Washington’s Top Commercial Real Estate Brokers

Washingtonian has partnered with CoStar, the largest commercial real estate information and analytics provider in the country. Below are CoStar’s 2021 Power Broker Awards. The awards recognize the top commercial real estate brokers and firms in the Washington, DC, market, based on closed sale and lease transactions from 2021. CoStar verifies and analyzes total transaction volume to identify the winners.

Top industrial leasing brokers

Brad Benna, Matan Companies

Peter Burleigh, NAI Michael

Stephen Cloud, Transwestern Real Estate Services

Dan Coats, JLL

Caulley Deringer, Transwestern Real Estate Services

John Dettleff, JLL

Bob Gibbs, CBRE

Gary Glatter, Cresa Washington DC

Andrew Hassett, Transwestern Real Estate Services

Jon Lawrence, Cushman & Wakefield

Pete McCabe, The Pruitt Corporation

Daniela Patino, CBRE

Peregrine Roberts, TSC Realty Services

Tony Russo, CBRE

Lance Schwarz, NAI Michael

Top office leasing brokers

Evan Behr, JLL

Wendy Feldman Block, Savills

Henry Chapman, CBRE

Brian Connolly, JLL

David Cornbrooks, Savills

Phil Dickinson, Cushman & Wakefield

Christopher Getz, Cushman & Wakefield

Alexander Hancock, Transwestern Real Estate Services

Neil Levy, Savills

David Lipson, Savills

Brian Raher, Cushman & Wakefield

Danny Sheridan, JLL

Brian Sullivan, JLL

Kevin Terry, GSA/Office of Portfolio Management & Real Estate/DoD CDD

Todd Valentine, Savills

Top Retail Leasing Brokers

Bradley Buslik, H&R Retail

Andrew Corno, JLL

Joseph Farina, Divaris Real Estate

Nora Foley, Rosenthal Properties

Constantine Gogos, Papadopoulos Properties

Emily Heppen, DLC Management Corp.

Thomas Jackman, JLL

Veronica Kamara, KLNB

Jake Levin, KLNB

Brian Mitchell, H&R Retail

Beth Sargent, KLNB

Matt Scalet, KLNB

Lisa Stoddard, CBRE

Shary Thur-Pecaro, Thur & Associates

Erik Ulsaker, Long & Foster Real Estate (Commercial Division)

Top Leasing Firms

Avison Young

CBRE

Cushman & Wakefield

Donohoe

GSA/Office of Portfolio Management & Real Estate/DoD CDD

H&R Retail

JBG Smith Properties

JLL

KLNB

Lincoln Property Company

Newmark

Savills

Tishman Speyer

Transwestern Real Estate Services

Top Sales Brokers

David Baker, JLL

Walter Coker, Berkadia Commercial Mortgage

Brian Crivella, Berkadia Commercial Mortgage

Collins Ege, Eastdil Secured

Christine Espenshade, Newmark

Robert Garrish, Newmark

Robert Jenkins, JLL

Anthony Liberto, Cushman & Wakefield

Timothy McDonald, Eastdil Secured

James Meisel, JLL

David Nachison, Eastdil Secured

Matt Nicholson, JLL

Ryan Reid, Eastdil Secured

Jorge Rosa, Cushman & Wakefield

Andrew Weir, JLL

Drew White, Berkadia Commercial Mortgage

Top Sales Firms

Avison Young

Berkadia Commercial Mortgage

CBRE

Cushman & Wakefield

Eastdil Secured

Greysteel

JLL

Marcus & Millichap

Melnick Real Estate Advisors

NAI Michael

Newmark

Savills

SRS Real Estate Partners

Transwestern Real Estate Services

Walker & Dunlop

The New Suburban Office

As a lead broker for both Reston Town Center and downtown Columbia, Transwestern’s Alexander Hancock has an insider’s view of what employers—and their employees—want out of a suburban work experience. The days of generic office parks are, of course, long over. To entice staffers back into an office at all, says Hancock, companies are searching for vibrant environments where people can walk to shopping, lunch, and happy hour, plus access outdoor space during the workday. The proof that Reston and Columbia fit the bill, he says, is in the strong leasing activity that’s continued there even as the office market as a whole has floundered during the pandemic.

Over the past couple of years, Hancock and his team have landed several big-name tenants in Reston Town Center. In summer 2020, Microsoft grabbed 400,000 square feet at the new trophy building 2 Freedom Square. Volkswagen and Fannie Mae have also recently leased large swaths of the glassy towers called Reston Next. Starkist moved its US headquarters to Reston from Pittsburgh this year. Another strategy that the development’s landlord, Boston Properties, deployed during Covid, says Hancock, was to build out “spec suites”—a move-in-ready option ideal for companies looking to downsize to smaller, less expensive space. Hancock says he’s leased 20 of them.

After spying Hancock’s success in Reston, the Howard Hughes Corporation—the company orchestrating downtown Columbia’s massive redevelopment—hired him onto its leasing team, too. Hancock says one major draw for employers in Columbia is obvious: New office space there surrounds Merriweather Post Pavilion. On concert days, workers can hear bands warming up; on any nice day, they can enjoy the park setting.

