Today, the two real estate moguls will be honored by the UC Irvine
Graduate School of Management with Lifetime Achievement Awards for their
work at Fashion Island and other shopping centers throughout the county.
"These two were chosen because of their impact on the Orange County
real estate community, both in terms of their projects, their
personalities and their outreach in the community," said Christopher
Davis, director of UCI's program in real estate management.
Donahue and Schriber have a long history together. They first met
working in the loan department of Caldwell Banker in 1965.
Both wanted to do a bit more with their careers. So in 1968, Donahue
broke away and joined John S. Griffith -- a development and management
company. Schriber followed soon after.
Eight years later, they bought the company from its owners but kept
the name because of its established reputation.
"We used smoke and mirrors to make it look like it was a larger,
financially sound company than it was," Donahue said.
By the early 1980s, they felt confident enough to change the name to
reflect the new ownership. Their styles complement each other, they say
-- Schriber gets involved with development and finance, while Donahue
focuses on the creative side and marketing.
By the late '80s, they were well known enough to be invited by the
Irvine Co. to tame the behemoth that Fashion Island had become.
Originally developed in the 1960s with three main department stores,
it had evolved piecemeal with no theme linking the disparate elements,
"We had lived in Newport Beach and had our offices there," Donahue
said. "We felt we understood what was missing."
Armed with Bren's vision, the pair set about redesigning the center,
adding theatrical elements such as fountains, lighting and new signs to
entice shoppers to mosey down its myriad walkways. They also upped the
percentage of establishments serving food from eight to 24.
Their efforts paid off as Fashion Island has become the heart of
shopping in Newport Beach.
"Donahue and Schriber were instrumental in the planning and execution
of the Fashion Island renaissance of the late '80s and the transformation
of Fashion Island into the town center for Newport Beach it is today,"
said Keith Eyrich, president of retail properties for the Irvine Co.
Both say they are thrilled to receive such a significant award from
the school. The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually at the
school's real estate conference.
"I'm honored to be associated with the previous recipients," Schriber
said. "There are a lot of outstanding community leaders."
Donahue Schriber is based in Costa Mesa and owns 55 shopping centers
in California, Arizona and Nevada, and manages six more. The company has
a net worth in excess of $700 million.
Their advice to aspiring real estate developers is simple.
"Focus," Donahue said.
* Deirdre Newman covers education. She may be reached at (949)
574-4221 or by e-mail at o7 firstname.lastname@example.org .