Real Estate Industry Icon, Bixby Land CEO Bill Halford Dies

The industry was saddened to hear that Bill Halford, CEO of Bixby Land Company, died February 26. He had served a number of years on the NAIOP SoCal Board of Directors including tenure as President-Elect. Halford was active in the Community Service and Scholarship Program committees during his term and was one of the first supporters of the NAIOP Industry Forums. He became one of the core group of industry executives to build up the Program for Real Estate at UCI, along with John Parker, Bob Campbell, John Hagestad and others helping to raise the funds needed to start the Center.

“Bill’s impact extended far beyond his work in the industry. We have all benefited from his commitment to our chapter and in ensuring a strong real estate program for the region. It is a true testament to his legacy,” said NAIOP SoCal President James Camp.

Following is an excerpt from a story that appeared in the Orange County Business Journal:

Bixby Land Co. chief executive William “Bill” Halford, one of Orange County’s better-known real estate executives, died Monday. He was 58.

Under Halford’s watch, Newport Beach-based Bixby Land became one of the first and largest proponents of large-scale creative office redevelopment projects in California during the current market cycle, while also building an office and industrial portfolio valued at close to $1 billion.

Bixby Land currently owns and manages some 6 million square feet of buildings in California, roughly double the size of its portfolio at the time Halford took over the top spot at the company.

Halford joined Bixby Land, then based in Long Beach, in 2006. He had been with Newport Beach’s Irvine Co. for the prior 12 years, and ran the office division for Orange County’s dominant real estate company for his last five years there.

He counted family ties to Bixby Land, where he had served on the board for 10 years prior to taking on the CEO and president roles. He is a fifth-generation Bixby.

Halford’s great-great-grandfather, Jotham Bixby, partnered with fellow sheep farmer James Irvine in the late 1800s to subdivide much of Southern California’s land for ranching and farming. Bixby Land has been in business for 110 years.

Halford’s community involvement included serving as chairman of the Real Estate Advisory Board and the Dean’s Advisory Board at University of California, Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business, and as a member of the Advisory Board for the Fisher Center for Real Estate.

He turned over the president role at Bixby Land last month to Aaron Hill, who has been with the company since 2006, and is also chief operating officer at the privately held firm.

Halford is survived by his wife Cindy Halford, daughter Ali Halford, son Bixby Halford, mother Suzy Halford and sister Heidi Halford.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be directed to the CORE Kidney Program at UCLA.