Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

Real Estate Owners, Developers Tap Top-Tier Artists

January 22, 2019

The Boardwalk – a 545,000-square-foot, glass-encased office complex along Jamboree Road – has a luxe hotel vibe from its lobby decor to the concierge-type services for tenants such as Pathway Capital Management, Holthouse, Carlin & Van Trigt LLP and Propel Media Inc.

Highlighting the year-old Irvine project’s fine finishes is a series of artwork by notable artists including San Francisco-based Jim Campbell and Orange County resident Elizabeth Turk –  names rarely if ever found attached to an office building.

Dallas developer Trammell Crow Co., whose Newport Beach office headed The Boardwalk development, worked with art adviser Jeannie Denholm to make the collection possible; it was officially unveiled last month.

The Boardwalk’s offering is among the more notable arts-related addition to an area commercial property since the late Henry Segerstrom commissioned Isamu Noguchi for that artist’s California Scenario project in the early 1980s.

The 1.6-acre Costa Mesa project – also called Noguchi Garden –  is next to the Pacific Arts Plaza office complex now owned by Irvine Co. and widely considered one of the more important and publicly accessible outdoor sculpture areas in Southern California. Other notable art installations have come – and occasionally gone – to both the inside and outside of OC’s collection of buildings.

Irvine-based retailer Tilly’s Inc. worked with Costa Mesa based Vans Inc. and the Artists Republic gallery of Laguna Beach to get a 15,000-square-foot painting from Bay Area painter Zio Ziegler installed on a Tilly’s Spectrum-area building along San Diego (405) Freeway in 2015.

The Picasso-like painting was envisioned as a short-term project designed to remain up for three months. The public’s embrace of the project gave it a few extensions before eventually coming down in 2016. Owners and developers of other types of commercial  properties have gotten into the act too.

The developers of Costa Mesa’s Baker Block apartment complex aimed to distinguish their 240-unit project from other multifamily projects that have sprung up in Orange County  of late, so they turned to art.

Southern California street artist Shepard Fairey  – a founder of Irvine apparel maker Obey Clothing  who also created the iconic “Hope” posters used during Barack Obama’s presidential campaign – was enlisted to create an outsize mural on the exterior of the property, which fronts the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway. The resulting “Welcome Home” artwork unveiled in 2017, is the largest mural in Orange County, according to Irvine-based Red Oak Investments, which built the complex in a venture with L.A.-based Cityview.

This week, the Flight office development in Tustin will see work start for a series of murals going up on the outside of the property’s nearly completed buildings.

The six-week art installation – featuring the work of Bunnie Reiss, Shag, and  John Park – is “one of the coolest parts of the project”, according to Parke Miller, executive vide president  for the Costa Mesa-based office of Lincoln Property Co., the developer of Flight, OC’s first ground up creative-office project.

Game Changer

Tom Bak, senior managing director at Trammell Crow, said it’s uncommon for a developer to invest a significant amount of time and money into curating artwork for a commercial space but found it necessary for Boardwalk.

” I didn’t have a lot of money in mind to spend on art,” Bak said. “I just thought it would be part of the equation, but as I got myself more interested in this Boardwalk experience, I said to myself this is going to be a game-changer so it warrants using the savings we had.”

Bak declined to disclose how much was spent on art – the cost of the entire office development was previously estimated as approaching $200 million – but said he was able to increase the amount thanks to “substantial” savings over the course of the project’s construction, compared to its projected budget.

Denholm said the budget for amassing a corporate art collection can vary widely depending on the art’s location and scale of the project, but generally, it’s under $1 million.

Corporate art collections aren’t new. David Rockefeller is often cited as an example for having Chase Manhattan Bank acquire art in the 1950s and the city of Brea requires sculptures or art-oriented donations for many commercial projects, but over the years it has evolved as a way for companies to publicly tout their tastes and create conversation in their lobbies and conference rooms.

Denholm said with OC commercial buildings she’s starting to see “increased consciousness” from developers who are seeing art as more than just decor.

