Jobs gets go ahead to demolish "abomination" of a home

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by jaw04005, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

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    #1
    From Appleinsider:

    "This next Tuesday, the Woodside Town Council will review the longstanding request from Jobs to scrap Jackling House in favor of a smaller, contemporary home.

    The review would follow previously unmentioned dialogue between Jobs and the Town Council from last year where the Apple co-founder had made a more concerted effort to persuade local officials that scrapping the 1925-era building was more efficient than restoring it to a workable condition. A permit application attempt from 2008 broke down the costs and explained that it would take $13.3 million to restore Jackling House -- which sprawls over 17,250 square feet and hasn't been used for 10 years -- but only $8.2 million to build a completely new, 6,000-square-foot home in its place.

    In September, Jobs also claimed through his lawyer Howard Ellman that he had made a "persistent and expensive effort" to offer the house to someone else rather than take on the work himself. Two are still considering a move but haven't made any tangible commitments, he said.

    Even so, Jobs is still expected to face stiff opposition during the 2009 review process. The same Uphold Our Heritage organization that overturned Jobs' permit in 2007 disputes the claims made by Jobs. COH lawyer Doug Carstens insists that Jobs hasn't actively sought out a buyer in some time and claims that the CEO is exaggerating the costs by assuming that he would have to shoulder all the costs himself, rather than splitting them with a buyer.

    The preservation society considers Jackling House too important to destroy as it reflects a Spanish Colonial Revival style that has few remaining examples left. Previously, COH accused Jobs of letting the building fall apart to make a new building easier to justify than maintaining an old building which he has openly disdained as an eyesore.

    If Jobs is successful in a review of his request, though, it will bring to an end a municipal fight that has occupied much of the decade: Jobs had originally filed for a permit to demolish the building in 2001 and got the go-sahead in 2004, only to have it contested and rejected three years later."

    http://www.appleinsider.com/article...hot_at_demolishing_abomination_of_a_home.html

    The house in question is here:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sou...25729&sspn=0.000838,0.002065&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=17

    More information:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackling_House

    Photo by Jonathan Haeber, http://www.jonography.net

    Update courtesy of QCassidy352:

    The Woodside City Council decided the fate of Steve Jobs' Woodside mansion on Tuesday night: It's going down.

    After years of debate, and probably thousands of dollars in legal fees, the City Council voted 6-1 in favor of issuing a demolition permit to Jobs, partly because of the size of the house (17,300 square-feet); also because the city generally prefers smaller houses on larger lots, according to the Palo Alto Daily News.

    The only person who voted against the demolition was Mayor Peter Mason, who happens to be an architect who has done historic preservation work.

    "It's an unfortunate thing that Mr. Jobs doesn't like the house," Mason reportedly said at the meeting. "It's really sad that we're going to continue to tear down historic resources in this town because they're old."

    Jobs bought the house in the 80s, reportedly lived in it for ten years, before declaring it ugly and applying for a permit to demolish the place. By his account, it would have cost $13 million to restore it and $8 million to build a new 6,000-square-foot home.

    The house was built by California architect George Washington Smith in 1926 for mining magnate Daniel C. Jackling. It was also reportedly rented out to the Clintons while Chelsea was attending Stanford."

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/ontheblock/detail?entry_id=40044&tsp=1
     

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  2. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #2
    I have to say, I wouldn't want the house to be demolished either.
     
  3. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #3
    Its his property tho, i dont get why he cant build what he wants there
     
  4. jaw04005 thread starter macrumors 601

    jaw04005

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    #4
    Yeah, I agree. He has refused to maintain it since 2000 anyway. I'm not sure when that picture was taken, but it's likely all grown up and stuff by now.

    Personally, I think if the historical society thinks it's such a piece of history --- they should raise the funds to move it to a new location. He offered to sell the home for a $1.

    They're probably singling him out because he's a billionaire.

    But I have a personal bias toward community/home associations and town councils. I've found the majority of the people that volunteer to sit on such things have too much time on their hands anyway.

    I think a lot of them are just blowhards.

    My local council wouldn't give a gas station owner a permit to build an LED/electronic gas price sign. He currently has one of those older signs where you have to change the prices manually with those long prong tools.

    He was getting older and it was becoming too difficult to change the prices (this was during gas hike craze a few years ago).

    The council voted against it because they "didn't want the town to turn into Vegas." Direct quote.
     
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #5
    Not willing to repair a house once it gets too expensive worked in San Francisco, where a significant house of its era (pre quake home) feel into disrepair and was deemed unsafe and scheduled for demolition.

    If these homes are soo important, and the historical societies want to save them, in most cases they have years to do it.

