#2

NewMark Merrill Cos.

HEADQUARTERS:

Woodland Hills

CEO: Sanford Sigal

BUSINESS: Ownership and management of shopping centers.

REVENUE: $15.1 Million

NUMBER OF LOCATIONS: 63 shopping centers in three states: California (53), Colorado (7) and Illinois (3).

EMPLOYEES: 110

NOTABLE: The name NewMark derives from Sigal wanting to leave a “new mark” on the retail industry.

NewMark Merrill Cos. owns and runs shopping centers throughout the Golden State and elsewhere.

Among the local properties the Woodland Hills company owns are East Lancaster Shopping Plaza, West Hills Shopping Center, Westridge Shopping Center in Canoga Park, Topanga Willows in University Village in Woodland Hills, Agoura Meadows in Agoura Hills, Gelson’s Village in Calabasas and Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks.

The company, which ranked No. 2 on the Business Journal’s Fastest-Growing Company list, has engineered substantial growth in the last two years by acquiring about $175 million worth of new assets, building about $50 million in new shopping centers, and adding nearly a dozen new management assignments.

Chief Executive Sandy Sigal took an unusual route into the commercial real estate industry — through technology.

Even more unusual when you factor in that this was in the early 1990s that Sigal started his career in real estate at the age of 20 while studying at UCLA by boarding West Venture Cos., a Southern California-based homebuilder.

Sigal joined the company to computerize its business processes. Even today, Sigal continues to put a premium on the importance of keeping up with technology and, at NewMark Merrill, has dedicated a dozen people as part of an internal think tank to address technology within the company plus many more techies devoted to marketing.

“We have to be agile and that’s hard to teach a big company,” Sigal told the Business Journal in the awards-laden confines of his office at NewMark Merrill’s corporate headquarters.

While at West Venture Cos., Sigal founded West Venture Commercial, the company’s commercial retail division, and embarked on building or redeveloping — as well as managing — more than 25 shopping centers. In 1993, Sigal became chief executive and president of the parent company, which added to his responsibilities land acquisition, development and sales for to more than 700 homes, plus oversight of the commercial and mortgage divisions.

Four years later, the real estate entrepreneur co-founded NewMark Merrill Cos., then purchased the West Venture assets, including 15 retail centers and four development projects.

Today, NewMark Merrill counts 63 shopping centers with 1,500 tenants and a combined 10 million square feet across three states in its asset pool. The company has offices in Thousand Oaks, Norwalk, Anaheim, Oceanside and Sacramento, as well as bases in the outlier states.

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