PeopleSoft founder's mega-estate draws scorn

Tech Culture

Software baron Dave Duffield is returning to the San Francisco Bay Area, and he plans to do it in style.

The PeopleSoft founder has drafted plans for a mansion bigger than the Hearst Castle on 22 acres of land in the town of Alamo, about 30 miles East of the city by the bay . At 72,000 square-feet, the house would also surpass the White House and Bill Gates' home in size, according to the Contra Costa Times.

In addition to the main building, the designs include a stable, pool and 20-car underground garage, adding another 25,000 square feet of buildings, the paper reported.

The plan has ticked off neighbors. One sent an angry letter to the homeowners association that's reviewing Duffield's application, writing, "Even William Randolph Hearst in conceiving his castle matched his dream with the land ... by buying more than 130,000 acres to surround his castle."

Duffield is no stranger to real estate controversy, however. Last year he bought and shut down Ponderosa Ranch, a 500-acre theme park on the edge of Lake Tahoe where the TV show Bonanza was filmed. The move reportely ruffled residents in the surrounding area, where the Duffields have lived for the past few years.

Nevertheless, a move to Alamo would bring Duffield, 65, closer to the Walnut Creek offices of Workday, his new software company. He founded it after a brief return to the helm of PeopleSoft that ended when the company finally succumbed to hostile takeover by rival Oracle.

PeopleSoft made Duffield a wealthy man. With a net worth of $1.1 billion, he ranks No. 320 on Fortune magazine's list of the 400 richest Americans this year.

Oracle chief Larry Ellison ranks No. 5 on that list and clearly has the bigger software company. Perhaps Duffield can outdo him in the house department at least?

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