BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
One of Silicon Valley’s kingmakers wants to see housing built for “regular people” — but not in his hometown of Atherton.
Marc Andreessen, who has helped fund Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and helped create Netscape, wrote an essay in 2020 on his blog titled “It’s Time to Build,” where he calls for skyscrapers and more housing in the American city. But as The Atlantic pointed out, Andreessen and his wife, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, daughter of the late billionaire developer John Arrillaga, wrote an email to the Atherton City Council objecting to plans to allow nine properties around town to build a combined total of 137 townhouses.
The final sentence of the letter says: “They (townhouses) will MASSIVELY decrease our home values, the quality of life of ourselves and our neighbors and IMMENSELY increase the noise pollution and traffic.”
The couple lives at 164 Elena Avenue, which they purchased in January 2007 for $16.6 million. The website RedFin estimates the five-bedroom home is now worth over $38 million.
Arrillaga-Andreessen also states the couple owns four properties on Tuscaloosa Avenue.
Atherton, just like all other cities in the state is on the hook to increase its housing stock and is in the process of planning how those new homes will be built. The state wants a portion of those new homes to be offered at below-market rent.Townhouses were seen as a way for lower-income homes to be built in Atherton, but because of the blowback from residents, the idea was scrapped from the plan the town recently submitted to the state. Instead, Atherton is nearly entirely relying on Accessory Dwelling Units, called ADUs or granny units and housing built by schools in town to meet its 348 home requirement. If the state rejects the plan, the town will have to figure out other ways to add housing.
Andreessen’s 2020 blog post about housing appears to favor building housing in cities but does not mention anything about building in tony towns such as Atherton.
“We can’t build nearly enough housing in our cities with surging economic potential — which results in crazily skyrocketing housing prices in places like San Francisco, making it nearly impossible for regular people to move in and take the jobs of the future. We also can’t build the cities themselves anymore. When the producers of HBO’s ‘Westworld’ wanted to portray the American city of the future, they didn’t film in Seattle or Los Angeles or Austin — they went to Singapore. We should have gleaming skyscrapers and spectacular living environments in all our best cities at levels way beyond what we have now; where are they?”
Andreessen has not posted on Twitter about the article. He did not return a request for comment from the Post.