$43M listing could bring new record to Portola Valley

Ask for spec estate on 7 acres tops $4,500 psf

Coldwell Banker's Billy McNair and 40 Firethorn Way in Portola Valley (Getty, McNair Group, Coldwell Banker, Google Maps)

Coldwell Banker’s Billy McNair and 40 Firethorn Way in Portola Valley (Getty, McNair Group, Coldwell Banker, Google Maps)

A new listing in Portola Valley seeks to put the Mid-Peninsula community in the same price range as neighboring Woodside, with a $43-million asking price for the newly built view estate on seven acres.

No Portola Valley home has sold for more than $25 million, so a sale anywhere close to the list price would set a new record. 

Located on 40 Firethorn Way, the new home has seven bedrooms and seven full bathrooms in about 9,500 square feet, for an asking price of around $4,500 per square foot. 

YLCL Investments bought the property for just under $6.9 million in 2016, according to public records, and worked in collaboration with architectural firm Swatt-Miers on the project.  The property has a guest house and four-car garage with a rooftop deck that can be accessed from the upper level of the main home as well as from the infinity pool in the back, according to listing agent Billy McNair of Coldwell Banker.

The knoll-top views stretch from the nearby Windy Hill Open Space Preserve all the way out to the East Bay and was a major reason the developers sunk their money and more than seven years into the property, McNair said, adding that it is their first Portola Valley construction.

“A property like this is going to demonstrate that the ultra-luxury market and the ultra-luxury buyer is there in Portola Valley and I think the views and the privacy are going to be the driving force on that,” McNair said.

Since the home came on the market at the end of last month, he said, several of the interested parties touring the house were locals who were considering doing their own ground up construction but were deterred by how long the process would take and saw the value in a move-in-ready home.

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“It is exceptionally difficult to build in Portola Valley and Woodside; both towns are fairly notorious for lengthy build cycles,” he said. 

Typically owner-users are the only ones willing to wait out the development process for their “forever homes,” he said, compared to nearby areas like Atherton where the development process is easier and there is more new-build inventory. Even then, he said, there’s a “dearth of new construction” throughout the Peninsula and what comes to the market on large parcels like this one is generally a decade or more old.  

Sun Microsystems co-founder Scott McNealy has been trying to sell his nearby 13-acre estate, technically in Palo Alto, for $54 million since 2020. Originally priced at $100 million in 2018, the 2008 property has an ice hockey rink, indoor sport court, poker room and three-hole golf course. 

Some of the buyers looking at Firethorn also looked at that property, McNair said, but the difference in architectural styles—modern versus traditional, buildings all in one area versus spread out throughout the property—means there hasn’t been a lot of overlap.

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Plus, he said, new-build buyers tend to be interested in just that: a brand new build with no previous owners. 

“A lot of these folks love the idea that literally nobody’s ever lived in the home,” he said. “They are the original owner to move in and nobody has preceded them.”