After college at the University of Maryland, Steve Lebling’s first employment was as a management trainee with Suburban Trust Company. At that time, Suburban Trust Company was the dominant bank of Montgomery County and Prince George’s County, Maryland with the highest percentage of deposits and business loans. Steve rose to be the head of the commercial lending department for Montgomery County which dealt with all non-real estate lending secured and unsecured for businesses. After several years within that department, his last promotion at the Bank was to run the commercial construction department for the entire system. Subsequent to his departure, through many acquisitions, Suburban Trust Company ultimately became part of Bank of America.
Once hired away from Suburban Trust Company by one of his larger customers, Aldre, Inc., Steve initially went with them to manage an approximately $20,000,000 mortgage portfolio during those high and volatile interest rate times. He hedged the portfolio with GNMA securities to try and level out the swings in value with an eye toward ultimate disposition of those assets. As part of that he securitized all of the mortgages and ultimately, over time, disposed of all of the assets at very close to par. In addition to those efforts, Steve started their first commercial rental property endeavors and became Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
Some of the projects he was involved in were Muddy Branch Square (85,000 square foot shopping center), Middlebrook Square (30,000 square foot shopping center with 7 pad sites), Mirror Ridge Shopping Center (110,000 square foot shopping center), Crabbs Branch Way Warehouses (100,000 square feet of warehouse condominiums), Tech Road Warehouses (approximately 80,000 square feet of warehouse condominiums), Franklin Office Park Townhouse Condominiums (45,000 square feet), Flower Hill Apartments (240 units), Cub Run Apartments (210 units) and CDCI Warehouse (80,000 square feet). In addition to those efforts the company also sold an average of 300 residential units per year and did significant land acquisition and development activities. Some of the projects were The Milestone Property (800 acres mixed-use including 1,000,000 square feet of retail, several million square feet of office space and approximately 1,000 residential units of various types), Washingtonian Woods (approximately 550 units), Bonifant Woods (70 units), Hunters Woods (approximately 500 units) and Mills Farm (approximately 500 units).
His responsibilities included being part of the team that annexed, re-zoned, planned and approved all of the activities of the company. He ultimately resigned due to lack of executive control of the company’s liquid resources in 1989.
He formed his first company (a pre-cursor to Lebling Development, LLC) in 1990 and spent the majority of his time pursuing residential land development opportunities. His activities took various forms but included properties such as Melwood Park (land development of 350 residential lots), Caltor Manor (land development of approximately 30 lots), Saddlebrook East (land development of approximately 150 lots) and Quail Overlook (approximately 20 lots). During that time he performed due diligence for a private equity firm on a public company acquisition and also consulted for a contract purchaser of the King Farm.
Although that purchaser did not move forward, the planning efforts that he was involved with bear an extremely close resemblance to the product on the ground today. He also was an unsuccessful bidder on the Thomas Farm (now Fallsgrove) and was offered the opportunity to manage and participate in Lakelands, which he declined.
Beginning in 1999 with the formation of Lebling Development, LLC, the focus of the company became more balanced between residential land development for builders and commercial investment property. From 1999 to the present, Lebling Development has been the initial entity sellers have contact with until new companies are formed as assets are acquired. Currently there are 11 affiliated companies. Lebling Development acts as a property manager and overhead center for all of the company’s activities.
Since its formation, some of the projects it has been involved in are Amberlea Farm (78 residential units), Crown Pointe (68 residential units), Goshen Oaks Center (approximately 70,000 square foot retail center), Charlotte Hall Square (approximately 100,000 square foot shopping center with 5 pad sites), and Crown Farm (2,250 residential units and 300,000 square feet of retail space). During that same time Lebling Development, LLC has been actively acquiring existing investment property and has a portfolio that includes multi-tenant industrial, mixed-use retail/office, and more traditional retail. It continues to focus on commercial rental property and residential land development for its national builder accounts.