2012 Legal Elite Profile: REAL ESTATE/LAND USE
- November 29, 2012
Other legal specialties: Transactional real estate; financing, workouts, acquisitions/dispositions, leasing, development
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.
Education: Amherst College, bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude); University of Chicago Law School, law degree
Spouse: Richard K.A. Becker
Children: Alexander Becker, 20
Hobbies: Oil painting, art history, dance, biking, hiking, Renaissance literature and history
First job as a lawyer: Associate, Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge
Fan of: Folger Shakespeare Library
Favorite vacation spot: Greve, Italy
Recently read book: “Wolf Kahn’s America” by Wolf Kahn
Career mentors: “No one person, but many talented lawyers. Most often called to mind, the wisdom of: M. Langhorne Keith of Hogan & Hartson (later Judge Keith of the Fairfax Circuit Court), and my senior partner at Stohlman, Beuchert, Egan & Smith, George Beuchert.”
Has the commercial real estate market begun to revive?
“In housing, yes, particularly in Northern Virginia where consumer confidence, job growth and low interest rates are driving the market. In other types of commercial real estate, less so. The current market creates challenges and opportunities. I am co-chair of McGuireWoods’ Distressed Commercial Real Estate Practice Group, and we are very busy with workouts, enforcement actions, restructurings, bankruptcies and investments in a wide variety of commercial real estate assets. Our integrated teams of transactional lawyers and litigators are assisting our clients in cleaning up the mistakes of the past and repositioning and investing in properties that will yield substantial returns when this market recovers.”
We have seen a recent spurt in hotel projects in Virginia. Is this the result of pent-up demand following the recession?
“For 2011 and 2012 (and forecast for 2013) domestic hotel supply is at a historic low. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect demand may drive the market. In Virginia, Smith Travel Research reports a third-quarter room demand change of 2.5 percent versus a 3 percent demand change nationally. The four hotels under planning or construction in Stafford County seem a result of defense and government growth near Quantico. The two new hotels near Freedom Center in Richmond appear to be part of the complex’s larger mission.”