Ted Lerner is a development icon and the owner of the Washington Nationals, a child of immigrants who built his way up from nothing to become the patriarch of a local real estate empire and a family he puts above all else.
Despite that prominence, Lerner rarely speaks publicly. His philosophy: “You can’t get in trouble if you never say anything.” But he put that aside Thursday to address the 750 people who assembled at the National Building Museum for the Urban Land Institute Washington’s lifetime achievement award gala.
“I never could have dreamed of owning a baseball team, ” said Lerner, now 90 years old. “And I never could have imagined over my life that I would build over 20 million square feet of commercial and residential space, and very few people would know my name. I guess I have a different approach to real estate development than Donald Trump. And I’m fine with that.”