While not officially listed for sale, the Atherton estate which the co-founder of VanatgePoint Capital Partners, Alan E. Salzman, purchased for $12 million in 2001 is now quietly on the market with a $39.75 million price tag.

Originally constructed in the 1930s with a height that exceeds the area’s current restrictions, the three-level home at 200 Polhemus Avenue was extensively remodeled by Salzman following his purchase, incorporating centuries-old artifacts, mantelpieces and flooring and crafted by renowned interior designers from England (including McWhirter Morris, Mark Wilkinson and Marston & Langinger).

In addition to the 9,000-square-foot main home, the 2.6-acre estate includes another 4,000 square feet of building space across two guest quarters and a detached 3-car garage with a caterer’s kitchen.

The grounds include a pool/house, tennis court, batting cage and a lighted 7-hole green for pitching and putting. And then there’s the gardens and secluded redwood grove.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Cat's Meow

    All Socketsite readers to chip in prorata portion and we have new Socketsite clubhouse. That place is stunning.

    • Posted by scott f

      We’re already chipping in. Atherton’s zoning keeps this estate artificially lower in price, and the rest of us pay higher rents/mortgages to subsidize these billionaire VCs.

      Let’s do some math. Hayes Valley, a desirable, upscale neighborhood in San Francisco, has a density of 32,000 people per square mile. That’s 50 per acre. At that density, on this 2.6 acre site in Atherton, we could build housing for 130 people. Suppose half those people are living in one-bedroom condos that cost $500k, and the other half live in two-bedroom condos that cost $800. The total value of the site thus works out to be $58.5 million, almost 50% more than this list price.

      Someone will say it’s crazy to imagine Atherton becoming as dense as Hayes Valley. No, it’s not. This is a 9-minute bike ride to the Atherton Caltrain station, which we could restore service to on weekdays. We could build light rail along Atherton Ave a block away, connecting to Caltrain, and continuing on along Marsh Road to Menlo Park’s Bayshore area, where Facebook is headquartered and where more housing is expected.

      Of course, none of that is desired by incumbent landowners in Atherton, but it’s perfectly reasonable and would be the right kind of development for our region.

      As Californians, I think we have to ask ourselves why we let Atherton do this. Why allow cities to abuse local control to create the conditions where hard-working regular people are subsidizing the luxury estates of billionaires? In a fair system, if a billionaire wanted to use land this wastefully, they would at least have to pay a fair price for it and outbid the person trying to build multifamily on the site.

      • Posted by steve

        Yeah, I agree. This whole non-conformist private ownership thing is bad for the masses. Time to liberate the land and turn Atherton into Hayes Valley!

      • Posted by Mikey

        Why drive all of the way down to Atherton to build out all of that free space? We’ve got the Presidio right here just waiting to be developed.

        Eucalyptus trees aren’t indigenous to the area so there should be no objection to removing them in favor of much needed housing. A navigation center or two here would help offload some of the homeless traffic in the rest of the city as well, which would go a long way to make SOMA great again.

        We, as San Franciscans, must ask ourselves why we allow so few to pay more for more free space while others are jammed into archaic and tiny 1 bd apts in Hayes Valley and elsewhere. We abrogate our responsibility to determine others living arrangements every day we allow this situation to continue.

        • Posted by scott f

          The Presidio is a park. There’s a big difference between reforming zoning regulations that amount to a massive upward transfer of wealth to billionaires, which is a reform I support, and privatizing public land, an idea you pulled out of nowhere.

          • Posted by Mikey

            “There’s a big difference between reforming zoning regulations…and privatizing public land”

            Not really. What you are proposing is not “reform” but rather a stick-it-to-the-rich scheme. Our arguments – however ridiculous both may be – both hinge on force of an unwanted change on the incumbents in question.

      • Posted by SoBayNative

        I still have a problem with Hayes Valley being touted as a desirable, upscale area. Upscale because of the price point of new construction, and Divisadero certainly has become trendy, but DESIRABLE?

        • Posted by jy196

          To each her own. I find Hayes Valley to be extremely desirable, for its centrality as well as its proximity to culture, retail, restaurants, and mass transit.

  2. Posted by Stop Driving

    When you consider that Stonebrook Court (aka the Morgan Estate) sold for $25M, this price seems pretty unrealistic.

    • Posted by Hmm

      That’s not Atherton. Atherton has had a half dozen sales of both renovated historic estates and new construction on more than 2 acres in West Atherton between $30m-$40m in the last year or so. I’m sure that’s where they got this number. Time will tell if they can move it there.

  3. Posted by Amewsed

    $25M or $40M — still more money than I have or want to spend on a single house. But, I have taken notes on interior design features I like and can replicate them as appropriate for my home renovation.

    It is good to be a VC. Just finished Peter Thiel’s book, Zero to One.

  4. Posted by sfdragonboy

    What, no portrait of dogs playing poker in that uber clubby room?

  5. Posted by Jay78

    The only thing “stunning” about this property is that hammock setting.

  6. Posted by Philip

    Only books on the bookshelf look like props. Kinda pathetic.

  7. Posted by MKP

    stunning? this looks very….typical? very little stunning about this. absurd price tag, but I guess that is atherton.

  8. Posted by Conifer

    As someone who knows a bit about books, I would say that either the owner or the stager is not a book person. Not only are the books shown mere “props,” as Philip says, but there are far too few of them for an educated person, not to mention a serious bibliophile. There are (or were) several real book collectors in Atherton over the decades, but this house was not their home. I remind socketsiters that most brokers and stagers are just looking for a hint of seriousness. It is the “look” that counts, not substance.

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