Real Estate Panel: Independent Investors Can Survive Big-Time Competition

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Real Estate Panel: Independent Investors Can Survive Big-Time Competition

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A panel of six prominent real estate professionals recently met at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies (SCS) to discuss how individual investors, developers, and owners make decisions about investments in the community within today’s real estate market.

The focus of the discussion, titled “Investing in Today’s Real Estate Market: How Individual Real Estate Investors Survive in an Institutional World,” was on smaller developers competing with large institutional investors for sites and projects. While small developers gladly take on investors in their projects, they have a hard time competing for sites against funds that will generally pay more and accept lower returns for a variety of reasons, including different risk assessments.

But is it really a matter of survival? And, if so, can the small investor survive in this market, or even thrive?

The short answers, according to the panelists, were “yes” on all counts. Yet what was most interesting at the forum, sponsored by Georgetown’s Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate (RE) program, was the diversity of responses to this challenge. Some panelists said younger investors could get ahead by avoiding the pressures of high-profile cities and moving to smaller, undeserved markets. Others said it’s best to work from a geographical area one knows—even if it’s Washington or New York—and use that knowledge to find deals the big players may have missed.

Discovering New Markets

Matthew Crossley, an alumni of the RE program and Vice President of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, one of the nation’s largest commercial real estate service firms, said that overlooked markets in smaller cities are a good place for individual investors to put together deals.

“Sometimes, you can go into a market and see it with new eyes—and that’s what I would encourage,” Crossley said.

Panelist Gene Parker, Jr., President of Continental Realty Corporation, which develops, owns, manages, and leases commercial and residential properties in Maryland and Southwest Florida, agreed, but added a caveat: “We don’t want to go into a market and do something we’ve never done before,” he said.

Other panelists say profits can be made in Washington—if developers are willing to do their homework and be patient.

With “so much money chasing deals,” the competition in places like Washington, D.C., can be steep, said Jill Homan, Principal of Javelin 19 Investments, which invests in real estate and real estate-related assets in the Mid-Atlantic region. “You can find yourself being very smart and not doing a lot of deals.”

Thriving in a Hot Market

The D.C. market is hot right now, land prices continue to rise, and big institutional investors are increasing their market exposure. These funds have the capital to invest in expensive, high-profile projects that promise their clients steady, if not necessarily spectacular, returns.

These large investors are also getting into the development business themselves, buying up properties at the outset rather than simply waiting for smaller investors to turn them into revenue-generating projects, said Glenn Williamson, Interim Faculty Director for Georgetown’s Real Estate program.

Competition from the big players is one concern. So is the possibility that future interest-rate rises—or a new recession—could erase profits from even the most thoughtfully conceived plan. (Though Parker noted that “D.C. comes back quickly” after economic downturns.)

“In this city, you’re going to buy it and then [hope that] all the market forces work perfectly,” said Michael Darby, Principal of Monument Realty. “It’s not easy.”

Not easy, perhaps, but doable. Looking into the mostly-young audience of Real Estate students and others interested in the profession, Darby said Millennials have one advantage in the real estate business: they know better than most how the city’s demographics, work patterns, and lifestyles are changing and what these changes could mean for the built environment of the future.

“There’s enough room for people in this room to do deals in this city,” Darby said.


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A Year of Growth: NDC named a Fastest-Growing Company by Real Estate Forum Magazine

Washington, DC (Dec. 9, 2015) –- We are excited to announce to Neighborhood Development Company has been selected as a Fastest-Growing Company by the Editors of Real Estate Forum Magazine. NDC will be profiled in the December 2015 issue of Real Estate Forum magazine.

The rankings are based on methodology created by the editors of Real Estate Forum. Each firm received a score based on revenue and headcount growth over three years.

This is a prestigious honor for our company and we are proud of the personal achievement and successes of our employees. As a local real estate developer, we have achieved dramatic growth over the past three years and we’re excited to gain visibility.

About ALM’s Real Estate Media Group

What is it about our approach that sets us apart from the competition and year in and year out attracts a growing audience of executive-level decision makers? With more than 210,000 professionals across all markets, sectors, and business disciplines turning to the three outstanding brands (Real Estate Forum, and RealShare Conference Series) that compromise the ALM Real Estate Media Group as proof, the simple answer is we do more to earn your business. In fact, by virtue of our unique Print/Online/Events integrated business model, we do 3X MORE.

