June 16, 2024

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Mid-Atlantic commercial real estate firm establishes Virginia base in Charlottesville

4 min read

Mid-Atlantic commercial real estate service the MacKenzie Companies is planting a foothold in the Central Virginia market with a new regional office just outside of Charlottesville.

The office, in the Boar’s Head Professional Center just west of the city, is the firm’s first in Virginia.

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The move south will allow the firm, which has five brokerage offices in Maryland and has primarily done business in the D.C.-Maryland-Northern Virginia area, to expand into the southwestern and eastern reaches of Virginia.

“We view Charlottesville as the gateway to our full expansion throughout Virginia, with target areas including Roanoke, Norfolk, Tidewater and Virginia Beach,” said MacKenzie President and Chief Operating Officer Brendan Gill in a statement. “Charlottesville is a center of influence in Virginia and a right-sized market which plays to our strength of providing boutique-style commercial real estate services. Tenants value dealing with professionals who have intimate knowledge of the local area, rather than interacting with an out-of-state brokerage representative, and that emphasis is among the ways we intend to differentiate ourselves from the existing offerings.”

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Brendan Gill


The firm offers commercial real estate brokerage, property and asset management, construction management as well as debt and equity placement.

Two years ago, one of its branches, MacKenzie Investments, began developing and leasing out the 75-acre North Richmond Industrial Park in Ashland. The new Charlottesville office will allow the company to better access both its Richmond assets as well as new property management assignments in the commonwealth, MacKenzie said.

Charlottesville is more than a gateway to Virginia; it is also the former home of both Gill and the firm’s founder Clark MacKenzie, both graduates of the University of Virginia.

“Charlottesville is among my favorite places and I have incredibly fond memories of my time spent on campus and the surrounding community,” Gill said. “Following an impactful experience in college, a large part of the school always remains with you.”

The MacKenzie Companies announced it is tapping Charlottesville-based Sam Orr to manage the firm’s growth in Central Virginia as executive vice president of MacKenzie Commercial Virginia. As the former vice president of leasing for Boston Properties, another real estate development firm, Orr worked the D.C. market for the past 15 years with clients such as Google, Microsoft and Volkswagen, as well as a slate of governmental agencies, defense contractors and nonprofit organizations.

Boar's Head Professional Center

The Boar’s Head Professional Center is adjacent to the Boar’s Head resort, owned by the University of Virginia Foundation, which manages the university’s real estate assets.

“Adding Sam to our team represented a perfect opportunity that aligned with our interests in entering the Virginia market with Sam’s desire to join a boutique commercial real estate services firm and take a leadership role in its growth,” said Gill. “This type of endeavor always starts with finding the right person for the role, and we spent many months deliberating this move and visiting Charlottesville to formulate a long-term strategy. We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have found a commercial real estate professional who shares our core values of responsiveness, professionalism and, most importantly, integrity.”

The chance to head the project in the town where he lives “was an offer too amazing to pass up,” said Orr in a statement. He emphasized the need for the MacKenzie Companies to be as versatile as possible in order to provide high-quality service for Charlottesville’s diverse business environment. He also recognized the area’s recent residential and commercial growth.

Sam Orr.jpg


“Major economic drivers led by entrepreneurial-owned companies, research facilities, the biotech industry, the University of Virginia, and defense contractor industry make this region an attractive long-term investment,” said Orr. “We also believe there will be opportunities with data centers as this asset class continues to expand out of Northern Virginia.”

In just the past few months, The Daily Progress has reported on a range of new business ventures and achievements in the area from the groundbreaking on the Paul and Diane Manning Institute for Biotechnology at UVa’s Fontaine Research Park, San Francisco-based DataShapes’ decision to relocate its headquarters to the area from Silicon Valley and the region’s revitalized retail sector and booming wine country.

The MacKenzie Companies also found the region’s recent economic and professional prosperity enticing, pointing out that Business Facilities Magazine placed Virginia No. 2 on its list of “Top Tech Talent Pipeline in the United States” and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership referred to the eight Central Virginia counties surrounding the city of Charlottesville as “a vibrant economic ecosystem powered by the vision and passion of entrepreneurs, the strength of top-ranked UVA, and an exceptionally skilled and educated workforce.”

MacKenzie founded his company in 1968, five years after he graduated from UVa. The real estate group employs more than 225 individuals across its six divisions. The company had a record-breaking 2023, executing more than 850 real estate transactions and completing more than 185 construction projects throughout the greater Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia markets, the highest figures in its history.

The Boar’s Head Professional Center is adjacent to the popular Boar’s Head Resort, it is the home of the UVa Foundation, which manages the university’s real estate assets, including Boar’s Head.

Emily Hemphill (540) 855-0362

[email protected]

@EmilyHemphill06 on X


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