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Summit at 10

Yesterday, we stopped by the M Street offices of Summit Commercial Real Estate, which this month celebrates 10 years. (Here are investment sales gurus Guy d'Amecourt and Gordon Nielsen bookending office experts Paul DeFilippes and John Duffy.) So in a brokerage world of intense competition and the big firms getting bigger, how does a boutique firm like Summit hold its own? Developing and maintaining client relationships, John says, which not only helps close deals but also leads to referrals. The experience at Summit doesn't hurt either: the guys tell us 75% of the office has 15-plus years of real estate history.

It's helped Summit close deals like repping Pepperdine U in the purchase of its Pennsylvania Ave property (pictured) in '08, or brokering the 43k SF Whitman-Walker Clinic deal at 1525 14th Street last year. In 2013, Summit also brokered the sale of 2251 Wisconsin Ave in Glover Park to Altus Realty Partners, which is constructing an 82-unit apartment complex on the site. John says future goals include beefing up the firm's retail practice and adding more key veteran players to the office side. Outside the office, the guys at Summit are active, between cycling, soccer, or friendly squash matches.