Home sells for $7.6 million, record for Menlo Park

MLS shows the price is the highest on record in Menlo Park

By Barbara Wood

Special to the Almanac

In a sign that the local real estate market has rebounded, a house on Robert S. Drive in Menlo Park last week sold for a record-setting $7.625 million with the sale closing only 11 days after the home went on the market.

A real estate agent not connected with the sale confirmed that the Multiple Listing Service shows the price is the highest on record in Menlo Park for a single-family home. The previous highest sales price is on the same street. That home, at 6 Robert S. Drive, sold for $7.4 million in April 2004.

Tom Dallas and David Kelsey of Intero Real Estate co-listed the newly constructed house at 2 Robert S. Drive with Ken DeLeon of DeLeon Realty in Palo Alto. Robert S. Drive is a cul-de-sac off of Valparaiso Avenue near Sacred Heart Preparatory and close to downtown Menlo Park.

Mr. Dallas and Mr. Kelsey work out of Intero Real Estate's Woodside office, which recently opened at 1580 Canada Lane. The 2 Robert S. Drive home was the first listing, and first completed sale, in Intero's new estates division called Prestigio.

Mr. DeLeon said he also made two record-breaking sales in Palo Alto the same week, selling homes in Midtown and Community Center for record high prices for those neighborhoods.

Not only did the 6,270-square-foot home at 2 Robert S. Drive sell for a record amount, but the home was only on the market for three days before it was sold. Escrow closed on Friday, March 30, for the home, which was listed 11 days earlier, on March 19, at $7.95 million. The sales price was equivalent to more than $1,200 per square foot of living space.

The buyer of the record-setting home was represented by Steve Niethammer of Zane MacGregor & Co. in Palo Alto.

The newly constructed home, which has six bedrooms, six-and-a-half baths, and is on a 20,000-square-foot lot, has been purchased by a high-tech entrepreneur who is relocating from overseas.

The location and large lots on Robert S. Drive make it "the best street in Menlo Park," Mr. DeLeon said.

The two record-setting sales in Palo Alto have not yet closed escrow, Mr. DeLeon said. But both homes sold in less than a week at more than the listed prices, he said. The home in the Community Center area was listed at $5,398,000 and the Midtown home was listed at $2,998,000, he said.

Click here to see a virtual tour of the 2 Robert S. Drive house in Menlo Park from Intero Real Estate.

For those wondering how Robert S. Drive got its unusual name, Mr. DeLeon says the woman who first developed the street in the 1940s named it after her dead husband, Robert, whose middle initial was S.


Posted by underpaid, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Those brokers really work hard for their money. 5% of 7.6 million is $380,000. Well it must have been a rugged 11 days. Not to mention all the risks they took- needed compensation for that too.

Posted by Personal Accountability, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 4, 2012 at 8:58 am

Dear underpaid,

The thousands of days they didn't get paid for their hard work and risks probably made this event all worth it. In a free market society, in theory, what you get paid is a reflection of the VALUE you bring to the market place. Thank you for sharing your opinion and your situation in this open discussion. It sounds like you feel that your value is not being realized with your paycheck. My father always taught me if I wanted to be successful in business 1) Put yourself in an environment that others are achieving results that you want to achieve, 2) watch, listen and learn, 3) take personal ownership of whatever your situation is--so whenever I see someone who appears to be in a better situation than I do, i.e.. making more money, driving by in a fancy car or living in a superior home, instead of telling my kids that those people are $#%^&*^, I say, "pay attention and if you are lucky enough to get a chance to learn from them, do it". Good luck to you and your situation.

Posted by Eyes Wide Open, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 4, 2012 at 9:10 am

Dear Personal Accountability,

I hope you qualify the advice to your kids by urging them to learn from the ones who made their millions honestly and ethically, and hope they can tell the difference between those that did and those who made their fortunes screwing others. Unfortunately, the size of the latter group has grown so tremendously in the last couple of decades I'm not sure which group constitutes the majority.

Posted by bob, a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 4, 2012 at 11:19 am

Underpaid if you think 5% was the commission on that sale you are way out of touch. At that level commissions are negoiated. I doubt the seller paid 5%.

Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 4, 2012 at 12:37 pm

All that printed money has to go somewhere. Thank you Obama and Ben Bernanke!

Posted by bob, a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 4, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Joe my guess is the $$$ came from facebook or some other tech company. I don't think the pres or the fed had much to do with it.

Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm

You don't think that the valuations of Facebook et. al. have anything to do with the giant amounts of free printed money being shoveled at any financier with a pulse?

