Iconic Fleishhacker (Green Gables) estate could set a sales record in Woodsdie, California

A view of the main house from the pond at Green Gables. For the first time in more than 100 years the Fleishhacker estate (Green Gables) in Woodside is on the market.

One of Woodside’s oldest estates, the 75-acre Fleishhacker property known as Green Gables, is for sale.

The property has been quietly on the market since 2015 (with agents and potential buyers all asked to sign nondisclosure agreements to view the property) at a listing price said to be around$160 million.

The property comes encumbered with a conservation easement held by the Garden Conservancy barring it in perpetuity from subdivision, any commercial use except rental of the homes on the property or educational uses, and restricting the expansion or replacement of the existing structures.

The property, located in central Woodside near the intersection of Albion and Manuella avenues, includes seven houses, three swimming pools, and an 18,000-square-foot reflecting pool surrounded by a faux Roman stone arcade.

The main home, designed by Charles Greene of the architectural firm Greene and Greene, has been listed on the National Registry of Historic Places since 1986. The property has been used by the descendants of banker and businessman Mortimer Fleishhacker and artist Bella Gerstle Fleishhacker as a summer retreat for more than a century.

While the property is a short walk from Woodside’s small commercial area and elementary school, and a five-minute drive from Sand Hill Road’s venture capital offices, almost no sign of surrounding Silicon Valley is visible from the grounds. The main house sits on a knoll with a view of an expansive lawn and reflecting pool, backed by the Santa Cruz Mountains. Apart from a few visible power lines and glimpses of parts of a couple of homes, the main house could be in the midst of a wilderness area.

Greene worked on the main house, its landscaping and some of the accessory structures on the property between 1911 and 1935. He even hand-carved a table and chairs and decorative woodwork for the main home’s card room, which replaced what had previously been a porch in the 1920s.

The 2003 conservation easement says the Garden Conservancy will get 1 percent of the total of any sale, up to $1 million. The easement’s purpose, according to the document, is “to assure that the Property will be retained forever as a natural, scenic, historic and horticultural resource, and to prevent any use of the Property that will significantly impair or interfere with the Conservation Values of the Property.”

The easement document says the main home and the Wurster-designed home may not be expanded; but the easement does allow expanding or replacing the estate’s other homes by no more than 33 percent.

 

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