A Dec. 27 story about the Bozzuto Group gave an incorrect date of the company's founding. It was founded in 1988. (Published 01/17/2000)

Chances are you or someone you know has lived in a Bozzuto Group apartment. The company has dotted the suburban landscape with its multi- and single-family residential developments, commercial and retail projects and nursing homes.

Bozzuto, established in 1998, is a full-service real estate company based in Greenbelt, with subsidiaries that handle property management, home sales, landscaping, mortgages and construction. Recent projects have included the Beacon Place Apartments in the Kentlands area of Gaithersburg, the Bristol Green condominium complex in Columbia and the Random Hills town house community in Fairfax County.

And there is more to come.

Bozzuto officials said last week that the company has been awarded $68 million in contracts to build apartment communities at five Washington area sites: Manassas, Loudoun County, Vienna, Capitol Heights and La Plata.

"It's unusual to have as many properties starting at the same time and to have quite this volume," said Tom Bozzuto, founder and CEO. The company has 1,700 rental units under construction.

Bozzuto credits the current economic boom with the company's growth. "There's not a doubt that the present economy has really been the principal cause of this. The number of jobs being created in the greater Washington market is just overwhelming."

The addition of these projects, along with the work that Bozzuto Construction Co. has underway, should make 2000 the company's best year thus far, according to Mike Schlegel, president of Bozzuto Construction.

This year revenue will increase by roughly 30 percent, and it will increase again next year by 20 to 25 percent, he said.

The company's main markets are the "close-in" suburbs, where rents are higher. The apartment projects in the outer suburbs are a departure for the company.

The projects announced last week include garden apartment complexes in Manassas and Loudoun County; a second phase of the Apartments at Regent's Park in Vienna, which will have four four-story apartment buildings; and the four-story Saint Paul Senior Living building, housing 150 units, in Capitol Heights.

Bozzuto manages its own properties, as well as other companies' apartments including the high-end Lexington apartment building, north of Pennsylvania Avenue downtown.

Bozzuto said he considers his company to be more than simply a landlord. It provides home-buying seminars to its renters and allows tenants to pay their monthly rent in two installments. "We initiated that program in 1992 when we saw the recession coming and have just continued to offer it," Bozzuto said.

"Our attitude is that we are not in the housing business. We are not providing shelter," said Bozzuto. "The people who rent and buy from us have a lot of choices, so we need to be providing them services and programs that they don't get elsewhere."

Smith Looks to Florida

Arlington-based Charles E. Smith Residential Realty Inc. boosted its southeast Florida portfolio last week, snapping up 2,669 apartments in the Miami area for $178 million.

Smith will spend $33 million on capital improvements during the next two years on the properties, which include eight high-rise buildings on or near the oceanfront.

The company, a real estate investment trust, recently bought another group of apartment buildings in the same area, and plans to upgrade all of them to glean higher rents.

"In our targeted market of southeast Florida -- from Miami Beach north to Palm Beach -- we have achieved a critical mass with over 4,200 units," said Smith Residential President Ernest Gerardi Jr. "With this acquisition we will own four of only eight rental multifamily buildings directly on the oceanfront between Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale."

He added that three of the four oceanfront apartment buildings Smith doesn't own are being converted into condominiums.

Part of the purchase price was funded by the sale of three Northern Virginia apartment buildings and one D.C. apartment building for a total of $71 million.

Smith's 24,000-unit portfolio is concentrated in the Washington area, but in the past year the company has tried to diversify geographically, targeting Chicago, Boston and southeast Florida. Its investments have focused on urban high-rise apartment buildings.

CarrAmerica Enlists Duke

CarrAmerica Realty Corp. has signed a $150 million deal with a North Carolina energy company to position itself for the coming deregulated energy market.

District-based Carr, which owns and/or manages 326 office buildings nationwide, entered the deal with a Duke Energy subsidiary. DukeSolutions will handle energy management services for Carr's properties. Such services are designed to make sure a manager is paying the best price for electricity and other sources of energy, as well as making sure the properties use energy as efficiently as possible.

Such agreements between energy consulting companies and large property owners are becoming more common as states usher in electric utility competition, which will increase the energy-buying options for property owners.

Savings under the deal, to be shared between Carr, DukeSolutions and Carr's tenants, are expected to reach 20 percent of Carr's current energy costs.