Thursday, May 24, 2012

President Obama Dines with Supporters in Atherton

Air Force One landed at Moffett Field in Mountain View at 6:18 p.m. Wednesday night. Among those greeting the president was Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park.

The motorcade went south on U.S. 101 then back up I-280 to Woodside Road exit into Atherton, arrived about 7:10 p.m. at the Atherton home of Doug Goldman, software company founder, retired emergency physician, philanthropist and heir to the Levi Strauss fortune, and his wife Lisa, who hosted a $35,800-a-head dinner.

Among the guests at the Atherton fundraiser: Jan Brandt, vice chair emeritus of AOL; Dennis Troper, Google product management director; Tim Westergren, Pandora Media founder; and Susan Wojcicki, Google senior vice president.
President Obama and Doug Goldman made remarks in a large outdoor tent at around 8 p.m.

Goldman, who said the property has been in his family since 1906, said he and his wife decided to welcome the president with an Hawaiian decoration theme: floral arrangements, tablecloths, potted palms, hurricane lanterns, leis.

Goldman said the Recovery Act was a "brilliant" move, "saving more than one million jobs."

"It worked so well," he told the president, "some of your opponents are trying to take credit for it."

Goldman also credited President Obama for ending the Iraq war, killing Osama bin Laden, and voicing support for same-sex marriage. The last point drew the loudest cheers and applause from the audience.

President Obama said of the Goldmans: "They have had my back from the get-go, and at a time when not many people knew who I was."

He thanked David Crosby and Graham Nash, who performed at the event. "It's not every day you get Rock and Roll Hall of Famers strumming the guitar for you," he said.

And he thanked actor Don Cheadle for his presence and support, but promised not to talk about their recent basketball game. Cheadle responded: "Thank you."

"We've gone through three and a half of the toughest years in our lifetime," the president said, with so many millions of jobs lost. "And we've still got a long way to go. In California and across the country there are still a lot of people who are hurting" from joblessness, risk of losing their homes, unaffordable education.

"Our work is not done. The good news is, we're beginning to steer that ship in the right direction."

President Obama said he's proud of his administration's educational reforms, and said the nation must continue to make scientific advancements in order to remain globally competitive. "America continues to have the best workers and the best businesses in the world -- we just have to get organized, and we're starting to do that."

The Affordable Care act has begun making health care more affordable and accessible; fuel economy standards for cars have been doubled; clean energy production has been doubled; and foreign oil imports are at a 15-year low, he said. The Iraq war is over and Afghanistan is ending, while the U.S. is regaining international respect.

"We continue to be the agenda setters," he said, shaping international rules and norms on issues from terrorism to climate change to poverty. "People are paying attention, people are listening, and people are hungry for our leadership."

But he needs another term to seal the deal, he said.

"This is a country full of decent people who believe in America and are generous and kind and tolerant," the president said.

He talked about being at a high school graduation earlier this week in Joplin, Missouri, which was ravaged by a tornado last year, and meeting a senior who lost both his parents, spent five weeks in physical rehab, and had to care for his sister yet still is graduating and going on to college.

"That captures who we are and what we're about" as a nation, he said, leaving him "more determined than I was in 2008" to carry on.

The motorcade left the Goldman residence in Atherton at 8:58 p.m. and rolled up El Camino Real to Redwood City, where the president arrived around 9:08 p.m. Tickets for this event cost $250 for general admission; $1,000 for premium seating; or $7,500 for a seat plus a photo reception, with up to two additional guests in the photo at $2,500 each.

A campaign official said those in attendance at the Fox Theatre included theater owners Eric Lochtefeld and Lori Lochtefeld, and Redwood City Mayor Alicia Aguirre.

After his talk there, the president headed to San Jose's Fairmont Hotel, where he'll spend the night and hold a campaign fundraiser with Asian American/Pacific Islander contributors Thursday morning before leaving from Moffett Field around 10 a.m.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner was also scheduled to be in the Bay Area on Wednesday to attend a fundraiser in Woodside for the Republican Party.

