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Three Giants:

Maryland’s development community loses legendary figures


Posted March 9, 2018

Maryland’s development community lost three giants in recent months – Stewart Greenebaum, David Hillman and Kingdon Gould Jr. 

“Stewart Greenebaum was bigger than life,” said David Thaler, President of DS Thaler and Associates, who began working on Greenebaum projects nearly 40 years ago.

A prolific developer and major philanthropist, Greenebaum developed residential communities across Greater Baltimore and became known for large and ambitious projects, such as Shipley’s Choice in Anne Arundel County, ongoing mixed-use projects around Johns Hopkins Hospital, and the 600-acre, $1-billion Maple Lawn development near Fulton. But it was a career that Greenebaum landed in due to a chance conversation on a train. 

“When I met him, he was working for his father’s men’s store in Eastpoint Mall,” Thaler said. “He went on a buying trip to New York and a leading figure of Baltimore’s garment business happened to be on the train. He said, ‘Young man, I am the most successful person in Baltimore in the needle trade, but the 100th most successful real estate person could buy and sell me. You should go into real estate.’ Stewart got off the train in Wilmington, came back to Baltimore, went out and bought his first house and went into the real estate business.”

David Hillman founded Southern Management Corp. and grew it into one of the nation’s largest owner-operated property management companies. Described as a “deal junkie,” Hillman managed 48 apartment communities in Greater Washington, including large complexes such as Summit Hills in Silver Spring and Carriage Hill in Suitland, and another 30-plus properties in Greater Baltimore and Anne Arundel County. His Baltimore projects included residential redevelopments of historic commercial properties, including the former Hecht Co. flagship store and the former Standard Oil Building on St. Paul Street. Some city leaders credited him as a “visionary” who created Downtown Baltimore’s residential market. 

Southern Management also operated three hotels, including The Hotel at the University of Maryland that opened in September 2017. Hillman’s funeral was held at his newest hotel.

The great-grandson of legendary railroad builder and business tycoon Jay Gould, Kingdon Gould, Jr. further built up his family’s fortune by building wisely in the Baltimore-Washington area. But like Greenebaum, he didn’t start his adult life in real estate.

Gould, during World War II, had served with the 36th Mechanized Calvary and landed in France in 1944. He was awarded two Silver Stars, a Purple Heart and received a battlefield commission of second lieutenant. He later went on to serve as ambassador to The Netherlands and Luxembourg. 

In his real estate career, Gould initially focused on parking lots. By the mid-1960s, Gould’s company Parking Management Inc. owned 90 lots with space for 10,000 cars, prompting one local newspaper to dub him the “parking baron.”

Gould’s signature development, however, was Konterra – a planned community on 600 acres of strategically located land beside I-95 south of Laurel. Plans for the Inter-County Connector placed the new highway’s interchange with I-95 at the entrance to Konterra and further fueled Gould’s plan to build 12 million square feet of residences, high-end retail and business space on site.

“All three of these men were unbelievably smart and they understood risk,” Thaler said. “What separated all three of them from other people was their iron will. When they saw a deal, they were persistent, they were determined, they were focused and they made it happen.”


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