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The Gazette: Bozzuto is Taking ‘The Next Step'

January 16, 2009

Developer gained experience before joining family firm

Stepping directly into the family business could have been easy for Thomas S. "Toby" Bozzuto Jr., but the new president of Bozzuto Development Co. wanted to have more than just the family name behind him. He wanted experience.

Bozzuto, 34, has worked at Bozzuto Development, the apartment development operation of The Bozzuto Group, since 2001. He was named president of Bozzuto Development last week.

"It's time for him to take the next step," said Rick Mostyn, COO and co-founder of The Bozzuto Group, adding that Bozzuto gives the company new energy.

The Bozzuto Group, a prominent name in Maryland housing for the last 20 years, has worked on more than 30,000 homes and apartments and has close to 950 employees. Revenues at The Bozzuto Group approach $87.4 million annually, according to spokeswoman Lauren McDonald.

Son of the Greenbelt company's co-founder and CEO, Thomas S. Bozzuto, the younger Bozzuto always knew he would face scrutiny if he worked for the company.

"Being in the family business is an incredible experience, but I wanted to do it right. I needed to bring a lot to the table," Bozzuto said. "When I decided I wanted to go into real estate, I decided I wouldn't work [at The Bozzuto Group] until I worked elsewhere for a few years and went to grad school."

Oddly enough, real estate was not Bozzuto's initial choice of careers. He started out pursuing the music business, doing marketing work for Sony Music out of his dorm while studying at Colgate University.

"I thought that music and business would be a good combination, but I didn't like the business aspect. I tried real estate and ended up loving it," he said.

Bozzuto started his real estate career as a financial analyst with J.P. Morgan Chase of New York and Columbia National Real Estate Finance of Washington, D.C. He later graduated from New York University in 2001, receiving his master's in real estate development and investment before joining The Bozzuto Group.

Mostyn said Bozzuto was instrumental in The Arbors at Arundel Preserve, the 496-unit development near Anne Arundel Mills, and The Fitzgerald at UB Midtown projects, the $75 million mixed-use development near the University of Baltimore.

Bozzuto is especially proud of his involvement in The Fitzgerald project, saying it was an incredibly complex deal and the company finally broke ground just a few months ago, right in the middle of the credit crunch.

The Fitzgerald is a joint venture between The Bozzuto Group, Gould Property Co., the teachers' retirement system and former Baltimore Ravens star Michael McCrary. The 4.6-acre project is to include 280 luxury apartments, 14,000 square feet of street-level retail and a 1,245-space parking garage. The Fitzgerald is scheduled for completion by 2010.

Bozzuto said the project's modern design and boutique-like interior reflect the direction in which he wants to take the company. He said he wants Bozzuto Development Group involved in more urban in-fill projects and more projects that appeal to Generation Y.

"We want the most innovative style," he said. "The market is very challenging right now. It gives me a great platform to begin."

Having visited many of his father's construction sites in his youth and even working on one when he was 16, Bozzuto said he always looks forward to working with, and learning from, his father.

"I feel incredibly fortunate because the people I work with are extraordinary," he said. "It's terrific."

Bozzuto, a Baltimore resident, said he spends much of his free time with his three children and Robin, his wife of five years. He also reads and collects books — his latest is a biography on Warren Buffet — and is learning to cook Italian food.