Republican House Budget Chair Paul Ryan is scheduled to make a fundraising visit to San Francisco on Thursday.

Source: Palo Alto Online News
Pool reporting by Josh Richman — Bay City News Service

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Facebook IPO is Juicing Silicon Valley Real Estate Prices to Crazy Levels

The impending Facebook initial public offering is pushing already-expensive Silicon Valley real estate to frenetic new highs.

The two months prior to the IPO announcement saw only 840 sales in the region. In dramatic contrast, sales in the last two months have almost doubled to 1,531, according to Guy Wolcott, the co-founder and chief executive of the company behind real estate app HomeSnap.

It’s not just sales. The median sales price is up 15 percent in the same time period, and the number of million-dollar-plus prices is up a staggering 159 percent since the Facebook IPO announcement.

These bargains won’t last

While that’s not a conclusive cause-and-effect connection (there’s a lot more wealth in Silicon Valley besides Facebook stock), the rising real estate prices do indicate that something big is happening. Once the IPO happens and employees’ lock-up periods expire, prices will go even higher.

Housing prices in desirable areas of California’s tech hotbeds have always been high, especially in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, and Facebook’s hometown, Menlo Park.

But in the last two months Silly Valley is just getting plain ridiculous. Think $5.5 million for this fairly large but hardly palatial family home. Or $4 million for a six year old home in central Menlo Park. The built-in wine cellar will help you recover from the inevitable sticker shock.

Fortunately, Facebook employees have a lot of cash coming. As of last year, Facebook employees owned around 30 percent of the company, worth perhaps $25-$30 billion when the company goes public.

Until the company does go public, selling those shares is difficult, but not impossible, and many have been selling privately on secondary markets like Sharespost for years.

Once the IPO happens, the biggest winners will be the earliest employees, investors, and top executives. According to Who Owns Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg will cash in to the tune of $1.8 billion, former employees Chris Hughes and Matt Cohler will take home $850 and $680 million, respectively, and current employee Jeff Rothschild will also pocket $680 million.

But even employees who joined later should do fine: According to this Quora thread, the average Facebook employee will realize about $2 million in the IPO.

“Staggering” market conditions

According to Wolcott, the current doubling of home sales is “staggering,” and the prices are continuing to rise rapidly. “All indicators are saying this is a hot market,” Wolcott said today, “and it’s hotter the higher you go up the price scale.”

Wolcott knows these numbers because he’s the cofounder of Sawbuck, an online real estate service that competes with the likes of Trulia, Zillow, and Redfin. Eight weeks ago Sawbuck released HomeSnap: a mobile real estate app that Wolcott calls “Shazam for homes,” referencing the popular music identification service. With HomeSnap, you take a picture of a home, and get huge amounts of data: if it’s for sale, price, lot boundaries, school district, tax information.

In eight weeks, HomeSnap has been installed 115,000 times and been used to snap 175,000 homes. And Silicon Valley is one of the hottest locations. Tony Palo Alto is number one. Nearby Redwood City is number two, and Facebook hometown Menlo Park is not far behind at number 4. Could all those Facebook millionaires-in-waiting be scoping the goodies?

Source: Venture Beat, John Koetsier

If you would like to see these, or any other homes in Menlo Park, Atherton or Palo Alto, please give me a call at (650) 888-6628 or visit my website at .

I specialize in Buying and Selling fine properties here in the heart of the Mid-Peninsula.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

FINALLY. We Have New Listings!

GREAT TOUR today --
Wonderful Homes Across all Price Points!

1145 Hillview Drive, Menlo Park

Thoughtfully redone single story home in West Menlo Park. Priced at $2,295,000.

60 Amherst Avenue, Menlo Park

Charming and tidy bungalow on a huge lot. Priced at $699,000.

1001 University Drive, Menlo Park

Delightful cottage in the heart of downtown Menlo Park. Priced at $1,595,000.

95 Mercedes Lane, Atherton

This is vintage California contemporary! Hopefully someone will bring some Mad Men style to this lovely home. Priced at $5,100,000.

