2950 Pacific Avenue Facade

The listing for the nearly 12,000-square-foot Pacific Heights pad at 2950 Pacific Avenue, which Mark and Alison Pincus, the respective co-founders of Zynga and One Kings Lane, purchased for $16 million in 2012 and re-listed for $18 million six months ago, has been withdrawn from the MLS and scrubbed from the listing agent’s site.

As we wrote when we originally broke the news about the listing last year:

Designed by Albert Farr and built in 1907, plans to add a bunker below the home were never acted upon, but the listing notes: “development potential to suit the new owner’s needs.”  And in fact, plans to expand and renovate the entire house, with new bathrooms, kitchens and “new finishes throughout,” were quietly filed a few weeks ago.

The aforementioned plans have since been accepted for review by San Francisco’s Planning Department.

And not only do the plans include the demolition of the home’s existing carport and “all interior finishes,” but they now include the “excavation and addition of new entry and garage from Broadway,” along with the addition of a new level above the garage and a north-facing glass pavilion as well.

2950 Pacific Avenue Rear
2950 Pacific Avenue, Broadway facade

The Billionaires Row home was built for the Newhall family in 1907 and largely remains in its original condition, period kitchens and all.  And while it doesn’t currently have a coveted Broadway address, expect a change of address to soon follow if the expansion plans are approved.

53 thoughts on “Zynga Founder Delists Mansion, Plans To Gut And Expand”
  1. expand … what kind of napoleon complex do you need to expand a 12,000 square foot house. Are they planning on having ten kids?

  2. Seriously, if you’re going to do that, why not just demolish the whole thing?

    (And yeah, I know, the planning commission probably wouldn’t let it happen.)

  3. “See, what we do is absorb marginal productivity moments from the great unwashed who are using their misnomered “smart” phones. We give them idle distractions. We suck out a couple a dollars from the poor fools by selling ’em points and games. Of course, nothing real. Just the illusion of something. You know how those economic resources flow back into the economy? Where’s the money go?


    1. If only they could suck money out of gamers Zynga might have been a real company.

      What really happened is they sucked money out of gullible fools who bought into the IPO.

      1. “Well MY company makes an AP that turns the screen of your cell phone screen different colors to reflect your mood! we just got our second round of venture capital funding!”

          1. If I catch any of my kids playing those mind-numbing games, they will turn green from the can of whoop ass I’ve opened. Want to play Farmville? Go to the backyard and plant some vegetables by hand. Go out and buy seeds from a nursery. Buy actual garden equipment and top soil.

            Actually I believe in biotech — scientists devise a system where a small droplet of blood (not several vials) is used for various blood tests. Or coming up with low cost and accurate medical diagnostic equipment such as portable ultrasound and scanning equipment being used in India. These are only a couple of examples.

    1. srsly, @seriously – if he doesn’t want coffered ceilings and wainscoting and period detail, why doesn’t he just buy a condo at the top of Millenium or Infinitum or whatever is the tower-du-jour.

      1. I’m also trying to understand how someone could want a historic home on the outside and yet have it be completely devoid of that character inside. A contemporary interior fits a contemporary home, why not just do that? I can understand upgrading the kitchen with newer finishes and appliances, but to rip out of everything?

        Not arguing that someone can’t do what they wish with their home/money, but trying to understand the merits of destroying history in one place while keeping it in another.

      2. Because he wants to live in Pac Heights. And I’m sure he’d prefer to demo the whole thing and not be stuck with a Dutch Colonial exterior, but we all know that would never be approved. This is the location he wants, and this is the house that happens to be there already.

        Personally, I find the dark-wood-everywhere horribly oppressive. I don’t blame him.

    2. Another one bites the dust, unfortunately. Soon it’ll be as sterile as the contemporary dreck being built today.

  4. Go for it, Mark and Alison. That place needs an update. A new entrance and garage on Broadway makes perfect sense.

  5. How many houses have they bought and never lived at this point? A remodel adding 10k of square footage will probably cost 20m, plus another 10+m in furnishings. Gah… Anyway, good luck with all this… Still.. south side of the street… Hmph

  6. Don’t like what he’s doing? Don’t like his money? Don’t like his choices?

    Then make him a better offer, buy the place and do it your way.

