Giuseppi Cecchi is a development executive whose career here had its foundations in Foggy Bottom, most notably the Watergate complex that is now a part of American political history.
He arrived in America nearly 20 years ago.
"I knew a little bit of English and I was single then, so the Societa Generale Immobilaire chose me as a young engineer to go to New York City to see about getting involved in building some high-rise apartments," said Cecchi the other day - in diction that still retains a continental flavor.
The New York apartments "didn't work out" but then SGI began eyeing the old Washington Gas Light Co. site in Foggy Bottom as a land investment.
Since then, the now 74-year-old native of Milan has spent most of his time in the U.S. but he's no longer with SGI. Now he heads International Developers, Inc., a subsidiary of Incores, a Liberian holding company and investment firm that is based in Switzerland and includes investors from Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
And, although IGI now has several major projects under way in this area (including the strong-selling Rotonda condonium complex in Tysons Corner), Cecchi will probably be remembered here largely for his executive years with the Watergate complex. It was developed by an SGI subsidiary as a cooperate apartment, office and hotel complex.
"Engineering is a tradition in our family and I studied at Polytechnic of Milan," said Cecchi, who says he is a "frustrated architect" who could have designed buildings in Italy after becoming a professional engineer with a doctorate 1955. But that was not to be because he came to Washington 17 years ago and first got involved with construction of the 195-unit Potomac Piaza Terrace co-operative apartment building, near Watergate.
"It was successful so SGI decided to take a development role on the Watergate site." Although the latter buildings, for the most part, were designed by the late architect Luigi Moretti of Rome, Cecchi takes personal pride in the curvilinear balconies and fountains. He went on from there to represent SGI in the creation of the large Watergate of Landmark condominium complex south of Alexandria.
Nearly two years ago Cecchi left SGI to form IDI, which immediately bought a distressed high-rise condominium called the Foggy Bottom, across the street from Watergate. Cecchi was able to lower prices, make some changes and set up a new marketing program. The 50 remaining units were sold in nine months.
Since then IGI and Cecchi have become involved in the Rotonda, the purchase and planned conversion to condominium ownership of the 1,800-unit Parkfairfax complex on I-95, a major development role in the small new town of Burke Center in Fairfax County and recently a new office building in Rosslyn.
Married since 1968 and now the father of four children, Cecchi lives with his family on Arizona Terrace NW.