Auction of Marin Mega-Estate Site Fades to BlackMay 14, 2021
Listed for $39 million back in 2015, the asking price for the 140-acre “King Mountain Estate” site, an assemblage of six Marin parcels stretching from Kentfield to Larkspur, upon which a local rock god had planned to build a modern 19,000-square-foot home, was dropped to $25 million last year, a price which includes the approved plans, but not the budget, for the construction of a 27,500-square-foot “legacy compound” atop the site.
And while an advertised “No Reserve” auction for the site was slated to be held this week, said “auction” has quietly ended without an accepted offer and the property remains on the market with a $25 million list price.
Comments from Plugged-In Readers
this proposal and rendering is simply grotesque. A blot on a beautiful natural landscape for millions so that a single ungodly rich person can have a palace and look down on the world. That hilltop should be set aside as open space or left undeveloped. This sort of thing is gives housing development a bad name. Given that the property has 140 acres, seems like there must be less intrusive and obnoxious ways to build a house on the property.
> That hilltop should be set aside as open space or left undeveloped
Then lobby to have the government take it — and pay for it — through eminent domain.
> This sort of thing is gives housing development a bad name.
One house on 140 acres is “housing development”?
As we outlined back in 2015: “Around 110 acres of the King Mountain site are designated as private open space, cannot be developed, and incorporate an existing public hiking trail which must remain as such, but the public’s access is technically restricted to the width of the existing path. The remaining “inner sanctum” of the site, upon which the development could occur, has been fenced.”
In mountainous terrain the sites most amenable to construction are ridge tops and ravine bottoms because that’s where the the slope is the flattest. You can confirm this by looking at topo maps. Notice that most roads follow ridge lines and drainages. Few roads switchback up slopes.
Of course you can build on slopes though site prep and foundation costs are much much higher.
Single mega mansions on huge parcels are some of the very few building types permitted by Marin County municipalities. It’s as if they practice de facto segregation and elitism, somehow, through zoning rules.
“Single mega mansions on huge parcels are some of the very few building types permitted by Marin County municipalities.”
That is a total non-sequitur. As if upzoning downtown Mill Valley and Corte Madera for high-density housing will somehow reduce or eliminate the desire or likelihood of the wealthy to build palaces on undeveloped hilltops if allowed? This location is also inappropriate for a big apartment building as well. I full-throatedly support upzoning Marin for true infill and densification of existing neighborhoods and urbanized land one million percent, but that has absolutely nothing to do with this. You might have a case if this were some sort of single family subdivision proposed to cover the hilltop, but it’s not, it’s just a massive bloated fortress for a couple excessively wealthy people to kick around in (who probably will also own several other residences worldwide and will use this part time, because people with this kind of money don’t have just one, or even two “houses”). Just because something is allowed doesn’t make it the right thing to do or OK. The excuse of “it was legal” is a pathetic reason to justify anything, and history does not reflect well on those who fall back on that reason for anything.
I think you missed the point of my comment.
[Editor’s Note: As linked above, nope (but close).]
Or, someone can build a really nice property, maybe hire some world-famous or to be world-famous architect to design it, fill it with art, and then donate it to the public realm when they pass away since no one else can afford it after them. Like pretty much most castles in Europe and various private homes in the US that are now museums and state parks (let’s see, Getty, Hearst, Morgan, Frick…). Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes certain aesthetics can only be achieved if it isn’t tamped down into mud by a committee process.
As a landform, King Mountain is a hip which extends outward from Marin’s sacred Mt. Tamalpais.
It’s an abominable, unwelcome place to put such a vanity project. I agree with those who say the land should become part of MC Open Space and be preserved for all generations.
I don’t have the exact quote, but Frank Lloyd Wright said a house should be built on the brow of a hill, not at the top, so as to maintain continuity with nature. A very rough paraphrase.
I toured this property a few weeks ago and it goes without saying that it is utterly stunning and a treasure. However, as a homesite it is very remote (20 minutes at least from the entrance of Kent Woodlands to the first gate), extremely fire prone, and you can guarantee you’d piss off every single one of your tony neighbors as you developed the property and had massive trucks and equipment slugging their way through the twisty neighborhood roads day in and day out. I also heard they lowered the starting bid at auction to $5 million and I guess there were still no takers.
Either the County or some of those aforementioned tony Kent Woodlands neighbors should pool the money together to turn this into permanent open space and put this to bed finally.
There should be enough money in Marin for someone to preserve this land.
While this visual shows a white Fortress of Solitude, there is no reason to assume that’s what actually would be built. If the potential owner prefers a more low-key architectural style, would the issues expressed here still be valid? If the design was a low-slung shingle style that merged visually into the existing landscape, why should people object?
UPDATE: Mega-Compound Site and Plans Nearing 50 Percent Off
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