“There will never be a better day.”
Friends of the late John O’Meara merely had to repeat that quote, “There will never be a better day,” and everyone knew exactly what they were talking about.
Those seven words captured the spirit and drive of O’Meara. O’Meara, also known as “Mr. Inverness,” a pioneer of the Inverness Business Park, died last June.
O’Meara was remembered by friends at a recent NAIOP Colorado meeting in a 7:08-minute video tribute. The awards drew 450 commercial real estate industry leaders.
Veteran commercial real estate broker Brad Neiman recalled how he once was pounding out the Elephant Rock bicycle race with O’Meara. They came to a turning point when they could either tackle the entire 100-mile course or cut it in half to 50 miles. Neiman looked warily at the darkening sky and decided it was no time to be doing the entire course.
O’Meara turned to another friend, Bob Moody, and said, “There will never be a better day.”
The skies let loose with hail and rain, and the friends frequently had to seek shelter from the storm.
The phrase, “There will never be a better day” became a favorite quote among O’Meara buddies. It also served as shorthand for the can-do attitude of O’Meara.
Neiman met O’Meara in 1973 when O’Meara was an industrial broker in what was then known as Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate. They became fast friends and sometimes business partners.
For Peter Coakley, O’Meara was not only his friend but also his mentor, who gave him his start in real estate.
In 1981, O’Meara hired Coakley at the fledgling Inverness Business Park.
“John put Inverness on the map,” Coakley told me last summer, soon after O’Meara had passed away. “The success of the Inverness Business Park is a testament to John more than anybody else,” said Coakley, who at Opus Development Co., is now in charge of a massive 42-acre development along the Interstate 25 southeast corridor on land that had been owned by the late cable TV pioneer Glenn Jones.
Inverness became internationally known as a poster child of how to develop a master-planned, mixed-use business park with offices and industrial buildings, according to Moody, former legislative affairs director at NAIOP Colorado.
“He was Mr. Inverness,” according to Moody.
But Inverness wasn’t an overnight success.
“Brokers called us ‘Outverness” because we were out so far,” O’Meara told the Rocky Mountain News in 2001. “Now, we’re in the heart of the southeast corridor.”
O’Meara not only built Inverness into what it is today, but he did it with integrity.
When longtime developer John Shaw, now a real estate consultant, returned to Denver after a short stay in California, the first person he called was O’Meara.
When Shaw was working with George Wallace, the founder of the Denver Tech Center, he often competed for deals with O’Meara and often lost.
“I’m not sure I really need you,” O’Meara told Shaw. “While that is undoubtedly true, I truly need you,” Shaw responded.
Over the next decade, they developed nine buildings together in Inverness, “all on a handshake.”
Neiman summed O’Meara up this way: “He was one of the good ones.”
And, for the hundreds of lives he touched, truly “There will never be a better day.”