Don Peebles is already one of the most successful African American CEOs in the country, but his recent building spree has put him one step closer to becoming a billionaire.
Forbes now estimates that his net worth is more than $700 million – and with several nine-figure developments underway, his fortune could very well keep going up. Peebles, 54, says he’s built up his six million square foot portfolio by picking deals that transform and open up opportunities. He’s known for weaving in $10 million and up apartments alongside redevelopment projects in some of the most impoverished areas in cities across the Eastern seaboard.
“The projects we tend to be attracted to are those that have greater impact, greater symbolism,” Peebles said. “Our number one focus is that our buildings are vehicles or symbols of opportunity. Our goal is to develop projects that transform communities.”
The son of a car mechanic, Peebles grew up in D.C.’s Petworth neighborhood until age 5, which is now a rapidly gentrifying area. After his parents divorced, he moved briefly with his mom to Detroit before they came back to D.C. for good. It was then that he began volunteering for political campaigns and working as a page on Capitol Hill during high school. Peebles said long-serving D.C. mayor Marion Barry mentored him, and at the age of 24, Barry appointed him as the city’s chairman of the real estate tax appeals board.
In 1987, the Rutgers University drop-out began working on his first project in the down-and-out D.C. neighborhood of Anacostia, a development he said was necessary to revive “once a thriving commercial quarter destroyed by the 1968 riots.”
Source: Forbes | Chloe Sorvino