John Albert Sobrato
Early life and Career
John Albert Sobrato was born in April 1939 in California, son of John Mossimo and Ann Sobrato. His mother was an immigrant from Italy who arrived in the US speaking no English. John’s father was the owner of a popular San Francisco eatery: John’s Rendezvous. Upon his passing in 1952, Ann Sobrato sold the restaurant and started investing modestly in local real estate.
Sobrato started in the family business in 1957 while he was a student at Santa Clara University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts/Science. His first foray into real estate was in Palo Alto where he started the firm Midtown Realty, selling residential properties in the burgeoning suburbs. He later moved into the development of industrial properties with his mother.
In 1972, Sobrato started working with San Francisco investor Carl Berg. He founded his own real estate firm in 1979 calling it The Sobrato Organization.
Investing in his future and paving the way to a prosperous future in real estate has ensured that the Sobrato family is one of the most successful real estate developers on the West Coast. The decision to expand and develop properties in Silicon Valley furthered the Sobrato Organization’s success even more. With ownership of over 7.5 million square feet of commercial office space in Silicon Valley, the Sobrato organization owns the buildings that house Netflix, Yahoo and Apple.The organization also owns nearly 7000 apartments across California.
In 1998, John Albert Sobrato’s son, John Michael Sobrato took over at the helm of the organization, increasing the group’s investment in commercial real estate with the addition of a number of properties in the Silicon Valley area. In 2013, both father and son announced that they would be stepping down from the daily management of the Sobrato Organization to focus their time on philanthropy and charitable work. John Albert Sobrato and his family are listed on both the Forbes 400 and The World’s Billionaires List.
Philanthropy and Sponsorship
The Sobrato Philanthropies is the non-profit group that controls the Sobrato Family Foundation, philanthropic donation by individual family members and Sobrato Organization corporate philanthropy. Sobrato Philanthropies has given over $350 million to various charities and non-profit groups. With a strong focus on education and local philanthropy, the foundation has donated to Sobrato High School, Bellarmine College Preparatory and Santa Clara University. Both John Albert and John Michael Sobrato are signees of the Warren Buffet ‘Giving Pledge’. John Albert Sobrato and his wife recently made a pledge of $15 million to the University of San Francisco, the largest pledge ever made by an individual.