A descendant of one of the Washington area’s most successful real estate magnates is leaving the company that bears his family’s name.

B.Francis Saul III, who is descended from a man who began buying and selling local real estate in 1892, has resigned as president of Saul Centers, the Bethesda-based firm that owns dozens of local shopping centers, according to a company regulatory filing Tuesday.

In a brief interview, Saul, 50, said he would start his own real estate company after 23 years with Saul Centers. “I have been thinking about this over the years,” he said. “I am going to acquire and develop commercial properties.”

The new company will be based in Bethesda, and Saul said he is getting ready to launch very soon.

“This is the right time to do it,” he said. “The [Saul] companies are in great shape.”

The filing says Saul’s resignation “was not in connection with any disagreement with the Company about any matter.” He has agreed to serve as an independent consultant to the company for up to two years, according to the filing.

“Frank Saul has done an outstanding job of building value for shareholders at Saul Centers,” said longtime business associate Michael Farr, of Farr, Miller & Washington, a D.C-based investment firm. “Any new endeavor will have great prospects.”

Saul’s father, B. Francis Saul II, is chairman and chief executive of Saul Centers. Thomas H. McCormick, 61, who had been senior vice president and general counsel since 2005, was named president and chief operating officer.

Saul Centers owns 51 shopping centers nationally, but the vast majority are in the Washington area, including Seven Corners shopping center in Falls Church, Van Ness Square in the District and Olney Shopping Center. It also owns seven mixed-use properties and two development sites.

The family has founded or managed a number of other real estate-related ventures. Another spawn of the original Saul company, B.F. Saul, is a privately held owner, developer and builder of commercial real estate also based in Bethesda.

Other companies created by members of the family include Chevy Chase Trust, of which B. Francis Saul II is chairman, and B.F. Saul Insurance.

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