Founder and CEO
Kenneth Roberts was born in Los Angeles in 1960. After graduating from UC Berkeley (undergraduate) and the University of Colorado School of Law, he began a career in public and private international law at a law firm in Taipei, Taiwan. The reality of living as an expatriate was less enchanting than the idea and he returned to California to join a boutique transactional real estate law firm. He quickly turned his attention to real estate development while representing clients who were buying, selling, planning and financing residential projects and processing subdivision maps throughout California. Mr. Roberts was one of the general partners in the entities that brought the “Live-Work” loft-condominium to San Francisco in 1991. After several projects in the South of Market Area (SOMA), he went on to develop single family detached homes in subdivisions throughout California. Mr. Roberts met Michael Rice of The Miller-Sorg Group in 1999 while planning the redevelopment of a small 2.4 acre hillside in El Sobrante, a small unincorporated city in the San Francisco Bay Area. The relationship with Mr. Rice has been a successful, ongoing partnership ever since.
Planning and Land-Use
Mr. Armas formed Armas Consulting Group (ACG”) in 2007 following more than 30 years in local government in four municipalities in Northern and Southern California. As City Manager of Hayward for more than 14 years, Mr. Armas led the negotiations on behalf of city government for all commercial and residential projects. ACG became the vehicle through which Mr. Armas could share his experience with and expertise in redevelopment agency practice and his knowledge of the entitlement process with public and private developers. Among his successful engagements, Mr. Armas assisted a private sector project client process General Plan and Zone changes related to the construction of a new $300 million hospital in Castro Valley to meet state seismic standards. Other notable examples include assisting a client secure approvals for a residential project of 60 homes and another for a 144-unit project in Hayward. With his intimate knowledge of city government and the planning process, Mr. Armas understands how to navigate the complex bureaucracy without alienating the myriad departments vying for authority and has made himself an indispensable member of the development team.
Mr. Rice holds an MBA as well as a degree in engineering. Before purchasing his partner’s interest to become the sole owner of the Miller-Sorg Group in Solano County (when?), Mr. Rice ran every aspect of Miller-Sorg’s residential development throughout Northern California. Mr. Rice knows the Subdivision Map Act better than most land-use lawyers and has processed tentative tract maps for more than 4500 homes over the last 40 years and has built nearly as many during that time. He has worked with the finest architects and designers in the homebuilding industry and earned a reputation for excellent craftsmanship, impeccable judgment, and built an unblemished record for honesty and integrity in an industry rife with people who are prepared to cut corners faster than drywall. His technical knowledge is often praised by the engineers, architects, planners and consultants who have worked with him. This technical expertise creates value as often as it detects problems.
Mr. Hong was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1959, and lived in at least 9 countries by the age of 18. Demonstrating an unquenchable thirst for mathematics at an early age, Mr. Hong was studying calculus in 7th grade. Rather than pursue mathematics as a scholarly endeavor, Mr. Hong applied his interest in quantitative analysis to study finance at Wharton.
After graduating summa cum laude from The Wharton School (Dean’s List Scholar) in 1983, he received his MBA, with distinction, from The Wharton School (Director’s List Scholar) in 1984. The next 30 years as an international investment banker with experience in the US and Asian markets on the buy-side and sell-side gave Mr. Hong the opportunity to put his penchant for mathematics to good use. Mr. Hong’s tenure at Trust Company Of The West (L.A.), Morgan Stanley (Korea and Hong Kong) and NatWest Markets (Tokyo and Hong Kong) proved that his skills went far beyond numbers. He launched the first US-based investment bank in Korea for Morgan Stanley and obtained the first Korea Stock Exchange membership for a US brokerage house. Mr. Hong subsequently moved to NatWest Markets in 1997 to lead a staff of 300 in the Tokyo and Hong Kong offices. In 2007, Mr. Hong became the President and CEO of DAOL Investments, Inc., a subsidiary of DAOL Trust Company, a licensed financial intermediary in Korea, where the placement of Korean capital in the US real estate markets became the primary mission of the company. Mr. Hong and Mr. Roberts have known each other since 1974 and have worked together in real estate since 2002.