PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) — Two tech titans are carving out new compounds in Silicon Valley, gobbling up homes over entire blocks.

“Usually, you know, you find out who it belongs to, and that kind of stuff,” says Palo Alto resident Julian Ashton, standing outside the massive tear down underway on Cowper Street. “It’s definitely people with a lot and a lot of money. That’s for sure.”

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Once just chitter-chatter among neighbors, the latest tech compounds are now taking shape in Silicon Valley. Both are products of the same company, which happens to run the most used messaging app in the world.

In Palo Alto, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton has purchased seven houses on one block–what could be the largest of them is now getting torn down by hand.

“It’s just surprising, I think, to everybody that the home could sell for so much money and essentially be demolished,” Ashton said, watching the roof get dismantled.

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Acton’s properties wrap around the corner, touching all four sides of the block. Over in Atherton, WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum has purchased five properties. Two new homes are now under construction on what’s being called a compound.

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Back over in Palo Alto, neighbors told KPIX 5 these were off-market sales. The area has seen multiple property buyouts before.

“There are a few compounds around by people, you know, who are billionaires,” said neighbor Margaret Forsythe. One of those is the Mark Zuckerberg compound in Palo Alto’s Crescent Park.

But the seven home compound in Professorville is still enough to have neighbors in awe. It’s remarkable land grab, even if measured by the platinum standards of Palo Alto.

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“A place where only the very rich can live,” said Forsythe. “And I think this is one symbol of it.”

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The two compounds, first reported by Variety Magazine, put the combined price of the 12 properties at just more than $143 million.