Louis Burman, 85, a developer of commercial real estate properties in the Washington area for many years, died Tuesday at his home in Washington of Parkinson's disease.

Mr. Burman was born in Washington and grew up here. About 1915, he moved to Hollywood, Calif., and began a career as a movie distributor and exhibitor.

His first job was peddling two early Warner Bros. films, "School Days" and "Why Girls Leave Home." In the 1920s, he helped Columbia found its distribution system and set up an office in Washington which covered the area from Delaware to Virginia. Mr. Burman also had his own independent distributorship.

He later moved to Philadelphia and established a chain of 14 movie theaters in Pennsylvania and Maryland. In 1936, that business became a casualty of the Great Depression.

Two years later, Mr. Burman moved back to Washington and established the Commercial Real Estate Development Co. Among its projects was the Minnesota shopping center in Northeast Washington and the Wisconsin Office Building in Northwest Washington.

Among the properties he bought for development was the old Smallwood elementary school. Mr. Burman's formal schooling, which ended after the fifth grade, had been at Smallwood.

The development company later was renamed Burman Properities Inc. and Mr. Burman remained as its president until his retirement in 1975. The business is still in his family.

Survivors include his wife, Eva, a son, Paul, two brothers, Henry and Frank, and four grandchildren, all of Washington.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Parkinson Association, 116 John St., New York City, 10038.