MacKenzie Companies Opens Regional Office in Charlottesville, Virginia

Former Boston Properties Vice President Sam Orr tapped to lead efforts providing commercial real estate brokerage, property management, debt and equipment placement, and construction management services

The MacKenzie Companies, a Mid-Atlantic-focused group offering a full spectrum of commercial real estate services, has expanded into the central Virginia region with the opening of a new Charlottesville regional office. Sam P. Orr, formerly Vice President of Leasing for Boston Properties, has been tapped to oversee the company’s rollout in the region to enable the offering of commercial real estate brokerage, property and asset management, and construction management services, together with debt and equity placement. Target audiences for this suite of services include private investors, property owners, landlords, tenants, and individuals. MacKenzie’s offices are located in the Boar’s Head Professional Center.

Founded in 1968, The MacKenzie Companies operates six commercial real estate services divisions, including MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, MacKenzie Management, MacKenzie Contracting and others, and employs more than 225 professionals. The company operates five full-service brokerage offices in Maryland. The MacKenzie Companies executed more than 850 real estate transactions and completed more than 185 construction projects throughout the greater Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia areas last year, with both totals representing the highest in the company’s 56-year history.

“We view Charlottesville as the gateway to our full expansion throughout Virginia, with target areas including Roanoke, Norfolk, Tidewater, and Virginia Beach,” said Brendan O. Gill, MacKenzie’s President, and Chief Operating Officer. “Our team has had tremendous success with the development of a 75-acre industrial park in Richmond, an experience that provided the opportunity to develop important relationships in the commercial real estate and business industries in Virginia. Adding Sam to our team represented a perfect opportunity that aligned with our interests in entering the Virginia market with Sam’s desire to join a boutique commercial real estate services firm and take a leadership role in its growth.”

Sam Orr tapped to lead Virginia expansion activities

Orr worked in several asset management and leasing capacities at Boston Properties’ Washington, D.C. office during his 15 years with the company. He handled leasing activities for several downtown and Maryland-area trophy office assets, a one million square foot flex/industrial portfolio in Virginia and numerous government-occupied buildings in suburban Maryland. Most recently, Orr oversaw the company’s Northern Virginia asset portfolio and managed all leasing and asset management activities for the six million square foot Reston Town Center portfolio.

Over the course of his career with the commercial real estate development company, Orr successfully concluded approximately 200 transactions totaling more than four million square feet of space across all asset classes. Notable tenants included numerous Fortune 100 and 500 companies including Bechtel, Fannie Mae, Google, Microsoft, and Volkswagen as well as government agencies, startups, defense contractors, and non-profit organizations. The operating portfolios under his oversight consistently maintained occupancy rates in excess of 95%.

“This type of endeavor always starts with finding the right person for the role, and we spent many months deliberating this move and visiting Charlottesville to formulate a long-term strategy,” Gill added. “We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have found a commercial real estate professional who shares our core values of responsiveness, professionalism and, most importantly, integrity. Charlottesville is a center of influence in Virginia and a right-sized market which plays to our strength of providing boutique-style commercial real estate services. Tenants value dealing with professionals who have intimate knowledge of the local area, rather than interacting with an out-of-state brokerage representative, and that emphasis is among the ways we intend to differentiate ourselves from the existing offerings.”

MacKenzie intends to employ an aggressive growth strategy, with a goal of adding up to four full-time commercial real estate brokerage professionals and two property management specialists before year-end. The company also hopes to attract two construction management personnel by early 2025.

Charlottesville is the “tip of the spear” for greater Virginia region

“I consider this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Orr said. “I was attracted to MacKenzie because of their long legacy of excellence, brand name recognition, access to a diverse platform of resources, and most importantly, the chance to work with their outstanding people. Taking a leadership role in establishing a new boutique-style office in a town where I live was an offer too amazing to pass up.

