Commercial Observer Power LA: Sanford ‘Sandy’ Sigal

In 1997, Sandy Sigal left West Venture Commercial to start NewMark Merrill — at which point, he purchased the retail division he founded at his former company, including 15 retail centers and four development projects.

Since then, Sigal has acquired, developed  and managed more than 100 additional retail centers. He currently leads Calabasas, Calif.-based NewMark Merrill Companies, one of the fastest-growing privately held developers and owners of shopping centers in California, Colorado and Illinois. The portfolio represents more than 12 million square feet in excess of $2 billion. 

Traffic at NewMark Merrill’s shopping centers has increased more than 11 percent last year, according to the firm’s data, hosting almost 50 million visitors. (For perspective, California, the nation’s most populous state, is home to approximately 39 million people.)

Sandy Sigal, Founder, Chairman and CEO at NewMark Merrill Companies

The highlights for NewMark Merrill the past year include fully pre-leasing the Rialto Village, a 96,000-square-foot shopping center currently underway in Rialto. The firm also announced it acquired Corbin-Parthenia, an 83,668-square-foot retail center in Northridge, roughly 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles. It’s the eighth shopping center NewMark Merrill owns or manages in the San Fernando Valley.

After surviving the online shopping boom and a global pandemic, firms like NewMark Merrill have been rewarded with high interest rates and high inflation this year.

“You’re at a point where lenders have all pulled back, no one wants to really buy anything,” Sigal told CO in May. “People are trying to figure out how to buy on a cap rate that makes sense with this level of debt. And you’re seeing a huge mismatch.”

Sigal subscribes to a holistic approach that views shopping as a destination. He emphasizes knowing customers, offering visitors an experience, and communication. Instead of,  “If you build it, they will come,” Sigal believes that, “If you communicate, they will come.”

Sigal is also well known in the industry for his community activism and organization, which was particularly prevalent during the height of the pandemic, when Sigal shifted the company’s focus to work with tenants to help make sure community centers survived.

COVID “gave us the opportunity to get much closer to our communities,” Sigal told CO this year. “And our connection to our communities is like nothing I’ve ever had in my 35 years.”

The company has offices in Woodland Hills, Thousand Oaks, Norwalk, Anaheim, Oceanside, Sacramento, Chicago and the Denver area.

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