Premier was founded by Jonathan Cutler in 1992. Prior to founding Premier, Jonathan was a Ph.D. in Structural Geology who had worked summers in a mortgage office through his college years. After a few years working first for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and then for a large builder, Jonathan co-founded and became president of the Legend Group, a home building company that ultimately delivered over 400 homes in 25 subdivisions in Maryland and Virginia. Mr. Cutler and others founded Premier Management in 1992 as the commercial division of the Legend Group, with early projects centered on tenant build out and property management for closely related entities.
Focus on Commercial Real Estate
In 1994, Jonathan sold his interest in the Legend Group, bought out the other partners in Premier Management, and began to focus his attentions on developing a commercial real estate business. Premier then partnered with a handful of individual investors to acquire vacant or severely under-performing properties with the goal of creating value by redeveloping, repositioning, and re-tenanting those assets. This strategy proved quite successful and continues to represent one of Premier’s core competencies to this day.
Early Premier Success
Early successes included buying a completely vacant 4 story office building that had lost its zoning, getting the property rezoned, undertaking a ground up rebuilding, and then achieving 100% occupancy within 2 years. That property is still in our portfolio and managed by Premier (see Deal Stories, “Monroe Building”). Another early success involved purchasing a mostly vacant manufacturing facility, building it out into office, leasing it, profitably managing it for many years, and then selling the property at a significant profit. Those profits were then leveraged in an exchange transaction to acquire a 105,000 sf medical center, which is still part of our portfolio and of course managed by Premier. More recently Premier has acquired, repositioned, retenanted, and profitably sold projects ranging from a 45,000 sf medical building to a 20,000 retail center to a 110,000 sf office building to a 216 unit apartment community, among others.
Development Success Begets More Turnarounds
Premier has also developed, designed and built buildings from the ground up – acquiring land in a failed business park and constructing two office buildings. The properties were leased up, managed by Premier for 8 years, and one building was then sold for a large profit (the second building is still owned and 100% occupied). That profit was leveraged to purchase a 120 unit multifamily complex which in turn was struggling with 22% vacancy. Premier brought the property to over 95% occupancy and sold it 9 years later for a significant profit. That profit was in turn deployed into an 88,000 sf flex property which was 35% occupied and lender owned at the time of acquisition. That flex property is now 100% leased and in Premier’s portfolio. There are many more such stories, and you can read about a few of them in the Deal Stories section of this website.
Strong property management skills and strategic thinking have always been the core of our success. As word spread in the industry about our capabilities, we began to get calls asking to hire us to manage properties for other owners. This was a natural grown opportunity for Premier, and over the last decade third party management has grown to represent over half of our portfolio. Today our staff includes several Certified Property Managers (CPM®) , building engineers and maintenance technicians, lease administration, construction management, and a full accounting and support staff. Clients include private owners, institutions, associations, family offices, and government related entities. Premier is also proud to have been awarded the AMO® (Accredited Management Organization) designation by the Institute of Real Estate Managers – one of only about 550 such companies world wide. Premier’s clients benefit from our deep knowledge of negotiation, leasing, construction, operations and financing. Today Premier has over 2M square feet under management spanning virtually all types of commercial property.