“The contemporary art market, in general, is really strong and I think people are starting to see the value,” she said. “We’ve got that great Shepard Fairey mural on the 55 [Freeway] and obviously that was a conscious decision because they understood … what art brings to some buildings.”

On the Boardwalk

Bak thinks the boardwalk buildings themselves stand as works of art. The 7.5 – acre Boardwalk’s two nine-story buildings are connected by a series of indoor and outdoor bridges, which allows the 30,000 square- foot floors to expand to 65,000 square feet of connected space, much larger than a typical office floor.

The property has outdoor meeting spaces with televisions, extensive landscaping, an onsite Sterling Service hospitality team of 10 and valet service at the property’s entrance.

Bak said part of taking a cue from the hospitality business meant rethinking how it would design building lobbies.

“When I walk into an office building, I would put my head down and walk right to the elevator. I wouldn’t look at anything,” he said. ” This is where we hired Jeannie. I wanted everybody to turn their heads and look at something like art and that art has to change every time so the experience changes.”

Denholm tapped Campbell, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology –  educated engineer turned artist, to create two installations for the property.

The first, in the North building is “Eroding Waves,” featuring more than 3,000 LED spheres hanging at various lengths displaying a video of swimmers moving back and forth. A San Francisco gallery has the work valued at $200,000 to $300,000.

The second piece, “Main Beach,” is in the South building’s lobby and is composed of several small, squared LEDs mounted against the wall that when stepping back show images of Main Beach in Laguna Beach, where Bak lives.

Campbell’s 2018 installation “Day for Night” on top of Salesforce Tower in San Francisco is considered one of the tallest public art installations in the U.S.

Turk works mainly with marble and for the North lobby curved a large piece of Carrara marble into the ribbon shape.

It’s her first major public art installation locally, Denholm said. Turk is a 2010 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, also referred to as a Genius Grant.

Artworks by Eric Johnson, Pierce Meehan, Andy Moses, and Susan Woodruff are also located in the building’s conference center.

An Eyeful

Denholm has been in the art business for more than 30 years, including working with The Broad Art Foundation for nine years, as well as becoming a corporate art curator for AIG-Sun America Inc. and KB Home.

She has also worked with clients such as Irvine-based Taco Bell Corp., Chapman University, Burnham Benefits in Irvine and Versant Ventures in Newport Beach, and founded Corona Del Mar gallery Southern California Art Projects and Exhibitions, known as SCAPE, in 2013

Bak said in more than 30 years in the business he’s never seen a property toured by members of the public because of their interest in art.

“It was fun… artists don’t really put art into an office building so this was a huge adjustment for them, too, but… we wanted to create a unique and engaging experience for the marketplace.”

By Sabrina Hudson

Originally published in OCBJ

Sarah Hunt

Senior Associate, Business Development & Capital Relations

Ms. Hunt joined Cityview in 2021 and is a Senior Associate on the Business Development & Capital Relations team.  She is primarily responsible for relationship management, investor communications, and marketing collateral.  Additionally, she works closely with internal functional teams on due diligence efforts and supports investor reporting and special projects.  She is also a member of Cityview’s Sustainability Committee focused on communication of ESG initiatives to investors.

Ms. Hunt has over six years of real estate investment, capital formation, and investor relations experience.  Prior to joining Cityview, she was an Associate with Chicago-based Magnolia Capital.  During her tenure, she worked on equity capital raises for numerous real estate investment vehicles.  Prior to Magnolia, Ms. Hunt was a Financial Analyst with LaSalle Investment Management where she oversaw the financial performance of assets with over $1 billion in value.

Ms. Hunt received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance, Investment, and Banking from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Ramtin Esfandiari

Director, Acquisitions

Ramtin Esfandiari joined Cityview in 2018 and is responsible for managing acquisitions, including sourcing, underwriting and closing multifamily development deals. Prior to joining Cityview, Ramtin was on the Acquisitions team at The Bascom Group where he underwrote over $9 billion in multifamily acquisitions across the U.S. and supported all aspects of the acquisition process. Ramtin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Economics from the University of California, Irvine, and is an active member of Urban Land Institute.

