Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 236 John Albert Sobrato $7.43B

Random fact: Started selling homes in Palo Alto while at Santa Clara University.


Sobrato controls the Sobrato Organization, a closely held real estate developer that owns about 7.5 million square feet of office space in Silicon Valley. The Cupertino, California-based company's projects include Apple's former headquarters as well as about 30 apartment buildings along the West Coast.

As of :
Last change No change
YTD change +$42.9M ( +0.6%)
Industry Real Estate
Biggest asset Sobrato Capital
Citizenship United States
Age 80
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

John Albert Sobrato's net worth of $7.43B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Sobrato's fortune is derived from the real estate he controls through closely held Sobrato Organization. The properties encompass more than 7.5 million square feet of commercial space and about 30 apartment buildings along America's west coast, according to the company's website.

The value of the commercial holdings has been indexed to the performance of West Coast commercial property prices compiled by researcher RCA since December 2014. The base valuation was calculated using the average selling price per square foot of offices owned by Sobrato, according to three Silicon Valley property brokers in 2014.

The value of the residential properties has been indexed to the performance of West Coast residential property prices compiled by researcher RCA since December 2014. The base valuation was calculated using the median list price for homes in California as of December 2014, according to Zillow, an online real estate database.

A 40 percent discount is applied to the properties to account for debt, according to a person familiar with the holdings who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Projects under construction aren't included in the net worth calculation.

Sobrato Capital, the investment arm of Sobrato Organization, has been funded by cash flow from the real estate operations. Its holdings are valued using the asset value of the securities held by its funds, which was confirmed by Sobrato in a June 2019 e-mail.

Sobrato said his family's net worth was $8.1 billion in a June 2019 email.


Birthdate: 5/23/1939
Family: Married, 3 children
Education: Santa Clara University

John Albert Sobrato was born in San Francisco on May 23, 1939, the son of Italian immigrants John and Ann. His mother sold the family's restaurant business after his father died in 1952, and used the proceeds to invest in real estate. After graduating from Santa Clara University in 1960, Sobrato founded property developer Midtown Realty.

He partnered with his mother a year later to construct his first development, a 14,000 square foot office for Lockheed in Sunnyvale, California. The next year, broker Carl Berg joined Midtown. The pair developed 2.3 million square feet of property in Silicon Valley before they split, after which Sobrato established Sobrato Development Companies.

By 1985, Sobrato's commercial real estate holdings had surpassed 5 million square feet. He began to diversify into residential property, developing his first apartment project in San Jose. A year later, Sobrato began to construct Apple's new headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Sobrato is married with three children. He passed the daily operation of the company to his son, John, in 1997. He focuses on his philanthropic giving through the Sobrato Family Organization.

  • 1939 John Albert Sobrato is born in San Francisco.
  • 1960 Graduates from Santa Clara University. Founds Midtown Realty.
  • 1961 Partners with mother to build first development in Sunnyvale, California.
  • 1978 Ends partnership with realtor Carl Berg and founds Sobrato Development.
  • 1991 Develops Apple's corporate headquarters in Cupertino, California.
  • 1996 Sobrato Family Foundation is formed to support causes in Silicon Valley.
  • 1997 Son John takes over day-to-day operations of real estate developer.
  • 2013 Son steps down from day-to-day operations to focus on philanthropy.