A Belvedere couple bought a century-old house for the eye-popping price of $4.2 million, and is now raising even more eyebrows because their only intention was to tear it down.
"This is a very unique situation," said Dave Bettis, president of the construction firm whose bulldozers were demolishing the site on Monday. "We haven't dealt with this before in Marin County."
The structure in question is 333 Belvedere Ave. in the tony Marin County community about a half-hour drive from San Francisco, where fetching home prices in the millions rarely causes anyone to bat an eyelash.
But the 100-plus-year-old carriage home was blocking views for its new property owner, along with other neighbors who longed for better vistas of the sparkling bay waters and stunning Golden Gate Bridge.
That view is obviously central to Clark and Sharon Winslow who live next door. The Winslows have declined interviews. But according to a real estate listing, they bought a home next to the five-bedroom, 6,500-square-foot carriage house in 2008 for $19 million.
The house they live in - all 11,200 square feet of it -- includes a "resort-style health club" with a 60-foot pool and 5,000 square feet of stone terraces. But it has no yard or garden. And of course, their sprawling estate used to have a blocked view of the Bay.
The carriage home also was dilapidated, according to Bettis, and had fallen into foreclosure two years ago.
So destroying the structure to create, well, nothing, was precisely the point. And to the Winslows, it was obviously worth shelling out huge amounts of cash to buy the home and then tear it down.
Most seem to be thrilled the carriage home is now being turned into rubble. Several residents who attended a recent planning commission meeting voiced their support for a demolition permit.
"The view is really nice now," said neighbor Roger Snow. "It's really improved."