    1. We have no idea what Alison has planned for this place. It’s ridiculously premature to start bashing whatever plans she may have for this place. That said, I get the frustration expressed here. There’s a place near me undergoing a trendy reno and I had to watch a spectacular, century-old, hand-carved mahogany staircase go in the dumpster. I get kinda livid walking past the place. There’s little if any desire to restore anything old among new moneyed buyers. Look what happened in the 60s? How many mansions and victorians were bulldozed to make way for all that super-great late 1960s architecture? Same thing is happening now. The white boxes of 2015 will be the Fontanas of 2045.

      1. I’m going to sound completely nihilist but why does it matter? Ripping everything up and starting over again is progress. We keep a few remnants of the past, but mostly we move forward.

        More importantly, there might be 100k nice residential staircases in this city. Maybe 10 – 20 of those nice ones will ever impact me in any way. So how does someone else’s taste impact you, other than giving a job to a staircase maker?

        1. Youre right, ripping out everything starting over is not progress, it *is* nihilism. It’s pointless materialism. Progress is building on the past, not destroying it.

          1. I’m being a bit tongue in cheek, but what does it matter? That some great home that I have never been in and will never be in should change its character. I say this jokingly because I do live in an 80 year old loft building and chose our company location to be in a 90 year old building. When we were doing our corporate build out, I had contractors remove 3 decades worth of paint from the bricks and the floor so we can see the original construction materials. I get why people like old things, I just don’t get why it’s important when others don’t share the same view.

            There are limited spaces to build in a place like pac heights. So, if you want to live there and you want things your way, you are going to have to destroy something old. And that doesn’t affect me.

          2. Just because I have never seen the Mona Lisa doesn’t mean it should be destroyed.. I’ve never been to Falling Water, but I don’t want to see that gutted either..

          3. Comparing it to the pinnacle of their art form is beyond a stretch. These period details aren’t all that great; heavy handed and without much real ‘detail’. While I’m sure the revamped digs won’t reach any new heights, there are examples of modern interiors that let the materials shine and besides letting mere light in, use it as an integral part of the whole.

            Like many of this architect’s houses.

        2. I just think some things are worth preserving: century old craftsmanship, old growth wood that is long extinct, vintage glass and lead work. These aren’t things that can be replicated by programming a computer to cut cabinetry, or glass imported from China. Paris, for example, has somehow figured out how to incorporate modern architecture and lifestyle with traditional interiors.

          The current trend in SF is if it’s old, it has to go. There’s a race to incorporate the most trends into D7 homes and so little is being preserved right now that I’m questioning the motives of the people buying property here. It’s true that most SF homes weren’t built to withstand the test of time, but some were and it would be nice to preserve at least a few of those places for future generations. There are homes here that have been totally gutted, renovated, put on the market, sold, then gutted and renovated again and never lived in. It’s a colossal waste of resources and is terrible for the environment.

          SF is SF because of the city’s unique character and the most desirable areas remain those that have been preserved. I just wish that preservation would occasionally be reflected in the interior design of some of SF’s most historical mansions.

        3. ISIL has the same attitude. Since only Salafi Islam is THE TRUTH, they destroy everything old and different!

          The new Godwin’s Law!

    2. Wealth isn’t the only value, and money isn’t the only currency.
      If they despoil the place they will earn repayment from the community in rich opprobrium.
      One thing to don a cheap tastemaker tag to dump overpriced junk on one kings lane, quite another to do it as a lord of the land of pacific heights.

  7. I thought Zynga no longer existed? I’m definitely not for this. It’s beautiful from the street from the photo. The backside is not very interesting & it looks like they don’t have a backyard nor a deck. I’m just wondering why they don’t make Danielle Steele an offer for her mansion instead, I’m sure Danielle could use the money at this point – no one is reading her stuff anymore.

    1. Just googled, Pincus is worth $1b and Steel is worth $375m. So, make her an offer Mark, or yet, trade places? Although I’m sure that Steel would not want to move due to Prop 13 property taxes being lower than a whole lot of people in SF are paying.

