`Monster mansion' revised

PeopleSoft founder makes another try at superhome near San Francisco

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November 02, 2005|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

SAN FRANCISCO -- PeopleSoft Inc. founder Dave Duffield, who wants to build a home that would dwarf the White House and Hearst Castle, is revising his plans after receiving complaints from neighbors who call it a "monster mansion."

Duffield's blueprints call for a three-story, 72,000-square-foot home with 25,000 square feet of outbuildings, including guest quarters, a stable and a 20-car garage. The project was being reviewed by the Bryan Ranch Homeowners' Association in Alamo, Calif., about 30 miles east of San Francisco.

"I requested a temporary suspension of the review process while we propose some modifications and amendments to the plans to address some of the neighbors' and community concerns," Jim Dugdale, project manager for Duffield and his wife, Cheryl, said Monday in an e-mailed statement. "We continue to strive for a win-win situation."

More than 70 percent of Bryan Ranch homeowners oppose the project because of the "negative impact" they say it will have on the community during and after construction, according to a group called Save Bryan Ranch. They say the project will take at least two years to complete.

Duffield's new home, to be situated on a 22-acre lot, would be nine times larger than the biggest house on Country Oak Lane, a rural neighborhood where other homes sell for as much as $3.5 million.

By comparison, the White House in Washington has 55,000 square feet, and Hearst Castle in San Simeon, overlooking the California coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles, is 60,645 square feet.

Duffield's current plans call for demolishing the existing 8,000-square- foot home and replacing it with a three-story main structure with two swimming pools, a dog-grooming room, auto and wood shops, and a game room with separate bathrooms for boys and girls, according to Elizabeth Pelletier, who owns the house next door to the Duffields and opposes the plans.

Duffield, 65, founded PeopleSoft in 1987 and is ranked No. 320 on Forbes magazine's list of the richest Americans, with an estimated fortune of $1.1 billion. He was PeopleSoft's chairman until the business-management software company was acquired by Oracle Corp. in January after an 18-month takeover battle.

"While the neighbors are hopeful that the Duffields will significantly modify their plans," Save Bryan Ranch said, "the fact that the Duffields indicated they would be resubmitting their plans within just one month left many neighbors skeptical that any proposed revision would be significant enough to win their support."

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