Update: Woodside Town Council reaches tentative agreement on Jackling house

The Woodside Town Council on a 5-2 vote Tuesday night granted a conditional demolition permit to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, which technically gives him the go-ahead to tear down the Jackling house, built in 1925 by noted architect George Washington Smith.

The council's one condition would require Gordon Smythe, a managing partner at Palo Alto-based Propel Partners, and Mr. Jobs to sign a contract that would allow Mr. Smythe to deconstruct historically significant parts of the house with the intention of using them to rebuild the house at a yet-to-be determined site.

Mr. Jobs is ready to sign, according to his attorney, Howard Ellman. A judicial case-management conference is scheduled for July 10, where, he said, he will sound out the preservationists on a settlement. Mr. Ellman said Mr. Jobs would like to avoid further litigation.

The contract would be good for 60 days, more or less, Mr. Ellman said. Mr. Smythe "is flexible on this number," Mr. Ellman added.

The time limit, and an escape clause in the contract, are designed to allow Mr. Smythe to escape the contract if the preservationists who have fought to save the house chose not to use this deal as a settlement and decide to sue Mr. Jobs again. A 2004 court order invalidated the council's first demolition permit and stopped the destruction of the house.

"I just want an out," Mr. Smythe told the council. "I don't want to get caught up in this."

Mr. Smythe estimated the deconstruction costs at $604,000. He's been working on finding a site for the house for two and a half years and has assembled a deconstruction team, some of whose members would also be involved in reconstructing the house, he told the Woodside council.

His search for a site has included the Bay Area, Southern California, and Santa Barbara, he said, with his most recent investigation taking him to Palm Springs. The new house should be on a property of at least 10 acres, he said, adding: "This house should not be crammed in somewhere, but it's difficult to find a great piece of land."


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Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Jun 24, 2009 at 4:48 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

Mr. Jobs acted like a complete gentleman. I wish I could say the same for the preservationists.
I have dealt with them before in Santa Fe, N.M. where we are talking about structures from the 15th C., but the ladies were always the same except had a lot more background on what was important and they were younger, more literate, and not nouveau riche people with nothing to do but make waves. This entire episode with the Jackling house has friends there amused ever since I began forwarding the continuing saga from THE ALMANAC and a rather prominent personality made a comment as to why she could never live in Califonia again when there is just so much waste and silliness where the money could have been used to do so many worthwhile things. I agree.

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