Mark J. Parrell

Mark J. Parrell

CEO and president at Equity Residential

Mark J. Parrell
By September 16, 2023 3:57 PM

Equity Residential lost its longtime captain in May when the heart and soul of the 54-year-old company, founder and chairman Sam Zell, died at 81. It’s now left to Mark J. Parrell to pick up the pieces of the Chicago-based REIT, which holds a market capitalization of roughly $31 billion. 

“The world lost one of its greatest investors and entrepreneurs,” Parrell said shortly after Zell’s death. “He was a generous philanthropist and an incredible mentor and friend, and will be missed by all who were lucky enough to be part of his extraordinary world.” 

Zell’s world included a significant stake in the Los Angeles multifamily market, where Equity Residential stands as the largest owner of rental housing in the region, controlling nearly 15,000 units in Los Angeles County alone. 

Parrell’s Hollywood portfolio is unusually robust, highlighted by a 3 percent vacancy rate in 48 properties spread across nearly 400 acres and 12.5 million square feet. This comes even after Equity Residential sold more than 1,000 properties in Santa Monica two years ago, including sales of 454 units in Hermosa Beach for a combined $275 million in April 2021, and 480 units in Pasadena for $280 million in December 2021.   

The firm’s activity in the City of Angels has been rather quiet thus far in 2023. Equity currently owns 66 properties with an average monthly rent of $2,773, according to the firm’s annual financial statement. 

But Parrell’s firm might be laying low in L.A. due to recent tenant controversies. In June 2023, a group of 19 prospective tenants in Los Angeles County sued Equity Residential, alleging privacy violations during background checks the firm initiated. 

Unlike Sam Zell, who could be called anything but press-shy, Parrell did not respond to a request for comment on the state of Equity’s Los Angeles operation. Here’s to hoping he can step into his mentor’s shoes in the days ahead.

More articles about Power LA 2023