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CREBA Gives Awards To Top Real Estate Leaders, Deals In The D.C. Area Last Year

Jarvis Commercial Real Estate Managing Principal Ernie Jarvis

The CREBA Awards ceremony, typically a huge event where D.C.'s commercial real estate industry comes together to celebrate the year's best performers, was held virtually last week for the second consecutive year. 

Because of the coronavirus pandemic's impact on the market, CREBA decided this year to remove the awards it usually gives to the top-performing brokers based on deal volume. But it still gave its four top awards to individuals, and it recognized last year's best transactions in seven categories. 

The Brendan McCarthy Memorial Award was given to Ernie Jarvis, the founder and managing principal of Jarvis Commercial Real Estate.

In a video CREBA released last week, several of Jarvis' peers praised him for his leadership in the industry, especially on the issue of diversity. Jarvis for years has been one of the most vocal proponents of the industry's need to add diversity, and after the killing of George Floyd sparked a racial justice movement last year, Jarvis released a 10-point plan to fix the industry's diversity problem. 

Before launching his own firm in 2016, Jarvis spent 22 years with CBRE, where he rose to become the firm's D.C. market leader. The award video also highlighted Jarvis' philanthropic efforts, including his involvement with N Street Village, March of Dimes, United Way, Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund, Greater Washington Board of Trade and the African American Chamber of Commerce. 

"He's a champion in not only being a successful broker, but advocating for more diversity in the industry," CBRE's Jhon Pacheco, who leads the firm's Hispanic & Latin Business Resource Group, said in the video. "It's very tough to pierce through that barrier that exists."

JBG Smith CEO Matt Kelly at the Nov. 13, 2018, Amazon HQ2 announcement.

The Joseph Stettinius Jr. Leadership Award was given to JBG Smith CEO Matt Kelly

Kelly has led the company, one of the largest developers and owners in the region, through its 2017 merger with Vornado's D.C. arm that formed publicly traded company JBG Smith, and through the process of landing and building out Amazon HQ2

The speakers praising Kelly in the CREBA video, including Amazon Director of Worldwide Economic Development Holly Sullivan, highlighted his leadership, mentorship, competitiveness, intelligence and caring for others. 

"He empowers his team, but he does it with empathy and leadership," Sullivan said. "What JBG Smith had done in Crystal City under Matt's leadership wasn't just about the built environment, it was really about, 'How can we make sure [we're] providing the right jobs for this community?' ... Our visions were so similar and parallel."

CREBA gave its Broker of the Year award to Boston Properties Senior Vice President Jake Stroman. The REIT last year signed three of the nine largest office leases in the D.C. area, landing Microsoft, Volkswagen and CACI International in its Reston portfolio. 

"Jake's unique skill set is his time management ability," Boston Properties Senior Executive Vice President Ray Ritchey said in the CREBA video. "He makes everybody on the team know that everything's going to be OK ... He seems so calm on the outside like a duck going along the lake, but he's paddling like a devil below the water."

The Rising Star award winner was Carr Properties Senior Associate Tim Whitebread. A 2014 graduate of James Madison University who previously worked at CoStar Group and CBRE, Whitebread joined Carr in 2018 as a leasing associate, according to his LinkedIn page. He was then promoted to senior associate last year. 

The leases Carr Properties closed last year included a 59K SF deal with Walker & Dunlop to move its headquarters to a new office tower, The Wilson, in Downtown Bethesda

"He's been involved in over 30 lease transactions in 2020 despite a pretty challenging office leasing market, to say the least," Carr Properties Vice President of Leasing Kaitlyn Rausse said in the CREBA video. "He's a shining example of a young leader."

A rendering of the next phase of Reston Town Center.

CREBA also gave seven awards to the best transactions closed last year in the D.C. area. 

The Virginia leasing transaction award was given to the parties that worked on the 20-year, 196K SF deal Volkswagen signed in October at the next phase of Reston Town Center. Those involved in the deal included Boston Properties' Ritchey, Stroman, Pete Otteni, Rich Ellis and Matt Bonifant, plus JLL's Greg Lubar and Steve Spartin. 

The Maryland leasing transaction of the year was the Walker & Dunlop deal in Bethesda. The professionals who worked on it included CBRE's Brad Wilner, Lou Christopher and Charlie Carroccio, Carr Properties' Kaitlynn Rausse, and Transwestern's Phil McCarthy, Keith Foery and Erin Kurucza. 

The D.C. leasing transaction of the year was given to Tishman Speyer's Amy Brendler, Dan Dooley and Brian Schmid, plus Savills' Art Greenberg, Parker Lange, Vernon Knarr and Bie Chu Lee for a government agency lease at International Square. CREBA didn't disclose the specific agency that signed the lease, but a Q3 office market report from CBRE mentioned that the Federal Reserve signed a 319K SF renewal in the building. 

The award for the top lease transaction under 75K SF was given to the American Trucking Association deal at 80 M St. SE, an office building Columbia Property Trust is renovating. Those who worked on the deal included CBRE's Susan Thomas, Emanuel Fitzgerald, James Dennin and Tom Boyer, plus JLL's Evan Behr, Doug Mueller and Kristen Mathis. 

The sales transaction of the year was the $254M deal for Smithsonian to acquire space for its headquarters at 600 Maryland Ave. SW from Boston Properties. The professionals involved in the deal included Boston Properties' Stroman and Saara Brown, plus Newmark's James Cassidy and Jud Ryan. 

The top finance transaction of the year was the $506M deal for CIM Group to acquire Alexandria's Southern Towers apartment complex from Snell Properties and Caruthers Properties. CBRE's David Webb, Maxi Leachmann and Justin Glasgow worked on the financing deal. 

The retail transaction of the year was given to the 5K SF lease with Solace Brewing Co. at MRP Realty's newly developed apartment building, The Maren, near Nationals Park. Dochter & Alexander Retail Advisors' Dave Dochter, Matthew Alexander and Laura Bellantoni worked on the deal.