By Katherine Clarke
Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive of Google, and his wife Wendy Schmidt purchased a large estate in Montecito, Calif., for $30.8 million this summer, according to people familiar with the deal.
The property had been on and off the market since 2012, when it first listed for $57.5 million, and had been listed by several different agencies, The Wall Street Journal reported. The price was eventually dropped to $36.89 million last year, according to Zillow. It wasn’t publicly listed at the time of the sale.
Known as Solana, the roughly 11-acre estate sits on a hilltop overlooking Santa Barbara. It was built around 1915 for Frederick Forrest Peabody, the chairman of the manufacturer of the Arrow shirt, according to marketing materials for the property. From the late 1950s to the late 1970s it was home to the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, a think tank that brought together dignitaries like President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Henry Kissinger to discuss societal issues.
The sellers are Bill and Sandi Nicholson, who bought the roughly 22,000-square-foot home for $5.25 million in 1999, records show. Mr. Nicholson is the former chief operating officer of Amway, which sells its own brands of cosmetics and personal products. In an interview in 2016, his wife said the couple spent more than $20 million renovating and restoring the estate.
The property still includes many original details, including a Gladding McBean terra cotta glazed surround designed for Mr. Peabody and original white Alabama marble. A wood facade in the guest reception area is cloaked in 17th -century French oak paneling originally designed for a British castle, according to the materials.
The Nicholsons couldn’t be reached for comment on the sale.
Eric Schmidt’s Big Montecito Estate
The former Google chief and his wife Wendy Schmidt own Solana, a roughly 22,000-square-foot home on a hilltop overlooking Santa Barbara, Calif.
Eric Schmidt, the longtime Google CEO, and his wife Wendy Schmidt have purchased a estate in Montecito, Calif., known as Solana.VENTURE VISUALS1 of 10
The five-bedroom mansion has panoramic views of the ocean, downtown Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Mountains. The grounds include palm trees; lemons, limes, bananas, figs and pomegranates also grow on site, according to the materials. There is also a guesthouse.
Mr. Schmidt served as chief executive of Google from 2001 to 2011, and was later the executive chairman of Google and its parent company Alphabet. He stepped down from the board of Alphabet in 2019, The Wall Street Journal reported. He is currently chair of the US Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Advisory Board. His net worth is pegged at around $17.6 billion by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
He and Ms. Schmidt bought the house via a limited liability company named for Okeanos, who in Greek mythology was the father of the river gods. The couple are founders of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, a nonprofit foundation established to advance oceanographic research. The foundation has worked with an ocean vessel of the same name to explore and map the ocean.
SOURCE : WALL STREET JOURNAL