John Arrillaga Sr., Who Helped Build Silicon Valley, Dies at 84

John Arrillaga Sr., the real estate developer who turned Silicon Valley into tech offices from orchards and into a major donor to Stanford Universitydied Monday in Portola Valley, California, aged 84.

His daughter, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, announced his death in a Medium post. His family declined to give a reason.

Beginning in the 1960s, Mr. Arrillaga developed the primeval farmland of Silicon Valley into an extensive network of corporate campuses. At the time, the semiconductor industry was growing in the Santa Clara Valley, with companies like Intel Grow fastest when they can find buildings to expand.

To meet that need, Mr. Arrillaga and his business partner, Richard Peery, acquired thousands of acres of surrounding farmland. California Towns include Mountain View, Sunnyvale and San Jose. Even before securing tenants, they created low-sloping concrete buildings that were cheap and easy to build.

In the end, they built more than 20 million square feet of commercial real estate. Many of those developments are backed by technology companies, among them Intel, Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Google.

Mr. Arrillaga and Mr. Peery became billionaires when their net worth skyrocketed. Forbes pegs Mr. Arrillaga’s net worth as 2.5 billion dollars.

As the tech industry grew and Silicon Valley’s population grew, some residents began to speak out against the development. Some of Mr. Arrillaga’s projects encountered obstacles: protest the height of the proposed 100-foot office towers in Palo Alto and disagree with the location of a new library in Menlo Park.

Later in life, Mr. Arrillaga also physically transformed Stanford, where he attended on a basketball scholarship. He has donated money to more than 200 projects and buildings at the university, including at least nine buildings and rooms named after his family, and 57 scholarships. In 2013, he committed $151 million for the university, biggest gift to Stanford from a living donor.

Mr. Arrillaga was born on April 3, 1937 in Inglewood, California. His father, Gabriel, was a professional soccer player who later became a laborer at a farmers market in Los Angeles. His mother, Freda, is a nurse.

In 1955, Mr. Arrillaga enrolled at Stanford, where he studied geography. At 6 feet 4 inches tall, he’s both the captain of the basketball team and takes on the job to cover his expenses.

After graduating in 1960, he briefly played professional basketball – theo an article in Fortune magazinehe’s been on the San Francisco Warriors’ roster for six weeks, though there’s no record of him having played a single game — before getting into commercial real estate.

In 1966, he and Mr. Peery founded the real estate company Peery Arrillaga. Their partnership spanned five decades. In 2006, they sold about half of their 12 million square foot $1.1 billion portfolio to a real estate investment division of Deutsche Bank.

In 1968, Mr. Arrillaga married Frances Marion Cook, a sixth grade teacher and fellow Stanford graduate. They have two children. She died of lung cancer in 1995. In 2003, he married Gioia Fasi, a former attorney from Honolulu.

She and his daughter survived him, as did his son, John Jr.; two sisters, Alice Arrillaga Kalomas and Mary Arrillaga Danna; an older brother, William Arrillaga; and four grandsons.

Mr. Arrillaga’s ties to the tech industry became even closer in 2006 when his daughter, a faculty member at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, married. Marc Andreessena venture capitalist and founder of Netscape.

Mr. Arrillaga began making small donations to Stanford shortly after graduating. By the early 2000s, his contributions to the school, mainly to the athletics department, had skyrocketed more than 80 million dollars. In 2006, he gave $100 million to Stanford, which was the largest amount by a single donor until he eclipsed that number with his 2013 donation.

Over 30 years, Mr. Arrillaga rebuilt and donated money to nearly all of Stanford’s sports facilities, including the Maples Pavilion in 2004 and Stanford Stadium in 2005 and 2006. The Arrillaga name was very popular. on campus, found in the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center, Arrillaga Family Dining Commons, and both on-campus gyms – for which students nickname the gyms “Nearrillaga” ” and “Farrillaga” to distinguish them.

Mr. Arrillaga, who avoids media coverage and avoids interviews, has developed a reputation for attention to detail in his construction projects.

While rebuilding Stanford’s football stadium, “he selected each palm tree, found the best form for every structural element, and created his own design for the seating,” says Ms. Arrillaga- Andreessen wrote in the Medium post. She added that he was known for “hand picking up every piece of trash he saw and rearranging single stones in the fountains on the premises.” John Arrillaga Sr., Who Helped Build Silicon Valley, Dies at 84

Fry Electronics Team

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