About Samuels & Company

Samuels & Company, Inc., formed in 1997, is a full-service real estate advisory, development and brokerage company which offers integrated services for real estate developers, institutions, private investors, tenants and public agencies.

The firm’s areas of specialty include a broad range of advisory and transactional real estate services including property planning, development and redevelopment, brokerage and leasing, acquisitions and dispositions, portfolio and asset management and structuring public/private redevelopment projects. Samuels & Company, Inc.has extensive experience in most real estate sectors with an emphasis in retail, entertainment and mixed-use projects.

The principals of Samuels & Company, Inc. have more than 70 years of combined experience in all aspects of the real estate industry in various corporate and entrepreneurial positions. Samuels & Company, Inc. works closely with its clients to achieve their goals and to create the greatest value for their real estate assets. The principals of the Company can serve as a client’s “Corporate Real Estate Department,” act as an “Owner’s Representative,” serve as an "Exclusive Broker" or work in a complementary role to a client’s existing real estate staff.

Our Team

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Howard J. Samuels, President

Howard J. Samuels, founder of Samuels & Company, Inc., has over 35 years of experience in all aspects of the real estate industry in various corporate and entrepreneurial positions with an emphasis in retail, entertainment, and mixed-use projects.  Since 1998, the Company has been a full service provider of advisory, development and brokerage services.  Samuels & Company, Inc., a Los Angeles based company, has provided these services to prominent clients nationwide and internationally.  Currently, Samuels & Company, Inc. provides exclusive advisory and brokerage services as well as asset management services to Merlin Entertainments PLC, the leading name in location based quality family entertainment in North America ; and to iFLY/SkyVenture a growing new entertainment concept of indoor skydiving.  Additionally, Samuels was the exclusive Advisor/Broker to AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group) for its $2.5 billion mixed-use project called L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles.  Samuels & Company, Inc. was the Developer Partner for the leasing and development of Canyon Springs Marketplace in Riverside, California for the Construction Laborers Pension Trust of Southern California, which involved an 185,000 square foot community/power center anchored by Marshalls, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Cost Plus and Old Navy.  

In addition to his activities with Samuels & Company, Inc., Mr. Samuels served as Senior Vice President and National Director for Retail Development of LCOR Public/Private, Inc., an affiliate of Lehman Brothers. From 1998 to 2000, Mr. Samuels was the Managing Director of the Southern California office, and oversaw all aspects of planning, design, entitlements, development and acquisition of projects throughout the southwestern region of the country. 

Previously, from 1995 through 1998, Mr. Samuels was Senior Executive Vice President for The Mills Corporation which is a fully integrated publicly held real estate company that develops, leases and manages super-regional value oriented megamalls (known as Mills), as well as community shopping centers.  Mr. Samuels directed anchor leasing and managed peripheral land sales at existing Mills, as well as at the new Mills developments in Ontario, CA; Dallas, TX; Phoenix, AZ; and Orange, CA.  

From 1982 through 1995, Mr. Samuels was a senior executive with Kornwasser & Friedman (“K & F”) and its related entities, including The Price Company and the Price REIT.  While at K & F, Mr. Samuels was in charge of the development of power/community shopping centers nationwide totaling approximately 4.5 million square feet in 16 projects. Mr. Samuels was specifically involved in land acquisition, master planning, obtaining governmental entitlements, developing infrastructure improvements and managing the design, development and construction for each project.    

Mr. Samuels’ extensive private real estate development experience is coupled with his experience in the public sector.  Prior to his experience at K & F, Mr. Samuels served as an Economist for Mayor Bradley, as well as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles City Commission to Vitalize Fairfax.  Mr. Samuels was a Financial Analyst assisting in the management of the North American Investment Program for the Hong Kong Land Company.    

Mr. Samuels has broad based community and civic affiliations in Los Angeles.  He served as President and a member of the Board of Directors of Alternative Living for the Aging for 3 and 20 years, respectively, which included the development of over 100 units of senior multi-family housing.  Mr. Samuels also served as Treasurer of the Board of Directors for the Crippled Children’s Society as well as a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and the Urban Planning Task Force to Rebuild LA.    

Mr. Samuels has spoken on various panels including the Entertainment Evolution Experience Conference, ULI, ICSC, the National Council for Urban Economic Development, the Entertainment Real Estate Forum, and the Deloitte & Touche Annual Conference.  He has also lectured at the Ziman Center for Real Estate (part of the UCLA Anderson school of Management), the MIT Center for Real Estate Development and at the University of Southern California.    

Mr. Samuels earned his B.A., magna cum laude from University of California, Los Angeles and his M.A. in Public Administration with an emphasis in Public Finance from the University of Southern California.  Mr. Samuels also studied at University of Hong Kong in Urban Economics/International Finance and received a Rotary International Fellowship. 

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Rod Chisessi, Senior Vice President

Rod Chisessi has over 35 years of commercial real estate experience, including acquisition, development, redevelopment, entitlement, design, project management and leasing.  Mr. Chisessi currently is a Senior Vice President with Samuels & Company, Inc.  Prior to joining the firm, he was most recently a Vice President and Managing Director of Development for the Western States for Developers Diversified Realty (DDR), a publicly-traded REIT and fully integrated real estate company that develops, leases and manages the third largest nationwide portfolio of shopping centers and mixed-use properties.    

