The Feuding Facebook Mansions of Palo Alto
They're both new to the neighborhood, and they hate each other. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and former deputy Owen Van Natta are apparently moving into the same opulent corner of Palo Alto, California. But Van Natta scored the posher pad.
Van Natta may have been gracelessly and publicly fired as Zuckerberg's second in command four years ago, but he can content himself with real estate bragging rights, according to an apparent transaction record and a tipster close to the deal. Van Natta's 7,000 square foot Tudor in old Palo Alto listed for $8.6 million, well above the $5.9 million list price for Zuckerberg's little 5,000 square foot Crescent Hill shanty, which we toured for you last week.
Oh, sure, Zuck has a wee salt water lap pool and an outdoor fireplace pavilion. Van Natta's pool is a lake in comparison, much better for a party (or zip line). The house sits on a full acre, nearly three times the lot Zuck has. And did we mention Van Natta's tennis court?
Van Natta closed on his place in mid March, according to the transaction record (none of the brokers involved returned phone calls or emails seeking comment). It's not clear if he's moved in yet, but when he does, the tech executive will be roughly 15 blocks, or less than a mile and a half, from ex-boss Zuckerberg. Maybe he should invite the 26-year-old Facebook founder over for a housewarming; Van Natta is now the COO of Zynga, the San Francisco-based creator of FarmVille and a gaming company utterly dependent on Facebook for users, payment processing and as an app platform. Van Natta's last gig was running MySpace, a job that lasted less than a year before the executive was ejected amid the social network's early death throes.
If Van Natta has any aspirations of ever being able to trade way up — as Zuckerberg could, any day, with the snap of his fingers — he should make himself a friendly neighbor indeed.
[Photos of house via KeriNicholas.com. Photos of Van Natta and Zuckerberg via Getty.]