Facebook tycoon’s $4.7m Queenstown buy

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Internet billionaire Peter Thiel has made his promised Queens­town property purchase – from the wife of notorious bankrupt Rod Nielsen. 

Terranet property searches show a Kiwi company owned by Thiel last month paid $4.7 million for the Edinburgh Drive home known locally as the ‘Plasma Screen’. 

Super-wealthy Thiel appears to have stumped up full price for his property – the rating valuation is just $1.3m.
Thiel founded PayPal in 1998, selling it in 2002 for $US1.5 billion. 

In 2004 he became the first outside investor in Facebook, bankrolling founder Mark Zuckerberg with a $US500,000 grubstake now thought to be a billion-dollar-plus investment. 

In July, Thiel told Auckland’s Weekend Herald he’d bought a property in Parnell – and Queenstown was next.
His love affair with this country began 18 years ago on an adventure tourism trip to the resort, he told the Auckland paper. 

Thiel’s Queenstown Hill prize was built on a difficult site carved out of solid rock. 

The exterior of the 360 square metre home features 18 tonnes of granite from Switzerland, with interior veneer panels from Australia and bathroom fixtures from Italy. 

Its nickname comes from the 15 metre by 3m landscape window in front. 

When building the house in 2004-05, Nielsen was flush with dough from his Queenstown developments – he was subsequently bankrupted in September 2009 and owes $34 million. 

The Queenstown Hill home has previously been held by two Nielsen-linked companies, Lakeview Trust and Waterview Trustees. 

Nielsen was a director of both until bankrupted – wife Sirene Millar then became sole director of each firm. Millar owns Lakeview in her own name, while a lawyer’s trust company owns Waterview.