Compound W

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I haven’t done many real estate posts lately, although, as an update to this one (in which an empty dirt lot was being offered for $10 million) I’ll mention that although the For Sale sign seemed to linger longer than usual, it was supplemented with a SOLD sign yesterday. So I guess the Chinese are still buying.

I’ve become quite inured to the lunacy of Silicon Valley real estate, so not much surprises me anymore, but I saw a full page color ad this morning in Gentry magazine (which is a free magazine they distribute around here, packed with a combination of real estate ads, for the tech zillionaires, and plastic surgery ads, for their vain spouses) that demands a post. So I’m writing it, you lucky so-and-so.

The color photographs of this nearly $5 million property featured the most blase, ordinary, McMansion style place you could imagine, but the headline was…….


Luxury. Compound. Now, when I think of a luxury compound, I think of a multi-acre property of a rich family with a number of fine-looking houses. It’s probably relatively remote, and who knows, it might even have some private security guards on the premises. Think of the Corleone residence on Lake Tahoe in Godfather II, and that’s a luxury compound.

What does not spring to mind when I think of family compound is what is being sold here, which is…….


(Side note: I urge you to buy this house if you really, really like lots of paver stones on top of your now-inaccessible soil).

Now, I don’t smoke, but if I did, I might ponder the term “luxury compound”, look at the above picture, light my pipe, lean back in my leather arm chair, and ask: “Are you fucking kidding me?”

I’ve lived in Palo Alto since 1984, and I know the town very, very well. The location is on a very noisy, rather ugly street called Middlefield, and the house is constructed right next to a church that was built (cheaply) probably in 1940 or so……….


The neighborhood is the kind you’d expect, with houses built in the 1950s that are small and were probably at the time very affordable for working class and/or middle class families. Here is the view directly across the street from the, umm, family compound.


So, look, I don’t expect the good people of the real estate industry to be models of probity, but exactly how dumb do they think we are?