    They should find a way to buy them and restore them.

    ---

    Jobs isn't likely too far off since a larger home is in the LA Times paper as falling into a very sad state and taking "tens of millions" to restore.

    Sort of expect that the owner has to see it a labor of love, and if the owner dislikes the home ... a restoration likely won't happen.
     
  6. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #6
    When something has historical value, and Spanish Colonial Revival style does to California, then the landowner will have to make concessions. The property is not entirely the landowner's. I suppose those laws will vary from State to State. In some instances any internal renovations will have to get prior approval. People buy these houses for the historical kick though.

    I don't know all the details of the case. I do know about Spanish Revival and there really aren't many around. If there have been offers to move the house, then that might work, but in some cases site specificity is important.
     
  7. Dmac77 macrumors 68020

    Dmac77

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    #7
    It's his property, they should let him do what he wants with it. IMO that house is hideous and is an eyesore. I don't blame him fro wanting to kill it.

    Don
     
  8. Hrududu macrumors 68020

    Hrududu

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    #8
    If he owns the land and the building, then it should be his to do with as he pleases. Yes it may be historical, and I'm a big fan of preserving history, but this one is a no brainer. His property, his choice.
     
  9. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #9
    I don't think a house that size can be moved, it is way to long to make the trip.

    Unless the house is deemed historical I don't know what can be done really. If the house is not in a historical district can they force historical rights?
     
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #10
    After reading the Wikipedia link provided, I'm on Jobs' side.


    If the house was declared a Heritage building before Jobs bought the house, or before Jobs requested that it be torn down (between 2000 and 2004), the I'd side with the community. However, after submitting a request to demolish the house, he's informed that his rights to do so have been stripped? It doesn't seem right.

    Perhaps if SJ had known that he'd have so few rights to do as he pleases with the home, he wouldn't have purchased it to begin with. Perhaps he should have been informed of its historical significance to the neighbourhood during the 20+ years he owned it.
     
  11. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #11

    Well, things change over 20 years in the world of trust sites. You'll find that in certain decades there is more of an emphasis on items of national importance, for example, and during that time sites of local importance or that are now considered national importance might have been destroyed. From Jobs' side, he chose the wrong time.

    What I don't fully understand here is why the land and house can't be sold and preserved. There really is no reason to harp on SJ unless he's clinging to the property.

    As for moving it, they moved London Bridge to Arizona, why not move a house;).

    Thankfully the 'it's his property he can do what he wants with it' argument doesn't hold up legally and is not the way the world works.

    While I can't stand Spanish Colonial Revival and all it stands for, it is of historical and cultural importance.

    Sorry for the fragmented response. I guess I'm not doing paragraphs tonight.
     
  12. jaw04005 thread starter macrumors 601

    jaw04005

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    #12
  13. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #13
  14. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #14
    I dont get it, whats so historical about this house? Or is it that certain people think its too pretty to tear down?
     
  15. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #15
    Well, in a nutshell, the Spanish Colonial Style is particularly part of California's architectural and cultural history. It goes hand in hand with the Mission (revival) Style too. I guess a shorthand way of describing the importance is that the two styles were part of California's self-image making. If I remember correctly, there is a good chapter on the mission style in Mike Davis' The City of Quartz .

    I'd be shocked if anyone thought the house too pretty to tear down. The style is hideous, but it's also worth preserving.
     
  16. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #16
    Wtf? its because of how the house looks? Thats worthy of a "historical" label?

    So nothing worth mentioning even happened there?

    I'm sorry but i think the situation is BS.
     
  17. danny_w macrumors 601

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    #17
    After seeing those pictures of the interior and how Jobs has allowed it to deteriorate I am totally shocked. If I were Jobs I would be embarrassed to show my face ever again! This is deplorable. I am not a personal fan of the style myself, but to see any historical structure in this kind of disrepair is heart breaking. SJ may have many good points, but this is most certainly not one of them.
     
  18. jaw04005 thread starter macrumors 601

    jaw04005

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    #18
    And this is the most telling part of that article:

    Local residents were defending Jobs’ right to tear down a building he doesn’t like and replace it with a new house more to his taste.

    Preservationists who had traveled from as far away as Florida and Virginia argued that Jobs hadn’t tried hard enough find someone able to restore or relocate the 84-year-old Santa Barbara-style Spanish colonial that they describe as an architectural treasure.

    :rolleyes:

    By the way, the Forbes article notes that Jobs has kept the yard immaculate. :D
     
  19. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #19
    That's kind of an oversimplification. It's not 'just because of how it looks,' it's because the house is an example of a particular style by a particular architect constructed at a particular time. History is not only about what happened there, it can also be about trends in design, planning etc.

