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November 26, 2008
 
       
 
LandAm
 
TIL HAZEL:
LOOKING FOR
LEADERS

A big shoutout to sponsor Delucchi+, a finalist for eight National Association of Homebuilders' awards for marketing done for several local developers. Congrats to Chris and the team!


 

Til Hazel is known for speaking his mind. The legendary lawyer for Ted Lerner in the development of Tysons Corner and a developer in his own right with Milt Peterson in numerous areas of Fairfax, he's made enough money he doesn't have to worry about the world's problems any more. But passivity is not his style. When we visited him Friday at his home in The Plains, VA, the region's roads and schools were on his mind. "Where's the anger?" he asked. They're insufficient and deteriorating, he says; we're resting on our laurels; and people have forgotten "you have to work for prosperity."

 

So Til's on the hunt for a new generation of business leaders to take up the cause, like in the old days. He says the fabled 123 Club, that pushed Virginia's bold civic improvements in decades past, started around the dining room table of then George Mason president George Johnson, and consisted of major figures like developers Milt Peterson and Dwight Schar, engineer Sid Dewberry, and tech execs Earle Williams and John Toups. (He modestly neglects to mention his own key participation.) The wise men helped create the Fairfax County Parkway and the local Economic Development Authority. By contrast, he says, "all the politicians today are populists and anti's," against everything because that's more immediately gratifying than using their energy to plan and build for the future. "We're too prosperous—we take everything for granted," he says. Infrastructure issues "should be on our table and in our dialogue, but they're not." Instead, he says the motto is just, "Smooth and soothe."

 
BBG-BBGM
 

After his first wife died, Til met Anne on a trip to China, and they've now been married 12 years. Somehow he persuaded her to move up from Florida, though they maintain a house in Vero that she wishes they'd visit more. Between the two of them they have six kids and 15 grandkids. Anne is one of the few people with the energy to keep up with Til and his hyperactive political interest.

 

Til and his brother co-own 4000 acres around their houses, a working farm. Til came with his dad (a doctor in Arlington) to buy some initial land as a senior at Harvard in 1950, eventually got a place nearby, and built his current house 21 years ago. Deep dark secret we learned: Til (that noted Virginian with a deep Virginia accent) is technically a Washingtonian. He was born at Georgetown Hospital.  Til, your secret's safe with us.

 

The amazing thing is that Til concerns himself with this stuff, when he could just sit content on his amazing estate where the only traffic are the flocks of geese.


In Memorium: James R. Buch, Jr.
 

We got word yesterday from our friend Carl Buch, president of Buch Construction, that his dad passed away Sunday. James R. Buch, Jr., a union carpenter, had founded Buch Construction in 1984. He helped instill the firm's concern for integrity, mutual respect, and family. We send our sincere condolences.

 
 
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