By James McClain

Well, that didn’t take long. Only a month after it first popped up for sale, the stunningly preserved San Marino home of the late Stephen Hillenburg has sold for about $5.1 million in an all-cash deal — an almost unbelievable $1.1 million more than the $4 million asking price and more than double what the “Spongebob SquarePants” creator paid for the place in 2006.

Records reveal the ferocious bidding war’s winner is Hong Kong-born billionaire Gerald Chan, a naturalized U.S. citizen who made his fortune in shopping malls and other real estate holdings in Hong Kong and Mainland China, and in private equity and venture capital investment stateside. In 2014, Chan and his brother Ronnie — who are together worth $2 billion, per Forbes — donated $350 million to Harvard University, the largest single donation in the school’s history up to that point.

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