WOODSIDE -- A legendary investor's sprawling estate here has sold for $117.5 million, one of the highest prices ever for a residential property in the U.S.
The sale price eclipses the previous Silicon Valley record of $100 million paid for a Los Altos Hills mansion by Russian investor Yuri Milner in 2011 and comes amid a red-hot market for luxury home sales in Silicon Valley and the Peninsula.
The private sale was closed in November between the owner, private equity investor Tully M. Friedman, and an undisclosed buyer represented by SV Projects, according to public records.
And illustrating the steps the parties took to keep it quiet, the documentary transfer tax of $129,250 was written in pencil in a black, three-ring binder marked "Separate Tax Statement" that is kept behind a clerk's desk at the San Mateo County Assessor-Clerk-Recorder's Office in Redwood City. The county allows people filing deeds to request that the tax appear on a separate document. A member of the public who wants to see the tax must go to the office and ask for the binder.
The Woodside mansion on Mountain Home Road is in a neighborhood populated by Silicon Valley power brokers like Larry Ellison, whose home is less than a mile away. Even modest houses are commanding prices of more than $1 million in nearby communities that are closer to the Facebooks and Googles of the valley.
"There's enormous pressure on housing between San Carlos and Cupertino," said Wendy McPherson, who manages Coldwell Banker's Woodside, Portola Valley and Menlo Park offices. "You cannot buy anything in Menlo Park for less than $1 million."
In Atherton, the number of days to sell a home has dropped 72 percent in the past 24 months, she said, and there are 25 new homes being built there by developers.
The estate that sold in Woodside is a neoclassical structure that was designed by Virginia architect Allan Greenberg. His website describes it as "sitting in an elaborate hilltop garden" and "reflecting the strong Palladian tradition in the United States." The main structure is connected to wings via structures known as "hyphens" in architecture. The home also features a large, elliptical garden room, a pool and a 1,117-square-foot colonnaded pool house overlooking wooded hills.
Woodside planning records show the town approved construction in January 2001 of a 7,500-square-foot main residence with a 3,245-square-foot basement, and an underground four-car garage. There was also a 780-square-foot detached library and a 715-square-foot "retreat" building. A tennis court, extensive landscaping and the relocation of an existing two-story caretaker's cottage were also planned.
Friedman could not be reached for comment. A founding partner of Hellman & Friedman, a San Francisco private investment firm, Friedman now is chief executive officer of Friedman, Fleischer and Lowe, a private equity firm in San Francisco.
A Stanford University undergraduate and Harvard Law School graduate, Friedman is a past president of the San Francisco Opera Association and is a director of the Telluride Foundation.
The sale comes as Silicon Valley luxury home sales surged 54 percent in December, according to residential brokerage Coldwell Banker, which sources said represented the seller. The company had no comment.
A total of 113 homes sold for more than $1.5 million in December, up from 73 the previous year, according to Coldwell Banker. The median sale price that month was just over $2 million. A 3,200-square-foot home in Palo Alto sold for $6.75 million.
The sale was first disclosed by the website SFLuxe, which said it was the second highest price ever paid for a home in the U.S. But the higher price was for a 124,000-acre ranch and farm in Montana with 5,000 head of cattle.
Contact Pete Carey at 408-920-5419 Follow him on Twitter.com/petecarey.