Contact Us

Real Estate Families!

You are your brother's keeper. And lots of times in DC, you're also his co-worker. There are real estate families all over the area; here are a few clans in the biz:


CBRE government leasing guru Marcy Owens Test (middle) is a 25-year vet. Younger brother and biz development pro Steve (of JLL) is a relative newcomer, joining the industry four years ago after a career in pro cycling. Marcy was at JLL when Steve came on board (and on the same floor as his group), giving them a chance to finally spend time together, as Steve had been in the cycling biz on the West Coast. Though Marcy and Steve work different sides (Marcy handles GSA leasing; Steve chases prospects for JLL's project and development services team), they love to bounce ideas off of each other and leverage each other's networks. Steve and Marcy are pictured with sister Jennifer White.


Siblings Jimmy Barter of WestEnd Capital and Mill Creek Residential Trust's Jessie Barter Henry are hunting for acquisitions with their respective firms. (Jessie's husband Brandon Henry, right, is also in the biz, on the development side for Greystar.) Jessie started in wealth management, but watching how much fun Jimmy and Brandon were having doing deals got her attention. While they didn't have any family connection to the business, per se, Jessie and Jimmy's godfather Brian Ball of KLNB would sometimes let them shadow him as youngsters—and Brian actually hired Jimmy to work for him right out of college.


The Donohoe Cos is one the oldest companies in the DC area. (This picture was taken in 2009, when the firm celebrated the big 1-2-5—the late Jim Donohoe, who passed away last fall, is on the far left.) Family members work in each of the firm's separate units, and most can't remember a time when they didn't want to be a part of it, says Donohoe Construction prez Steve Donohoe (fifth from right). "When I was a little kid—before I knew the family was in the business—I was fascinated with construction equipment," he says. "I would stare at bulldozers and cranes and want to know how they worked." Also pictured (L-R): Bob Donohoe, Sr., Jean Keogh, Jeff Donohoe, Brian Donohoe, Bert Donohoe, Jad Donohoe, Jerry Murray, and Bob Donohoe, Jr.


Brothers Matthew and Norman Jemal are the next gen of the family business that dad Douglas has been leader of for years. They're increasingly becoming the public face of Douglas Development and can often be seen together on the streets of downtown DC, hustling to meetings to sign the next cutting-edge tenants for their funky (but huge) portfolio.


Owners of a robust real estate portfolio spanning the entire region (as well as some baseball team that plays its games near the water), no list of DC real estate families would be complete without the Lerners. Charitable causes are a big deal for this fam, like the Nats Dream Foundation. At a past Dream Gala benefittng the foundation, we snapped Ted and Annette Lerner with kids Mark, Marla, and Debra.


Brothers Chris and Doug Donatelli (whom we snapped at May's DCBIA gala) are usually dealmaking: Chris with his neighborhood-revitalizing multifamily developments and Doug as CEO of First Potomac. But the real estate gene was passed down: In 1973, dad Lou started the firm Chris now heads, and before coming to First Potomac, Doug spent years in various positions with the firm.


Jeffrey, Gary, and Ronald Abramson (flanking Ted Lerner) are three of what seems like an endless number of relatives working at the family firm Tower Companies. The Abramsons push for high standards in efficiency and sustainability in their buildings, something their late dad Sonny passed down.


It seems like every day, Jon and Milt Peterson are rolling out something new at National Harbor; a massive observation wheel one day, a billion-dollar casino the next. 


Dad Tom is still going strong as the CEO of multifamily giant Bozzuto Group, though son Toby has quickly become one of the faces of the industry in DC and Baltimore. The Bozzuto name is everywhere, from the family firm's own developments (Cathedral Commons, 460 New York Ave) to its huge management portfolio (CityCenter, among others).


Perhaps the most famous brothers in the investment sales game, Paul, Bill, and team are good bets to close billions worth of deals every year. Do you have an interesting family story to tell? We'd love to hear. Email