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Bay Area's Wealthiest Real Estate Moguls

San Francisco Other

The Bay Area houses some of the top real estate assets in the country and the people who own them. Here are local real estate tycoons with some of the biggest bank accounts, a la Forbes.

John A. Sobrato & Family


John's 35-year-old Cupertino-based firm owns the Holy Grail of real estate in Silicon Valley, including the HQ of Apple, Yahoo and Netflix, but its roots are extremely humble. John's mom Ann didn't speak English when she arrived from Italy and went on to become the region's first female real estate developer by smartly investing in South Bay properties. (John inherited the entrepreneurial bug and started selling homes in Palo Alto while studying at Santa Clara University.) Today Sobrato's got 7.5M SF of commercial space in the Valley and 6,600 residential units on the West Coast. Cloud services company ServiceNow just inked a 328k SF lease at Sobrato's Lawson Lane campus in Santa Clara; the deal is a big win for Sobrato, which hadn't found a tenant since completing Lawson on spec in 2012. 

John Arrillaga


John would make a good CIA agent: His firm is developing a 2M SF office park in San Jose, but the secret identity of its future tenant has been kept safe for months. (Rumors run the gamut from Stanford to Qualcomm.) The earlier would make sense, considering it's his alma mater that brought him from LA to the Bay Area for a basketball scholarship. Last year he gifted the university $151M--its biggest gift from a living donor to date. With business partner Dick Peery ($2.2B), the two made billions off of Silicon Valley commercial real estate, selling about half of the portfolio in 2006 for $1.1B. Current tenants include Google and Apple.

Shorenstein Family


Next year Doug Shorenstein will celebrate his 20th year as chairman and CEO of the investment, development and management firm. A real estate attorney by trade, Doug took a big gamble in 2011 that paid off big time, scooping up a then-iffy Midmarket corner known as Market Square and luring Twitter inside. Other companies have followed Twitter to the neighborhood, including Uber and Square (now Market Square is getting ready to debut a food and drink haven). Since 2008, Shorenstein has reduced operating expenses throughout its portfolio by $8.2M and cut carbon emissions by over 30,000 metric tons—the equivalent of taking 1,500 cars off the road.