“In a compact and fast-growing market such as Charlottesville, it’s critical to function as a jack-of-all-trades and be proficient in every commercial real estate asset class, including office, retail, industrial/warehouse, biotech/life sciences, residential and industrial,” Orr added. “MacKenzie’s existing clients have also been a significant impetus for this expansion, as we are essentially following their movements and responding to their requests to provide real estate services in the greater Charlottesville area. The region is benefitted by a diverse economy and supported by a highly-skilled and educated workforce that specifically attracts start-ups and major business users.

“Growth has been particularly robust in recent years, leading to more residential and commercial expansion. Major economic drivers led by entrepreneurial-owned companies, research facilities, the biotech industry, the University of Virginia, and defense contractor industry make this region an attractive long-term investment. We also believe there will be opportunities with data centers as this asset class continues to expand out of Northern Virginia,” he added.

Vibrant economic ecosystem in central Virginia

According to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), the eight central Virginia counties represent “a vibrant economic ecosystem powered by the vision and passion of entrepreneurs, the strength of top-ranked UVA, and an exceptionally skilled and educated workforce.” The talent pool of more than 180,000 workers supports such central Virginia companies as Aerojet Rocketdyne, Afton Scientific, Bold Rock, Castle Hill Gaming, Equinix, S&P Global Market Intelligence, and WillowTree.

In 2022, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Virginia #3 in its list of “Top Public Schools in the United States.” Southern Living named Charlottesville “The South’s Best Food Town” in 2019 and included Albemarle County in its 2020 “Best Counties to Live in America.” Business Facilities ranked Virginia #2 in its “Top Tech Talent Pipeline in the United States” list. Nearly 42 percent of Virginia’s population has a bachelor’s degree or higher, making the Commonwealth the most educated state in the South, according to VEDP.

MacKenzie development activities in Richmond

In 2022, MacKenzie Investments delivered a 200,000 square foot warehouse/industrial building in its North Richmond Industrial Park, a 75-acre business community that can support up to 600,000 square feet of space. Built on a speculative basis and representing Phase I of the development plant, the building is 100 percent leased to three tenants, including The Home Depot. Phase II of the business community is set to be delivered shortly.

Mike Bradley, President of MacKenzie Investment Group, said the company “believes in the enduring fundamentals contained within the Richmond sub-market and it is ripe for additional warehouse and industrial space, given its proximity to major population centers, a mature highway system and well-regarded port access.”

The new Charlottesville regional office is positioned approximately one hour away from Richmond and will support the brokerage and property management assignments for upcoming developments in the area.

MacKenzie and partner form new Asset Adversity Group

Earlier this year, The MacKenzie Companies formed a strategic alliance with InspiRE CRE designed to support financial institutions, investors, and other entities with a comprehensive range of expert services and overall guidance designed to achieve successful outcomes with distressed and underperforming commercial real estate assets. The target audience for the Asset Adversity Group is small to mid-sized banks looking for “boots on the ground” experience and for local relationships with all aspects of asset and property management, leasing and marketing and capital markets.

MacKenzie believes there will be upcoming opportunities for this new group in the Charlottesville area.

MacKenzie’s long-time connection to Charlottesville

MacKenzie founder Clark MacKenzie graduated from the University of Virginia in 1963 and current MacKenzie President and CEO Brendan Gill earned his undergraduate degree from that university in 2005.

“Charlottesville is among my favorite places and I have incredibly fond memories of my time spent on campus and the surrounding community,” Gill said. “Following an impactful experience in college, a large part of the school always remains with you. This is the perfect time for our company to take advantage of market conditions in the area and utilize our real estate knowledge and relationships to make a positive difference.”

The MacKenzie Companies operates six full-service divisions addressing all real estate asset classes. MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services provides a full range of marketing, leasing, acquisition and disposition services to landlords, developers, institutional ownership groups and investors. MacKenzie Management is the largest locally-owned third-party property management firm in Maryland, serving more than 150 clients and managing more than nine million square feet of space in various asset classes. MacKenzie Capital is a boutique real estate capital advisory firm that provides debt and equity capital solutions to owners, developers, and investors. MacKenzie Contracting is a full-service general contracting and construction management firm servicing clients in the healthcare, education, life sciences and corporate industries. The other divisions are MacKenzie Investment Group and MacKenzie Multifamily Management. For additional information, visit