If Jeff Pion could live his life over again, he would be a Google Inc. executive. But since he can’t, it only makes sense that the 51-year-old CBRE broker spends much of his time representing the Internet giant and other tech firms. He’s behind the landmark deal Google signed in Venice last year, which prompted several tech firms to snap up nearby space. Pion is not new to the field: He’s been helping tech firms find their West L.A. homes since the late 1980s.
How did you begin your career?
I started in the real estate business in 1983 after graduating from University of California, Santa Barbara, working for an investment and development company based in downtown Los Angeles.
How did you start working with tech companies?
One of the first creative office deals that I did was for Microsoft and Soft Image back in the late ’80s. We took two brick bow-truss industrial warehouse buildings on Colorado Boulevard in Santa Monica and converted them to office space. It was so satisfying and so creative, I was hooked.
What’s the best part of working with them?
The people – they are amazing, smart, creative, entrepreneurial, progressive. They want to create a culture and environment for their people that is stimulating and fun to work in.
What’s the most challenging?
Finding the right property that fits my clients’ needs and then planning for their growth. The tech industry moves so quickly and their needs can change dramatically.
What makes them different from other tenants?
I think that they want to constantly push the envelope – in design, workplace strategies, doing things in an unconventional manner.
Current deal I am working on ...
We are just finishing a deal for Demand Media in Santa Monica. They are a very smart, fun group of people, and working on the deal and problem-solving during the process has been very satisfying.
My favorite deal and my dream deal are probably one and the same: the Google deal in Venice. It was probably the most creative deal that I have ever done: multiple buildings, most of which were not on the market, with different owners. Google wanted to be right near the beach in a very cool neighborhood. Nothing existed that was the perfect fit so we created it and made it happen.
My colleagues don’t know this about me …
I grew up in Hawaii and graduated high school in the same class as Obama. We started Punahou at the same time, in the fifth grade on Oahu. You may or may not agree with his politics, but I still think that it is pretty cool that I know POTUS.
– Jacquelyn Ryan
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