Jonathan Anderson


Jonathan Anderson is the Controller of Cityview and provides leadership and oversight over the finance, accounting, and shared services departments.  Prior to joining the Cityview team, Jonathan worked at CIM Group where he held several finance and accounting roles during his tenure, most recently as head of private fund reporting and prior to that as director of SEC reporting for one of CIM Group’s publicly traded REITs.  Jonathan began his career in Ernst & Young’s assurance practice where he served both public and private clients in the real estate and asset management industries.  Jonathan graduated from the University of Southern California with both a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in real estate finance.

Tina O’ Brien

HR Director

Tina O’Brien, HR Director, is a senior national and state-certified HR Professional (SPHR, SHRM-SCP, PHRca), managing the HR team overseeing all aspects of Human Resources for both Cityview and its affiliate, Westhome. Her experience spans the spectrum of the HR field, including recruitment, employee relations, performance management, benefits, compliance and employee development. She joined Cityview in summer 2021 from a telecom technology firm in Van Nuys, and previously worked for a private real estate investment and property management company in Beverly Hills. Tina is an LA native and she’s committed to helping grow our vibrant, healthy corporate culture here at Cityview.

Noah Watts-Russell

Director Asset Management
Noah Watts-Russell is Director, Asset Management of Cityview. As Director of Asset Management, he oversees Cityview’s value-add portfolio and is responsible for establishing and driving the portfolio business plans to maximize performance and value. Prior to joining Cityview, Noah was an Associate in the Real Estate division at The Blackstone Group where he oversaw over $15bn in multifamily real estate (>70,000 units, covering market rate, affordable and rent-controlled) and worked on over $2bn in total sales and $1bn in refinancing. Prior to Blackstone, Noah managed the FP&A team at LivCor, Blackstone’s multifamily asset management company. Noah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Economics from Washington University in St. Louis.

Denise Katz

Director Asset Management

Denise Katz manages Cityview’s core and development assets across multiple investment vehicles and is responsible for maximizing the operational and financial performance of the assets.  Denise has over twelve years of experience in real estate. Prior to joining Cityview, Denise was Regional Vice President at CIM Group of a $2.4 billion portfolio in the Western US and Latin American markets. During her time at CIM, she managed end-to-end transitions of development projects, acquisitions, and dispositions of office, multifamily, retail, parking, condominium, and mixed-use projects. She holds a double major Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies and Psychology from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Steve Roberts

Director, Development and Construction
Steve Roberts is responsible for the development of several of Cityview’s ground-up multi-family assets, including due diligence, design, entitlement, permitting, construction, and market delivery. Prior to joining Cityview, Steve managed several nationally award-winning projects as Vice President of Development for Community Dynamics, a Santa Monica based developer of residential and mixed-use communities. Steve has built his career on creating exceptional communities that deliver high-quality housing to residents, first-rate design for neighbors and municipalities, as well as strong financial returns to investors. Steve holds a BA in Urban Studies and Planning from UCSD and earned an MBA and Master of Real Estate Development from the University of Southern California.

Anh Le

Director, Development

After 8 years in the construction industry managed complex multi-use development projects, Anh Le joined Cityview in 2018 as Director of Development. Le manages ground-up developments in Northern and Southern California and leads consultant teams through entitlement, design, permitting, budgeting, contracting, construction management and project turnover. She works closely with designers, neighborhood groups and Cityview’s in-house Asset Management team to deliver best-in-class multifamily projects. Prior to Cityview, Le worked as a project engineer and project manager at Cobalt Construction. Le holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.

Kyle Naye

Senior Director, Acquisitions

Kyle Naye is Senior Director, Acquisitions of Cityview.  As Senior Director of Acquisitions, he is responsible for managing acquisitions, including sourcing, underwriting, closing and developing comprehensive business plans for investors.  Naye primarily focuses on non-California markets across the Western U.S., including Seattle, Portland, Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Dallas, and Austin.  In his role, Naye works closely with the Cityview team to manage and expand strategic acquisitions across the firm’s vertically integrated platform.

