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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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GW attorney to head D.C. Building Industry Association

GW’s senior attorney, Charles Barber, will try to influence D.C. development as the new president of the D.C. Building Industry Association.

Barber, a D.C. native, was named president of the advocacy organization last month and succeeds former president Jamie Williams. The association is made up of more than 400 volunteer businesses and professionals – including attorneys, brokers, builders and architects – who work with the government on construction and community service projects in the District.

“It’s an honor and isn’t something I campaigned for,” Barber said. “I guess they’ve gone through everyone else.”

Barber has been a part of DCBIA for 11 years and has been at GW for 10 years. Barber was formerly the vice president of the organization, and GW is a member of the group.

DCBIA has renovated 13 recreational parks, with each project costing between $700,000 and $1 million, said Gail Edwards, executive vice president of the organization. As president, Barber will speak for the organization, chair its board of directors, work with staff and “build a consensus with everyone involved,” she said.

“We are thrilled to death to have him. Charles is very concerned with social issues … he is an extraordinary person and will make an extraordinary leader,” Edwards said. “D.C. has the hottest real estate development in the country, and I know he will handle his work responsibly, constructively and passionately.”

As real estate prices in the city continue to increase and the debate surrounding the D.C. baseball stadium for the Washington Nationals escalates, Barber is leading the group at an important time in D.C.’s development history. Barber said that during his presidency of the organization he would like to influence the state of housing and public schools in the District. He is also supportive of the baseball stadium construction plans in Southeast D.C. along the Anacostia River.

“Our most important issues are affordable housing, public school modernization, work force development and vocational training,” he said. “D.C. needs to re-establish vocational high schools.”

Barber has experience in real estate development through his position at GW. As senior attorney, Barber is involved in zoning and land use issues at the University, such as the development of Square 54, the lot across from the Foggy Bottom Metro, and new student housing.

He added that he is not concerned about being both senior attorney and president of the DCBIA.

“There won’t be a conflict of interest (between being president and senior attorney) because the organization is consistent with GW. GW is a member of DCBIA,” Barber said.

Dennis Blumer, GW’s vice president and general counsel, said he is supportive of Barber and his role in the DCBIA.

“I’m pleased that he’s been so honored. He’s a very able representative,” he said.

Among Barber’s goals are to get involved with legislation dealing with development “early in the process,” he said. Barber added that knowledge of law is becoming increasingly important, and being involved in real estate development requires a certain degree of legal know-how.

“I’d like to keep the organization on track, though it’s already in very solid shape. We’d like to have a role in the creation of legislation that impacts the D.C. community,” he said.

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