Jeffrey J. Sherman, 53, a prominent Washington area real estate development executive, died Oct. 31 of a heart attack at his home in McLean.

Most of his career was dedicated to commercial real estate development, including office, retail and multifamily residential projects. Mr. Sherman, described as an imaginative and persuasive man, also was engaged in civic activities in the community.

Since April, he had been executive vice president of Charles E. Smith Commercial Realty, a division of Vornado Realty Trust. Before that for seven years, he was managing director of development for the mid-Atlantic region of Trammell Crow Co.

At Trammell Crow, he led the team responsible for converting Columbia Hospital for Women into the Columbia Residences, a luxury condominium project under construction. He also directed the renovation of the historic Calvary Baptist Church, at Eighth and H streets NW, which this year installed its restored 150-foot steeple on the rebuilt clock tower and belfry. That project also included building the 140,000-square-foot office and retail Portrait Building.

When confronted with issues on projects, Mr. Sherman "never gave up," said Marie Karl, senior vice president for Trammell Crow. "If a deal was challenging, he would find a way to see through the challenge to develop the best project that could be developed. He wasn't intimidated by a challenge."

During the redevelopment process for Columbia Hospital, he made nine trips to the Historic Preservation Review Board to get approval for the property, which was designated historic after its purchase, Karl said. He also worked with the Advisory Neighborhood Commission and other Foggy Bottom residents to make sure the condominiums complemented the neighborhood.

"He was a great problem solver and would not walk away from an issue but would continue to see it through for the best resolution for all parties," added Karl.

During his career in the Washington area, Mr. Sherman also developed corporate headquarters office buildings for Coopers & Lybrand, KPMG, ULLICO Inc., the Aerospace Corp. and Turner Construction. As the senior vice president and chief operating officer for RF&P Corp. from 1992 to 1996, Mr. Sherman initiated the development of Potomac Yard, building the retail center on the former rail yard in Alexandria.

While serving as chief executive of Dominion Realty Inc. from 1996 to 1998, he developed an office building at 8270 Greensboro Dr. in Tysons Corner, where Wachovia Corp. has headquarters.

Mr. Sherman was born in Pittsburgh and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1974 and from the Harvard Business School in 1979, where he was also a member of its research faculty. He spent several years in various executive positions with Westinghouse Corp.

Mr. Sherman was president of the board of the Langley School and had led the school in several significant initiatives, said Doris Cottam, head of the McLean school. Most recently, he guided the board in planning the school's new Fine Arts Center.

Mr. Sherman also was a director of the Children's Hospital Foundation and a member of the Federal City Council and the Economic Club of Washington.

Survivors include his wife, Jennifer Garlid Sherman, and two daughters, Emily Sherman and Eliza Sherman, all of McLean; his mother, Marilyn B. Sherman of Pinehurst, N.C.; two brothers; and two sisters.

Jeffrey J. Sherman, 53, worked for Charles E. Smith Commercial Realty.