Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have bought 110 acres of a former sugar plantation on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
The agricultural land includes most of the earthen Ka Loko Reservoir, which unleashed hundreds of gallons of water in 2006 after its wall collapsed, killing seven people including a pregnant woman.
The new land adds to the couple’s 1,300 acre $100million luxury estate, which has made them the target of critics slamming them for trying to ‘colonize’ the island.
Most of Zuckerberg’s estate lies on protected agricultural and conservation land surrounding the couple’s Hawaiian residence, Ko’olau Ranch, reports the Star-Advertiser.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have bought 110 acres of a former sugar plantation on the Hawaiian island of Kauai
The pair already own the land above Pilaa Beach, on the north shore of Kauai
The now 1,400 estate owned by Zuckerberg on the Hawaiian island
The agricultural land includes most of the earthen Ka Loko Reservoir, which unleashed hundreds of gallons of water in 2006 after its wall collapsed, killing seven people including a pregnant woman. Pictured: The damage caused by the flood in 2006
Zuckerberg spent $116 million in 2014 on 707 acres of land, which included most of Pila’a beach and Kahu’aina Plantation, as well as nearly 600 acres in April this year for $53 million.
‘Mark and Priscilla continue to make their home at Ko’olau Ranch,’ Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the couple, told the newspaper in a statement statement.
The couple plan to extend their work in farming, ranching and conservation and wildlife protection on the now 1,400 acre estate, LaBolt said.
According to local Hawaiian newspaper the Garden Island, Zuckerberg’s estate has a 6,100-square-foot house with a 16-car garage, offices and security headquarters for Zuckerberg’s $23million security team.
The new addition to the estate includes the Ka Loko reservoir, which remains unrepaired after the 2006 flooding disaster and on the island’s list of high-risk dams.
Zuckerberg’s Kaloko LLC bought the 110 acres of land for $17 million in November from a company owned by the kamaaina Pflueger family, according to property records.
James Pflueger was found responsible for the dam bursting in 2006 after 40 days of rain due to his management of the reservoir, and was sentenced to seven months in jail in 2014. He later died in 2017 at the age of 91.
A close-up aerial photo of the Ka Loko Dam breach on May 2 2006, several weeks after the wall burst
The families of the seven victims and the landowners who saw their properties damaged were paid $25 million in a settlement agreement.
The reservoir, built in 1890 and used by sugar plantation operator C. Brewer &Co, is now restricted to a monitored low-water level to reduce the risk to downstream residents, including the Zuckerberg’s property, reports the newspaper.
Zuckerberg and Chan have been accused of trying to colonize the island of Kauai. They were first scrutinized after they built a wall around his first Hawaiian real estate purchase in 2014 that blocked access to Pila’a beach.
Zuckerberg was also accused by some of trying to force the tenant farmers from their historic plots, and in 2017 he apologized in the local newspaper, explaining that he was abandoning his quiet title actions and would ‘work together with the community on a new approach’.
The Facebook founder has vowed to preserve the pristine island landscape
A petition was begun last year to ‘stop Mark Zuckerberg from colonizing Kauai’, and now has more than a million signatures.
The couple earlier this year bought a 600 acre plot, which includes the spectacular Larsen’s Beach, for $53 million from a nonprofit organization established by a local family, whose roots go back to the days of the Hawaiian kingdom.
Abner and Lucy Wilcox, a missionary couple, arrived from Connecticut in 1837 – when Hawaii was still a monarchy.
The monarchy would remain in power until January 1895, and the territory was then annexed by the U.S.
The Wilcoxes ran a school, which would pass down through the generations.
In 1975 the Waioli Corporation took over the management of the land, and the trustees sold part of their property to the Zuckerberg-Chan family.
Waioli operates federal and state historic places across the island, including Waioli Mission House Museum and the Mahamoku Beach Residence in Hanalei, and Grove Farm Museum in Lihu‘e, as well as plantation-era steam locomotives in its collection.
The couple said in a statement that they plan to continue the work that the Waioli Corporation has done to conserve the land known as Lepeuli, which is home to pristine reefs and forests, providing habitat for native birds and plants.