If you would like to see these, or any other homes in Menlo Park, Atherton or Palo Alto, please give me a call at
(650) 888-6628

I specialize in Buying and Selling fine properties here in the heart of the Mid-Peninsula.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Allure of city itself a factor in S.F.'s tech boom

Here's one way San Francisco's current tech boom differs from the dot-com era: This one is creating many more jobs.

The city will have 28 percent more technology positions by the end of this year than it had at its 2000 peak, according to a new analysis of state employment

data by real estate consultant Jones Lang LaSalle. Technology is San Francisco's fastest-growing sector, and now occupies more office space in the city than any other industry.

The city will have 44,305 tech jobs by the end of the year, up from 36,921 last year and 34,442 in 2000, according to the analysis. The estimates are based on data from the California Employment Development Department, Moody's and Jones Lang LaSalle.

Tech workers make up an increasing share of the city's workforce. This year nearly 1 in 4 nongovernment office jobs in San Francisco - 22.3 percent - are in tech. In 2000, tech jobs accounted for just 14.5 percent of the jobs.

San Francisco still has almost 40,000 fewer office jobs today than in 2000, the result of significant losses in the legal and financial services industries. But tech firms are helping to fill that gap, and appear poised to continue their record growth, analysts say.

"If you look at the growth cycle of social media, mobile and cloud computing, it's still very early overall," said Colin Yasukochi, vice president of research at Jones Lang LaSalle, who performed the data analysis.

That sentiment is reflected by the city's largest tech companies, all of which plan to hire significant numbers.

Business software maker Salesforce, which has 3,000 employees in the city, plans to hire 2,000 more. Social gaming leader Zynga doubled its staff last year, to 3,000 employees, and recently acquired new space in its headquarters in SoMa with an eye toward expansion.

New leases by tech firms

Expansion plans are also reflected in the leases signed by larger tech firms over the past year, with large new spaces being acquired by Twitter,, Riverbed Technology, Kabam, StumbleUpon and LinkedIn, among others.

The tech sector occupies less square footage than it did in 2000, when many employers rented more space than they needed based on growth plans that didn't pan out. But the percentage of office space that tech occupies is creeping up - from 9 percent last year to 12 percent this year.

Tech companies' expansion has begun to transform the Mid-Market district, where a controversial tax incentive passed last year spurred Twitter to sign a lease for 400,000 square feet amid plans to hire 2,000 people. The social network is being followed to Mid-Market by tech firms ZenDesk, Zoosk, CollSocket and OneKingsLane, which have expansion plans of their own.

With the growing footprint comes a risk - the more space tech occupies in the city, the more deeply a bursting bubble would be felt in the city's economy. For the most part, though, business and civic leaders say they are confident the current growth cycle will continue for a few more years.

Tech action mainly in S.F.

The city's surge in tech jobs reflects another difference between today and the dot-com era: San Francisco, not Silicon Valley, has emerged as the center of the current tech boom. With the exception of Facebook, which recently moved from Palo Alto to Menlo Park, most of the high-profile companies from the current surge have chosen to locate their headquarters in the city.

The city's lifestyle and cultural amenities have drawn young workers adept at engineering, design and social media, which are top concerns for current tech companies. That differs from the dot-com era, when winners like Google and eBay were still building out the basic infrastructure of the Web.

"In 2000 you were hearing more about network technology and Internet technology," said Colleen McCreary, chief people officer at Zynga. "There wasn't this spirit of bringing the world together, of being creative and using both sides of your brain. Most of the consumer applications you've seen become successful this time are like beautiful works of art. And San Francisco is just primed for that."

McCreary joined Zynga about three years ago, when it had 130 employees. Today the company is hiring in more than 25 areas, including game studios, mobile development and its platform.

"The difference between 2000 and today is the breadth, scale and strength of the firms powering today's growth," Mayor Ed Lee said in an e-mail. "I am bullish on our future because San Francisco will always be a place where entrepreneurs can take new ideas and build great companies around them."

The rise of Airbnb

The rise of travel startup Airbnb illustrates how San Francisco has been able to capitalize on tech trends.