In 2013, ALM’s Real Estate Media Group will furnish more substance than ever before (more content, more experts, more interviews), provide more access (more targeted news alerts, more one-on-one opportunities), and supply your company with more options to influence your potential customers (more co-branded emails, more user-generated custom content).

Our success in the overly saturated and competitive world of commercial real estate is not by chance — we have carved out a leadership position that we have no intention of relinquishing. By providing more and delivering more, we attract more, and achieve more. For more information, visit



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Washington SmartCEO Announces the 2016 Future 50 Award Winners

60 Greater Washington companies to be recognized for fast growth in
Washington SmartCEO’s Future 50 Awards program 

Washington, DC (Nov. 10, 2015) — Washington SmartCEO and Headline Sponsor The Capitol
Bay Group at Ameriprise Financial are pleased to announce the 2016 Future 50 Award winners.
The program recognizes the region’s 50 fastest-growing mid-sized companies and 10 small
Emerging Growth companies who have experienced outsized growth based on a combined threeyear
average of revenue and employee growth. The 2016 Future 50 winners collectively generate
$2.31 billion in annual revenue and employ 8,712 individuals in Greater Washington. This
impressive group will be recognized in the 2016 January/February issue of Washington
SmartCEO magazine and celebrated at a black-tie-optional awards ceremony on February 4,
2016 at the Hyatt Reston, Reston Town Center.

To share in the excitement leading up to the event, follow us @SmartCEO #Future50.

“Ask any CEO and they’ll tell you that leading a fast-growing company is one of the most
challenging and fun things an entrepreneur can do. Whether they’re just starting out or rapidly
trying to scale an established operation, this year’s Future 50 winners have executed their growth
visions year after year, created job opportunities and made our region a better place to work and
live,” says Jaime Nespor-Zawmon, President of SmartCEO Events. “There is nothing these
amazing entrepreneurs can’t do if they put their minds to it. We honor them for their unwavering
determination to rise above the rest and build the future of our region, our nation, and the world
at large.”

More than 550 local business executives and guests are expected to attend this year’s black-tieoptional
awards gala at the Hyatt Reston to celebrate the winners and their achievements. The
event will kick off with a cocktail reception and high-energy networking followed by a videopacked
awards ceremony and seated dinner. The evening and celebration will culminate with
dessert and additional networking.

About the Future 50 Awards
The Future 50 Awards program is the largest and most highly anticipated SmartCEO awards
program of the year. This program recognizes 50 of the region’s fastest growing mid-sized
companies and 10 small “Emerging Growth” companies. These companies represent the future
of the region’s economy and embody the entrepreneurial spirit critical for leadership and success.
The winners, chosen based on a three-year average of employee and revenue growth, are listed
alphabetically, not ranked. The winners are profiled in the January/February issue of SmartCEO
magazine and celebrated at a black-tie-optional awards ceremony in January.

About SmartCEO
SmartCEO’s mission is to educate and inspire the business community through its awardwinning
magazine, connections at C-level events and access to valuable online resources.
SmartCEO’s integrated media platforms reach decision makers in the Baltimore, New York,
Philadelphia and Washington, DC, metropolitan areas.

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NDC Wins! SmartCEO magazine – 2016 Washington Future50 Award

Washington, D.C. –  We are thrilled to announce Neighborhood Development Company was recently selected as a winner for the 2016 Washington Future50 Awards by SmartCEO magazine.

This program recognizes some of the fastest growing mid-size companies in the region. SmartCEO Magazine selected companies that represent the entrepreneurial spirit that’s critical for success. Each winner is handpicked based on a three-year average of employee and revenue growth. We’ll be listed in alphabetical order. Winners are profiled in SmartCEO magazine. Learn more about this award program at
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NDC Named a ‘Fastest Growing Companies 2015 Finalist’

Washington, D.C. –  We are excited to announce that Neighborhood Development Company has been included in the Washington Business Journal’s annual Fastest Growing Companies awards. Washington Business Journal recognized 50 companies in total; the full detailed report will be published in late-October.

This recognition was awarded to companies headquartered in the Washington region, and if private, independently owned. To be eligible, companies had to have revenue of at least $2 million in 2012 and at least $10 million in 2014.

Congratulations to the other 49 companies that made the list!

See the full list Washington Business Journal

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