B. Mark Fried dies: Northern Virginia real estate developer was 78

Northern Virginia real estate developer B. Mark Fried helped to start Innisfree Village, a private residential community for disabled adults.
Northern Virginia real estate developer B. Mark Fried helped to start Innisfree Village, a private residential community for disabled adults. (By Robert Isacson)
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Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 22, 2010; 6:09 PM

B. Mark Fried, a real estate developer in Northern Virginia whose ventures included a luxury pet kennel, a residential community for developmentally disabled adults and a program to help foster children pay for community college, died Dec. 18 at his home in Crozet, Va., west of Charlottesville, of complications from back surgery. He was 78.

Mr. Fried (pronounced FREED) practiced real estate law in Springfield for more than two decades before turning full time to development in the 1980s.

Early in his career, developers in the region battled local governments that were fiercely skeptical of growth. But Mr. Fried and his wife and business partner, Barbara J. Fried, had a knack for securing zoning changes that allowed for high-density building. Over the years, the Frieds built residential and commercial projects throughout Northern Virginia.

"They've lived in fear of growth without ever experiencing it," Mr. Fried said in 1978, after his wife won a court order forcing the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to rezone four tracts of land to allow 900 new houses. "But now they've adopted a more realistic attitude."

Most of the Frieds' projects were in Springfield, including several shopping centers and the 37-acre MetroPark office park near the Franconia-Springfield Metrorail station. They also developed the infrastructure for several residential projects, such as Cardinal Glen in Burke.

The Frieds moved to Crozet about a decade ago and, in recent years, had shifted their efforts south to the Interstate 95 corridor in Spotsylvania County and areas near Route 29 in Greene County. Projects underway or recently completed include a development of more than 2,000 houses southwest of Fredericksburg and several mixed-use commercial centers near Ruckersville, Va.

Mr. Fried had a hand in several other business enterprises, including several car dealerships across the country and Axtron, a printing cartridge and remanufacturing company.

He had an abiding affection for dogs and in 2002 joined his daughter, Leah Fried Sedwick, in starting the Olde Towne Pet Resort, a high-end kennel in Springfield. It featured a 27,000-square-foot facility with an indoor track, a hydrotherapy pool and massage therapists on call. The Washington Post called the venture "a $7 million Xanadu for the fur set." Mr. Fried called it a "Ritz-Carlton for pets."

The Frieds, whose son Jonathan was born with a developmental disability, also had played a key role in joining with other families to start Innisfree Village, a private residential community for disabled adults in Albemarle County.

Founded in 1971 on 400 acres of farmland at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Innisfree is staffed largely by volunteers. It is home to several dozen intellectually disabled adults, including Jonathan Fried, who work in the village's gardens, weaving center, woodshop and bakery. They sell their goods through an online store and local shops.

"They have never been passive," Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) said of the Frieds, with whom he is close friends. "They built a community, and it is a transformative community."

Funded by residents' tuition and donations, Innisfree was hailed by Washington Post columnist George F. Will in 1975 as "pioneering a new way of caring for a minority that has been all too easy to neglect."

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