Mark Zuckerberg spent 17 million USD to buy more land in Hawaii, determined to ‘root’ in tropical paradise
- Tram Ho
Mark Zuckerberg has once again expanded his huge complex in the island of Hawaii.
Tech billionaire and CEO of Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has purchased an additional 110 acres (about 0.45 square kilometers) of land on the island of Kauai, in the Hawaiian archipelago. With this latest addition, Zuckerberg’s estate, which he has nicknamed himself Ko’olau Ranch, has grown to nearly 1,500 acres (about 6 square kilometers) on the north coast of Kauai.
According to Star-Advertiser , this acquisition cost Zuckerberg $17 million. The land also includes a centuries-old reservoir, whose dam burst in 2006 resulting in flooding that killed seven people. And even this lake has not been repaired and is still considered high risk. But Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have pledged to fulfill the legal requirements surrounding the reservoir.
This latest land purchase is also Zuckerberg’s second this year. In March, the CEO paid $53 million for nearly 600 acres (2.4 square kilometers) of land in Kauai, including a public beach and a working cattle ranch.
“Mark and Priscilla continue to make their home in Ko’olau Ranch,” Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the billionaire couple, said in a statement.
He added that the couple has “worked closely with a number of community partners to operate a working farm that promotes conservation, sustainable agriculture and wildlife protection and wishes to expand their efforts to include this additional property.”
But, the couple’s presence on this island remains controversial in the seven years since they decided to “root” there. Many local residents see Zuckerberg’s land purchase as a “new monarchy” and disrespect the island’s history.
The first time Zuckerberg angered his neighbors was in 2016, when he built a two-foot wall around his property to reduce noise from highways and roads. A year later, Zuckerberg filed a lawsuit against hundreds of locals, who still have legal title to portions of the resort property that Mark bought, through inheritance from their ancestors. This was based on the Kuleana Act, a Hawaiian law first enacted in 1850 that gave natives the right to own land on which their ancestors lived. These are often small plots of land in a large area, which is often legally forgotten. Many people don’t even know they have these rights until they are sued.
Mark then said that the litigation was to “make sure that the smaller part owners get paid their fair share as well”. But residents described the move as “new colonialism”.
Zuckerberg later dropped the lawsuit, saying that he and his wife wanted to “make this right, talk to the community, and find a better approach.” The disputed pieces of land were eventually sold at auction, with three of the four sold to a contractor that Zuckerberg supported.
While Zuckerberg, Chan and their two daughters live in Palo Alto, California, it seems the entire family has chosen to spend more time on the remote island estate over the past two years. In March of this year, the couple gave $4.2 million to an employment program for residents of Kauai who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Recently awarded $4.85 million in affordable housing grants.
Source : Genk