St. John Properties named NAIOP’s top developer in 2018

Baltimore Business Journal  |  Melody Simmons

Edward St. John, chairman of St. John Properties, founded the company in 1971.

St. John Properties has been named “Developer of the Year” by its national peers.

NAIOP, a national commercial real estate association, selected the Woodlawn-based developer for the award on Tuesday. The 47-year-old company is the second Maryland developer to receive the award and the first in Baltimore’s local chapter.

By the end of 2018, St. John will have a portfolio that totals 2,100 clients in 20 million square feet of Class A development of commercial office, flex and research and development, retail and warehouse space. It has built more than 2,500 residential units, with total assets of more than $2.9 billion in eight states.

St. John Properties’ philanthropic foundation is also known for its generosity. In 2011, the company made a $10 million gift to the University of Maryland for a new teaching and learning center at the university’s College Park campus.

“Given the outstanding and highly deserving commercial real estate companies competing for this award on an annual basis, our entire organization takes great pride in this achievement,” said Edward St. John, chairman of the company. “When I started my company in 1971, my goal was to work hard, build a successful business and give back. We also understand that the success of St. John Properties is based on our clients. We reinforce their importance with our executives every day and even include the following statement on their computers and pay statements, ‘Our tenants pay your check. Please treat them accordingly.’ ”

St. John is currently a partner in Greenleigh at Crossroads, a 1,000-acre, $750 million development underway in Middle River at Interstate 95 and Route 43.

The project eventually will hold 2.5 million square feet of commercial space including office, warehouse, industrial and retail and 1,000 single-family homes and townhomes. There are also apartment units in the works. St. John’s partners there are Somerset Development Corp. and Elm Street Development Inc.

The Greenleigh project is the latest in a lineup of large and small projects St. John has led for decades. Others include a partnership in the successful Maple Lawn in Howard County and dozens of office developments across the mid-Atlantic, including several in Maryland’s suburbs. Most are single-story flex space with large and small office tenants and light manufacturing operations.

“The company is a proven frontrunner in the industry, and the company’s notable accomplishments, extensive portfolio and commitment to sustainability is a testament to the company’s passion for advancing the quality of commercial real estate,” said Thomas J. Bisacquino, NAIOP president and CEO, in a statement.

Bisacquino said St. John was selected from a list of national developers. The list was evaluated by a “team of seasoned developers on the following criteria: outstanding quality of projects and services; active support of the industry through NAIOP, financial consistency and stability, ability to adapt to market conditions and support of the local community,” he said.

Past recipients of the national NAIOP award include the Trammell Crow Co., Prologis, Majestic Realty Co., the JBG Cos. and CenterPoint Properties.

The award will be presented on Oct. 17 at NAIOP’s national conference in Washington, D.C.