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[whitespace] Bull Market

Who's rich and powerful and feared all over? The three-pronged megapower known as the Tri-County Apartment Association.

By Genevieve Roja

FOR A NONPROFIT, Tri-County has some deep pockets. The rental housing industry in Santa Clara County is a cash cow in a cash town, and the Tri-County Apartment Association has plenty of ranchers and oak barrels full of money, a statement confirmed by one look at the board of directors' various connections in real estate, property acquisition, construction and financial companies.

The prime mover and shaker is John Kehriotis, president of Santa Clara- based JMK Investments. He's also a founding member of the Heritage Commerce Corporation in San Jose, whose subsidiary banks include Bank of Los Altos and Heritage Bank of Commerce, Heritage Bank of East Bay and Heritage Bank of Silicon Valley. His special interest is the other cow town to the north, Sacramento. There, he is not only known as a wealthy South Bay developer, but as a minority owner of the NBA franchise Sacramento Kings.

Last year, he funneled $25 million of his own money into the $39.5 million Embassy Suites hotel--a staggering amount considering the city only gave $5 million and Hilton Hotels Corp. kicked in $10 million toward the riverfront project. Successful in Sac, Kehriotis looked to another Bay Area sports venture, considering investing in the Oakland Athletics. Bay Area newspapers reported that Kehriotis had successfully tapped former Los Angeles Laker Magic Johnson and baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson in making a bid for the A's, which was looking for a buyer at the time. Two days later, Johnson's agent Lon Rosen told the Associated Press that Johnson wasn't involved with any group bidding for the A's. "Who is he?" Rosen asked when several Bay Area newspapers had reported Kehriotis' investment pitch. "We deny it. He's probably a very nice gentleman, but no." Kehriotis told the San Francisco Chronicle that he hadn't spoken to Robinson or Johnson but spoke through a Los Angeles attorney who represented them.

Kehriotis isn't the only board member with money and resources to throw around. Jeff Bosshard's employer, Woodmont Real Estate Services in Belmont, offers office, retail and industrial apartment properties valued at over $2 billion. Bruce Rueppel and Russell Berry, with BRE Properties Inc. in Foster City, own tony, multifamily apartment communities in the East Bay, Marin and Vallejo. David Arellano's employer, Spieker Properties Inc. in Menlo Park, recently merged with Equity Office Properties Trust in Chicago, which reportedly has $28 billion in capital. And Oakwood Corporate Housing, where board secretary Meta Ware is employed, is known for having scored the largest payout for a Santa Clara County complex, when Texas-based Security Capital Pacific Trust bought Oakwood Apartments North on Saratoga Avenue in San Jose for $65 million back in 1996.

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From the October 11-17, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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