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Emile Haddad: Big Picture Focus Amid Changes

Much has changed for Emile Haddad, and Five Point Holdings LLC, in the past year.

After leading his $900 million-valued company’s team through the pandemic, which caused him to rethink the way the developer approaches its communities throughout the state, Haddad stepped down from the top spot of the Irvine-based real estate developer in September.

Dan Hedigan, who previously served as president of land sales and homebuilding at Irvine Co., was named CEO of the company (NYSE: FPH), which operates under the FivePoint name, in February. A round of job cuts, representing about 20% of the company, followed in March.

Haddad, who has kept a low profile since the exec changes, is set to deliver the keynote address at the Business Journal’s 21st annual Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards, to be held on May 26 at the Irvine Marriott.

Adapting to Change

The longtime local real estate executive is no stranger to change.

From leaving his home country during the Lebanese Civil War, starting over in America, plotting homebuilder Lennar Corp.’s expansion into California and now serving as chairman emeritus and adviser to FivePoint, the Beirut native never seems to slow down.

“Life changes quickly. The [pandemic] gave evidence to that,” Haddad told the Business Journal last year. “As the world changes, you must change with it, or you risk becoming obsolete.”

As a former White House task force member and perennial big picture thinker, one of Haddad’s areas of focus is now working with city and state officials to solve housing and development challenges.

Mixed-Use

FivePoint’s three communities, including Irvine’s Great Park Neighborhoods, will ultimately include about 40,000 residential homes and 23 million square feet of commercial space.

The Great Park Neighborhoods are currently designed to include 10,500 homesites, though that figure could increase given the state’s need to boost its stock of affordable housing, FivePoint officials have said.

At the end of 2021, 7,099 home lots at the Great Park Neighborhoods had been sold to builders, and FivePoint reported 655 home sales on its land in 2021, which is an 11% increase compared to 2020.

“With the continued strong pace of home sales, we expect builders to purchase approximately 800 homesites in the fourth quarter of 2022,” Hedigan told analysts last month.

Hedigan also emphasized an increase in commercial and mixed-use developments for FivePoint, in line with Haddad’s goal of creating holistic, sustainable communities.

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