Bozzuto Group saw record growth last year despite pandemic
By: Melody Simmons, Reporter
The complimentary waffle station opened early on Tuesday at the Bozzuto Group’s headquarters in Greenbelt. It was the first day back at the office for the nearly 350 workers after the pandemic sent many to home-based workstations in March 2020.
A treat was in order, said Toby Bozzuto, CEO.
“It’s going to take some getting used to,” Bozzuto said, of the 34-year-old company’s new flexible work plan. “Many people have been virtual and it will be an adjustment, but what we’ve seen is how we’re reminded of the benefits of being around each other and all of the camaraderie and culture at the office. Things we as a world had to lose for a while.”
While Bozzuto Group may be ramping up its return-to-office plans, the company’s balance sheet and workforce growth haven’t slowed down. The developer has been able to weather the pandemic, international supply chain interruptions and wildly escalating construction costs that have caused overruns on nearly all developments.
“The story is we’re working our butts off,” he said. “The economic feasibility of moving some projects along is very challenging. Developers are taking more risk.”
Bozzuto, 47, said the company hired 1,000 employees in 2021 alone, and over the past 24 months, the multi-faceted, private development, construction and management firm posted record earnings and launched new development projects in several states.
“We have more than $1.5 billion in active multi-family projects from Northern Virginia to Boston. That’s a record,” he said, during a wide-ranging interview with the Baltimore Business Journal this week. “And we’re looking at some things in Florida.”
Bozzuto ticked off a series of benchmarks that were hit over the past 24 months, including more than 86,000 apartments being overseen by its management division, an expansion of the Bozzuto brand into Washington State and California and the kickoff of three projects in Greater Boston. Bozzuto’s Chevy Chase Lake development and 65-unit Ritz-Carlton Residences condo project is in full swing in Montgomery County.
In Baltimore, the 285-unit Liberty Harbor East is fully leased, he added. Another project is in the works in East Baltimore by Bozzuto Construction, which is the general contractor for a second affordable multi-family project at the former Somerset Homes site off Central Avenue.
He lauded the dozens of Bozzuto construction, management and other workers who have pushed through during the pandemic and worked at project locations each day despite Covid worries.
“The company is doing really well as a result of our team working so incredibly hard during the pandemic,” he said. “It has not been easy particularly for the on-site people, and they have been at work every day since March 20, 2020. Every single day. I believe our hard work is paying off but success is also finite and I’m trying not to focus on what we’ve done, but to create a legacy.”
He then waxed a little philosophical.
“This pandemic has taught me how terrible it is to be separated from those you work with and cherish and how amazing it is to be together and have a company where you have a culture where you can’t wait to get to work. We’ve all recognized how finite life is, and how precious.”