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Baltimore City's Future Leader

Baltimore Office

NAIOP has named Colliers’ Jon Manekin one of 10 under-35 real estate pros in the country who show promise as a future industry leader. Sounds like someone we all should get to know better.


The Family Tree

Jon (snapped yesterday) is the fifth Baltimorean in six years to receive the honor, including Alex Kopicki (see our next story). He also has Baltimore’s biggest real estate pedigree via the name Manekin. Grandfather Bernie and granduncle Harold founded local development firm Manekin in 1946. Harold’s son, Donald, and grandson, Thibault, founded Seawall Development. Bernie’s son Dick is a principal at the newly formed Worshop Development, and Bernie’s son Bob worked at Manekin before joining Colliers. Bob’s sister, Jane, married development firm Helmsman Properties founder Michael Glick. Jon now works with his dad (Bob) at Colliers, and Jon's sister Sarah married Alex Brown Realty's Ari Abramson. But Jon made sure first to prove his worth beyond his well-recognized surname.


Time Away from Home

After graduating from the Gilman School in ’98, Jon headed to UNC Chapel Hill (he’s the second oldest of five siblings, and four of the five are Tar Heels; their parents also met at UNC) and graduated in ’02. Then came a year of travel in Australia and two years working for GVA Advantis in DC. Jon wanted to start his real estate career outside Baltimore, where the Manekin name isn’t as well known. He then took a one-year break to play and coach lacrosse in Perth, Australia, and worked on a cultured pearl farm (above) during the offseason.


The Return to Baltimore

In 2006, it was time for Jon to come home. From his DC days, Jon knew Jim Lighthizer, who back then worked for CBRE but had since co-founded Baltimore’s Chesapeake Real Estate Group. Jim hired Jon to help lease retail and office in the just-acquired Bagby Building. Six months later, Jon expanded to the industrial leasing team, working on big-name properties like White Marsh’s Baltimore Crossroads and Steeplechase off the Capital Beltway. When Chesapeake took a development break during the downturn, Jon moved to COPT and worked on five portfolios totaling 4.5M SF over 3.5 years, all while getting a master’s at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Above, Jon is second from right with COPT colleagues John Hermann, Dwight Taylor (retired), Greg Prossner, Lee Murray, Bob Bergin, and Tim Beadell.


No More Avoiding Dad

Above are a few of the modern-day Manekin men (so modern that they took a selfie): Michael Glick and Bob, Dick, and Jon Manekin. Just over a year ago, Jon joined Colliers (listen closely and you can hear “Cats in the Cradle” drifting from Bob’s office down the hall). Long fascinated by development, Jon now has a chance to focus on Baltimore City (he lives in Little Italy) and work with a broader range of clients. One of his first transactions, for instance, was a feel-good deal for the Auburn School for autistic students in Pikesville.


Baltimore’s Real Estate Opportunities

Because you should always listen to a guy who knows purple is the best freezer pop flavor: Jon (above with sister Elizabeth at Emerald Isle, NC, where they've been vacationing for 30 years, not in consecutive days) says tech and entrepreneurial firms have a lot of room to grow in Baltimore, considering Fort Meade, Hopkins, and incubators in the area. But outside users are paying attention, too; Jon’s working with two Pennsylvania companies (one office, one retail) that want to be a part of Baltimore.