In May 1976, a young graduate student named Roger Lebbin leaves Ann Arbor, Michigan with his M.B.A. in hand, bound for New York City to work at the top retailer in the country, Bloomingdale’s. After two years in the Big Apple with his entrepreneurial spirit soaring, he returns to his hometown suburb of Washington, D.C., intent on supporting his young family while earning the financial and creative independence he desires.
Working over the garage of his Rockville, Maryland home, Roger enters the real estate market in April, incorporating Mid-Atlantic Developers, Inc. His company is founded on five core values: Integrity, Reliability, Respect for Others, Commitment to Excellence, and Recognizing that Details Matter. Single-handedly he scouts the Mid-Atlantic region for commercial real estate opportunities and, with the help of investors, eventually purchases several retail properties, including one in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker raises interest rates from 12% to 21% after a decade of high inflation, causing a crash in the commercial and residential real estate markets and forcing Mid-Atlantic to look for new investment opportunities in the local and more stable Washington, D.C. real estate market. Mid-Atlantic purchases its first residential property, an 11-acre parcel known as Windsor Manor on Muncaster Mill Road in Montgomery County, Maryland, and successfully rezones the property from one-acre to half-acre home sites, creating twenty-two lots from the original eleven. While developing these lots Roger establishes a second entity, Mid-Atlantic Builders, Inc., for the construction of his new single-family homes. Thereafter, one of the company’s first new projects is a parcel of raw land now known as Stonecrest North in Silver Spring, Maryland. A Maryland-based engineering and land planning firm (Greenhorne & O’Mara, Inc.) completes the community design, allowing Mid-Atlantic to install the infrastructure for construction of 46 single-family homes. While working with these engineers, Roger meets a young site planner, Stephen Paul, who shares Roger’s ethics, vision, and entrepreneurial spirit.
While continuing work at Stonecrest North, Mid-Atlantic also successfully rezones a mixed-use residential community named Fairland Estates, containing 33 single-family homes and 65 townhomes. The site plan preserves an extensive amount of tree buffer surrounding the community and an environmentally-sensitive brown trout stream. This project was eventually marketed and developed by Winchester Homes, Inc. As land development and home building projects grow, Mid-Atlantic hires an office manager/bookkeeper and job superintendent to help manage the day-to-day operations of the company, which has moved headquarters to an office suite in Rockville, Maryland.
The company purchases two mixed-use communities of single-family and townhomes sites in the Route 29 corridor of Montgomery County -- Deer Park and Fairland Estates. After withstanding the County’s two-year approval process, the projects are finally bonded and permitted, yet Mid-Atlantic is eager to focus on purchasing more land and expanding the business so it sells both community parcels to a national builder and reinvests the proceeds to further growth.
In April, Roger invites Stephen Paul to join the firm as Executive Vice President and together they expand both the developer and builder sides of the company. After Stephen’s arrival, Mid-Atlantic purchases seven new projects -- three commercial and four residential communities in both Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. In Prince George’s they recognize an untapped market for upscale homes, concentrating on the Route 450 corridor of Bowie, Maryland for land that will support their vision for luxury residential communities convenient to Washington, Annapolis and Baltimore.
Mid-Atlantic completes several projects and begins designing and developing its first two luxury communities in Prince George’s County, Silverbrook and Westview, both on Route 450 in Bowie, Maryland. With sales from an on-site trailer, Silverbrook’s 58 homes gain local notoriety as the first community in the County to break the $300,000 price barrier, at a sales point formerly reserved exclusively for very high-end custom homes. In 1989, the County’s Economic Development Corporation honors Silverbrook with a Pride of Prince George’s Award as Best New Home Community, the first of many awards to come.
With the nation rebounding from another economic downturn, Mid-Atlantic opens its first fully furnished model home, The Regency, at Westview. Stately stone entrance features and tree-lined cul-de-sac streets off Church Road make this community a huge hit in the Bowie market even as the country recovers from the recession. In 1993, Mid-Atlantic takes another leap forward by hiring John Lavery as its first in-house sales professional. John brings with him almost a decade of sales experience and launches the company’s unique Custom Design programs. Within a year, sales at Westview increase from 23 to 41 homes and the company subsequently offers its custom design approach at all new Mid-Atlantic communities. Customers are delighted to adjust the house location on their homesite, change exteriors, modify interior floor plans and order any custom finish they can imagine.
Westview wins Best Site Land Planning 25-125 Acres at this year’s Finest for Family Living Awards, the industry’s most prestigious and important local award event, at which national and local building experts honor new home communities and homes for excellence in value, design, use of space and environmental and energy conservation.