Prior to joining Cityview, Naye was a vice president of originations at PGIM Real Estate, where he provided transactions and underwriting oversight for core-plus and high-yield debt vehicles. He also held a prior role at PGIM managing the underwriting, investment committee preparation and closing of $992 million in multifamily, retail and office assets across the Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. At earlier stages of his career, Naye was a senior associate of acquisitions at Clarion Partners, senior real estate analyst at Northmarq and an officer in the United States Navy.

Zory Grigoryan

Director, Development

As Director of Development, Zory Grigoryan is responsible for the full cycle development of several of Cityview’s projects, which includes managing the due diligence, underwriting, entitlement, design engineering, construction processes and turnover to asset management. Prior to joining Cityview, Grigoryan worked for Oakmont Capital as a Project Manager overseeing the development and construction of several multifamily projects. Prior to that, he worked at Cobalt Construction as a Project Manager on the construction of numerous mixed use and multifamily projects. During his career, Grigoryan has been responsible for the development, preconstruction and construction of over 1,500 units.

Grigoryan holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Construction Management from the California State University of Northridge, where he was the top ranked graduate of his year. During his time at Cobalt Construction, Grigoryan was also selected as distinguished alumni by the CSUN department faculty and appointed as ambassador for alumni recruitment by CSUN construction management department’s board of governors committee.

Chris Brown

Director, Capital Relations

Chris Brown is responsible for capital raising and investor relations at Cityview. Chris has over seven years of real estate investment and capital raising experience. Prior to joining Cityview, he was a member of the Fund Advisory team at JLL working on equity capital raises for private real estate investment vehicles. Prior to JLL, Chris worked on the Portfolio Management team at Clarion Partners and the Asset Management team at LaSalle Investment Management. Chris graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor’s Degrees in Finance and Real Estate. He is a general securities representative.

Dana Gomez-Gayne

Vice President and Associate General Counsel

Dana Gomez-Gayne manages the legal aspects of all project-related matters, including acquisition, development, management and disposition, and advises Cityview on corporate formation and maintenance, insurance, risk management and other legal matters. She was previously an Associate at O’Melveny & Myers LLP and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP where she represented a variety of clients in real estate, project development and finance transactions. Gomez-Gayne also has a background in fundraising development and worked at Teach For America raising philanthropic funds from regional and national corporations and foundations. She is a graduate of Pomona College and Pepperdine University School of Law.

Rob Lester

Managing Director, Business Development & Capital Relations
Rob Lester is responsible for business development and capital formation efforts for the Firm’s investment platforms, developing strategic growth initiatives, and creating long-term relationships with investors and partners. He has nearly 25 years of investment banking and private capital formation experience. Prior to joining Cityview, he was Managing Director with Macquarie Capital, and a Managing Principal with Blackstone. ​

Con Howe

Managing Director

Con Howe leads Cityview’s partnerships to finance, assemble and entitle land for development in the greater Los Angeles area. With over 40 years of experience in planning, entitlements and development, he assists all Cityview funds with acquisitions and development strategies. Prior to coming to Cityview he was the Director of Planning for the City of Los Angeles responsible for the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance and zoning to encourage infill housing. Previously he was the Executive Director of the New York City Planning Department.

Shane Robinson


Shane Robinson is responsible for managing all aspects of Cityview’s stabilized, value add and new development assets. With more than 22 years of experience managing multifamily assets, he is a seasoned real estate professional experienced in a range of investment strategies that drive growth and efficiency for investors.

Prior to this role, Shane held pivotal positions at various organizations in the real estate industry. As Vice President of Property Management at Westhome, Robinson played a vital role in implementing the operational infrastructure that facilitated market expansion.

During his tenure at Sunrise Management, his leadership established and solidified the company’s operational foothold in new markets, contributing to the growth and success of the firm. His early asset management career was at GHP Management, where he specialized in lease-ups and effectively managed a substantial core portfolio of over 5,000 units.

