For 30 years, Hopkins Real Estate Group has been helping to develop Southern
California. Steve Hopkins entered the real estate business when he was 25 and
never looked back. While he started as a broker, he entered the development
business in 1973 when he developed a two-story office building in Newport Beach.
The company also built its first retail center that same year in Huntington Beach.
From the moment he built his first retail center, Hopkins knew he was hooked.
“It just seemed more interesting to
me,” he says. “It also seemed more
difficult, which I thought was better
for barriers of entry.”
At first, Hopkins did everything
himself, from site selection to leasing
to financing. Over time, he began
developing relationships with popu-
lar tenants at the time, like Alpha
Beta, Stater Brothers and Von’s. In
1981, the company built its first pub-
lic-private partnership deal in an
urban infill area, something it has
since become famous for. The first
project, located in the city of
Maywood, near Los Angeles, was a
real eye-opener for Hopkins.
“There were four things that center
created: the creation of jobs, the elim-
ination of blight, an increase in prop-
erty tax growth and sales tax
growth,” says Hopkins. “That
cemented my thought that when
working with municipalities, a retail
developer really brings something to
the table that no one else can.”
Hopkins followed that project
with a larger one in the city of Lakewood, where it developed all four corners of a
busy intersection. California grew tremendously in the 1980s, as it continues to grow
today. Hopkins foresaw the day when retail opportunities in the state would be
mostly recycled properties — older, obsolete centers that needed to be redeveloped.
The last few years, especially, have seen Hopkins become an incredibly strong
player in California. The developer is creating a number of centers through its part-
nerships with larger companies. It has partnered with a financial player, as well, to
help propel Hopkins to being one of the most active private