2023 Commercial Observer Power D.C. List: Edward St. John

Founder and chairman at St. John Properties

This profile is part of The Commercial Observer’s Power D.C. List for 2023

Edward St. John
Edward St. John

St. John Properties has hit on a winning office formula that’s eluded some of the larger players in the D.C. region. The company focuses on developing suburban business parks that mix office, flex, R&D and industrial space, and it’s seen a continued appetite for that approach.

In fact, after 51 years leading St. John Properties, Edward St. John says 2022 marked one of the company’s most successful years ever, with more than 340 new leases exceeding 2 million square feet.

“I credit this to our entire team working together no matter the economic climate to deliver for our clients,” St. John said. “My philosophy has always been we are not in the real estate business, we are in the service business, and companies are willing to pay a premium for exceptional service.”

It’s not only leasing. St. John has seen a rush of activity over the last six months. The Baltimore-based company broke ground on the 10-building flex/R&D Arcola Center in Sterling, Va.; acquired two value-add projects, Aviation Business Park in Glen Burnie and Triangle Business Park in Baltimore City, totaling nearly 200,000 square feet of flex/R&D and office; and opened new offices in Austin, Raleigh, N.C., and Tampa, Fla.

“We’ve explored more value-add/stabilized asset acquisition opportunities in addition to our traditional strategy to purchase raw land, and we’ve also invested in more residential opportunities within our mixed-use communities,” St. John noted about this year.

Last October, St. John Properties achieved its 100th LEED building certification, and ranked among the top five developers in green building certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council.

There’s more to come, too.

“We have over 1 million square feet of new flex/R&D, office and retail in our national pipeline that we project to deliver over the next 12 months,” St. John said. “In a joint venture with Somerset Companies, we will open the largest [single-phase] project within our company’s history this September: the Aspen at Melford Town Center, a $130 million, 388-unit luxury apartment complex in Bowie, Md.”