This story originally appeared in the print edition of the Daily Post on Nov. 4. If you want to get all of the local news first, pick up the Post in the mornings at 1,000 locations.
BY BRADEN CARTWRIGHT
Daily Post Staff Writer
A representative of former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has submitted plans to the city of Palo Alto to demolish three townhouses and build a swimming pool, but city planners are pushing back on the idea because it would result in the loss of much-needed rental housing.
The demolition is proposed at 561-567 Addison Ave., next door to Mayer’s home, where four two-story townhouses with garages stretch back in a row from the street. One of the townhouses would remain, and a new granny unit would be constructed.
The proposed size of the pool is unclear. The plans were turned in on July 1, but city planners and attorney Chris Wade have continued to negotiate and debate state housing law before an official application is submitted, according to emails obtained through a public records request.
Albert Yang, the assistant city attorney, told Wade on Oct. 27 that residential units can’t be lost unless they are replaced, so the plans would have to include four new homes.
The San Francisco Business Journal reported that a company linked to Mayer, Additto LLC, purchased three of the four homes in 2011, paying between $700,000 and $800,000, and then paid $6.5 million in 2020 for the fourth.
Mayer owns several homes in the area. Her company also bought a townhouse two streets over at 355 Kingsley Ave., a multi-unit house at 529 Addison Ave and single-family homes at 536 Addison Ave. and 219 Addison Ave, according to the Business Journal. She also owns the house at 551 Addison Ave., next door to the proposed pool.
Mayer purchased the former Roller & Hapgood & Tinney Funeral Home at 980 Middlefield Road in 2013 to turn it into a co-working space with classes and events, focused on moms. But residents pushed back against the plans, and after one city council hearing in 2018, Mayer never returned.
It’s not the first time a tech titan’s plans for homes in Palo Alto have been scurried by the city. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg tried to demolish four homes and build four smaller ones for his friends and family in the Crescent Park neighborhood in 2016. The city’s Architectural Review Board called it a “compound” and rejected the application, and Zuckerberg ended up tearing down and replacing two of them.
Tech billionaires usually use LLCs to purchase homes, so it’s not always clear who the owner is. Brian Acton, the cofounder of WhatsApp, has been reported to own seven homes in the Professorville neighborhood, and Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, owns multiple homes in Old Palo Alto.
Mayer, who was a top executive at Google for 12 years before taking the top post at Yahoo in 2012, is currently working on a company that she co-founded in 2018 called Sunshine, which uses artificial intelligence to automate mundane tasks, such as scheduling.