Melissa B. Delgado

VP, Asset Management
Melissa Delgado is responsible for overseeing Cityview’s asset management and portfolio operations. Prior to joining Cityview, Melissa was a Senior Director at TruAmerica Multifamily LLC where she was responsible for achieving the investment objectives of an $800 million portfolio. Earlier in her career, Melissa was an asset manager for Kennedy Wilson’s Southern California portfolio. Prior to that, she was a Vice President and Head of Marketing at Kepler Capital Markets, an investment bank in New York. ​

Devang Shah

Managing Director, Acquisitions

Devang Shah is co-head of Cityview’s acquisitions activities on the West Coast. He has 25 years of experience in real estate investment, development, design, construction and asset management. Previously, Devang was the principal of Marketcents Inc., an independent project management firm, serving as an owner’s representative to investment firms, builders and developers. Prior to that, he worked was Vice-President at RCLCo, LLC, a national independent real estate consulting firm. ​

Adam Perry

Senior Vice President, Development and Construction

Adam Perry oversees all aspects of the commercial real estate development process from acquisition due diligence and entitlement processing through design budgeting, contracting, construction management, closeout and turnover. Prior to joining Cityview, Adam worked at CIM group as an Associate Vice President of Development overseeing ground up retail, office and mixed-use developments. ​

Adam holds a BA Degree in Political Science and History from UCLA and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Matthew Falley

General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer
Matt Falley oversees and directs the company’s legal affairs and is the firm’s Chief Compliance Officer. Matt was previously a partner at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP, where he represented numerous clients in the real estate industry, including Cityview. Matt holds a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a JD from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), where he was a member of “California Law Review” and Order of the Coif.​

Tony Cardoza

Managing Director, Acquisitions
Tony Cardoza is responsible for Cityview’s acquisition activities throughout the West Coast. He has 21 years of experience in real estate investment and management. Previously, Tony ran the investment group for Real Estate Capital Partners in the Western U.S., which developed and acquired over 5,000 multifamily units. Prior to that, he worked for Prometheus Real Estate Group in a land and multifamily acquisitions role on the West Coast. Tony holds a B.A. in Economics from Middlebury College and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.​

Jennifer Halvas

Managing Director, Investor Relations
Jennifer Halvas leads the firm’s investor relations team, where she is responsible for maintaining relationships with the investor community, bolstering infrastructure for new and existing investors and helping to develop investment strategies and initiatives. She has been instrumental in securing capital needs for several Cityview funds across a broad base of institutional investors, insurance companies, foundations and endowments, family offices and high-net-worth investors. A 12-year veteran of Cityview, she uses her deep institutional knowledge to create value for investors and the communities in which Cityview works.
She was previously at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where she represented a variety of clients in real estate, project development and finance transactions. Jennifer holds a B.A. with honors from the University of Southern California and a JD from Vanderbilt Law School.

Damian Gancman

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer

Damian Gancman oversees the operations of Cityview and its investments while supporting the strategic growth of its finance, acquisition, asset management and property management functions. An 18-year veteran of the firm, Damian is also a partner at Cityview and a member of its investment committee. As CFO, he helped build out Cityview’s best-in-class finance department, including the implementation of strategic process, accounting, reporting and technology improvements that enhance the investor experience.

In addition to his role at Cityview, Damian is a guest lecturer for the University of Southern California’s Master of Real Estate Development program and is a key contributor to the Cityview Leadership Academy. Damian earned a master’s degree in real estate development from the University of Southern California and a dual bachelor’s degree in business administration and psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Sean Burton

Chief Executive Officer

Sean Burton has been with Cityview since 2003. Prior to joining Cityview, Sean was vice president of corporate business development and strategy at Warner Bros. Before that, he was an attorney in the real estate and corporate groups at O’Melveny & Myers, LLP and also served in the White House during the Clinton Administration. In 2022, Burton was appointed by President Biden and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the federal nominee on the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors, which oversees Washington Dulles and Reagan National airports. He also serves as co-chair of the Los Angeles Coalition, a coalition of business leaders for the economy and jobs in LA. From 2013 to 2021, Sean served as President of the Board of Airport Commissioners which oversees the LAX and Van Nuys airports. Sean holds a B.A. from the University of California, Irvine and a JD from New York University School of Law.