News - September 5, 2007

William Kelley, a major player in Silicon Valley real estate, dies at 84

by David Boyce

Friends, relatives and associates of Peninsula real estate developer and notable Ladera resident William K. Kelley are invited to a service on the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 16, to remember his life and 60- year career. Mr. Kelley, of the Palo Alto-based firm Hare, Brewer, and Kelley, Inc., died Monday, Aug. 27, at the age of 84.

The memorial service is scheduled for 1 to 5 p.m. at the Palo Alto Elks Club at 4249 El Camino Real in Palo Alto.

Mr. Kelley and his firm took on large projects. Ladera itself and Atherton neighborhoods of Lindenwood and the hills west of the Alameda de las Pulgas are among the subdivisions brought to existence by Bill Kelley and his partners, said his brother and Ladera resident Ryland Kelley.

Bill Kelley's insights led to Stanford University ending its practice of leasing land for 100 years, going instead with 50-year leases. The change added "immense value" to the university's land endowment, Ryland said.

The 620-acre high-technology office complex in Sunnyvale known as Moffett Park is the result of Bill Kelley arranging a simultaneous closing for 60 parcels on the site, his brother said.

Mr. Kelley's firm was responsible for the concurrent development of an award-winning 15-story office building at 525 University Avenue in Palo Alto, the 500,000-square-foot Mayfield Mall at the border of Palo Alto and Mountain View, and the upscale vacation community of Pajaro Dunes on Monterey Bay, Ryland Kelley said.

The firm also contributed to some of the Peninsula's most cherished open space, the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve.

After repeated efforts to develop landmark Windy Hill ran up against the town of Portola Valley's stringent zoning, the firm donated 1,312 acres to the newly formed Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) in 1981. POST sold its first major acquisition later that year to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District for half its market value.

A native of Palo Alto, Bill Kelley piloted a B-17 bomber during World War II and flew 35 missions over Germany, his brother said. He graduated from Stanford University after the war and joined his father's real estate firm.

He was the first president of the Ladera Oaks Swim & Tennis Club and a founding member of a men's lunch club in Palo Alto and a club for the sport of curling.

Bill Kelley's first wife, Mona, died of lung cancer at age 40. Mr. Kelley is survived by his second wife Rayna; brother Ryland of Ladera; daughters Lois of Nevada City, California, Mary of Portola Valley, and Sheryl of San Francisco; sons Michael of Los Altos, Pat of Mi Wuk, California, Brian of Palo Alto, and Clark of Menlo Park; and 11 grandchildren.

The family asks that memorials in Mr. Kelley's name be made to a charity of the donor's choice.


Posted by William Sowles, a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 17, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I worked for the Kelleys way back in the 1970's. With HBK, I cut my teeth on Commercial Real Estate. I have many fond memories of my days in Palo Alto with the Kelley Bros. Bill Sowles of Seattle

Posted by Kathy Roberts Dean, a resident of another community
on Apr 24, 2010 at 7:27 am

Thank you for this posting. Mr. Kelley's first wife, Mona, was my dad's cousin. I have wonderful memories of their family when I was a little girl. I have often wondered how they were doing. My regards to this outstanding man and his contributions.

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