Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

The past year has brought many new and exciting events to the world of development. The opening of the Freedom Tower in New York, a significant change in housing markets, and a substantial increase in real estate valuations (naming just a few). Interest rates are low (fixed at 2.99%!) and the numbers of new homes is slowly growing (which is a good thing). Now if San Francisco could figure out a way to act responsibly when it comes to meeting the needs of its new residents, all the better.

I realize that I have slacked a bit from the weekly musings of the past few years, now they are every two or three weeks. It is both a measure of what interests me and time.  There is always much to comment on, but sometimes we come down to the realization that people/governments will do what they do, often without rhyme or reason. The continuing development of High Speed Rail in California for one. There are so many reasons and rationales to shut it down, yet here we go just pushing forward with 19th century technology. Makes you wonder if anyone is listening.

I have been very blessed with good friends and associates over the past few years that do get it and live accordingly. Dinner conversations are a delight with friends these days, what more could one ask for.

I am, as you might have guessed, a brilliant author of thrillers and novels (see left and right columns). During the next six months I will be publishing three new novels: a new Sharon O'Mara thriller Diamonds For Death, a new character and series staring Tony Alfano - Chicago detective in 1933 (called Chicago Swing), and a World War II novel that begins in Chicago and ends on the day of the liberation of Paris, This Face of Evil. I will keep you abreast of the schedules and availability.

But for now I have a Christmas present to all of you Kindle owners (and Kindle software Apps as well), for the next two weeks all the Sharon O'Mara books are available for $0.99, each. So for the price of a Starbucks moca-frapacino, you can own 280,000 words (four books) of the greatest facilitator the Bay Area has ever known. You will love her.

Many changes are coming this year: learning about social security, new ways too publish, discovering why the dry cleaner keeps shrinking my dress slacks, and who knows what else. Thank you for being loyal readers and friends.

So have a wonderful holiday, a special Christmas, most especially a prosperous New Year.

and . . . . . Stay Tuned

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

John A. and John M. Sobrato - Builders of Silicon Valley

The Sobratos
Years ago, in the ancient pre-tech and pre-Jobs era of the late 1970s and 1980s, I had the opportunity to work on a lot of projects in the early orchard-clearing days of the Silicon Valley. I was involved in the design of retail centers, the first high-density housing (2 story garden apartment walk-ups), the first high tech campuses, and later some of the first new high-rise commercial buildings.

A leader in this new form of development – the build-to-suit manufacturing/research/office complex was a gentleman from San Francisco, John A. Sobrato. For a kid working in one of the Bay Area’s premier landscape and planning offices it was a kick and a fantastic learning experience. The firm, Guzzardo and Associates, handled anything and everything – but large scale planning was the most exciting.

John Sobrato was a close friend of the owner and my boss Tony Guzzardo and over the years allowed me to peek into the early exotic and exciting world of high technology in the South Bay. These were the days of hundred of acre campuses, of one-story office/research buildings that sprawled across the region from Milpitas to Sunnyvale, and the growth that has pushed the region to the top of the world. And if there was a ground zero it was Cupertino - Sobrato's office was just blocks from Apple GHQ. In time (and for some with the Sobrato's help) the home to Apple, Sun Micro Systems, HP, and hundreds of other small companies.

This short video interviewing the Sobratos was produced by THE REGISTRY   

Click Video or URL Below

The model is changing, in fact has changed. And it is good to see that the Sobrato’s have changed with it.

Stay Tuned . . . . . . .