“EagleBank is proud to present the DMV Changemakers Series, sharing the experience, work and perspectives of innovative real estate business leaders across the Washington, D.C., market. At EagleBank, we have a singular purpose: to be community builders. Our CRE financing continues to make a positive impact in communities throughout the mid-Atlantic. Our partners are setting the standard for the CRE industry by delivering projects that align with their communities’ needs.” — Susan Riel, president and CEO, EagleBank
Jair Lynch is the president and CEO of Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners in Washington, D.C. Lynch has more than 25 years of experience as an investor and developer. In 1998, he founded the company with the goal of working with investors to create sustainable real estate developments in urban areas. The company has developed over 4.2M SF valued at over $1B, with close to 1.8M SF of development in progress valued at more than $750M.
Bisnow recently caught up with Lynch to talk about how his team worked through the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges currently facing the industry. This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Bisnow: What has been your proudest accomplishment during the last 18 months?
Lynch: The resiliency of the team. We have surpassed our business goals in terms of delivering projects and deploying capital despite significant headwinds. We have also worked with residents to make sure they are safe in these trying times, and we have partnered with our retailers to make sure they are stronger coming out of the recession. We continue to hire and onboard great talent who will grow with us over the coming years.
Bisnow: What is the biggest risk you have ever taken?
Lynch: Our risks are calculated and by design. We make sure we have protocols and thought leaders intertwined in all our major decisions.
Bisnow: Tell me about the most stressful day you had while leading your firm through the pandemic. How did you get through?
Lynch: The first Covid outbreak in April 2020 at a project site tested not only our new protocols, but also our resolve. I was very concerned for our people, but also for the hundreds of construction workers on the job site. We thankfully did not lose anyone, but we were on pins and needles for days.
Bisnow: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the commercial real estate industry now? It could be a problem for the industry or a problem in our cities and communities that CRE can help solve.
Lynch: There are several, but one would be the intersection of development and infrastructure. We have been subsidizing suburban sprawl through transportation policy since World War II. We need to align sound development practices with the next generation of infrastructure spend. We need to create walkable urban places that can be communities of hope and opportunity for people across all walks of life.
Bisnow: If you could change one thing about the CRE industry, what would it be?
Lynch: To figure out how to interface with the public to mend all wounds, like housing discrimination and predatory lending, which have left the public distrustful of the CRE industry. In order to build the next generation of great places, we as an industry have to rebuild that trust.
Bisnow: What do you think people would like to learn about your company?
Lynch: The company trains incredible leaders well beyond my capabilities to create extraordinary places. Stay tuned for updates.
Bisnow: What do you want your legacy to be?
Lynch: Having compassion, tackling big challenges like affordable housing and finally, preparing the next generation for leadership.
This article was produced in collaboration between EagleBank and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.
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