Don Peebles is the founder and CEO of Peebles Corporation, a real estate firm that specializes in residential, hospitality, retail and mixed-use commercial properties with offices in New York, Miami, and Washington D.C.
Growing up, Peebles anticipated going to medical school but changed his mind when he graduated from Rutgers and left to work in real estate. Peebles was first exposed to real estate when he was only eight years old. His mother went into real estate and built a brokerage after his parents divorced in 1986.
Peebles started his career in real estate as an agent in 1979. “During that time, the industry faced a highly inflationary environment – eerily similar to where we are today,” he tells Daily Beat.
“Interest rates were raised to try to control inflation and they ran all the way up to about 15%, which meant real interest rates were 18 to 20%. People wanted to buy, but could not qualify for a mortgage, so I got into appraising when I was 21,” he added.
Peebles started his company in 1983 and has since grown to become one of the most important players in the industry. The company has active and completed developments totalling more than 10 million square feet and $8 billion in the gateway cities of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Charlotte, Miami, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, the firm notes on its website. What is more, Forbes estimates his personal fortune to be $700 million.
Feebles influence is not only in real estate but in politics as well. He spent his last two years in High School as a Congressional Page on Capitol Hill. according to avenuemagazine, Peebles interned for congressmen Charles Rangel, Ron Dellums, and John Conyers. He also served as chairman of the board of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and on President Barack Obama’s National Finance Committee.
“At that time, there was a school for us on the top floor of the Library of Congress. Our classes were from 6:00 AM to 10:30 AM, and then we walked across the street to the Capitol and we’d work from 11:00 AM until Congress went out of session,” he notes.
According to him, the experience he gained in his formative years at Congress helped him to get a good crash on course in politics and time management.
“We were able to grow the business from there and three years later in 1986, I found a development opportunity and built my first office building. The government pre-leased the property and was our sole office tenant, which made it easier to finance,” he explained.
According to avenuemagazine, there have been calls for Feebles to run for mayor of New York City. However, he has so far declined such invitations as he prefers to focus on business solutions to political and social challenges, rather than running for office.