Billionaire venture capitalist Marc Andreessen roasted for new housing in Silicon Valley town after calling formor
Silicon Valley billionaire Marc Andreessen is known for his successful venture capital bets on tech companies such as Facebook, Skype, Lyft, Pinterest, Airbnb and Slack. One of his later positions, however, is much more controversial.
In June, Andreessen co-founder Horowitz and his wife, philanthropist Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, wrote to local officials in the tony suburb of San Francisco, America’s most expensive ZIP code, to oppose a zoning change that would allow multi-family properties in some locations and build about 130 units by 2031.
“I am writing this letter to communicate our HUGE objection to the creation of multi-family overlay areas in Atherton,” the couple wrote, according to a public comment discovered by Atlantic. “Please IMMEDIATELY REMOVE all multi-family zoning projects from the housing element that will be submitted to the State in July. They will MASSIVELY reduce our home values, the quality of life for ourselves and our neighbors and HUGELY increase noise pollution and traffic.
The housing proposal was ultimately rejected.
NIMBY’s apparent position is at odds with Mr. Andreessen’s public comments. He called for more housing construction in the Bay Area in an influential 2020 writing titled “It’s time to build”.
In the article, he hammered home “skyrocketing housing prices in places like San Francisco, making it nearly impossible for ordinary people to move in and take on the jobs of the future.”
He argued that “regulatory capture,” that is, opposition to the construction of new buildings through official channels, was preventing San Francisco and other localities from building “the American city of the future.”
“We should have sparkling skyscrapers and spectacular living environments in all our best cities at levels far beyond what we have now; Where are they?” he continued.
Last April, he likened high rents in New York to racially discriminatory covenants, a problem he found all the more glaring in a city it has derided as “the ground zero of the so-called preoccupation with inequality and privilege”.
Critics were quick to feast on the irony, calling the venture capitalist hopelessly out of touch.
He reportedly owns a $16.6 million “Tuscan-style mansion” in the city, according to Hollywood journalistas well as two separate mega mansions in Malibu, worth over $200 million in total.
“I’m not sure there’s anything more pathetic than Marc Andreessen, a real billionaire, who complains that building multi-family homes in his town would ‘MASSIVELY’ reduce the value of his own home,” said writer Matt O’Brien in a tweet on Friday.
Others used the news to mock Mr Andreessen’s 2020 trial.
“Marc Andreessen: TIME TO BUILD IF NOT IN MY BACKYARD,” joked writer and podcaster Paris Marx.
Some critics noted that the irony was equally rich on the part of Ms Arrillaga-Andreessen, who is the daughter of a billionaire Silicon Valley property developer.
“Marc Andreessen, who married into the family of one of the Bay Area’s most prominent real estate developers, decided it was not time to build when it was near his home,” said said Twitter user Andrew Granato.
The Independent contacted Mr. Andreessen and Ms. Arrillaga-Andreessen for comment.