Posted by R.Gordon, a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Nobody who has that kind of money would settle for living in Menlo Park unless they were with Facebook and made a pile of money.
To hear people speculate on the commission price for the realtor, is so classless and tells a lot about the people who quarrel here.
I predict that Facebook has another 4 years before it bellies up.
That house will then be on the market for around 1.5 million.
Maybe it was the lady who bought the lotto ticket who will make a balanced neighborhood economically....(grin)

Posted by I guess I'm classless, a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2012 at 3:10 am

> R. writes:
> To hear people speculate on the commission price for the realtor, is so classless and tells a lot about the people who quarrel here.

I guess I'm classless then since I do not begin to understand this sentiment. It sounds like something that I would hear from somebody affiliated with the realty industry.

Why is it inappropriate to question the economics of realty sales commissions? When it boils down to it, there is little difference between selling a multi-million dollar home here in the bay area and a $350K home in Portland. And yet the commission percentage structure between the the two locales has little difference.

And here's the nasty little secret that "the industry" doesn't want you to think about: there is no shortage of somewhat local listing agents who will provide a full service listing with a flat rate commission. And there is shortage of buyer's agents who are willing to rebate a significant fraction of the commission to the buyer at close.

I'm a good example:

A number of years ago when I sold my small $1.2M Palo Alto home, I paid a flat $3500 commission to the the listing brokerage which included 3 open houses, full MLS representation and 3% commission to the buyer's broker, which came to around $36K. I sold my house promptly for about 6% over listing price with three competing written offers and one verbal offer.

When I bought my $3M+ new home, I found it on line myself and decided I liked it from previewing the open house. Finding a buyer's broker willing to give a really good discount required a bit more effort, but ultimately I found one that would facilitate the sale for a commission rate of 0.5%. Locating that broker required finding an out of area brokerage who happened to have SM County MLS membership, but to me it was worth the several days of effort since at the close, I was rebated back somewhat over $60K of the 2.5% commission rate which the house was listed with.

But somehow even discussing the subject makes me classless. Ok, guilty as charged.

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 5, 2012 at 8:15 am

Another "first world" problem. Only in the San Francisco Bay Area would a story about an expensive house being sold devolve into a philosophical discussion about capitalism and the appropriateness of a real estate commission.

Let's remember that listing your home with a real estate agent is a VOLUNTARY contract. If you want to avoid the commission, just stick a "for sale" sign in front of your home.

I suspect that the buyer, seller, listing agent and selling agent are very pleased with this transaction. How much anyone got paid is truly no one's business...except that the property taxes will surely help pay the pensions for Menlo Park's retired city workers.

Why not find something important to debate where you can have a real impact, like climate change.

Posted by bob, a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 5, 2012 at 8:15 am

Joe Explain how the feds have any impact on venture backed companies. Venture companies are backed by investors with cash, not debt. Tech companies don't rely on all this free printed money you are talking about.

Posted by Personal Accountablility, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 5, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Dear Eyes Wide Open,

The subject of money, the haves and have nots is a theme that has been around for civilizations, and frankly, hits the hot buttons of so many. Honesty and ethics are virtues that we focus on much more than money, however, I have never assumed that "money is the root of all evil" . . . I believe it just enables you to be more outreaching with who you already are.

Posted by R.Gordon, a resident of Willow Oaks Elementary
on Apr 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm

POGO You are incorrect.

The oft misquoted maxim is 'The LOVE of money is the root of all evil" and this area is living proof.

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm

R. Gordon -

The aptly named "Personal Accountability" made that comment, not me.

Those voices you are hearing are telling you to go to your medicine cabinet.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Don't take Pogo's tone too seriously, R. He's means well, I'm sure.

I, for one, would like to know what it's like living in an 8,500 square foot house. Was it memorable? Did you have servants? Were there cobwebs?

Posted by R.Gordon, a resident of another community
on Apr 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm


Of course there were servants. Those were different times and the house served as a consulate.
Four fulltime cooks and housecleaners.
One chaffeur/houseman.
Two gardeners weekly.
Two secretaries.
And a lady who would come from Laykins et. Cie with an armed guard twice a week because mother's jewelry was bought/brought from them and they handled the insurance when my mother wore items.
People lived closer to a European lifestyle and my parents were Republicans.
Then, there was a different lifestyle other than just horses and griping about street repairs.Most all activity was centered on raising money for charities and a lot of dressing and going to the opera. Not building bigger homes.We also hired mixed ethnic groups and helped obtain their citizenships in order to send their children to better schools.

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