How tech billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Ellison are supercharging the Lake Tahoe ultra luxury market

Moguls are building compounds and investing in mountain resorts

Tech Billionaires Supercharge Lake Tahoe Luxury Market

From left: A photo illustration of Larry Ellison and Mark Zuckerberg along with Lake Tahoe (Getty)

Lake Tahoe has long been a favorite getaway for Bay Area residents, who flock to its mountain towns for skiing, hiking and summer days on its famously blue waters. 

Now, after two decades of Silicon Valley minting new tech billionaires, the Bay Area’s wealth boom is supercharging the luxury real estate market in Lake Tahoe, Forbes reports. They are buying lakefront trophy properties and shepherding in a new wave of development with grand visions for reimagined historic resorts and casinos. 

The most notable billionaire bought into Lake Tahoe’s ultra luxury real estate is Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook founder and fourth-richest person in the world dropped $59 million on an adjacent pair of lakefront properties, the Carousel Estate and the Brushwood Estate, in 2018 and 2019. Combined, they span 10 acres and 600 feet of waterfront, according to the outlet. Despite its historic status, Zuckerberg secured permission to demolish the Carousel Estate and has begun construction of seven new buildings on the compound, SFGate reported. The main house will be a 20,000-square-foot megamansion. 

While few have rivaled the tech mogul in scale and vision, Zuckerberg isn’t the only one of his ilk dropping eight figures on a lake house. Nora Lacey, the founder of biotech unicorn Cell Marque, and her husband Dr. Michael Lacey, bought their 5-acre lakefront estate, known as the Old Forge, for $31.1 million in 2017, according to Mansion Global. The couple has listed the compound, which was built by billionaire casino mogul Steve Wynn in the 1990s, for $68.9 million. 

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Blockchains founder and CEO Jeffrey Berns bought a 12,000-square-foot lakefront mansion for $47.5 million in 2022, making it one of the priciest Lake Tahoe sales ever. The home has a 1,200-bottle wine cellar, an elevator, movie theater, wet bar and gym. Berns listed the mansion for $50 million in June, and the property is now pending, Redfin shows. 

Another tech billionaire, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison has reportedly acquired four properties, each between $15 million and $20 million, where he is building a sprawling compound, according to the Reno Gazette Journal

Ellison has had other irons in the Lake Tahoe real estate fire. He bought the historic Cal Neva Resort & Casino for $38.6 million in 2018, saving it from bankruptcy, then sold it last year for $58 million, SFGate reported. The buyers are Denver-based investment firm McWhinney, which plans to renovate and restore the resort and reopen for its 100th anniversary in 2026, Forbes reported. 

Ellison did not abandon Lake Tahoe hospitality in selling Cal Neva. In 2021, he bought the Hyatt in Tahoe’s Incline Village for $345 million

–– Kate Hinsche

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