New $15 million mansion sells in Hillsborough. Dream home? Nope, teardown

When the 6,400-square-foot modern Tuscan villa in Hillsborough hit the market last year, it featured the design touches of no fewer than four architects. The floors were walnut, the custom mahogany doors imported from Italy and the kitchen fashioned with Scavolini cabinets and Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances. Outside, a pool beckoned along with tennis and bocce ball courts, two koi ponds and a croquet lawn.

In January, an investment banker and his wife ponied up $15 million for the home. They hope to demolish it as soon as possible.

In what marks a new peak in the Bay Area real estate market’s ability to astound, Jeff and Katharine Wilson’s plans to tear down the big new mansion to make way for an even bigger and newer mansion are scheduled to go before the Hillsborough Architecture and Design Review Board on Tuesday.

The board may be familiar with the doomed villa, which was the product of an earlier teardown on the same spot.

The couple are proposing a two-story, farmhouse-style estate of more than 13,000 square feet on the 1.5-acre lot, a property considered especially appealing even in tony Hillsborough, a town of 11,000 people west of San Mateo. Efforts to reach the buyers were unsuccessful.

Gone will be the current five-bedroom, 7.5-bath villa completed in 2013, though the home’s main designer, Jerry Winges — who happens to be a member of the design review board — has urged “a careful deconstruction rather than demolition,” to save the imported doors and windows.

The project on Parkside Avenue is an extreme version of teardowns that are common across the Bay Area, in which homeowners see more value in the lot than the existing structure on it.

The earlier teardown was in June 2007. Vafa Kordestani, who bought the original residence for $4 million, leveled a 45-year-old, 3,500-square-foot, New Orleans-style home to build his “dream home,” he said.

Many factors have juiced the trend, said Michael Dreyfus, a sales agent with Golden Gate Sotheby’s in Palo Alto, but the bottom line is that land values have soared so high that they almost demand a glitzier house to match. The definition of a fixer-upper has evolved. He noted that replacing a newer home can involve less red tape that an older home.

“I told a colleague, ‘We’re going to start seeing Atherton houses that are only 10 years old torn down,’” Dreyfus said. “The premiums paid for location are more intense every day.”

Referring to the Parkside Avenue proposal, he said, “It’s probably a statement on that spot. I want my house there. I don’t want that house, but I want that spot.”

One day this week, no one answered the intercom at the front gate of the property. Poles and orange flags highlighted the future outline of the proposed mansion, so that neighbors could get a sense of it. Most of those neighbors didn’t want to talk, or at least didn’t answer when called on their front-gate voice boxes.

At least one neighbor, though, isn’t thrilled about what’s happening to the quiet, leafy street a block east of the Burlingame Country Club golf course.

“This project proposes tearing down a house that has been standing for less than six years,” the neighbor wrote in a letter to town staff. “We all have a short time on this earth. Living adjacent to a complete teardown and rebuild once is something no one goes looking for. Living next to it twice is an unreasonable expectation.”

The median home price in Hillsborough is $4.25 million, making the town the third most expensive in the Bay Area. It has no land zoned for multifamily housing or commercial activity.

Since the beginning of 2014, the town has issued permits for 61 teardown projects, according to the planning department. There are four proposals for rebuilds on Tuesday’s meeting agenda.

Historically, the families of San Francisco’s 19th-century business tycoons built grand estates in Hillsborough. Among its architectural landmarks are the palatial estates of banking magnate and railroad scion William Crocker, railcar heiress Harriett Pullman Carolan and George Hearst, the son of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, founder of the company that owns The Chronicle.

The home on Parkside Avenue was once owned by Robert and Eugenia Haynie. He was a prominent builder and developer whose firm constructed San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel Tower. Haynie died in 2002 and his wife sold what was then a blue-and-white home with a brick courtyard to Kordestani in 2007. The listing boasted, “Sophisticated home with high ceilings, moldings, beautiful formal rooms w/ French doors to brick terraces bedroom suites; private.”

By buying some of a neighbor’s lot, Kordestani doubled the size of the property as he painstakingly built the villa. The home was originally offered in May 2018 for $19.8 million, before the price dropped to $17.5 million and finally to $15 million.

Kordestani wrote in an email: “2186 Parkside Avenue was our dream home, which we built over five years with lots of care and love for our family. It is truly a beautiful resort style property with a main building, pool house and a guest house … We hope the new owners, the neighbors, and the town will enjoy this property for many years to come.”

Matthias Gafni is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: matthias.gafnisfchronicle.com Twitter: @mgafni

Article source: https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/New-15-million-mansion-sells-in-Hillsborough-14400692.php

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