Local entrepreneur David Williams purchased a 47.5% stake in development firm Greenberg Gibbons, making him an equal partner with Brian Gibbons, the firm’s chairman and CEO.
Greenberg Gibbons, which revealed the deal Friday morning, said Gibbons will continue to lead the firm. The Baltimore County-based company’s top executives maintain a 5% share of ownership.
“David and I have known each other for more than 15 years and share a passion for building big, bold things,” Brian Gibbons said in a statement. “He will bring added creativity and financial capability to help us continue to do the large-scale mixed-use projects we’re renowned for, while growing our development portfolio and investments in other asset classes such as hotels, apartments and commercial office projects.”
Williams intends to stay on as chairman and CEO at his digital marketing firm, Merkle, according to Greenberg Gibbons. Roughly three years ago, Williams sold a majority stake in that firm to Dentsu Aegis Network.
The new investment follows on the heels of another significant move by Greenberg Gibbons: In early August, the firm announced it had hired Gene Parker, a longtime Continental Realty Corp. executive, to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Greenberg Gibbons is one of the highest-profile developers in central Maryland. The firm recently focused on building mixed-use suburban projects with a mix of apartments, office and retail. A large part of the firm’s success has involved bringing the popular grocery chain Wegmans to the area.
While demand for urban living among young workers has pushed developers throughout the nation to build in cities, Greenberg Gibbons has bucked the trend. The firm has remained strictly a suburban developer with properties in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware.
Greenberg Gibbons, along with various partners, recently embarked on a $150 million expansion at its Hunt Valley Towne Centre. It is also building 437 apartments at its $200 million Foundry Row development and is continuing work on the $350 million Towson Row project anchored by Baltimore County’s first Whole Foods grocery.
The firm participated in the International Council of Shopping Centers RECon event in Las Vegas in May. The convention’s organizers bill the event as the nation’s largest gathering of retailers, brokers and developers. Greenberg Gibbons had one of the largest floor presentations of the regional developers who attended looking to spread the word about their projects.
Gibbons said at the time the convention serves as a place to lay the groundwork for future deals. He said his company’s joint venture with Seritage Growth Properties to build the next phase of development at the Hunt Valley Towne Centre serves as an example of why he feels the firm benefited from attending.
“I can’t quantify what the value (is) …. and you really don’t know how successful the show is until 60 (to) 90 days later. When you’re out in this type of atmosphere, everybody’s trying to get things done, and all the meetings are exciting, and all that,” Gibbons said at the time.