It started out over 2% grande lattes at the Starbucks next to DC’s Uptown Theatre. After 6 months of “what if-ing” with Bruce Baschuk, owner of 104-year-old real estate firm Randall Hagner, his friend Petch Gibbons signed on this week as its new president. The duo worked together at Barnes Morris Pardoe & Foster from ’87 to ’95, and now they want to “replicate that environment.” As a first step to recreating those early days, we suggest they stop dying their hair gray, which we know they’ve done just to look more mature.
The new Petch and Bruce Show. FOX Wednesdays.
We dropped by RH’s Connecticut Avenue office to get the Bisnow-esque merger details. Countless phone conversations occurred this summer between Petch’s beach house in Dewey and Bruce’s in the Outer Banks; Bruce knew Petch was the only man for the job. Petch stepped down as head of GVA Advantis seven months ago and had a six-month non-compete. At one point, Bruce swung by the Gibbons’ Cleveland Park home and, unbeknownst to Petch, hatched a plan with Petch’s wife, Melanie, about his future employment. The conspirators agreed: Petch and Bruce should once again be partners in crime. The only problem: Petch was doing due diligence on his options, making Bruce wait. And wait. Bruce says he hadn’t courted so aggressively since he proposed to his wife, Kate. And he didn’t take no for an answer either time.
Petch didn’t get the memo about Blue-Shirt-No-Tie Wednesday.
After leaving Barnes, Bruce went to CB and then decided to take time off. He’ll tell you he learned to fly, scuba dive, and get his golf handicap under 10, but Petch says otherwise: While Bruce was “on a break,” he put Jubilee Housing on the map, coached lacrosse at Carroll High School, and created WINNERS Lacrosse (a lax foundation for inner-city kids). Oh, yeah, he also founded J Street Development with Jay Bothwell (above left), which after just three years has 1m SF under development and $50M of additional land under contract.
Jay, Bruce, and Petch with the company’s fast-growing staff. (They’ve hired 30+ in recent months.) So far the company has worked on mostly ground-up office buildings in DC, but they want to break into mixed-use markets all over the metro area. In brokerage, they’re broadening their scope and focusing more on tenant rep. They tell us to expect revenues to double in five years. Not using that hair dye (especially the extra for the moustache) will save a ton.