Bisnow Los Angeles ORION’s Belting Out Deals
What boasts more relationships than all 15 seasons of “The Bachelor” (but with a lot fewer tears)?
Irvine-based ORION Property Partners, Inc, which just completed its first decade in business. Don’t let the 10-year tenure fool you: Founder/CEO Jay Carnahan is a veteran (previous stops include Cushman, Transwestern, PM Realty, and Transpacific Development). He tells us his CRE services firm is looking to grow outside Orange County. New principals Mark Bennett and Mark McAdams, each with 27 years of experience, reflect part of Orion’s dual growth strategy: hiring brokers who’ve worked with some of the industry’s most significant owners, operators, and service providers.
According to Jay, the two Marks became partners in Orion to do something different and more enjoyable. “We don’t have to feed the beast,” i.e., management costs incurred by the public RE firms. He says this allows them to work on fewer properties and build deeper relationships.Six of Orion’s seven principals, including Jay, Bob Thagard, and Mark McAdams (with marketing coordinator Ali Hawthorn) have known or worked with one another for at least 25 years. (Rich Essen and Barry Gail are also partners.)
Jay notes salespeople are supposed to be cold-callers, but the firm’s business, whether landlord or tenant rep, has all been from referrals or people they’ve done business with in the past. Jay says Orion takes a limited number of listings—2M to 2.5M SF per senior partner—so it doesn’t end up competing with itself “because tenants are so precious and few.” (And the moments they share with clients lead to repeat business.) It adds value and creates an alignment of interests with clients, “as opposed to a commodity approach.”
The firm just did a deal with Wunderman Southern California for 25k SF in Main Plaza (CBRE’s Justin Hill and Mark Friend repped the advertising firm). Orion has leased more than 300k SF includingThe firm just did a deal with Wunderman Southern California for 25k SF in Main Plaza (CBRE’s Justin Hill and Mark Friend repped the advertising firm).
Orion has leased more than 300k SF including renewals at the Shorenstein-owned property—more than any other building in the Irvine Concourse—and that’s with competition from 2050 Main St, the Opus building that was foreclosed and then acquired by Greenlaw Partners, Westbrook and Walton Street. (He says the firm also did three of Orange County’s largest leases in 2010, including 128k SF with Cash Call.) Orion’s other growth strategy is hiring and training young pros like Troy Leland, promoted to partner last year.
Jay’s OC market outlook? The overall Class-A market hasn’t hit bottom—he expects it will happen this year—but “tier one” properties have already stopped the slide and rents are firming.