John Sobrato's Newest Catch
|The Sobrato Org chairman John Sobrato has been developing buildings for tech businesses long before Santa Clara County got its nickname (now, tech companies are gobbling up buildings like Pac-Man). Now he's working with a large international company on a 600k SF campus. It’s not signed yet, but it’ll be one of the largest deals to happen here in years.
|We're waiting with bated breath (and this fish with baited breath). In the meantime, the company’s also working on some spec projects in East Palo Alto that are moving through the process. Is there a market? “No one else is building spec, so we hope so,” he says. He anticipates breaking ground on the first two buildings (220k SF) in about a month and is going through the preliminary entitlement phase on more buildings. “We’ll eventually have half a million square feet right at the corner of University and Donahue in four buildings.” The 2012 David Packard Award honoree began his real estate career selling Eichler homes in Palo Alto.
|John, more spiffed up. The company developed the iconic Apple Computer world HQ (856k SF) in Cupertino, as well as the Siebel and Nvidia campuses, and has also developed offices for Netflix, EMC, Verisign, and Yahoo! (They’re not doing Apple’s new HQ, though: “They don’t need us now that they’re the richest company in the world.”) There was “no way” to know back then how the area would develop into a tech mecca. “Back in the early ’60s, we still had fruit trees everywhere,” he recalls. John spends 20 weeks of the year on his yacht, Gran Finale. “It travels around the world; right now it’s in Spain,” he says, But on April 26, he’ll be on dry land at the Marriott San Mateo, as a panelist on Bisnow’s Silicon Valley Summit. Sign up here to hear more!