Skip to main content

‘Stay the f*** out!’: A vibe check in Zuck’s new Tahoe hood

The image shows a gated driveway with a stone entrance, and a traffic cone bearing a sign that reads, "STAY THE FUCK OUT!" with "DO NOT ENTER" written vertically on the cone.
A neighbor’s sign near Mark Zuckerberg’s new Tahoe compound reads, “Stay the fuck out!” | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Hanging around outside Mark Zuckerberg’s new luxury compound on the western shore of Lake Tahoe, it wasn’t just the hot summer sun I felt bearing down on me. I was being watched.

The billionaire Meta boss is building a massive home on two properties combining 10 acres of lakefront property, complete with a lakeside spa and thermal security cameras. He bought the land for $59 million between 2018 and 2019.

So, I decided to check out Zuck’s plush new pad for myself. Walking over to an open gate at the construction site at 2340-2360 Sunnyside Ln. I couldn’t help but notice the army of construction workers in hard hats and high-vis vests. 

“When did you break ground?” I asked. “When will the project be finished?”

A wooded construction site features scattered homes, a parked truck, red safety fencing, various signs, and a clear sunny sky.
There was a truck hauling dirt away as well as cones and fences at the construction site of Zuckerberg's planned estate, although much of it is blocked from view. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

“They don’t tell us anything,” one of the South Lake Tahoe construction company contractors said. Trucks on the site bore a Sierra Con decal, but beyond that, no information was offered up about the works.

“I know who you are; I don’t have any answers for you,” said a stubble-bearded man who identified himself as the foreman before he shut the wooden gate, blocking my view of the construction site.

‘Stay the fuck out!’

Around this time, I spied a security guard watching me from across the street. He was bald with a salt-and-pepper beard, sporting sunglasses, a gray shirt and an earpiece. He was deathly still, his eyes trained solely on me.

Rather than approach this statuesque keeper of the peace and Zuck’s privacy, I decided I might have better luck chatting with the billionaire’s neighbors.

After they shut the construction site gate in my face, I first went directly across the street to a massive home at 2305 Sunnyside Ln. to see what the neighbors thought of Zuck’s giant compound.

Walking over, I saw half a dozen people milling around outside of the house, some of whom looked like construction workers. One of them was straddling an e-bike.

The image shows a rustic wooden house surrounded by tall trees under a blue sky. A few people and vehicles are present in front of the house.
People milled around in front of Zuckerberg's other property at 2305 Sunnyside Ln. when The Standard dropped by. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

One among the crew was Derrick Mains, a staffer on Meta’s operations team. Turns out Zuck owns that house too, and has for years, Mains said, although he didn’t know how long. He also wouldn’t say if Zuckerberg was at home or nearby, or share any details about his new home under construction. 

Mains did tell me I had to stay on the sidewalk as the property lines of the mansions extend to the pavement. Meaning, that if my toes hung out over the side of the road, I’d be trespassing.

He wasn’t kidding. At one point I stepped about three feet off the street onto the driveway of 2360 Sunnyside Ln., the other half of Zuckerberg’s property, when the bald earpiece guy from before appeared.

“Please step off the property, sir,” he said.

Zooming off in my 2009 Honda Fit, I was flagged down by another bald man wearing an earpiece. 

“How’s it going, man?” he said. I told him I was a reporter, and he held his hand to his earpiece for a few seconds before stepping into a white SUV.

I later asked him what he was guarding and what company he worked for, but he didn’t volunteer anything. He wouldn’t even tell me if he’s a security guard, a bizarre occurrence I’ve dealt with before.

“I really can’t say,” he said, while rolling his car window shut.

The image shows a paved street lined with tall trees on both sides and several parked cars, including a silver GMC SUV in the foreground on a sunny day.
There were nine pickup trucks and SUVs parked in front of Zuckerberg's house and in its driveway, some of which appeared to belong to security. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Stephen Finn, who lived two doors down from Zuck’s house, said the billionaire had already been living there when he moved in six years ago.

“He’s a great neighbor,” Finn said through the gate intercom. “The family’s wonderful, they’re doing a thoughtful, thorough job; that old place was falling apart.” Then he abruptly ended the interview. “OK, I gotta run.” 

Brandi Hoffine Barr, a spokesperson for the Zuckerberg family, said the new Tahoe compound is intended to be used as a family home that will also accommodate extended family and friends. She declined to say how much time Zuckerberg and his family would spend in Tahoe or comment on anything related to security, or if Zuck was in Tahoe when The Standard visited.

“Mark and Priscilla enjoy spending time with family and friends at their home on Lake Tahoe. The planned construction will maintain Tahoe’s unique local architectural style and care is being taken to avoid significant disruption in the neighborhood,” Barr said.

All the other homes on Zuck’s street were vacant when The Standard visited, and there was one I didn’t dare try to knock, thanks to a sign in the driveway reading “Stay the fuck out!” among other signs reading “no trespassing” and “private, do not enter.” I was only 10 minutes from the nearest hospital, but I figured it wasn’t worth the risk.

After mostly striking out with Zuck’s neighbors, I decided to see what some local businesses thought.

‘Another guy with a bunch of money’

Fire Sign Cafe manager and King’s Beach homeowner Sabrina Burge was unsurprised that many of the lakeside homes The Standard visited seemed to be vacant. She said empty mansions on the lake for much of the year are a symptom of a broader issue in the Lake Tahoe area, where rental homes that are only occupied during peak tourist seasons in the summer and winter months dominate the real estate scene. 

“It’s terrible,” Burge said. “It’s not good for the local economy, we have a huge lull in the off-season.”

A woman stands in front of a gray building with a red door, porch, and flowers. She wears a black "Fire Sign Café" t-shirt. The café sign and some trees are visible.
Fire Sign Cafe manager Sabrina Burge said many Tahoe homes are vacant much of the year. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Burge said she’s also worried that billionaires building mansions on the lake will drive more wealthy homeowners to the area, driving up property values and making it more difficult for locals to buy homes.

“It’s like a spiral effect,” Burge said.

But other business owners like 77-year-old Karl Motsenbocker, who lives in Tahoe City and has owned nearby Rosie’s Cafe for 35 years, said he’s not perturbed by Zuck’s massive lakeside home and has no real opinion of the billionaire. 

“It’s just another guy with a bunch of money on the lake,” Motsenbocker said. “I’m just minding my own business.”