Expanding, Thriving and Making a Transition During a Pandemic

Orchard Commercial Joe Elizabeth Lewis Byron Renfro

Orchard Commercial has experienced many changes over the past 18 months.

We recently expanded our managed portfolio to 13 million square feet with a big win in Palo Alto and Menlo Park, after winning a 600,000 square foot assignment from Stanford University for property & construction management. The firm was selected out of 11 companies, the latest in a series of new assignments Orchard has won since March 2020, illustrating that demand for high-quality services increases as markets soften. 

Other recent notable wins at Orchard include assignments from Morgan Stanley, Toda America, Inc., Embarcadero Partners LLC and Trimble Associates LLC, totaling another one million square feet. In addition, Orchard Executive Tim Ballas traveled to southern California during 2020 to provide consulting due diligence support for a client based in Japan who was unable to travel due to COVID restrictions. With Orchard’s help, the client purchased the southern California building and another property in Dublin, CA, which Orchard manages.

Joe Lewis

As Orchard embraced these new clients and grew, it did so without one of its key team members, co-founder and principal Joe Lewis. Joe passed away in December of 2020 after a year-long battle with kidney cancer. Joe was a great friend to all who knew him, whether they interacted with him for 30 years or 30 minutes. He was genuine, caring and generous to all.

Joe’s presence is missed, but his principles remain the bedrock of how Orchard does business. Do the right thing, help others, and no blame are ideas on which he and his wife and partner, Elizabeth Lewis, built Orchard Commercial and will continue to help the company grow and prosper long into the future. 

Joe surrounded himself with the best people in the business and is survived at Orchard by a well-seasoned management team of veterans including Elizabeth Lewis, Orchard Commercial’s co-owner, co-founder and former broker, Melissa Bowman, Byron Renfro, Katy Jessup, Debbie Kaiser, Tim Ballas, Sonia Ayala, and Ginger Gour. With an average of over 27 years of real estate experience, and over 14 years on average at Orchard, the executive team works together effortlessly and has a combined 246 years of real estate experience between its members.

During 2020, business surged and Orchard hired ten new property management & accounting professionals. We also sourced a key new hire for one of our clients in San Francisco as an Asset Manager for the organization, a much-appreciated effort and value enhancement for all parties.

“We have our clients and dedicated employees to thank for our success, and the core values instilled by Joe Lewis will continue to drive the culture of the company,” says company President and COO Byron Renfro. “We see very clearly that our clients place a premium on diversity, equity and inclusion, things we have always practiced.” 

According to Elizabeth Lewis, who now serves as board chair, “Building a sustainable company governed on what matters most is the way forward. We understand our role in the community, and while we miss Joe dearly, we will all do our best to make his dream a reality.” 

Orchard Commercial, Inc. traces its roots back to 1973, when Dave Brown founded Orchard Properties, Inc. and developed 8 million square feet of office R&D assets in Silicon Valley. Joe and Elizabeth Lewis bought the operating company in 2000 from Dave Brown and focused on third-party property management services for institutional and private clients such as Travelers Insurance, Invesco, Morgan Stanley, CM Capital, Informatica, James Campbell Company, DRA Advisors, as well as overseas investment firms, high net-worth individuals and family Trusts.

To learn more about us or to see how we can help your organization’s needs, please visit us at http://www.orchardcommercial.com/.

West Coast Commercial Real Estate News