John O’Donnell, Developer of Industrial Real Estate and Longtime ULI Leader, Passes Away
July 22, 2016
Longtime ULI leader John D. O’Donnell, chairman of the O’Donnell Group in Newport Beach, California, passed away July 18. He was 83.
O’Donnell joined the Institute in 1971 and became a ULI Foundation governor in 1981. He remained actively involved with ULI for many years, serving as a ULI trustee and as a member of several committees, including the International Committee, Council Leadership Committee, Council Coordinating Committee, and Publications Committee. He was also a long-serving member of several ULI product councils, including the Industrial and Office Park Development Council, Small-Scale Development Council, Industrial Council, and Global Exchange Council. He had been designated as an honorary member of ULI and was an active member of ULI Orange County/Inland Empire.
The O’Donnell Group, established by O’Donnell in 1972, focuses on industrial development, acquisitions, dispositions, leasing, and property management. Under O’Donnell’s leadership, the company developed or acquired over 23 million square feet of industrial and office business parks in California, Washington, and Alaska, including properties for companies involved in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, as well as major technology firms in Silicon Valley. His work also included development of residential communities in Mexico.
In 2010, O’Donnell received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Paul Merage School of Business’s Center for Real Estate at the University of California, Irvine, in recognition of his innovative contributions to the real estate industry and the community.
“John was a pioneer with a keen ability to turn his ideas and aspirations into reality,” said Patrick L. Phillips, ULI global chief executive officer. “We all benefited from his vision, his exemplary leadership at ULI, and his willingness to share his considerable expertise.”
A funeral Mass was held at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in Newport Beach on July 23. The family has requested that donations honoring O’Donnell be made to Hoag Hospital Foundation, Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, or the Vintage Club Employee Scholarship Fund.