Growing up in Atlanta, co-founder Joe Gebbia devoured news about Silicon Valley companies like eBay and PayPal and became determined to join them.

"It just became clear to me that if you want to be an entrepreneur, you come to San Francisco. There's something about it," Gebbia said. "And that notion has proved true."

After meeting as students at the Rhode Island School of Design, Gebbia and Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky moved to San Francisco. In 2007, when a big design conference came to town and hotel rooms filled up, they began selling spots - breakfast included - in their SoMa loft.

Their twist on traditional bed and breakfasts was a hit with guests. But the founders, who were soon joined by programmer Nathan Blecharczyk, struggled to find investors. Few were willing to take a chance on an idea that many found bizarre - renting out space in your home to strangers.

Missed out on Airbnb

"We couldn't wrap our heads around air mattresses on the living room floors as the next hotel room and did not chase the deal," wrote Fred Wilson, a prominent venture capitalist based in New York, on his blog. "Others saw the amazing team that we saw, funded them, and the rest is history."

In 2009 the founders were accepted into Y Combinator, a prestigious startup incubator headquartered in Mountain View. Funding soon followed, and by January, Airbnb users had booked over 5 million nights at spots in 192 countries.

"What makes San Francisco special is the attitude," Gebbia said. "It's forward-thinking. There's an appetite for risk that may be different from other parts of the country. It makes doing a crazy idea - and this was a crazy idea in the early days - it made getting something like that off the ground possible."

The company employs 125 people, with plans to hire 75 more this year and up to 300 more next year.

Making money before IPO

Facebook's purchase of Instagram for $1 billion last week fueled speculation that tech companies have become overvalued once again. But amid the chatter, some of the city's elite tech companies say they have become profitable long before serious discussions of an initial public offering begin. Among them is Dropbox, the online storage company that last month moved into a new 87,000-square-foot space.

The company, which gives away some storage for free and charges for extra, employs 100 people today. But in October the company announced that it had raised $250 million, at a reported valuation of $4 billion, and has made hiring a high priority. The company's expectations are so high it won't even say how many people it might bring on.

"Given the environment we're in, and how fast Dropbox is growing and how well it's doing, we don't have an upper limit," said Ruchi Sanghvi, vice president of operations at the company.

Sanghvi, who has been working at Dropbox herself for all of a month, echoed a sentiment shared by tech companies across the city.

"We're just trying to find as many smart people as we can," she said.

Source: Casey Newton is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Twitter: @CaseyNewton.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Robert S Drive -- Represented the Buyers!

This beautiful home is in Menlo Park on
Robert S Drive.

I represented the Buyers on this transaction.

Call me at (650) 888-6628 to see quality homes in Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto.

I specialize in fine properties in the Mid-Peninsula, Stanford and Silicon Valley area.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Most popular U.S. cities for International House Hunters

Based on the search activity from these 15 countries, here are the most popular U.S. cities, in order of most popular to least popular

1. New York, N.Y.

2. Los Angeles, Calif.

3. Las Vegas, Nev.

4. Miami, Fla.

5. San Francisco, Calif.

6. Orlando, Fla.

7. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

8. Naples, Fla.

9. Cape Coral, Fla.

10. Miami Beach, Fla.

11. Beverly Hills, Calif.

12. Fort Myers, Fla.

13. Palm Springs, Calif.

14. Brooklyn, N.Y.

15. Chicago, Ill.

16. Kissimmee, Fla.

17. San Antonio, Texas

18. San Diego, Calif.

19. Chula Vista, Texas

20. Davenport, Fla.

21. El Paso, Texas

22. Malibu, Calif.

23. Brownsville, Texas

24. Honolulu, Hawaii

25. Detroit, Mich.

26. Philadelphia, Pa.

27. Boca Raton, Fla.

28. Phoenix, Ariz.

29. Portland, Ore.

30. Jacksonville, Fla.

Source: Trulia, via InmanNews
Call me at (650) 888-6628 to see quality homes in Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto.

I specialize in fine homes in the Silicon Valley, Stanford University vicinity and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why is Menlo Park playing so hard to get?

