Case Studies

Carl M. Freeman Companies

Building Classic American Communities

Carl M. Freeman Companies (CMF) has been shaping the American landscape since the company was founded in 1947. Over the years CMF has helped to construct and develop single-family homes, apartment buildings and retail spaces that not only anchor the community, but also build upon it. CMF has pioneered the development of some of America’s earliest resort communities and shopping centers, and the team continues to succeed by leveraging over 65 years of experience to forge close bonds with the communities it reaches.

Founder Carl M. Freeman first dipped his toe in the real estate market in 1937 working in sales and land planning before leaving to serve as an Army Engineer during World War II. Upon his return, Carl M. relocated from California to Washington, D.C., and again took up work in real estate. Carl M.’s very first development, Carole Highlands, helped introduce the Californian contemporary style to the East Coast with its signature abundance of indoor and outdoor entertaining space.

CMF entered the apartment building market during the 1950s, the shopping center market in the 1960s, and eventually the hospitality market, resort market and golf course market as well. CMF has played a hand in the development of tens of thousands of homes in its history, but it is the company’s ability to clue into the area’s greatest needs and work with the local authorities to realize that vision that keeps the team ahead of the competition.

To Do What’s Right

Company headquarters are located in Olney, Md., with additional branches for community development operations in Selbyville, Del., and Berkeley Springs, W.Va. CMF’s 40 employees work together tirelessly to support all phases of a community’s development. The company provides its expertise on every aspect of the project beginning with an extensive research effort. The CMF team can also work directly with customers to provide land planning, land surveying and asset management, as well as redevelopment and financing services.

CMF’s operations are split into a commercial real estate division, a resort community division and a sports and hospitality division. The commercial real estate division deals exclusively in commercial properties, including the development, revitalization, operation and management of shopping centers.

In contrast, the resort communities division is comprised of several operating companies that manage CMF’s portfolio of resort assets. Sea Colony in Bethany Beach, Del., was CMF’s very first resort community. Sea Colony set the stage for all of CMF’s resort communities by successfully combining 2,000 homes, 28 tennis courts, a marketplace, fitness center, private beach access and a wealth of pools and recreational amenities.

Dynamic Communities

CMF began developing Sea Colony in the early 1970s and completed the development in stages to ensure careful and sustainable development for the property’s target market. Today, Sea Colony regularly ranks amongst the top tennis resorts in the country and is home to one of the country’s top tennis camp programs to boot.

CMF’s sports and hospitality division is the result of Joshua M. Freeman, Carl M.’s son. Joshua officially joined the company in 1982 before leaving to serve with the United States Army as a Special Forces Green Beret. Like his father, Joshua returned to the company in 1992 and spearheaded the development of Bear Trap Dunes Golf Club in Ocean View, Del., which opened in 1999.

CMF included a host of recreational amenities to compliment the 700 homes within the development. The crowning jewel at Bear Trap Dunes, though, is the 27-hole championships golf course. CMF recruited renowned golf course architect Rick Jacobsen to design the course, delivering a design that forces golfers to think every shot through, while making the most of the coastal property’s natural charms.

Viable Today and Tomorrow

CMF’s latest development aims to build upon the company’s collective experience. Bayside will be a 1,600-home community located just outside of Fenwick Island, Del., combining the best of beachfront living, a premier golf course and high environmental standards. Outdoor spaces are carefully groomed to respect the existing habitat and homes are built with absolute energy efficiency in mind. Like the Bear Trap Dunes, Bayside will deliver the ultimate golfing experience with a course designed by the famed Jack Nicklaus, perched to overlook Assawoman Bay.

The next few years will position CMF to focus more of its efforts on its existing prize assets, as sales for Bayside homes are growing steadily according to Chris Garland, vice president of development and construction at CMF. The Cabin John Shopping Center and Mall is one of CMF’s oldest assets and, given the commercial retail development’s prime location in Montgomery County, Md., the company hopes to see continued prosperity in the decades to come. “It’s a 50-year-old asset and we want to make sure it’s viable for the next 50 years,” asserts Garland.

In the meantime, CMF will keep an eye out for any potentially attractive development opportunities to enhance the CMF brand and make the most of the company’s property management services. Wherever those opportunities lie, the CMF will be well positioned to make its mark on the market, leveraging decades of development expertise and an eye for attractive amenities to ensure every development remains viable for both the community and the team at Carl M. Freeman Companies.

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Spring 2018



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