The name of Charles Camalier was omitted last week in a story about the Donohoe Companies. Camalier is one of the private investors who work with the Donohoe firm in the development of new buildings in this area.
The Donohoe Companies, whose ancestor firm was begun here nearly a century ago, are flexing their development muscles -- and showing a strength of more than $150 million in projects in this area.
The construction-oriented corporation -- Donohoe Companies is the umbrella name for a group of related businesses -- is participating in projects worth $1 million to $65 million, from Tysons Corner to Georgetown to Bethesda. Rated 130th in annual volume among construction firms across the country, Donohoe ranks second only to the George Hyman Construction Co. in major intown projects under way or planned in the District.
The corporation has more than 325 employes and a main office at the Holiday Inn it helped develop at 2101 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Donohoe considers the District its center of interest.
"If there is a person in Washington who is not convinced of the advantages from real estate investments over investments of almost any other character, it would not be difficult to convince him of the truth of it."
Who said that? Not Richard J. Donohoe, 62, the firm's president, or his brother, James, or his cousins, Clarence or Francis, who are also top officers and fellow third-generation Donohoes in the business.
The statement was made by John F. Donohoe, their grandfather, in 1908 in the old Washington Times. Both Dick Donohoe says be believes it still to be true.
"This is an area of tremendous resilience," he said. "It is likely to feel only a ripple of any national recession."
The firm "couldn't be happier" with the major projects it has in the city, Donohoe said.
If that sounds like an executive with plans for a major public stock issue, Donohoe says it isn't.
"Only 10 to 15 percent of our companies' stock is held outside the family," he said. "We'd rather build up the organization from within. But we do have some great investors and partners in almost every project we undertake.
"There's Flo and Mandy Ourisman and Dr. James Harris (a chemist). There's Gerard LaVay, in two residential projects. Leland Philips and his group are our partners in the big Federal Center Plaza project in Southwest and we're with Western Development in Georgetown Park."
The biggest Donohoe undertaking is Federal Center Plaza at 500 C St. SW. It covers two city blocks of city redevelopment land that was acquired in a project competition. The 99-year lease is for $460,000 annually and the eventual project -- with 700,000 square feet of office space in several buildings and a 525-room Holiday Inn -- is expected to generate more than $1 million dollars annually in tax revenues to the city.
The project is expected to be completed later in 1980. The hotel should do well, but there might be some question about leasing 300,000 square feet of office space in Southwest, even though the location is near a subway stop and four government agencies.
William J. Walsh, director of leasing for Donohoe, has started work on preleasing. He recognizes that millions of square feet of new office space are scheduled to come onto the downtown market in the next two years. So Walsh is already seeking major tenants now, including corporations and law firms.
"Our rates are competitive at $11.75 to $13.25 a square foot," he said. "If this building was at 17th and K, it would lease readily at $17 a-foot. I think we'll make it. Even Uncle Sam might come into the market for space next year."
Donohoe and Western Development also are constructing Georgetown Park, a combination of imaginative commercial space and residences between K and M streets, west of Wisconsin Ave. It calls for mixed-use development on both sides of the C&O Canal. The shopping plaza will accomodate large and small shops; the first of the 155 luxury town houses planned there were sold out before construction began.
The two projects are diverse -- and typical of Donohoe. The firm is also building a 10-unit residential project with a few stores at 33rd and M streets in Georgetown, big office buildings in the Democracy Boulevard complex in Bethesda and at Tysons Corner and a major residential project in Northeast on a former Trinity College site. Also under way is a group of town houses on the Glover tract south of American University. The company plans to build a large condominium apartment building on the tract.
The projects, Dick Donohoe said, reflect the company's faith in the economy of Washington.
"As a percentage of our nation, Washington is relatively small in terms of population, only 1 1/2 percent," he said. "London is 13 percent of England and the same goes for Rome in Italy and Paris in France. Ours is the recognized world capital.
"I think population continues to expand here, no matter what some statistics say. This city may really be only in its infancy."
Donohoe Construction Co. Inc. is headed by Clarence F. Jr.; Francis X. is executive vice president and James A. Jr., is secretary and director. All are third generation Donohoes.
There are also some fourth generation Donohoes on the team. They include James A. III, vice president of sales; Robert, who's in property management; Steven, a construction project manager; Brian, a job superintendent, and Patricia, who handles interior design. "She's upgrading our buildings from the inside," Dick said.
Subsidiaries include the realty firm of John F. Donohoe & Sons Inc., the original Donohoe firm; Complete Buildings Services Inc.; Taylor Tool Rental Co. Inc., and Beaver Mill & Supply Co. Inc.
The construction company also has plans for Canal Mews, a 103-unit midrise condominium near Key Bridge in Georgetown, and 160 condominium town houses in a project called Convent Gardens, on land bought from Georgetown Visitation School at 38th Street and Reservoir Road NW. And there's also a newly acquired office building (in a swap with Sperry Rand) and site north of the Donohoe headquarters.
The company is also building in the new Hechinger Mall in Northeast. Donohoe and Jones Construction Co. are building a project for the elderly at 14th and Girard streets NW. There's also a plan for a large hotel or office building on a site in south Arlington.
Last year -- its 94th -- Donohoe reported net income of more than $2.3 million. By the time the firm hits 100, its leaders expect to double their current ownership in properties.