Mark Zuckerberg bought more land in Hawaii for $53 million, adding to his massive and controversial real-estate portfolio on the island of Kauai

Mark Zuckerberg Priscilla Chan
Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg. Taylor Hill/Getty Images
  • Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan paid $53 million for nearly 600 acres of land on Kauai.
  • The purchase brought their total landholdings on the island to more than 1,300 acres.
  • The couple’s presence in Kauai has frustrated some residents in years past.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Mark Zuckerberg is scooping up more property on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

The Facebook CEO and his wife, Priscilla Chan, paid $53 million for nearly 600 acres of land on Kauai’s North Shore, Pacific Business Journal’s Janis L. Magin reported last week. It brought the couple’s total landholdings on the island to more than 1,300 acres.

The purchase, which closed on March 19, encompasses three parcels of land, including a portion near a public beach called Lepeuli, also known as Larsen’s Beach. The beach will remain accessible to the public. Zuckerberg and Chan also plan to continue leasing a portion of the land to Paradise Ranch, a working cattle ranch, according to a statement from the couple viewed by Insider.

Zuckerberg and Chan bought the land from Waioli Corporation, a local nonprofit that preserves historic locations throughout the island. The nonprofit’s president, Sam Pratt, told SFGate’s Amy Graff in a statement on Friday that the couple’s dedication to the island led to the sale.

“We know that this land will remain in their trusted hands and that Mark and Priscilla will act as responsible stewards of Lepeuli today and in the future,” Pratt said.

Zuckerberg and Chan said in a statment to Insider that they were grateful to be entrusted with the continued preservation of the land.

“We have been working closely with a number of community partners to promote conservation, produce sustainable agriculture and protect native wildlife at our ranch and in the surrounding areas, and look forward to extending that effort to Lepeuli in the months ahead,” they said.

A controversial $100 million compound

Kauai Hawaii
Anini Beach Park on Kauai’s North Shore. Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Chan and Zuckerberg, who’s the fifth-richest person in the world, worth $121 billion, have been residents of Kauai since 2014, when they purchased a 750-acre compound on the North Shore. They were said to have paid $100 million for two properties: a 357-acre former sugarcane plantation called Kahu’aina Plantation, and a 393-acre parcel called Pila’a Beach.

But the couple’s presence has stirred up controversy. In 2016, Zuckerberg angered neighbors by constructing a 1.83m wall around his property with the intention of reducing “highway and road noise.”

One year later, Zuckerberg filed a lawsuit against Hawaiian families who had legal-ownership claims on parcels of land within his property. Zuckerberg said at the time that he’d filed the suit to “make sure smaller partial owners get paid for their fair share too,” but residents described the move as “neocolonialism.”

Zuckerberg dropped the suit, saying he and Chan wanted “to make this right, talk with the community, and find a better approach.” The parcels were eventually auctioned off; three out of four were sold to a bidder who was reportedly backed by Zuckerberg.

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While the couple and their two daughters typically live in Palo Alto, California, near Facebook’s headquarters, it appears they’ve visited their Hawaii home throughout the pandemic. They were seen on the island in June, and Zuckerberg was spotted in July riding a $12,000 electric surfboard while covered in sunscreen. He was photographed again in December, this time with less visible sunscreen.

Last April, Zuckerberg and Chan committed $1 million to Kauai to help the region during the pandemic. Earlier this year, they poured $4.2 million into a jobs program for residents of Kauai.