Kyle DeThomas is co-chair of the Diverse Lawyers Group and firm lead to Project Destined. (Courtesy photo)
Kyle DeThomas is co-chair of the Diverse Lawyers Group and firm lead to Project Destined. (Courtesy photo)

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The real estate sector is one of the leading industries in Washington, D.C.’s private economy. From affordable housing production, driven by government investment, to private real estate development, the District is constantly evolving to accommodate the growth and needs of existing residents. 

As real estate continues to boom, minority professionals are hustling and leading in this competitive space.

Kyle DeThomas 

Real estate-centric law firm, Ballard Spahr, is a widely recognized name in the local real estate market. At the helm of this community-oriented practice is co-chair of the Diverse Lawyers Group and Associate Kyle DeThomas. From real estate development matters to unique practice areas, like helping clients navigate the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), DeThomas leads a team of lawyers to handle the needs of real estate professionals from planning to ribbon cutting. Active in the community, DeThomas is also the firm lead for Project Destined. Project Destined works with diverse students, to help them unlock career opportunities through training, mentoring and unparalleled networking opportunities. A veteran, DeThomas earned his Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School (‘13) and vigorously engages the community via his pro bono efforts.

Jimmie Drummond 

Drummond Projects is a full-service multidisciplinary architecture firm, based in Washington, D.C. If you’ve visited Bronze restaurant on H Street Northeast, or HQ-DC in Penn Quarter, you’ve probably experienced Drummond’s immersive stylings. His Afrofuturisim rounded arches and James Turrell-esque lighting are Drummond Project’s signature look. From landscape architecture to interior design and project execution, Drummond’s work is unparalleled. This rising talent is unique, both in the rarity of African-American architects (2% nationally) and his immense talent at such a young age. Many are looking forward to following his prodigious trajectory.

Felipe Ernst 

Ernst Equities is a mixed-use transit-oriented development firm. Founded in 2015, Felipe Ernst has led his firm from a home-equity line of credit loan against his parent’s home to over 400 units, in fewer than 10 years. This extraordinary talent also doubles as a professor at Georgetown University, teaching Muti-Family Value Add courses in the School of Continuing Studies. Ernst is paving the way for young Latinx and African American development professionals in the District. If you’re interested in the multi-family space, be sure to secure an invitation for the next Ernst Equities Happy Hour.

According to The Real Deal real estate news, only 1% of private development firms are Black or Latinx-owned. Moreover, fewer than 2% of attorneys and architects are African American men. It is critically important to highlight these individuals and shed light on trailblazers throughout the industry. 

To learn more about movement in the real estate industry in Washington, D.C., visit @balmoreproperties on Instagram.

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