February 08, 2011, 6:42 PM — Who among us hasn't purchased a 17,000-square-foot mansion, lived in it for awhile, and then, disgusted by its ramshackle condition, abandoned it like a vagabond barn swallow? I did it twice last year alone.
Apple co-founder and chief executive Steve Jobs has a similarly low regard for his former residence in tony Woodside, Calif. It's a Spanish Colonial revival mansion that he once dismissed as "poorly built" and "never really a very interesting house to start with." Take note, sellers: If you declutter, turn on all the lights and play soft jazz in the background during showings, even a shrewd operator like Steve Jobs can be tricked into buying a dump. Listen to your licensed Realtor.
Anyway, Jobs bought the house in 1983, resided in it for a decade, and then just up and left. He's been trying to get permission to have the empty home torn down since before the iPod came out. Now his efforts are about to pay off.
MarketWatch's Therese Poletti reports that a permit to tear down the structure could be issued any day now, with demolition to begin possibly within the month.
Jobs has come close to tasting sweet destruction before. A permit to raze the house was issued in 2009, but preservationists were able to scuttle plans. Until now.
The Apple CEO, of course, is on an indefinite medical leave. Poletti writes:
“Mr. Jobs has not been intimately involved in the front line of this project,” (said Woodside Town Manager Susan) George. “I know he keeps in very close contact with his representative on this.” George also said the executive wants to build a smaller home, which would stand at the end of a private drive on the lush property.
I envision a cozy 15,000-square-foot cottage.
The apparently doomed mansion was built in 1925 by noted California architect George Washington Smith for copper-mining magnate Daniel Jackling. According to Wikipedia, the Jackling House:
represented (Jackling's) aesthetic values, wealth, and his family's needs. It contains a built in pipe organ. George Washington Smith integrated the 17,000 sq ft residence and landscaped gardens with a large traditional courtyard, open-air balconies, and many indoor-outdoor sightline and access connections.
How humdrum. No wonder Jobs hated it.
Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.