At a gathering of some of Silicon Valley’s top commercial real estate brokers, Admiral Capital Group, founded by the NBA basketball legend David Robinson and his partner Daniel Bassichis, along with their brokers Mike Saign and Todd Shaffer from Cornish & Carey Commercial Newmark Knight Frank introduced a newly-renovated 75,000 square foot headquarters building at 4500 Great America Parkway in Santa Clara yesterday. Robinson’s group partnered with South Bay Development Co. in December 2012 and worked closely with the local development partner to refresh and renovate the building. The team completed seismic upgrades, installed a new roof and replaced all the glass surrounding the structure to ensure the building’s longevity and appeal.[contextly_sidebar id=”a79bc8e603605760c2fee498ccdf4e19″]4500 Great America Parkway is located inside Silicon Valley’s Golden Triangle submarket in close proximity to the soon-to-open Levi’s Stadium and a burgeoning commercial hub of hotels, data centers and retail locations. The address is across the street from the current headquarters of Palo Alto Networks, and just down the street from EMC Storage and a building occupied by Cisco. A new Irvine Company-developed campus for Ericsson will be just across Highway 101 when completed. It offers many of the modern amenities that a newly-renovated office building in Silicon Valley today would offer, and the Great America Parkway corridor provides easy access to the main thoroughfares ringing Silicon Valley.
In many ways, the open house resembled all other similar events—catered lunch, glossy brochures, friendly owners willing to negotiate a lease—yet the atmosphere was much different. For one, sports royalty was in town; it is not often that the industry generates such attention from stars like Robinson. But it was Robinson’s passion for teaching and giving back to the community that made this presentation unlike any other typically seen in the region.
The underlying premise of Admiral Capital Group’s work is to return 10 percent of its profits back to the local communities where it is active. “Number one, it’s just a good business, but it’s also an opportunity for me; I see it as a vehicle to do some of the other things that I like to do,” says Robinson.
This vision had started roughly 12 years ago in San Antonio, where David Robinson helped found the Carver Academy with his wife Valerie. During that time he met Daniel Bassichis, now his partner in Admiral Capital Group. “[David] had put up about $10 million of his own money to build a pre-K to 6th grade school in inner city San Antonio. For about seven years I was helping him raise money for scholarships; it’s a private, faith-based school in San Antonio, so it was all privately funded,” said Bassichis.
In San Antonio they found a partner who saw the opportunity of their mission more broadly. “USAA out of San Antonio partnered with us to raise a fund and buy value-add office, hotel, retail, multi-family properties across the country with the goal of taking 10 percent of our profits and giving it back into the communities where we invest and really allowing David to expand the work he has been doing for the last 25 years,” said Bassichis.
The realization of that partnership is a $100 million fund that has invested in nine properties across the country, including 4500 Great America Parkway, with an eye to do more. Robinson cited a Houston hotel purchase as an example of the charitable work associated with Admiral Capital Group. It was a partnership that included Hilton Worldwide and the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston. After graduating from a year-long mentorship program at this and other Hilton hotels in the area, 25 Admiral Hospitality Scholars from local schools are awarded a scholarship to attend the University of Houston and continue their hospitality training.
“For me it’s really about opening these kids’ eyes,” says Robinson. “I like real estate just fine, but I like people even more,” he added.
During the event, Robinson generously posed for photos and shared anecdotes about his life in the NBA and meeting Mr. Jordan (this is precisely how he addressed Michael Jordan when they met) for the first time. His goal of helping those less fortunate is a signature mark of all his work, and through real estate he has found a way to show that in capitalism there is room for everyone to benefit.
In the end, 4500 Great America Parkway may yet become a great address for any technology company looking for a prime location in Silicon Valley, but the Admiral and his partners wanted all those present to know that working with them is a slam dunk.