Four friends pool their talents inside converted mansion

April 19, 2013

It’s not exactly a frat house, but the space in the 100-year-old mansion turret at 11th and P streets in Northwest Washington for the newly established JACK Group is a place where the four principals of the development firm can collaborate on mixed-use projects — and have fun.

The JACK Group comprises four friends — Joe Reger (J), Adam Stifel (A), Chris Heisey (C) and Kevin Riegler (K) — who operate separate firms specializing in construction, residential development and retail development. Collectively, they say, they hope to pool their resources and expertise so they can tackle bigger projects.

Riegler and Stifel became buddies in college when Riegler was at the University of Colorado and Stifel at the University of Denver. “Kevin was in Boulder and I was in Denver, but Kevin’s next-door neighbor in his freshman dorm was my best friend, so we hung out together a lot,” says Stifel.

The two later moved to the District, co-founding CAS Riegler, which develops residential and mixed-use projects in the city. They soon connected with Heisey, who co-founded Snead Construction with Stifel, and Reger, partner and founder of the JCR Companies, which leases retail space.

“The JACK Group will share overhead and back house accounts, but we’re each keeping our separate companies, too, in case we want to do projects that the others aren’t interested in,” says Stifel. “It’s a big advantage to share equity sources and banking relationships.”

The JACK Group’s first project, the sold-out Lock & Electric Lofts mixed-use development at 1324 14th St. NW, has five luxury condominiums above 4,900 square feet retail of space. “Top Chef” contestant Bart Vandaele will operate the B Too Restaurant there, set to open by May 1. The JACK Group also is converting the 100-year-old former Edmonds School on Capitol Hill into condominiums.

One of the first projects they did together was to renovate their new digs, the century-old mansion.

“We loved the character of the building and the ability to change it for our needs,” says Stifel. “Two of us have fireplaces in our offices, and the other two have offices inside the turret. Our conference room is on the lower level of the turret and has a fireplace. We made a beautiful custom giant table out of joists reclaimed from the Edmonds School for the conference room.”

3.41%↑

vMortgage rate: The 30-year fixed rate fell this week from 3.43 percent. Rates dropped for the third week in a row as a result of weak consumer spending, according to Freddie Mac chief economist Frank E. Nothaft. Page 11

Firm adds landscape planning to the fold

Beasley Real Estate, a boutique firm in the District, is looking to become a one-stop shop for its high-end clients. Rather than merely market luxury properties and send clients elsewhere for renovation services, Beasley is seeking to provide that expertise in-house.

The firm has recently added to its roster Bob Bell, president of Bell Design, who will provide landscape planning for Beasley’s clients.

Bell, who has more than 14 years of landscape design experience, has worked around the world on projects for individuals, corporations and for the U.S. government, designing embassy compounds in Asia and the Caribbean. Locally, he has created a master plan for a garden on a one-acre site in Georgetown, designed roof decks and terraces for numerous homes and condominiums, and restored meadows on three waterfront residences on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Beasley’s design team also includes Ruth Gorland, who early this year joined the firm as a chief interior consultant.

“The interior design consultant can provide interior staging expertise to sellers while I can provide staging for the outside,” Bell says. “Beasley offers high-end services to their customers, and this is just one more way to differentiate themselves from other companies.”

Bell says he can confer with sellers of an upscale condo to improve the appeal of their roof terrace or create a landscape design on a multi-acre property. He says both sellers and buyers are interested in curb appeal.

“We can consult on something as little as adding a planter to a balcony to help sell a property, and we can even go along with buyers to show them that something they are considering is or isn’t as complicated as they think,” says Bell. “We can even help people understand the regulations about whether they can expand their parking space or add a roof deck.”

Silverwood to switch rentals back to condos

Exclusive: During the recession, it became common here for new condo buildings hitting the market to convert to rental. Now here’s a sign that the trend may be waning.

Reston-based Silverwood Companies and Freedom Development of Alexandria say they plan to convert a newly completed 67-unit apartment building they bought this week at 1200 N. Rolfe St., near Arlington’s Court House Metro station, into condos. The building, to be called the Avery, started out as a condo project, then switched to apartments when the economy tanked.

Sales of the one- and two-bedroom units will open in May and start in the mid-$400,000s.

Tip of the week

If you’re on the fence about buying or selling a house, this weekend might give you an opportunity to test the waters.

The National Association of Realtors is offering a bonanza of activity for buyers and sellers across the country in its Nationwide Open House.

The events will give sellers the chance to showcase their home to what could be a larger crowd of prospective buyers.

At the same time, buyers can get a chance to scope out more properties. Many of the open houses also will have mortgage lender reps on site to help get buyers pre-qualified and answer financing questions.

— Michele Lerner

Lerner is a freelance writer. Want to pass on an idea or a news item? Contact us at realestate@washpost.com and put “Town Square” in the subject line.

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