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August 4, 2008
 
       
 
LandAm
 
DEVELOPER
WOMAN

Big shout-out to great new sponsor Applied Risk Management, a security consulting firm that designs, develops and oversees the implementation of enterprise-wide security solutions. Major clients include international airports, DOD contractors, utilities, universities, and large corporations. Welcome aboard!


 

When Gail Montplaisir was looking for a job in real estate development in the mid 80s, she says that in many of her interviews the male honchos usually concluded, "It sounds like you want my job." And then it dawned on her: She did. Now, more than 20 years later, the founder of DC-based Taurus Development Group sat down with us the other day at her H St. NE office to tell us how she's made her way in the male-dominated industry.

 

Gail came to DC with Chicago-based First Condominium Development Co. in 1980 and worked several years before starting Taurus (a name she chose to communicate strength, not her astrological sign). Gail's boss and mentor at the time, Aaron Michaelson, agreed to match funds she raised and act as partner for her first project, a marina on the Chesapeake. After that foray proved a success, she moved to infill projects around the city. Now she runs a 15-person firm (including both renovation and construction arms) that boasts over $50M of projects under its belt.

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Gail stands outside company headquarters, the 1920s Bearden Arts Building in the Atlas Arts District; she plans to add 18k SF to it in mixed use, including "SRO" (single room occupancy) condos, breaking ground in early '09. In addition to focusing on green development, Gail says she prefers work in areas that really need a boost. Also in Taurus' pipeline: a mixed-use space on 11th Street for the Casey Trees Foundation which Gail tells us is snagging $30/SF triple net rents and happens to sit next door to the company's soon-to-deliver 27-unit Lofts 11 condo project.   

 

With Taurus VP Mark Yeager and Norman Smith of Norman Smith Architecture. Norman also happens to be Gail's husband; they met on a job site in 1989 in AU Park. For her projects, Gail says sustainability is important, but design is paramount. She tells us: "A lot of people have the impression that green isn't beautiful, but it can be." In teaming with Norman on many designs, like the 15-unit City Overlook that Taurus delivered in 2006, she says they combine both aesthetics and eco-friendly aspects. 


MAN ON A MISSION
 

Arent Fox's Keith Styles tells us that after seven years of looking, his client Central Union Mission has finally found a new home. The DC Council just passed a resolution approving a term sheet that will exchange the Mission's current home at 3510 & 3512 Georgia Ave and 714 Newton St, NW for the DC-owned Gales School at 65 Mass Ave, to be designed by Cox Graae + Spack. As part of Mayor Fenty's plan to provide 2500 affordable housing units, Keith tells us DC agreed to use the Georgia Ave property to provide mixed income housing for a minimum of 20 years, while the Mission has committed to operating a homeless shelter with no less than 150 beds for the next 40 years at the Gales School site. Keith says the Mission is the longest continuous provider of services to the homeless and needy in DC (since 1894).    


GET THIS WOMAN A CONTRACT!
 

Guess which of the guys she's with caught this foul ball that Hickok Cole Designer Rhea Vaflor is displaying at the Nats-Phillies game last week? None! She caught it, of course. Maybe the guys were out getting chili dogs. Or standing back and offering fielding advice. In any case, now they're big fans: Ardent Co's Joe Ersek, Bozzutto's Steve Strazella, and Millennium Realty Advisors' Rob Walters.


EAST BANC ON LEFT BANK!

 

EastBanc CFO Helen Lyman-Healy was recently spotted along the streets of Paris, reportedly recovering from writer's cramp from signing so many closing documents for condos at her firm's 22 West development downtown.

 
 
 
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