Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt buys Montecito manse for $31M

11-acre estate had been on and off the market for nearly a decade; has played host to JFK and MLK over the years

TRD LOS ANGELES /
Sep.September 09, 2020 09:00 AM
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and the exterior of the house (Credit: Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images, and JIM BARTSCH via The Wall Street Journal)
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and the exterior of the house (Credit: Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images, and JIM BARTSCH via The Wall Street Journal)

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife Wendy purchased a sprawling Montecito estate for nearly half its original asking price.

The couple paid $30.8 million for the 11-acre hilltop property known as Solana, which overlooks Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The property had been on and off the market since 2012. It first listed for $57.5 million, but by last year the asking price was down to just under $37 million.

The sellers, Bill and Sandi Nicholson, paid $5.25 million for the estate in 1999, and reportedly spent around $20 million to restore and renovate the property.

The main house is 22,000 square feet and has five bedrooms. The estate retains many of the 100-year-old-plus original features, including white Alabama marble and terra cotta.

Schmidt and his wife join numerous celebrities and business executives in Montecito, including Oprah Winfrey and Ellen Degeneres. Tesla designer Franz von Holzhausen recently bought a Richard Neutra-designed property there.

The Solana estate was built in 1915 by Arrow company chairman Frederick Forrest Peabody and in 1959 was home to the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, a then-influential think tank.

President Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were among those who participated in discussions there. The property was sold in 1977.

The grounds are landscaped with lawns and garden features. There are also palm trees, lemon trees, banana trees, fig trees, and pomegranate trees.

Schmidt, who was CEO of Google from 2001 to 2011, stepped down as executive chairman of both Google and its parent company Alphabet last year. His net worth is estimated at $17.6 billion and he is currently chair of the U.S. Department of Defense advisory board. [WSJ]Dennis Lynch


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