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Bob Cohen Retires As Perseus TDC Rebrands

D.C. development firm Perseus TDC has a new leader and a new name as its founder and CEO is retiring. 

Perseus Realty CEO Bob Cohen at Bisnow's 2017 Alexandria State of the Market

The company announced the retirement Thursday of Bob Cohen, a 50-year D.C. commercial real estate veteran who founded Perseus Realty and oversaw its merger to become Perseus TDC. Along with his retirement, the company said it will no longer go by Perseus TDC and will now be folded into the Transwestern Development Co. brand.

Cohen will be replaced by Toby Millman, formerly of Brookfield Properties, who joined Perseus TDC as regional partner in April.

Millman came to Perseus TDC with the understanding that Cohen was heading toward retirement and that he would be positioned to take over, Millman said in an interview with Bisnow

“There was really no reason for me to leave [Brookfield Properties] other than this opportunity,” he said. “And part of it was this opportunity with Bob retiring and the opportunity for me to step into this leadership role for this development operation here in D.C.” 

Millman said he has “tough shoes to fill” as Cohen’s successor. 

“To put it simply, Bob is a legend in the industry here in the Washington area. Everybody either knows Bob personally or certainly knows of him,” he said. “He built an incredible company here over the last 25 years, doing some really amazing, iconic projects across a lot of different asset classes.” 

Cohen began his career in D.C., as a broker for Barnes Morris & Pardoe in 1971, rising to the role of president in 1982. A decade later, the firm merged with Long & Foster Commercial and Cohen became chairman and CEO of the combined company. 

When Insignia Financial Group purchased the combined company, Barnes, Morris, Pardoe & Foster, in 1997, The Washington Post called the firm “one of the Washington region's largest commercial brokerage firms.” 

Cohen founded Perseus Realty in 2004 and then in 2017 he merged it with Transwestern Development Co., the Houston-based arm of Transwestern, to  create Perseus TDC. In 2020, the merged company became a wholly owned affiliate of Transwestern. Now, it will take on the name of Transwestern Development, in the same vein as its parent company’s eight other regional offices. 

“Bob has led the continued growth of Perseus over the years, establishing it as a trailblazer on many fronts,” Transwestern Development President Carleton Riser said in a release. “Keen foresight, innovative thinking, and an ability to respond to market demand in a way that raises entire communities is something to celebrate. We congratulate Bob on his retirement and, with Toby at the helm, look forward to bringing more outstanding projects to life in the Mid-Atlantic.”

Toby Millman will succeed Bob Cohen as CEO of the D.C. office of Transwestern Development, formerly Perseus TDC.

Millman says Perseus TDC’s rebranding won’t mean any practical changes in the firm’s operation.

“It’s really been Transwestern’s development operation here in D.C. in practice if not in name,” he said. “So this is really just sort of culminating what has been an evolution and finalizing from a naming, branding perspective that this is Transwestern's development operation here in the mid-Atlantic.”

Coming in as CEO, Millman said he is not looking to change up operations or strategy, but he is pushing to expand the company's development operations in the region. 

“We’re one of probably a few development companies that are approaching the market somewhat aggressively right now in terms of looking for new deals,” he said.  

Perseus TDC is in the midst of leasing up REVEL in NoMa, a new 500-unit multifamily building with ground-floor retail. It’s the second component of NoMaCNTR, which opened a 235-room Marriott at the beginning of the year. 

The firm is behind the Capitol Rose townhome and apartment building between Dupont Circle and Logan Circle, set to deliver this year, as well as the 316-unit multifamily building The Six in Hyattsville, expected to deliver in 2024, according to their websites. 

Millman told Bisnow that the firm has two projects entering design entitlements, one in Maryland and one in Virginia, and it’s pursuing other opportunities in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. 

Millman spent four years at Brookfield, joining shortly after the firm acquired Forest City Realty Trust, and worked to integrate the firm’s sizable D.C. portfolio and pipeline into Brookfield’s scope. He also spearheaded the second phase of the Navy Yard megadevelopment The Yards, slated for 3.4M SF of new development across 10 buildings. Prior to Brookfield, Millman was president of Ditto Residential and before that, head of Vornado Realty Trust’s D.C. multifamily team, prior to its merger with JBG.