Orange County, Calif. giant The Irvine Company is taking over property management services for its 36-center portfolio and severing ties with Madison Marquette and Donahue Schriber, which had been overseeing the firm's portfolio on a third-party basis. Irvine plans to hire most of the 150 employees working at its properties. “We're happy with the way our properties have been run — both are excellent management companies — and we're hopeful that many of those employees working on these properties will come to work for The Irvine Co.,” says spokesperson Jennifer Hieger.

Irvine spent the past several years honing its internal office and apartment management skills, so bringing retail in-house was the next logical step, Heiger says. The firm's retail portfolio, which includes three regional and 34 community and neighborhood shopping centers, has grown during the past 10 years from 21 to 36 properties.

“We're not forming a new division,” she explains. “Those folks now working on our retail properties will be folded into our larger property management division.”

Joan Suko, vice president of Marketing for Washington, D.C.-based Madison Marquette, says the change is something they had anticipated. “We had a good run, but it makes sense for them, and we understand why they're doing it,” she adds, noting that her firm manages the 1.3-million-square-foot Fashion Island mall in Newport Beach, Calif., and 880,000-square-foot Irvine Spectrum Center, as well as the majority of the Irvine's neighborhood and community shopping centers.

“We want what's best for our employees; we want them to build their careers,” Suko says of the Madison Marquette staff who will soon join Irvine. Madison Marquette Realty Services LP is staying on to provide leasing services for Irvine, she adds.

Patrick Donahue, president of Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Donahue Schriber, also is pleased that employees now working at the five centers his firm manages will be absorbed by Irvine. “Irvine has been very gracious. We worried where our employees would go,” he says, noting that Donahue Schriber has been working with Irvine for 17 years and currently manages The Market Place, a 1.6-million-square-foot power center that straddles the Tustin-Irvine border, and four other smaller properties. Donahue says his firm also expected this change, because Irvine began taking leasing in-house five years ago. “We've always had a good relationship with them and still do,” he says.