891 Crystal Springs Drive

In contract for the past two weeks, the $39.9 million de Guigne estate, which includes a 16,000-square-foot, old-school mansion on 47.5 acres in Hillsborough, has just fallen out of escrow and is once again active and available.

At the same time, the newly built 20,375-square-foot contemporary home at 119 Tuscaloosa Avenue in Atherton, which was listed for $36.8 million last month, is suddenly in escrow.

119 Tuscaloosa Avenue Outdoor Space Aerial

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Mark F.

    One de Guigne Estate please. As for the other one….meh.

    • Posted by BobN

      Weird they’re in the same ballpark.

    • Posted by Mid-Peninsula fun

      “Weird they’re in the same ballpark”. They are totally different opportunities, and, I would imagine, largely targeting completely different buyers. The de Guigne Estate is a gorgeous and historic property but needs significant modernization on just about every level, or needs to be retained to some degree (although some would say demolished) but with the land subdivided to create several new estates, an option that is certainly being circulated. So, the buyer is looking for a labor of love to restore the home to its prior glory, or to create several new homes. Either way, it requires a buyer who is willing to put some work in and understands the rarity and historical significant (of either route) that this property holds.

      The Tuscaloosa property is prized in its oversized lot and new construction for West Atherton. The home earned very favorable reviews among those who saw it, and is a turn-key home for a fussy buyer who demands the highest quality of construction level. There isn’t really upside here the way there is for the de Guigne estate, and while I thought the quality of finishes was extremely high, it will no doubt look dated in 20-30 years.

      Despite their similar cachet, you rarely get serious clients picking between Atherton and Hillsborough. The buyer overlap for the very big West Atherton estates tends to be with prime Woodside and the Westridge area of Portola Valley, and very rarely Menlo Park/Palo Alto (since those large multi-acre estates just do not exist for the most part in those cities, aside from some seriously large Crescent Park/Old Palo Alto lots, and some stuff in the hills).

      Interesting fact though about one similarity these two homes share that I think Socketsite may be cleverly alluding to, however…if so, they know just a touch more than I do.

      • Posted by BobN

        Let me try again. Interesting coincidence that two such different properties are offered at almost the same price.

      • Posted by jack

        “you rarely get serious clients picking between Atherton and Hillsborough”

        Can you elaborate on this, please? I always wonder about attributes in either place, as well as the make-up of people choosing in between.

        • Posted by Peninsula fun!

          Sure. It’s probably not as exciting as you think, though. Hillsborough tends to function as a suburb of San Francisco in terms of geography, whereas Atherton is mid-Peninsula. Geographically, for example, you rarely see buyer overlap between Burlingame and Menlo Park, despite similar prestige, price points, and lifestyles. One buyer values proximity to SF, one values proximity to Mid-Peninsula. You also see virtually no overlap with real estate agents (ironic in that the Hillsborough estate mentioned above is represented by the most successful Atherton estate, but that’s extremely rare).

          Atherton is predominantly flat, minus the portion west of the Alameda (the streets off of Walsh, 300 block of Atherton Avenue, and Fletcher) and a small portion of the Polhemus Tract in West Atherton (Orchard Hills, etc). Hillsborough is predominantly, well, hillside. Hillsborough has a pre-war ambiance in areas that Atherton does not have. Atherton is essentially a couple historic estates that were subdivided to create vast tracts of upscale (for the time) ranchers, which are now being torn down for new construction (really dating back to 1980s). Atherton is extremely rare in its abundance of tear downs for new construction on a flat acre with such central proximity, which is why it is performing stronger than hillside communities like Woodside and Hillsborough.

          Atherton used to be considered a move up community from Menlo Park, but with land in the best Menlo Park neighborhoods going for $3.5M-$4M and nearly two dozen sales this year from $5.5M-$9M, Menlo Park is now an extremely aspirational city in an of itself. Atherton’s biggest overlap is prime Woodside (think Mountain Home/Whiskey Hill portion between Portola/Sand Hill and Woodside Road, and then streets north of Woodside like Albion, Olive Hill, etc), and the best locations in Portola Valley (central Portola Valley somewhat, but primarily the 2.5+ acre estates off of Westridge governed by the Westridge Architectural Supervising Committee). Palo Alto is just too different to have much significant buyer overlap…lots are much smaller, houses closer together, and the scale of a new Atherton estate nearly impossible to replicate. There have been two record sales this year in Palo Alto ($19M and then $35M, the first on market and the second an unsolicited offer to buy a home not for sale), but most of the highest stuff is between $6M-$9M, about the entry level to buy a tear down in West Atherton.

  2. Posted by derrysf

    The Atherton house resembles nothing so much as a Mt View strip mall. With a pool.

    Where I theorise it is likely challenging to design a handsome house of this scope in a contemporary idiom, this un-design is absolutely graceless.

  3. Posted by Stop Driving

    Strange that you can spend in the $35+M range on the peninsula and still have so little privacy as that Atherton house. I’d take the Hillsborough estate and its problems over the Atherton home any day.

  4. Posted by Wondering

    “There have been two record sales this year in Palo Alto ($19M and then $35M, the first on market and the second an unsolicited offer to buy a home not for sale)” Do you have addresses for these Peninsula fun!?

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