“Companies are realizing that setting up [in locations like Reston and Columbia] gives them proximity to a large base of highly skilled workers,” says Hancock. “They’re giving them an experience in the office, and also shortening their commute from the suburbs.”

The Biggest Deal in DC

The government’s decision to move the Securities and Exchange Commission from Capitol Hill to a new headquarters in NoMa—valued at more than $1.3 billion and comprising nearly 1.3 million square feet—was far and away the largest lease of 2021. Not only that, but it’s the second-largest deal in the history of the city (behind only the Department of Transportation’s 2007 lease of nearly 1.5 million square feet in Navy Yard).

brian sullivan, managing director at JLL, led negotiations for Douglas Development, landlord of the SEC’s future headquarters at New York Avenue and North Capitol Street, Northeast. Neil Levy, David Lipson, other todd valentine, all of Savills, teamed up with Kevin Terry of the General Services Administration to represent the government.

Sullivan says he and his client knew it would be a battle to lure the SEC from its existing HQ next to Union Station, particularly to a NoMa location north of New York Avenue, farther afield than office users have traditionally gone. So they enlisted the architecture firms Gensler and HOK to create renderings of what they envisioned for the enormous site (which developer Douglas Jemal had spent nearly 20 years assembling out of individual lots). The glass-filled design included significantly fewer interior offices, meaning workers would have much better access to outdoor views and natural light. “We designed it with a little bit of a ‘wow’ effect, so when the agency saw it they’d be excited,” says Sullivan.

Even so, the deal faced many additional hurdles, including a challenge in federal court from the SEC’s current landlord. But in the end, after years of work, the new lease—which is for 15 years, with an option to extend for another decade—was finalized last September. The SEC is slated to move into 2026.

The Next Dining Destination

If you want to know what’s going on with Washington’s restaurant scene, just ask Constantine Gogos. As a longtime broker with the family-run retail-leasing firm Papadopoulos Properties, he’s become one of the first calls for restaurateurs seeking new space. While it may be tough to believe—given the area’s glut of empty storefronts—Gogos will tell you that Chevy Chase is about to become a legit dining destination. “You’re starting to get a changing of the tide,” he says.

In 2021, Gogos handled Common Plate Hospitality’s takeover of the former Anthropologie and PF Chang’s in Chevy Chase. The group is turning the combined roughly 10,000 square feet into the Heights Food Hall, which will feature eight food stalls, a speakeasy, and a full-service location of the Mexican restaurant Urbano (which has existing locations in Alexandria and the Mosaic district). Just across Wisconsin Avenue, at the Collection at Chevy Chase, Gogos helped the restaurateurs behind Seven Reasons and Imperfecto secure space for their forthcoming venture, Joy by Seven Reasons, a more casual version of the 14th Street fine-dining destination Seven Reasons. (He also did the Imperfecto deal for them last year.)

A bit farther east, at the Chevy Chase Lake development, Gogos represented the duo behind the beloved Shaw eatery Nina May. The pair will open an all-day seasonal American restaurant called Elena James, with an attached market. And that’s not all: Gogos recently helped them find yet another space—this one’s near Chevy Chase Circle—for a third concept, the details of which are still forthcoming.

He’s been busy with deals inside the city, too, including Lost Generation Brewery, opening soon in Eckington; Mez Mesa, a spot promising “global cuisine” and cocktails near U Street; and a Greek restaurant coming to 19th and N streets in Dupont. All the action in Chevy Chase, however, reflects a trend that Gogos—along with many other brokers—has felt since the onset of the pandemic: The suburbs have gotten hot.

The College Town Evolution

The University of Maryland notched a big recent gain in its ongoing effort to turn College Park into one of the nation’s top college towns, thanks in large part to the work of KLNB’s Matt Scalet. One of the leasing brokers for the Aster—a $140 million mixed-use project near the southern end of campus, slated to open later this year—he has helped attract a range of new businesses that will soon arrive in the neighborhood: Crunch Fitness, Roots Natural Kitchen, and Bandit Taco, to name a few. But the most transformative tenant Skalet has landed is one that promises to draw patrons from both campus and well beyond: the first Trader Joe’s in Prince George’s County. “The goal of the Aster was to activate and energize the south side of campus,” he says. “Trader Joe’s was the ideal tenant.”

Though news of the grocer’s impending arrival was confirmed only in June, Skalet and his team began negotiations back in the spring of 2019—not a particularly easy time, you may recall, to convince retailers to commit to a new location. Despite the raging pandemic, Skalet says his clients (Bozzuto, the University of Maryland’s Terrapin Development, and Willard Retail) were able to make various modifications to the site to meet the requirements of Trader Joe’s, such as increasing the amount of parking allotted to the store. Skalet anticipates that several more retailers will commit to the Aster by the end of this summer and that the development will be 90 percent leased by fall. As for Trader Joe’s, he says the grocer intends to open in time for Thanksgiving.

Senior editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 and was a senior editor until 2022.