updated 12:00 pm EDT, Wed April 29, 2009
Jobs skips Woodside meet
Apple CEO Steve Jobs was absent from a Tuesday town council meeting over the fate of his historic Woodside property, writes the Palo Alto Daily News. Representing Jobs was lawyer Howard Ellman, who claimed that ongoing medical problems would prevent Jobs from actively participating in the debate. "I don't think he would be strong enough if we were here until 1 AM, and I think there's a strong possibility of that," said Ellman early into the proceedings.
Jobs is seeking to tear down a 17,000-square-foot mansion he owns, with the purpose of constructing a new and more modern house. The mansion was originally built in 1925, however, for a regionally famous copper miner, Daniel Jackling. Courts have argued that neither Jobs nor Woodside have done enough to try and save the house; also rejected was the town's suggestion that a restoration would be "economically infeasible," given that no estimate was provided for a new house.
On Tuesday, Ellman's team responded with consultant projections that a restoration would cost $13.3 million, some $5.1 million more than the cost of a proposed building. The figure has been challenged by mayor Peter Mason though, who observes for instance that while flooring in the new home would allegedly cost $12 per square foot, a restoration of existing flooring is estimated at $22 per square foot. Ellman suggests that Jobs' team has already gone into more detail than required. "This gives you the ability to grant the permit and make the findings you have to make," he said at the meeting.
A former resident of the Jackling house, Clotilde Luce, has called for the town to get an independent estimate on the potential costs of disassembling the house and moving it to another location. Luce has also accused Jobs of not working hard enough to find a restoration party, citing e-mails from a man named Paul Berger, who has proposed moving the old mansion to Napa. While Ellman has described the offer as not serious enough, Luce suggests that it was only an initial submission, and that Jobs could make a contribution as high as $5 million to move the project along.
A ruling on the Jackling house is expected at a future meeting.