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Marissa Mayer's plans to redevelop property are delayed by housing-protection laws

Original post made on Dec 3, 2021

Since last July, former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has twice been rejected for a permit from the city to tear down three of four townhomes on her Addison Avenue property. Now, she's hoping that the third time will be a charm.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, December 3, 2021, 6:46 AM

Comments (21)

Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2021 at 8:56 am

felix is a registered user.

Good for the City to hold firm. Mayer may end up buying half the neighborhood, but here, should neither be granted legal favors nor expedited processing by the City.

She seems determined to pop up every so often with tone-deaf proposals to alter properties she’s gobbled up on Addison to the consternation of neighbors. Remember her application at her party house/mortuary for a “women’s club” at the corner of Addison and Middlefield?

Now this when housing is so critical. She seems clueless.

Posted by A Person
a resident of Southgate
on Dec 3, 2021 at 10:17 am

A Person is a registered user.

Keep up the good work, Palo Alto.

Posted by Elementary Parent
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 3, 2021 at 12:12 pm

Elementary Parent is a registered user.

I don't understand why Ms. Mayer doesn't move to a neighborhood with larger properties. Not only are these efforts part of a larger problem of low housing stock across California, but she is eroding the neighborhood she seems to want to live in and frustrating many of us neighbors. The downtown residential areas are vibrant because of the smaller plot sizes and the townhouses she wants to demolish allow for a wider range of incomes in the area. Her events are already a nuisance (I've waited in backed up traffic twice in the last two days while a crane and a semi-truck blocked the entire street), but this is much worse.

Posted by paulbc
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 3, 2021 at 1:24 pm

paulbc is a registered user.

I don't necessarily object to the superrich throwing their money around, but they ought to find a bigger playground to do it in. There's a serious housing crisis in the Bay Area. We need denser, more affordable housing, not bigger lots for gazillionaires.

Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 3, 2021 at 8:57 pm

eileen is a registered user.

Hey, all you Marissa Mayer haters, why not pick on all the other billionaires living in Palo Alto?
Nine of the richest people in the country live in Palo Alto. Really, all this fuss about two townhomes is ridiculous! Marissa loves our city. and wants to raise her children here! Why not go after all those LLC's who buy homes for investment and just rent them out and then flip them after they go up in value? We have all sorts of income levels here in Palo Alto. We always have!

Posted by Speak your truth
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 3, 2021 at 9:43 pm

Speak your truth is a registered user.

I wish MM and the city and all neighbors the best in this situation .

Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 3, 2021 at 10:56 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

Marissa and Zach are getting press at the moment, but just a couple of blocks away there's Brian Acton's compound. A few blocks east there's Mark Zuckerberg and Patricia Chan, and their compound. A few blocks south there's Larry Page's compound where the fire occurred recently, and Laurene Jobs' house with the security detail always present at the vacant lot across the street. Alex Karp has a (noticeably strange) house a few blocks West. There's the place with the two-story basement, machine shop, and firing range on Waverley. There are more I haven't mentioned and I'm sure more I don't know about. My neighbors and I used to joke about accidentally violating security-zone boundaries as we walked our kids to school at Addison Elementary. The neighborhoods near Downtown are changing in ways far beyond the usual concerns of affordability and density; I'm not sure what to make of it.

Posted by RDR
a resident of another community
on Dec 4, 2021 at 1:35 am

RDR is a registered user.

Yeah, it's a good point to note that Mayer's 2 properties only total 14,000 square feet land, which is less than other large properties acquired in a piece by wealth entrepreneurs in the same general neighborhood. Plus, she has said she'd create one new separate house, which has morphed into a duplex by arcane rules having no sense. So it sounds like shes excluding 3000 sf or so from her compound, leaving her with 11,000 sf of land.

Interesting that this new duplex will probably be worth 6 million dollars by itself.

Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 4, 2021 at 6:26 am

felix is a registered user.

It’s not about Compared to What, it’s about not caring a whit for her neighborhood and our city’s housing need.
[Portion removed.] That she is not alone in this makes it no less so.

Posted by Leland J.
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 4, 2021 at 8:46 am

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There’s lots of vacant space in the old Yahoo offices lol

Posted by Elementary Parent
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 4, 2021 at 12:25 pm

Elementary Parent is a registered user.

