Zuckerberg Just Expanded His 'New Monarchy' in Hawaii

He spends $17M to add 110 more acres to his estate
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2021 10:20 AM CST
Zuckerberg Just Expanded His 'New Monarchy' in Hawaii
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are seen at the NASA Ames Research Center on Nov. 4, 2018, in Mountain View, Calif.   (Photo by Peter Barreras/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – Mark Zuckerberg just added even more property to his Hawaii compound, a site that's been embroiled in controversy since he began scooping up land there in 2014. The Guardian reports the 37-year-old CEO of Facebook parent company Meta and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have dropped $17 million to tack on an extra 110 acres to their 1,500-acre Kauai estate, located on the north shore of the island. The new acquisition adds to 600 acres Zuckerberg bought in March for $53 million, which expanded the original 750 acres he purchased in 2014 for $100 million.

The Star-Advertiser notes the newest property features the Ka Loko sugar plantation reservoir, which collapsed in 2006, causing 400 million gallons of water to flood the surrounding land and kill seven people. Ben LaBolt, a spokesperson for Zuckerberg and Chan, acknowledges the reservoir remains unfixed and is considered a high-risk feature, but he adds that the couple want to get things up to speed from a legal and safety standpoint. "Mark and Priscilla continue to make their home at Ko'olau Ranch," LaBolt says in a statement, noting that they've "worked closely with a number of community partners to operate a working ranch, promote conservation, produce sustainable agriculture, and protect wildlife and look forward to expanding their efforts to include this additional property."

Whether those words soothe the locals, whom Zuckerberg has had a contentious relationship with, is another matter. Neighbors were incensed in 2016 when Zuckerberg built a 6-foot stone wall around the property that blocked beach access, and things didn't get much better in 2017, when Zuckerberg filed lawsuits to try to get owners of small, uninhabited pieces of land within his larger estate to sell those properties at auction. Business Insider notes that angry residents saw Zuckerberg's moves as "neocolonialism" and a "new monarchy" of sorts, with a disrespect on his part regarding how Hawaiian natives are tied to the land. Zuckerberg eventually dropped those complaints, saying he wanted "to make this right" with the locals. (Read more Mark Zuckerberg stories.)

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