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The Bay Area's New Most Expensive House Goes Up for Auction

The Silicon Valley sultans on San Francisco's "Billionaire Row" must be throwing their iThings against the walls in anger. This palatial property on the nearby Tiburon Peninsula is threatening to become the most expensive home in the Bay area, with an original list price of...

$45 million.

If "Villa Belvedere" actually sells for that much during a private auction on December 30 – the starting bid is $25 million – it will knock off the current record holder for priciest pad, this $38.5 million fixer-upper on the Billionaire's Block. Why is the price tag so hefty it would require a team of Clydesdales to transport it? Part of the asking value is earmarked for charity, according to Decker Bullock and Sotheby's International Realty, with an unspecified amount helping out the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

The bloated manse, which has more than two-dozen rooms, is located across the Bay in the town of Belvedere. The tiny community of roughly 2,000 people is an elite bubble of wealth clinging to the larger bubble of wealth that is San Francisco – the median household income in 2010 was $132,000. Other notable census facts: The people of Belvedere are 94 percent white, sway Republican and 13 percent of them use public transportation, mostly the ferry.

In the below video tour, owner Jeff Paster explains that the Villa is "all about the view." He must be talking about looking inward, because the amenities on this waterside fortress are ridiculous.

The comforts of the Belvedere include 15,500 square feet of bedrooms, bathrooms and common areas, a 50-foot-long lap pool with a cabana, an art gallery, a movie theater, a 2,000-bottle wine cellar, something called "whole-house sound with invisible speakers," of course an elevator and parking for 15-or-so cars. The temperature and security cameras are controlled by six iPads mounted throughout, raising the interesting question of whether some pimply Russian kid can hack the home and make all its cameras zoom in on the garbage cans in the driveway.

Here's a glimpse into the bank account-exploding house:

Photos courtesy of Decker Bullock/Sotheby's International Realty.

John Metcalfe is a staff writer at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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