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Venture capitalist’s Atherton mansion asks nearly $40 million

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Renovated in 2002, this Depression-era home is now taller than new construction legally allows

A towering white house as seen across a long green field. Courtesy Brent Gullixson

Sometimes seeing how the other half lives can make a person downright dizzy.

The towering six-bed, seven-and-two-half-bath mansion at 200 Polhemus Avenue in Atherton—which is so tall that the ad boasts it exceeds what’s permitted by the zoning these days—last sold in 2001 to the tune of $12 million, the equivalent of $16.5 million today.

That buyer turned out to be Alan E. Salzman, according to Blockshopper, the billionaire venture capitalist who was an early investor in Tesla and other green tech companies.

So anyone who has ever wondered what kind of living there is in being a tree hugger, get a load of all this: 13,500 square feet, antique chandeliers, silk wall coverings, “centuries-old floors and doors,” English conservatory, spa, and a seven-hole golf course with lighting for night games.

And of course there are the grounds, which drive hard for the “enchanted garden” look. There’s even a redwood grove on the property as well as an on-site well for proper irrigating.

Salzman, it seems, was also a Feng-Shui enthusiast and calibrated the house accordingly. And he must have done a pretty good job, because the new price is $39.75 million. If that’s not inviting prosperity into the door, what is?

But buyers be warned: Atherton can be a rough town. Just two years ago on this very block, indiscriminate hooligans kidnapped a defenseless tree which has never been heard from again.

There goes the neighborhood. Literally, there it goes.