Mark Zuckerberg Priscilla Chan
Priscilla Chan, left, and Mark Zuckerberg.

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  • Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan paid $53 million for nearly 600 acres of land on Kauai.
  • The purchase brings their total land holdings on the island to more than 1,300 acres.
  • The couple's presence in Kauai has frustrated some local 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, according to Pacific Business Journal's Janis L. Magin. It brings the couple's total land holdings on the island to more than 1,300 acres.

The deal, which closed on March 19, encompasses three separate 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, and Zuckerberg and Chan also plan to continue leasing a portion of the land to Paradise Ranch, a working cattle ranch, according to Pacific Business Journal.

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 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 told Kauai newspaper The Garden Island that they are 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," Zuckerberg and Chan said in the statement.

A controversial $100 million compound

Kauai Hawaii
Anini Beach Park on Kauai's North Shore.

Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Zuckerberg, who's the fifth-richest person in the world with a fortune worth $121 billion, and Chan have been residents of Kauai since 2014, when they purchased a 750-acre compound on the North Shore. They paid a reported $100 million for two separate 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 the past. In 2016, Zuckerberg angered neighbors by constructing a 6-foot wall around his property with the intention of reducing "highway and road noise."

One year later, Zuckerberg filed suit against Hawaiian families who had legal-ownership claims on parcels of land within his property. Zuckerberg said at the time that he filed the suit in order to "make sure smaller partial owners get paid for their fair share too," but the move prompted backlash from residents who described it as "neocolonialism."

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

Read more: A drunken late-night assault allegation has roiled the secretive world of Mark Zuckerberg's private family office. Personal aides are speaking out about claims that household staff endured sexual harassment and racism from their colleagues.

While the couple and their two daughters are typically based 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 in July, Zuckerberg was spotted riding a $12,000 electric surfboard while covered in sunscreen. He was photographed again in December, albeit this time with less visible sunscreen.

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

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