December 2014

New boss at expanding company: Laird Norton Properties

Nick Pavelich is the new president of Laird Norton Properties, the newly named company that has more than $400 million in assets.

Formerly known as TimberRiver, Laird Norton Properties is only eight years old. That’s much younger than its parent company, the soon-to-be 160-year-old Laird Norton Co., which two Norton brothers and a cousin from the Laird family launched as a frontier logging operation in Minnesota. Today Laird Norton Co. is one of the longest-standing family enterprises in the country.

Pavelich takes over at the helm of Laird Norton Properties as the company is in a growth spurt. It has invested $70 million over the last four years and plans to invest another $50 million in the next two to three years, Pavelich said.
Pavelich, an accountant who grew up in Spokane, joined Laird Norton Co. – now with more than 400 family shareholders – in 2006 as chief financial officer. Three years ago his role was expanded to senior vice president of real estate.

As president, he’ll direct all real estate activities for Laird Norton Properties, which is evolving from an owner of lumberyards to a partner in a joint venture that’s buying office buildings, mixed-use projects and apartment complexes. The company also is eyeing development of a large distribution center in the Bay Area.

Laird Norton Properties partnered in 2010 with another long-time Seattle company, Unico Properties. Laird Norton Properties has invested more than $70 million with Unico to buy nine properties in Seattle, Portland, Denver and Salt Lake City.

In the Puget Sound region, the partnership owns the six-story Lenora Apartments in Belltown; 2323 Elliott, a Seattle waterfront building that houses the Art Institute of Seattle; and Continental Plaza, a downtown Kirkland office building where Microsoft is a tenant. The value of the nine properties at the end of last year was $200 million, Pavelich said.

In Lathrop, Calif., Laird Norton Properties owns a 42-acre site where it could build a 750,000-square-foot distribution center. The company is working with Atlanta-based Seefried Industrial Properties, a warehouse developer.
Laird Norton Properties maintains owners of the company’s $200 million “legacy” portfolio, which consists of 199 lumberyards, distribution centers, light manufacturing facilities and office buildings in 23 states.

The changes at Laird Norton Properties are reflective of the multi-generational character of Laird Norton Co., itself. Pavelich said a long-term view will guide his leadership. He is asking himself and colleague and partners what Laird Norton Properties should look like in 50 years.

“We can’t think in 10-year increments,” he said.

Read the original article by Marc Stiles at the Puget Sound Business Journal here.