Most Towns Would Kill To Host Facebook. So Why Is Menlo Park Playing Hard to Get?

Source: David Paul Morris / Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Facebook Inc. 'like' logo is displayed on a sign at the entrance to company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.Attracted by the promise of jobs and tax revenue, most towns would offer significant economic incentives to attract a large corporate headquarters. But being the home base of a corporate giant like Facebook has its challenges, too. At least that’s the position leadership in the city of Menlo Park, Calif., are taking in asking the social media behemoth to consider compensating the city for some of the increased pressure the company’s expansion creates on civic services and the potential impacts it has on sales and property taxes. But Wharton real estate and finance professor Susan M. Wachter says the story is an example of the need to rethink city tax structures in an increasingly knowledge-based economy.

Three months ago, the rapidly expanding Facebook moved its headquarters from the Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, Calif., to two sites in neighboring Menlo Park that formerly housed Sun Microsystems and Tyco Electronics. The social media company now wants to expand by building more office space at the former Sun campus, asking the city to nearly double the permitted employee count there from 3,600 to 6,600. A city study found that Facebook’s move will bring many benefits to the municipality, including $8 billion in construction spending and related jobs, new property taxes of $182,000 and sales taxes of up to $55,000 annually, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

But the expansion also creates potential stumbling blocks for the city. For one, Facebook’s online ad sales don’t bring in revenue from sales taxes. By contrast, the computers, components and other products produced by Sun Microsystems led to Menlo Park reaping sales taxes of up to $827,000 annually, or 15 times what it could get from Facebook, the Mercury News reported. The relatively high salaries paid to Facebook employees could increase the price of property in Menlo Park, but a California law called Proposition 13 will cap the property tax revenue the city could earn. Another worry expressed at recent city council meetings was that Facebook’s expansion will increase the pressure on civic services.

The story begs the question: Do cities need to revisit their incentives and job-creation programs in an increasingly knowledge-based economy? “There may indeed need to be a rethink of the reliance on sales taxes for goods as we move to more of a virtual world, where services are exchanged and knowledge is created,” Wachter notes. “The problem here is the reliance not on property taxes but on sales taxes.”

Facebook leadership has said the firm is willing to consider investing in some of the mitigating features city officials propose. Among them are payments to compensate for its relatively lower sales tax contributions, investments in affordable housing, and local bike trails and shuttle services to help alleviate traffic concerns. “Beyond that, it’s worth noting that Facebook didn’t go skulking around Silicon Valley demanding tax breaks or incentives,” San Jose Mercury News columnist Chris O’Brien wrote.

Wachter points out that it is not unusual for municipalities to negotiate with companies over the services and costs that will shouldered by the community and the revenue that will be brought in by the firm. Facebook’s proposed expansion could potentially benefit both Menlo Park residents and the company. “But there are costs that will be borne by Menlo Park and benefits that will accrue to Facebook,” she notes. “Thus, negotiations are in order.” An environmental impact assessment report due in late April is expected to help decide the course for Facebook’s expansion plans.

The debate over Facebook’s headquarters expansion underlines some ground realities as the virtual world advances, according to Wachter. “In the immaterial world of services that Facebook delivers, in the end, they deliver these services from real space,” she says. “Land and location matter.”

Call me at (650) 888-6628 to see quality homes in Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto.

I specialize in fine homes in the Mid-Peninsula, Silicon Valley and Stanford vicinity.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Facebook Files for it's Long-awaited IPO

Now THIS should shake up the Real Estate market!!!

Call me at (650) 888-6628 to see quality homes in Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto.

I specialize in fine properties in the Mid-Peninsula, Stanford and Silicon Valley area.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy 2012!!!

We are going to have a fantastic year. The Menlo Park Office of Alain Pinel Realtors had a wonderful year in 2011, and this one is going to be even better.

Sales are firm in Menlo Park and Palo Alto

For a Current Market Analysis of your property please contact me at (650) 888-6628, or to see quality homes in Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto.

I specialize in fine properties in the Mid-Peninsula, Stanford and Silicon Valley area.