Forbes 400: NorCal's 4 Wealthiest Real Estate Billionaires
Around Northern California, you'll find some of the top trophy assets in real estate, in addition to the billionaires behind them. Forbes just released its famous Forbes 400 list, and here are the local real estate tycoons on it.
John A. Sobrato & Family
Worth $5B, 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 developers 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. Last year cloud services company ServiceNow inked a 328k SF lease at its 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.
Worth $2.3B, John and business partner Dick Peery made billions off Silicon Valley commercial real estate, selling about half of the portfolio in 2006 for $1.1B. Current tenants include Google and Apple. John started his real estate career in the 1960s buying farmland and developing office buildings. His alma mater Stanford brought him from LA to the Bay Area for a basketball scholarship. John has donated hundreds of millions of dollars and several buildings, including the the Arrillaga Family Dining Commons; the Arrillaga Center for Sports and Recreation; and the alumni center, the Frances C. Arrillaga Building, named in memory of his first wife. In 2006, he donated $100M before setting a single donor record in 2013 with a whopping $151M.
Richard "Dick" Peery
Worth $2.3B, he's tied with Stanford grad John Arrillaga, who together smartly scooped up Silicon Valley farmland in the 1960s and turned it into office parks. Dick dropped out of the Stanford MBA program and earned his real estate chops while managing his dad's small property portfolio. In 2006 Peery (bottom center) and Arrillaga sold many of their buildings for $1.1B. They held onto some, have acquired others, and count Google as a tenant. Now Dick's son Dave runs the family foundation, which supports social entrepreneurs and organizations tackling local and worldwide poverty.
At $2.1B, Jay Paul has erected 8M SF of office space in Silicon Valley, and has 6M more in the pipeline. His snazzy towers call Google, Amazon and Microsoft tenants. Google already leases 1.2M and will start taking over its new 1.9M SF Moffett Place development in Sunnyvale in late 2015. Paul lives in the Pacific Heights neighborhood and owns two yachts. His premier downtown condo-office skyscraper at 181 Fremont—which will be the tallest mixed-use tower west of the Mississippi—should be ready for occupancy by January 2017. Jay Paul CIO Matt Lituchy told us there are towers like this in London, NYC, Chicago and Hong Kong but this is a first for the Western US.