    There's nothing telling about this aside from the fact that local residents aren't also preservationists.
     
  20. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #20
    So because some people from other parts of the country want to see this type of architecture, a man cannot do with his land as he wishes. The locals dont even care.

    I dont see any value in forcing him to keep this thing up. Are they going to sue him when it falls even further into disrepair too? As noted earlier in the thread, he offered to sell it for a ridiculously cheap price, yet none of the preservationists tried to buy up their precious land, they just want to keep it up at the expense of others.
     
  21. joshbing macrumors member

    joshbing

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    #21
    I don't blame Jobs, that house is ugly! Why did he even buy it?
     
  22. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Because location is more important than what a house looks like. It is relatively easy, in most cases, to tear down an ugly house in a good location and build something great. There isn't much you can do to fix a crappy location. When you purchase a house in a good location, you might be paying more for the land than you are for the house on it.

    And it is crazy, there is a small faction, not even from the area, that cares about this house and they're able to stop someone who spent a lot of money to own that land and home from doing what he wants with it. Its not like he is trying to build something not up to code, he's trying to demolish an ugly house that is in disrepair in order to build something presumably much newer and nicer.

    Oh well, if Jobs has to wait much longer the house will probably just fall down anyways.
     
  23. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #23
    Not to take sides either for or against the demolition, but.... sentiments such as the one above (and there are others, so I'm not picking on Dmac77) aren't quite accurate either.

    If your neighbours (on both sides of our house - for the sake of argument assume you are in an ordinary house) decided to build two 16 story buildings that came right up to the property lines - with all the extra traffic 24/7 that would bring..... then you might decide that you wanted an opinion on what they could do. Society does maintain some controls on what people can do with their property.... the question here is not whether Jobs can do what he pleases or not, but rather whether his community has the right to control what he does in this particular instance. Heritage questions are tough. I'm sorry they weren't able to come up with a better solution than going to court.
     
  24. jaw04005 thread starter macrumors 601

    jaw04005

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    #24
    Alan Deutschman wrote about the house in "The Second Coming of Steve Jobs."

    ...

    "She called around to get the address, then drove the five minutes from Palo Alto to the village of Woodside, which lay in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was just beyond the Stanford campus. Woodside was not far from the banal concrete sprawl of Silicon Valley but at least it felt isolated and remote, with narrow winding country roads and dozens of bridle paths but no street lamps or sidewalks. Traditionally favored by hillbillies and folksingers, it had more recently become home to a few centimillionaires, who made their money by promoting futuristic visions but, ironically, preferred to live in a semirural hamlet that evoked the romance of a lost era.

    A few minutes before ten, Andy pulled through the wrought-iron gate to Steve's house. The gravel driveway was crowded with parked cars. She beheld a sprawling, dilapidated robber baron mansion in the Spanish mission style, that numbingly ubiquitous cliche of California architecture, with the de rigueur stucco walls and the sloping red adobe roofs, like tens of thousands of little anonymous tract houses throughout the valley's brutally cramped suburbs. The difference was that this crumbling monstrosity was large enough to be a real eighteenth-century Spanish mission. It had enough space for an entire order of monks to go about their daily routines.

    She passed through the grand arched entrance loggia and came to a huge cavernous living room. Standing around, idle, restless, gossiping among themselves, were twenty reporters Andy knew well. The Business Week correspondent. The Newsweek writer. The reporter from USA Today. They were shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot because there was simply nowhere to sit other than the cold wooden floorboards. The living room was devoid of furniture, barren, austere, unwelcoming, a hollow decaying shell like the rest of the whole empty spooky house, the maze of echo chambers where Steve lived as a solitary bachelor. The closest thing to furnishings was a clear plastic case with an architect's carefully crafted and scaled topographical model of the property--just the lush pure mountainside land, not the presumptuous robber baron manse that Steve had never gotten around to demolishing."

    ...

    http://shortcovers.com/shortcovers/...e-Jobs/sc-pv2ReQ7ncUivRLP9Sp_a9Q/page1.html#1
     
  25. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a

    QuantumLo0p

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    #25
    If the house was not historically protected when Jobs bought the house, I would have to side with Jobs.

    If the preservation society wants it bad enough then they should put their money where their mouth is and open up their wallet. Supply and demand would dictate a very nice price paid to His Steveness. Perhaps Steve should turn a nice profit and move on.

    The ultimate decision belongs to Jobs...I can't wait to see Steve's spiffy new high tech crib after the rotted ol' Jackling place is hauled away as landfill.
     

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