No one is saying she is being better or worse then others who are doing similar things. That’s fantastic that she loves this community and wants to raise her kids here! There are plenty of larger lots without having to move out of the community, but this just isn’t one of them. Why not move to one of those? If I’m not mistaken, this property was already turned into a double lot. It is just a fact that we are in a housing crisis. Laws around keeping housing supply are put in place for a reason. These proposals have already been turned down twice.

Posted by Andreas
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2021 at 2:05 pm

Andreas is a registered user.

I support Marissa and congratulate her neighbors that see the value of their properties go up because of her projects.
Lack of new housing projects in Palo Alto is not her fault, and that's where the solution is: build many new and affordable houses. It's irrational to believe that stopping a handful of projects, impacting a handful homes, solves the real issue... especially when said projects increase the value of the community on many different levels.

Instead, I believe, this is just about ill-disguised jealousy and an actual disregard for real solutions.

Posted by New PaloAltan
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Dec 4, 2021 at 4:39 pm

New PaloAltan is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by ALB
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 4, 2021 at 6:20 pm

ALB is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by RDR
a resident of another community
on Dec 4, 2021 at 8:25 pm

RDR is a registered user.

The city isn't doing anything to accommodate her. The laws are crazy. The 4 townhouses were just single family homes themselves. She bought all 4 of them. Why would the city be able to tell her what to do with them? The regs say she has to keep the number of units so the article describes how she's making 2 new ADU's and 1 new duplex home. 4=4. What did the city do?

The duplex is likely to be larger than 2 of the townhouses combined. They were 40+ years old, only 1000 sf each. In the duplex you might see maybe 8 people live counting kids. In the townhouse I doubt there were 4 in any one of them.

This kind of bean counting isn't going to help the housing shortage, such as it might be. It just distorts the whole thing. The bottom line is that anything New is worth about double anything old. The more new construction, the more pricey.

Posted by CGPA
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 5, 2021 at 4:54 am

CGPA is a registered user.

"Why not go after all those LLC's who buy homes for investment and just rent them out and then flip them after they go up in value?"

Because they don't cause the city to lose housing like your proposal does, "eileen".

Posted by KatherineWilson
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 9, 2021 at 10:17 am

KatherineWilson is a registered user.

This needs to stop now! It started with Steve Jobs, then Mr Facebook. Enough! She already quietly bought and tore down the house next to her. Yes, I agree, if she wants land she should live elsewhere!

Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 11, 2021 at 7:14 pm

eileen is a registered user.

Katherine, where is all your negative energy coming from? There are so many people, all over this city, buying up homes. They leave them empty for years, sell them to make a profit, rent them out, etc. What is the fuss about? The people you mentioned above are our neighbors. Leave them alone!

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 12, 2021 at 12:36 pm

Annette is a registered user.

The common thread in so many of the lead stories these days: money. There's a certain hubris that seems to attach to some of the wealthy. Locally, we currently have this effort by MM and the Castilleja expansion. And of course the retail crime. One of my "favorite" examples is something I learned from watching the documentary "Bring Your Own Brigade" in which it was revealed that wealthy people can contract for private fire protection services. I had no idea that the wealthy had a higher entitlement to fire protection - and water. How naive of me.

As for Eileen's comments: she is, sadly, right about houses being bought up and not occupied. Stanford has done that in College Terrace. Pre-Covid when the housing shortage was an enormous problem the practice was most perplexing. When Stanford comments about the need for housing, the comments lack credibility. And smack of hypocrisy. I don't know if Miss Mayer has ever bemoaned the housing crisis, but if she's contributing to it, I think she'd be well advised to remain silent on that issue.

It would be interesting to see an expose about this phenomenon in order to gauge its true impact on supply/demand, the cost of housing, and commuting issues. I think we'd discover that the big players are contributing to the big problem. Similar dynamic exists in the area of commercial development: build big, don't mitigate for housing.

Posted by Cmore Butz
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 6, 2022 at 9:06 pm

Cmore Butz is a registered user.

What a gal can swim in any pool in the world but wants her own so badly that she will remove housing to make it happen...

Posted by Rev. Thomas Beecham (retired)
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2022 at 9:43 am

Rev. Thomas Beecham (retired) is a registered user.

Ironic how jealousy and resentment fuels the fire.

Those complaining about Ms. Mayer's proposed intentions probably reside in multi-million dollar homes themselves and resent being upstaged.

This is not an admirable way to go about life as this energy of contempt could be channeled into other more productive endeavors.

And besides, the city has turned down her request so this matter should be water under the bridge.

Perhaps it's best to move on and focus on improving one's own life and character rather than dwell in a world of pettyness.

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