Looking to spend one of his boatloads of money earned through social media, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, purchased a home in San Francisco in 2012. The 1920s-style home in the trendy Dolores Heights neighborhood was listed as a fixer-upper, and upon moving into the house, Zuckerberg made immediate efforts to begin renovating. Two years and many millions of dollars later, Zuckerberg’s home is still undergoing upgrades, one of which is for a $720,000 expansion that will add a mud room, media room, wet bar, and more to what is already a palatial estate.
New homeowners spent an estimated $19 billion on home improvements from 2012 to 2013, a figure to which Zuckerberg seemed keen on contributing a large percentage. It’s a drop in the bucket for the internet mogul, who is reportedly worth $33.8 billion.
A billionaire throwing around cash isn’t exactly news; however, the long belabored project has ceased to be a matter of personal finance and lifestyle, and has instead turned into a source of irritation for Zuckerberg’s neighbors. After two years of noisy, seemingly endless construction and barred roadways, Dolores Heights residents are hitting the “dislike” button, making it clear to Zuckerberg and the city that they’re fed up with having to live with the constant noise and inconvenience.
Resident Complaints Fall on Deaf Ears
Unfortunately for neighbors of the Zuckerberg estate, their complaints are mostly falling on deaf ears. Guidelines from the San Francisco Department of Public Health state that construction noise is permissible between 7am and 8pm, seven days a week, so long as the roadways are kept clear of obstacles. Any construction outside of those hours needs to be approved by a permit from the city. With at least 10 separate permits issued for the Zuckerberg construction, residents are hard-pressed to find any legal grounds upon which to build their complaints.
Speaking to CBS News, Mary Macpherson, a local realtor, said that resident complaints are more political than anything else.
“They see a lot of young people with silly amounts of money that are driving up the costs of living in San Francisco, and they can’t afford a home anymore. So, seeing the disruption to the street is just a manifestation of everything they worried about,” Macpherson stated.
With San Francisco officials seemingly unwilling to side with Dolores Heights residents against Zuckerberg, government opinion seems to echo Macpherson’s statement.
What’s your take on the situation? Is Zuckerberg a victim of sour grapes, or should the city be taking resident complaints more seriously? Share your opinion in the comments below.