Maguire Steps Down, Nelson Rising Named President, CEO of Maguire Properties

Nelson Rising has taken over as president & CEO of Maguire Properties Inc., the Los Angeles-based REIT known for its high-profile office properties in Southern California and Los Angeles in particular. Robert Maguire (pictured), the company’s current chairman & CEO, stepped down from the company’s board of directors and accepted the title of chairman emeritus. At the same time, Maguire, who founded the company, informed the board that he has withdrawn his proposal to acquire control of the firm, a move that perhaps marks the end of a storied real estate career. Maguire founded Maguire Partners, the REIT’s predecessor, in 1965. The company began developing commercial office properties in 1968. Under Maguire’s leadership, and with partner Jim Thomas, as partner of the company Maguire Thomas Partners, a national full-service real estate operating company from 1983 to 1996, he ultimately developed more than 25 million square feet of institutional-quality projects nationally, receiving numerous awards for design excellence. The company’s credits include the U.S. Bank Tower, The Gas Company Tower, Wells Fargo Tower and KPMG Tower in Los Angeles. Maguire Properties has been struggling since last year, when, as reported by CPN, the company took on high levels of debt with its acquisition in April of 2007 of a 24-building Orange County and Los Angeles portfolio from the Blackstone Group L.P. for about $3 billion. Last December, the company formed a special committee of independent directors to explore alternatives including selling the company. At the end of March, the committee announced that no desirable offers had been submitted and that the company would no longer seek to sell. Then last month, a group led by Maguire submitted a proposal to take the company private. That effort has apparently been scrapped. Rising currently serves as chairman & CEO of Rising Realty Partners. He is the former chairman & CEO of Catellus Development Corp. During 11 years with Catellus, Rising oversaw the company’s evolution from a railroad land company to a diversified development company and REIT. Catellus merged with industrial giant ProLogis in 2005 in a transaction valued at $5.5 billion, delivering a total return to shareholders of more than 570 percent. In addition, the company reported that the board of directors has suspended the quarterly dividend on common stock, citing the difficult environment in the office market, in the capital markets and Maguire’s recent performance. Walter Weisman was elected to succeed Maguire as chairman of the board. Weisman is the former non-executive vice chairman and lead independent director of the board. He has been a member of the board since 2003.