The Sobrato family has played a dynamic role in the emergence and growth of Silicon Valley for nearly 70 years. The family's real estate tradition began in the 1940s when Ann Sobrato began acquiring land to grow produce for their family restaurant in San Francisco. After her husband's death, Ann sold the restaurant, purchased additional land throughout the Valley, and developed several of the first "tilt-up" buildings in Santa Clara County.
Following his mother's blueprint for success, John A. Sobrato began selling houses with Midtown Reality in Palo Alto at age 18 while attending the University of Santa Clara. In the early 1960s, nearly a decade before the name "Silicon Valley" was coined, Ann and John joined forces to develop buildings for the burgeoning electronics industry. Years later, John sold Midtown Realty and founded Sobrato Development Companies to focus exclusively on Silicon Valley real estate development.
The eldest of the third generation of the Sobrato family, John Michael Sobrato, joined the family business in the 1980s and has been its CEO since 1997. Now referred to as The Sobrato Organization (TSO), the company remains a family-owned business. TSO is one of the largest developers in Silicon Valley, owning and managing 86 commercial properties comprising nearly 8 million square feet. TSO is also responsible for the development and construction of more than 250 office and research & development facilities (15 million square feet) throughout the region, and has developed or purchased 10,000 apartment units on the West Coast, owning more than 8,000.