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Richest Silicon Valley Suburb Says Build Anywhere But Here

Marc Andreessen isn’t alone. Many of his neighbors in Atherton, Calif., expressed strong opposition to multifamily housing.
Marc Andreessen

Marc Andreessen

Illustration: Michelle Rohn for Bloomberg Businessweek

Billionaire venture capitalist Marc Andreessen penned a blog post in 2020 titled “It’s Time to Build,” calling for the urgent development of new businesses, infrastructure, and housing across the US. This summer he offered a very different message in a letter to officials in Atherton, Calif., the Silicon Valley suburb he and his wife, Laura, call home. In the letter, the Andreessens expressed their “IMMENSE objection” to a proposal spurred by a new state law that would incentivize multifamily housing. “They will MASSIVELY decrease our home values,” they wrote.

Atherton is the wealthiest place in America, home to massive estates, long driveways, iron fences—and, it turns out, a lot of very angry, very rich residents, many of whom make their money in tech. Among those who submitted 270 public comments released by the city were several other prominent venture capitalists as well as onetime senior executives at Apple, Facebook, Google, SoftBank Group, and Twitter.