  8. As long as they don’t turn the interior into an Apple store, modern catastrophe, then I am all in for an update. There are TONS of beautiful period interior details that I would hate to see removed. The inglenook and entry room need to stay, as well as the detail on the third floor.

    The kitchens and bathroom are so outdated its frightening. Go for it!

  9. I’m getting the feeling we won’t be seeing that awesome millwork at omega salvage unless somebody intercepts the dumpster chute.

  10. I really wish remodeling decisions of billionaires impacted me in some way. But unlike everyone else here, I’m a nobody that has never been inside a Pac Heights mansion.

    1. But the very internet which allows people like this to extract their billions is predicated upon providing forums for us to do this pointless opining. As long as we don’t REALLY quesiton our betters….all is well!

  11. This is just the sort of extreme desecration, done in full public view including open houses, that results in new legislation allowing landmarking of interiors. This is a superb house, and it should be preserved, whatever it takes. And do not forget that I am not one for government intervention, in general.

    1. And do not forget that I am not one for government intervention, in general.

      except when said intervention mandates your own hobby horse topics?

    2. why don’t you push for it then, say a required internal preservation review of landmark homes older than 100 years and larger than 3000 square feet, in certain neighborhoods?

  12. It’s hard to say what the dude’s actual interior intent is. I usually don’t pull the “wood here, wood there” approach to design, but some of this is really good: the box-beam ceilings, the balustrade and fireplace niche. I could see bleaching the aforementioned and yanking out the shingles (a hot look circa ’75, wondering if it was a 1900ish fad as well), but other than that, it is a gorgeous old house, and i feel it’s worthy of respect. hire richard meier if you want an abstract white box, but why ruin this? i understand: bomb the kitchen and bath, etc, but there are limits, even in san francisco.

  13. So much speculation here on the mere basis that the home was pulled from the market and plans approved. Does anyone have any information that they continue to want to hold and develop this place? Not sure where the $20M estimate to excavate and build are coming from but that seems wildly inacurate. Besides, with condos turning at $5000/psf the potential exists for this home to be worth $50M if turned into a modern transitional mansion.

    I’d excavate out that whole front area and build a period perfect carriage house.

    1. If they excavate and add even 5k square feet, it’s going to be insanely expensive considering the blasting and insane amount of shoring this project will take. Assuming they hire Van Acker (because reasons,) it’ll cost well over 1k per foot. That’s an easy 20m.

  14. It’s funny how desperately these two are clinging to San Francisco’s high society, despite the fact that they are universally loathed by said society.

    1. I would wait on that. There is more than one crowd, and they may find friends. Gutting this place will not win friends with some, or even most, but I would not write them off completely. If they start to give money to the right places, their fortunes could turn around.

      During the open houses, the agent showed their plans for completely destroying the interior. The agent said it would be a horrible thing to do, and hoped someone else would buy it and appreciate its architectural excellence.

  15. I don’t think you can buy your way into high society. Believe it or not, super rich people are not that different than you and me. They build and value relationships and group around others with similar life goals. Except they are able to be more indulgent because money enables them to do that. I’ve been inside Jessica McClintock’s home because she hosted an Oxford University fundraiser there many years ago. She was gracious and kind allowing us to view her private bedrooms (I asked because she had exquisite tastes.) My former employer knew Danielle Steele but I have never been to her home.

    The Pincuses can have his 15 minutes of fame in Pacific Heights but I doubt they will garner many real friends there.

  16. It seems to me that when you’ve got more money than god and your house project is so on-again, off-again, that you’re not really gonna love the result.

    1. I don’t care either because they are unlikely to be in my social circle but if they decide to leave their pocketbook (and their heart) in SF, welcome! I am grateful to all the tech employers for their numerous employees to keep my rental units occupied which allows me to spend money to upgrade my property. Just don’t mistake my love for your money for my love for you in general.

      If and when Zygna goes under, their offices will be worth a decent chunk of change for the next tech company.

      [Editor’s Note: Zynga’s Business Is Now Worth Less Than Its Building.]

      1. The business is valued much higher than the real estate by the stock market.
        editor: really?
        Market cap $2.5Bn.
        less $179MM cash and equivalents.
        less Real estate $228MM (if held at cost).
        leaves a big gap between $2.5Bn and $228MM

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