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DC Real Estate's Family Affair

Washington DC Other

There's a long list of famous families in DC real estate. (You thought Pierre L'Enfant was great? You should've known his sister, Lala L'Enfant.) Four of them were on the same stage yesterday for a lively discussion on running the family business.

At the Reagan Building, we snapped the Shooshans (Kelly and John) and the Millers (Herb and Ben), at the final panel of ULI's 2014 Washington Real Estate Trends Conference. Shooshan Co COO Kelly says she actually studied nursing while at Georgetown, but like many other real estate scions, found her way into the family biz; not unlike John, who was a teacher and coach before falling into real estate. Fundrise guru Ben, when asked what he thinks of when he hears the word "placemaking," said, "I think of my father," developer of Washington Harbour, Gallery Place, and Market Square, among other projects.

Also on hand: the Bozzutos (Toby and Tom) and the Mosles (Bozzuto's Alison Mosle Williams and JBG's Robin Mosle). Tom says establishing values early on has been key to his family company's success: "Without values as a foundation, strategy can drive you right off a cliff." Toby says it's tough to get approval from Tom on decisions not only because he's his boss, but because he's his dad, too—though they don't disagree often, Toby says.

Earlier in the day, we snapped Marriott's Tim Grisius, Gensler's Deanna Francl, and Buccini/Pollin Group's Dave Pollin, who led a discussion on rapidly changing hotel designs. Tim and Deanna say that since many introverted business travelers want to do work by themselves (but not alone), many new designs include more workspaces and seating in lobbies and entertainment portions of hotels. Dave says to expect a greater emphasis on grab-and-go food service instead of traditional room service.