Mid-Atlantic opens its first new Executive Series model, The Dover, at Woodmore South in Mitchellville, Maryland. Featured in Builder Magazine, the company gains national attention for its unique customization and John’s Design Portfolio, a collection of Mid-Atlantic’s custom designs built over the years, allowing new customers to benefit from the company’s creative past. In 1996, Mid-Atlantic sees the birth of its most popular design to date, the Somerset, at Glenn Estates in Lanham, Maryland. Still one of Mid-Atlantic’s best selling designs, the Somerset’s innovative floor plan and unique staircase location have brought style and comfort to hundreds of homeowners and won the company over a dozen industry awards for its custom trendsetting layout, including the first at 1996‘s Finest for Family Living Awards as Best Designed Single Family Detached home in its class.
As the company continues to grow, Roger envisions the next step in the company’s future. Emery “Bud” Worthington comes on board as Vice President and Director of Land Development in charge of converting all raw land to finished homesites ready for home building. Bud’s first project is Lakeview off Route 450 in Bowie, Maryland, where Mid-Atlantic will build on two-thirds of 148 homesites. Mid-Atlantic also hires Robert Hurst later this year as Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, who brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge in banking and finance necessary for the company’s expansion goals and to ensure it remains on the same sound financial foundation on which it was built two decades earlier.
In 1999, the Maryland-National Capital Building Industry Association (MNCBIA) honors Mid-Atlantic with its first local Builder of the Year award. Based on votes from the industry’s subcontractors and suppliers, this tribute recognizes overall excellence in areas of scheduling, supervision, quality control and ethics. It is the highest honor a local builder can earn and a testament to the values Roger has held true for his company from the start. The next year he is elected MNCBIA’s President, following a long and active role in support of the Association, and Mid-Atlantic is named 2000 Environmental Builder of the Year. That same year, one of Mid-Atlantic’s top salespeople, Ray Halleran, is promoted to Land Acquisitions Manager, focusing on the purchase of new lots on which to build or resell to other builders or developers. In 2001, Robert Miller joins Mid-Atlantic’s team as Estimating Manager, working with the company’s trade partners towards purchasing and product development of all materials and finishes for the company’s homes. Both subsequently become Vice Presidents and seasoned members of the Management Team.
In 2002, Mid-Atlantic opens Woodmore North, which becomes the company’s flagship community for nearly a decade. Among the first communities in the Washington metropolitan region to feature a breathtaking active waterfall at its entrance, Woodmore North offers a new series of homes, including our flagship model and grandest design, the Venezia, at 5,100 square feet and with a distinctive turret exterior. A premier community in Prince George’s County, Woodmore North wins several industry design awards and becomes the most media-featured luxury home community in Prince George’s County. In 2004, Mid-Atlantic wins its first National Association of Home Builders Nationals award for its website and unique “Design Your Home Online” where customers can custom design their own home from thousands of features and floor plans.
After 25 years in the home building business, Mid-Atlantic is nationally recognized by the National Association of Home Builders and the Editor of Builder Magazine as 2006 America’s Best Builder. The company receives this prestigious award upon evaluation by a panel of national industry experts on the company’s performance and excellence in finance, operations management, product design, construction quality, customer care support, marketing and community service, all of which embody the core values practiced daily by Mid-Atlantic’s management and staff. In December, MNCBIA honors Roger with the Milton E. Kettler Award, recognizing his company’s many achievements and his personal service and contributions to the Association and many charities of the greater metropolitan Washington, D.C. area.
At the combined MNCBIA and Northern Virginia BIA annual PROS awards recognizing and honoring those individuals who build new homes, Mid-Atlantic employees win awards for Best Customer Service, Best Field Technician, Best Production Manager and Best Superintendent, sustaining other similar recognition the previous five years and echoed each year to come.
Mid-Atlantic is honored as MNCBIA’s Builder of the Year for the eighth time in a decade. Additionally, the company receives a Monument Design Award from the Washington Metropolitan Sales & Marketing Council for excellence in architectural design for its Venezia, Amherst, Verona and Siena model homes. In December at the annual President’s Luncheon, the company is awarded a Community Builder tribute from MNCBIA’s Home Builders Care Foundation for being homebuilder captain of the Foundation’s Hearts and Homes for Youth, a local charitable organization. While 2008 is remembered as a difficult year in financial history, it goes down in Mid-Atlantic’s books as memorable for reasons that go beyond ‘return on investment’.
The company breaks ground on its largest project to date, a 577 single-family, new home community named The Villages of Savannah in Brandywine, Maryland, and in 2010 Mid-Atlantic unveils its most current home designs there -- first at the community grand opening with its newly updated Somerset model, and later that year with the introduction of the new Torino model. In 2010 Roger and Stephen also celebrate 25 years of their working partnership, and in autumn learn that the associate and trade partner members of MNCBIA have elected Mid-Atlantic as the 2010 Community Developer of the Year, the first time the company has been bestowed such honor.
Mid-Atlantic is proud to remain a leader in the creation of beautiful communities and quality built homes in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. Our custom designs continue to provide unmatched personalized luxury and style, while our core values reflect our high standards as we create the neighborhoods and homes of our customers’ dreams.