Prior to joining DDR, Mr. Chisessi held senior management and director positions with prominent national and regional real estate development and investment companies including Westfield Corporation, Inc., the Mills Corporation and Hopkins Real Estate Group.    

In addition to his corporate experience, Mr. Chisessi has also provided advisory and development and leasing services as a principal of his own consulting and brokerage firm, Rod Chisessi & Associates.  He has extensive knowledge of retail tenant requirements having previously represented Mervyn’s Department Stores, the General Mills Specialty Retail Division and Thrifty-Payless (predecessor to Rite-Aid Drug Stores).  He has also provided site location, acquisition, disposition and expansion planning services to a variety of other retail and restaurant clients as a consultant and broker.  

In 1978, Mr. Chisessi earned his B.S. with honors in Business Administration/Real Estate from San Diego State University and is a licensed Real Estate Broker for the State of California.  He is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and the Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives.  He has been a featured speaker on various shopping center and community development industry panels.   


Lanne C. Bennett, Vice President of New Business Development

Ms. Bennett was the Vice President of Leasing for Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield or URW (formally Westfield US) prior to joining Samuels and Company.

Bennett has more than 20 years of commercial real estate experience throughout the United States. She has worked with both Landlords and Tenants. Her deal sheet includes, but not limited to: The Crayola Experience, Equinox, Pinstripes, Olympix Fitness, Dave and Busters, Firebirds Woodfired Grill, Cobb Cinebistro, H&M, F21 and Apple. She also held the position of Senior Director of Leasing for Starwood Retail Partners and was one of the first 7 people to join Starwood Retail Partners at its inception in 2012. During her four years at SRP, Bennett helped underwrite, purchase and formulate comprehensive investment thesis for over $7B (30 projects) in assets.

Ms. Bennett has owned a consulting company. Her primary services included investment thesis, development, merchandising, leasing, special projects, assignments, and analytics. She also has written Request for Proposals (RPFs) for The Ohio State University-Columbus, Ohio. The project connected High Street on South Campus to the Central Business District (CBD) of the Short North. SOCA (South Campus) was a mixed use of student and affordable housing, retail, and restaurants that densified the 11-block area. She has also worked on EB-5 funding and an RFP for Nova Southern University- Davie, FL. Academical Village was a mixed-use project of 14 acres in the heart of Nova Southern University. It consisted of hotels, apartments, office, retail, and entertainment. The City of Auburn, AL has also engaged Ms. Bennett to help master plan the city and university based on retail and restaurant needs for their community.

Bennett has also held the following positions: Senior Vice President of Leasing- East, Cypress Equities (Development arm of SRS, formally Staubach Retail Services), Leasing Executive- Steiner and Associates, Regional Leasing Manager- Colonial Properties Trust, and Leasing Associate- Glimcher Realty Trust (now Washington Prime).

Bennett and her husband also concepted, created, built, managed and owned a fast casual, scratch kitchen, gourmet sandwich restaurant with a full bar and live music on The Ohio State University’s campus called Gooeyz Gourmet Melt Sandwiches, AKA Gooeyz. It was an institution at OSU until the Bennett’s decided the campus restaurant/bar lifestyle was not for them and closed Gooeyz so her husband could pursue his passion.

Bennett earned a Bachelor of Science from The Ohio State University. She was a D1 Athlete as a Varsity Cheerleader at The Ohio State University.

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Janet M. Brown, Vice President

Janet Brown has over 15 years of investment banking experience including corporate finance, acquisitions, reorganizations and bankruptcies.  Ms. Brown is currently a Vice President with Samuels & Company, Inc. responsible for Asset Management.  

Prior to joining the firm, she was most recently a consultant to Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company and subsequently a Vice President with First Capital Life Insurance Company (acquired by Pacific Mutual), responsible for the management of bankruptcies and work out projects for the subordinated debt investment portfolio.  Ms. Brown was previously a Vice President at Prudential Bache Investment Bank where she was involved in public and private, equity and debt financings for middle market corporations and acquisitions.    

In 1979, Ms. Brown earned her B.A. degrees with honors in Business Economics and Environmental Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara.  In 1984, she earned her MBA from the University of California Los Angeles. 


Pie Ortigoza, Associate

Pie Ortigoza is currently an Associate with Samuels & Company, Inc. In this capacity, Ms. Ortigoza is responsible for supporting tenant and landlord representation assignments. Her role includes market research, sale and lease transactions, business development and asset management.

Prior to her association with Samuels and Company, Inc., Ms. Ortigoza was a successful asset manager and sales/leasing agent for a number of residential investment firms, as well as her own independent brokerage company. Ms. Ortigoza functioned as a Leasing Agent representing tenants for rental properties owned by Blackstone's Invitation Homes Hedge Fund. She also served as the right-hand to the President and CEO of Strategic Acquisitions, Inc., where she helped in the due diligence and formation of multi-million dollar real estate portfolios for high net worth private investors. She advanced to represent the Investment LLCs and Inc's as their Listing Agent to sell the properties for SAI's in-house brokerage, Strategic Realty, Inc. Prior to her work in residential investments, Ms. Ortigoza worked for globally known brand ING GROUP (ING DIRECT, ING LIFE), in both the United States and Asia in capacities such as Marketing Project Manager, and right-hand to the Head of Sales and Operations for the West Coast.

Ms. Ortigoza has a Master's in Business Administration and Bachelor's in Economics from internationally accredited and well revered Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. Ms. Ortigoza holds a California Real Estate Broker's License