Shopoff: u201cThe name change is reflective of a step forward in the evolution of the company.u201d

IRVINE, CA—Shopoff Realty Investments‘ recent name change reflects a more focused company perspective at a time when the industry is experiencing a shift in the investment environment from distressed to opportunistic, William Shopoff, president and CEO, and Daniel Oschin, COO of the firm, tell First and foremost, the name clarifies to the market exactly what the company is and does, they say.

As reported last week, The Shopoff Group has renamed itself Shopoff Realty Investments. The locally based firm says the new name reflects its plans to “build upon its successful 25-year history as a progressive leader in creating value and opportunity.”

Oschin tells that Shopoff as a company has been around in various forms for more than 20 years. “Like many companies, it has evolved in a positive way, is experiencing a tremendous amount of growth and is expanding in a variety of different directions. When I came onboard, Shopoff was a very well-known and well-established brand in the real estate industry. Bill Shopoff created it to encapsulate 80 different entities in our organization of various shapes and sizes. He wanted it to be a blanket parent company. But other than the name Shopoff, it doesn’t say much about what we do. So we now want to better articulate our message as we build and expand into other universes.”

To that end, the firm created a brand name that would clarify its purpose and goals in the industry, Oschin adds. “Bill’s name is incredibly important to who we are, but we wanted to make it clear that we focus on real estate investment. Our tagline is also important: ‘transforming opportunity into value’—that explains what we actually do. We focus specifically on opportunistic investment, creating a value transformation of an asset to something bigger than what it was when we bought it.”

Shopoff adds that there has been a shift in the investment environment from distressed to more opportunistic investments due to the recovering economy. “The name change is not directly reflective of that, but it’s reflective of a step forward in the evolution of the company. The marketplace in 2008 focused very much on distressed investing, and we’re moving away from that as an economy.”

Opportunistic investing is where we see the opportunity to acquire and add value in the industry today.”

Internally, the firm is planning to double its staff by the end of the year, and Shopoff says the firm’s acquisition and development—transformation of land through entitlement to higher purposes—as well as asset management, property management and disposition areas will be expanding. In addition, the accounting department will expand as the firm buys greater amounts of assets. “We’re seeing a lot more activity—not just opportunities, but the pipeline of opportunities has grown multifold from five years ago. Then, when we acquire those assets, more is happening with them and much faster. There’s faster fluidity in banking. There’s also growth in the entitlement process and tenanting, and we see that opportunity continue to evolve. You need the manpower to take advantage of that.”

Oschin says the firm is looking to entice the “top tier” of industry talent. “One of the things that makes us unique from others in the industry is we have the ability to transform or evolve our company methodically, strategically and carefully and adapt to what the market requires. Others seem slower to respond. There’s an opportunity for us to bring in great new people who aren’t able to take advantage of what is out there. Everyone uses the word ‘opportunistic,’ but we use it in terms of a comprehensive and sophisticated way of underwriting and finding a way to harness and find value in an asset that others might not see.”

One example of this is the firm’s recent involvement with Uptown Newport Village, on which reported in March. The residential and retail project here, which recently broke ground,s month, will cost roughly $225 million to build. Launched by the Shopoff Group, the project will replace a pair of aging industrial buildings on 25 acres with a unique community of neighborhood shops, restaurants, parks and upscale homes and apartments. Total construction costs for the project are expected to exceed $500 million.

The Shopoff Group jointly acquired the Uptown Newport site with its capital partner, DRA Advisors, in 2010. Shopoff successfully secured Newport Beach City Council approval and entitlements for the project in 2013 and purchased DRA Advisors’ stake in the project in February.