Peter Thiel, the billionaire venture capitalist and founder of Paypal and Palantir technologies, may seem to have it all — but he isn’t as fortunate when it comes to having his own property in New Zealand.
Specifically, that’s building his dream “doomsday” home on his 477-acre mega-estate he purchased in 2015 for $13.5 million in the South Pacific nation, where he holds citizenship.
Overlooking Lake Wanaka on New Zealand’s pristine South Island, Thiel, 54, applied under his Second Star Ltd company, to build a sprawling bunker-like compound containing a spa, a theater lounge, a “meditation pod” and a library, according to records from the Queenstown-Lakes District Council.
But plans for his 10-bedroom oasis were thwarted entirely on Thursday after growing calls from environmentalists, citing “sufficient adverse landscape and visual effects on the environment.”
“The applicants seek to develop a lodge for visitor accommodation purposes, which comprises three individual structures but constructed as one building, which are described in the landscape assessment as a series of pods,” the application says. “The Owner’s Pod, back of house and a meditation pod will also be constructed. All buildings will be constructed near the building platform identified on the title.”
What’s more, according to the application, “The lodge is designed in a manner that integrates the building forms into the context of the landscape and the site whilst providing each guest room with uninterrupted north-facing views towards Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps.”
Still not everyone is pleased with the grand plan.
According to the ruling by independent commissioners on behalf of the council, the lodge would have a “distinctive visual appearance” and would be visible from many viewpoints.
“It will be of a sufficiently large scale and impact that it will draw the eye and be inappropriately dominant,” they said.
The Post has reached out to a rep for Thiel for comment.
Wanaka, a town of about 8,500 people, has been distinguished as an upscale town for tech, venture capitalist, and business moguls.
The self-proclaimed Donald Trump ally, in turn, argued that his home would appeal to a “high caliber” of visitors attracted to the exquisitely preserved views and the isolated location, adding that the environmentalists fighting against him were exaggerating on the basis of environmental protection at all costs. He even proposed abandoning the meditation pod to limit some of the visual influence.
The plans for the compound was designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates — the Japanese architecture firm behind the Tokyo Olympics stadium.
According to documents, the design was described as meant be in “harmony with the landscape,” and would’ve consisted of many standalone buildings.
Thiel, worth and estimated $7.7 billion, has owned several properties in the country over the years and is just one of many who believe New Zealand is the ultimate place for riding out a global catastrophe.
Google co-founder Larry Page was granted residency in the country last year.
Reid Hoffman, who co-founded PayPal with Thiel, and Elon Musk, and later created the career platform LinkedIn, previously told the New Yorker, New Zealand was seen as insurance for the collapse of the United States.
Meanwhile, Thiel is an investor in Bluebook Cities, which aims to build semi-autonomous cities without “dumb regulations.”
Read the full article here