Growing up on a Christmas tree farm in upstate New York sounds pretty Martha Stewart. For me it was "GET ME OUT OF HERE". I was a middling student with more than middling ambition. But I learned pretty quickly that if I really wanted to get A's, I would get A's. I used that strategy to get myself to Harvard Business School. HBS turned out to be filled with really smart people. But not particularly creative people. So I made it more interesting by cross registering at both Harvard Law and the Harvard School of Design. I created my own concentration in real estate development.
After business school I joined Julien J. Studley Inc. (now Savills Studley). I was at Studley for 17 years. For most of that time I ran my own team doing fee development for corporate clients. Sometimes my projects were build-to-suit to lease. Sometimes joint ventures. And often build-to-suit to own. My clients included the Federal government, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, the Educational Testing Service, The American Red Cross and many more.
In 1998 I formed Metropolis Development Company. I felt that residential was about to take off in DC after many years of stagnation. I was exactly correct. And I was also exactly correct that the development would center on 14th Street. We built 330 condominiums, 55,000 square feet of retail and associated parking on what has become the hottest, hippest street in the city.
I love buildings. At this point in my life I have pretty much done it all --- planning, approvals, construction, financing, sales and close out. I've done institutional buildings, government buildings, office buildings and residential buildings. 7.9 million square feet worth about $3.1 Billion. Let me help you think through your next building.
If I have to single out one thing I have learned it is this: focus, concentration, singleness of purpose is half the battle. Almost anything can be accomplished if you don't let the nay-sayers turn you away. And getting big buildings built will almost certainly have a chorus of nay sayers. You need to just politely, confidently and creatively solve every problem. And quell every objection. That is how great buildings are built
When I came to Washington in 1981, DC was still a bit of a sleepy government town. Over these past 36 years, Washington has become a big, exciting city --- certainly rivaling the great capitols of the world. I can't take credit for all that change. But I have certainly played an important role in many important projects. I'm proud of my contributions. Now I want to help you build something great too.