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Developer Harold Hohbach dies at 96

Original post made on Jan 5, 2018

Harold Hohbach, a patent attorney and developer whose mixed-use projects and whimsical art helped transform the area around California Avenue, died Dec. 28 at his home. He was 96.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 5, 2018, 2:47 AM

Comments (15)

Posted by Confused
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 5, 2018 at 9:05 am

[Post removed.]


Posted by maditalian_1492
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 5, 2018 at 10:06 am

maditalian_1492 is a registered user.

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


Posted by jc
a resident of Mayfield
on Jan 5, 2018 at 10:38 am

Dear Confused,

How very unkind your post is considering "you didn't know the man".

Many of us did know him.


Posted by Confused
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 5, 2018 at 10:48 am

Dear Meditalion -

Of course he should be memorialized. And I am sure he had good points and bad points, as does anyone. But my comments have to do with the fact that this seems a rather fawning and lengthy piece on a guy who, as admitted by the writer of the piece, wanted little to do with getting to know the leaders in the community or participate in community events. His main interest in development seemed to be to get big and sue as often as possible. As a former member of a major City Board, I know most everyone - and this guy was unknown to me. And this article tops the daily Palo Alto Online newsletter.

Given the number of notable people who pass on every year in this City, and the fact their memorials are rarely this long, positive, or placed, it just seemed a little odd. I am sure there is a back story here. Maybe this was written by a new intern looking to show how well they could write.....

No disrespect meant to his family - I am sure he will be missed - but sometimes with a local paper you wonder why things get covered or do not in the manner they do.


Posted by Chris Gaither
a resident of Mayfield
on Jan 5, 2018 at 11:10 am

Dear Confused,

Mr. Hohbach was very engaged in Palo Alto. His office as an attorney was in Palo Alto, and you could see him working on his properties in Palo Alto, even doing his own landscaping at times. He just happened to own a home in Atherton. He was very dedicated to the California area of Palo Alto. Also, he was a person who would do anything for anyone. He once helped me when I had no where else to turn. I will never forget that leap of trust. RIP Harold.


Posted by rememerance
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 5, 2018 at 11:11 am

Let him be remembered by that hideous, meaningless sculpture of a woman holding a washing machine over her head.

Can it be removed now, please?


Posted by DeveloperFoe
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 5, 2018 at 11:43 am

I believe he was the motivating force behind the provision of the "public" plaza at the building housing Caffe Riace, in exchange for variances in approval of that building. That plaza was subsequently taken over by Caffe Riace as its outdoor dining space. Time to reacquire that space for its intended public uses, not as a freebie for that restaurant.


Posted by anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 5, 2018 at 12:30 pm

the article says......

"Other prominent Hohbach projects include Sheridan Apartments, which he constructed in the mid-1990s and which is perhaps best known for its public art: a fountain sculpture that graces the courtyard of Caffé Riace and features a classical nude lifting a washing machine over her head."

excuse me.......I believe most sentient beings in PA know that in fact that courtyard/plaza was intended to be a public benefit that was agreed upon in exchange for a project that exceeded the development standards in the zone , which was intended for the PUBLIC to use, not a private use for cafe Riacce.

The fact that the public Plaza has morphed into a private plaza to be used only by the cafe for their financial benefit is in defiance of the intent of the law and shows the moral ineptitude of those who enforce the laws of our city.


Posted by Beth
a resident of Southgate
on Jan 5, 2018 at 1:29 pm

As a tenant in one of Mr. Hohbach's apartment buildings, I dearly hope that, with his passing, the new owner(s) will hire a management company to take care of his residential properties and respond promptly to resident issues and complaints. While the apartments are beautiful and the location is wonderful, the tenants have long suffered from the consequences of Mr. Hohbach's position that HE was the management company.


Posted by Disappointed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2018 at 1:40 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2018 at 3:05 pm

You folks are newbies. It wasn't just the buildings, it was the process. This is how I remember Harold Hohbach:

Web Link


Posted by Confused
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 5, 2018 at 4:47 pm

Why does freedom of speech only apply to Bill Johnson on this site? One of the main reasons I will NOT subscribe to this site is the censorship on comments. I agree that on occasion comments can get very negative. But, you either accept this process or you shut comments down altogether. If you say negative things about someone Bill likes, you get censored. You say positive things, you are let through the gates.

There is nothing wrong with bringing up issues that people feel are important. Nothing in any of these comments that were censored was personal - frankly it was all about public issues and public matters. All worth discussing in the public arena.

Why did you write such a glowing review on this man? When people ask questions - why do you censor them? I think the official censor of the Palo Alto Weekly may have the thinnest skin of all in town.....


Posted by Scotty
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 5, 2018 at 5:06 pm

All lives should be celebrated. I believe the author did a disservice by sharing a little tmi on the man. He was who he was. Don't blame the shark. That said, why would pa online continue to censor comments that their articles create. Confused brought up some great points that should be addressed before writing such an article.


Posted by John
a resident of Triple El
on Jan 6, 2018 at 3:32 pm

I ask those who express concern about the legal basis for Caffe Riace appropriating a public plaza and using as a private dining space whether they have the same opinion about the City of Palo Alto narrowing California Avenue and widening the sidewalks so that restaurant owners can block the sidewalk and use the space to increase the footprint of their businesses. I understand that some residents see such a use as a 'public benefit.' Has this already been discussed at length before?


Posted by so called public benefits
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 6, 2018 at 7:56 pm

Caffe Riace appropriates a public plaza in the same way that Doug Ross installed 2 so-called public plazas at the corners of 800 High Street. The corner at Homer is taken over by a restaurant, and the corner at Channing has large concrete planters taking up the space keeping the public out.
It is all part of the city's contractor giveaways. They pretend it is a Public Benefit in return for giving the developer a profitable PC zone, then let the developer use it for himself.
The city has been using this subterfuge for a long time.


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