/ addresses in LA, PA and Ath.? But. putting in names of private owners is a no no. I don't care if we all know who they are. I had one part of a comment removed a number of years ago. I wrote to Bill Johnson, in a fit of pique; but, his reasoning was legitimate. So instead, I just grumbled to my husband. I say to you as I say to my grandkids, "That's enough; cut it out." But. thanks for giving me something to read during my morning coffee.


Resident
Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 3, 2018 at 12:40 am
Resident, Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 3, 2018 at 12:40 am
1 person likes this

I read that both properties were bought and combined in 2008 for 11 million. Then it took 7 years to finish. So they basically only lived in it for two to three years? My best educated guess is that this guy knows that the market is going to crash or their is some other personal matter such as a divorce for example.

Hopefully both my guesses are dead wrong.


musical
Palo Verde
on Jul 3, 2018 at 2:53 am
musical, Palo Verde
on Jul 3, 2018 at 2:53 am
Like this comment

^ Article indicated that the kids have grown up and are moving out soon. Empty nesters often sell, especially if they can afford the tax implications.


BaronVictorVonFrankensteen
another community
on Jul 3, 2018 at 3:23 am
BaronVictorVonFrankensteen, another community
on Jul 3, 2018 at 3:23 am
21 people like this

I my little village I have a huge castle and everyone else lives in huts. I keep track the torches and pitchforks, of course. There is a cry for a law that says no one can built a house more than 10 times the size of the smallest house in the village, but pretty soon I will own the whole village and everyone will rent from me .... bwaa-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!! ;-)

We should not want such an ostentatious and pompous neighbor. Sell it to a developer to subdivide and make homes for real human beings.


Insider
Portola Valley
on Jul 6, 2018 at 2:12 pm
Insider, Portola Valley
on Jul 6, 2018 at 2:12 pm
1 person likes this

[Post removed.]


musical
Palo Verde
on Jul 6, 2018 at 5:24 pm
musical, Palo Verde
on Jul 6, 2018 at 5:24 pm
1 person likes this

^ No, Portola Valley is across the street, the other side of Los Trancos Road.


Insider
Portola Valley
on Jul 6, 2018 at 6:03 pm
Insider, Portola Valley
on Jul 6, 2018 at 6:03 pm
Like this comment

If you look up 610 Los Trancos Road, it comes up as Portola Valley on google. Simply reporting the facts.


Rob
Atherton
on Jul 6, 2018 at 6:18 pm
Rob , Atherton
on Jul 6, 2018 at 6:18 pm
5 people like this

@Insider: Home is located in Palo Alto, CA.

City of Portola Valley was upset a while back because of the huge dome. I was just on Portola Valley's website and they themselves list the address as Palo Alto, CA. It's right on the border which is why google might have it wrong.


Insider
Portola Valley
on Jul 6, 2018 at 8:13 pm
Insider, Portola Valley
on Jul 6, 2018 at 8:13 pm
1 person likes this

Rob:
A few things.
1. Portola Valley is not a city. It’s a town. We have less than 5000 residents. Atherton is far closer to a city than we are.
2. Since the driveway of his house begins in Portola Valley, it is considered part of town—even though the overall property is situated in Palo Alto. I know it’s confusing, but that is the case. The border between PA/PV bisects the property, adding to the confusion.


Rob
Atherton
on Jul 6, 2018 at 9:46 pm
Rob, Atherton
on Jul 6, 2018 at 9:46 pm
5 people like this

@Insider: Again, city, town, whatever it is (irrelevant really) , Portola Valley itself lists the property as it being in Palo Alto, CA. "Even though the overall property is situated in Palo Alto." Like you said, the overall property is in Palo Alto...Therefore is it not safe to say the property is in Palo Alto?
If the overall property is in Palo Alto, why in the world would we all refer to it as a home in Portola Valley?

The home has a Palo Alto address, the overall property is located in Palo Alto, yet @Insider says the article is wrong because "the driveway begins in Portola Valley." Hahaha


Insider
Portola Valley
on Jul 6, 2018 at 10:24 pm
Insider, Portola Valley
on Jul 6, 2018 at 10:24 pm
Like this comment

According to California Property Law, if the entrance to one’s dwelling is situated in a particular town, then the “main property would henceforth exist within the realms of the same town, even in the case of conflicting property boundaries”.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Jul 6, 2018 at 10:31 pm
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Jul 6, 2018 at 10:31 pm
5 people like this

> According to California Property Law, if the entrance to one’s dwelling is situated in a particular town, then the “main property would henceforth exist within the realms of the same town, even in the case of conflicting property boundaries”.

That's pretty interesting ... presumably for mail delivery purposes or travel directions ... but what about taxes? The property may be "addressible" via the city where it's entrance is, but the property doesn't suddenly move into that city?


musical
Palo Verde
on Jul 7, 2018 at 12:28 am
musical, Palo Verde
on Jul 7, 2018 at 12:28 am
2 people like this

Here's a FAQ from the county assessor's page: "How could my address be in one city when I know that my property is actually located inside another city's limits (such as a mailing address in Campbell for a home in San Jose)?"

Answer: "Postal delivery zones are set by the U. S. Post Office without regard to where the city limits are located or whether homes are outside of city limits. For example: there are large areas of San Jose that have a Campbell mailing address with zip code 95008."


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.