In this month’s Board Spotlight, Jack Boarman, Founder & CEO, BKV Group DC lets us know why they chose to do business in DC.
Why did BKV choose to locate in DC?
BKV Group has been in DC since 2010. We were initially attracted by the city’s business environment and growth potential coming out of the recession. I remember being at a 2006 conference where the then-president of the Washington DC Economic Partnership outlined five major renewal districts in DC, proclaiming they were open for business to developers who could help reinvigorate those communities. That stuck with me as were interested in taking our Midwestern, Scandinavian-influenced design aesthetic—very sustainable, with natural materials and hospitality-focused amenities—to other major urban areas where it could pioneer a new mixed-use creative design trend. At the time, DC’s architecture was more classical and conservative, and seemed ripe for the type of novel urban designs we felt we could provide.
How has being located in the District been beneficial, both professionally and personally?
DC is a place where almost everyone is from somewhere else, so there’s an outreach culture that places a premium on networking. That was important to us as a firm looking to establish a presence. Opening the DC office has been rewarding We’ve grown into a top 10 mixed-use, urban housing, and master planning firm in the region. Although based in DC, we’re doing work from New York to Florida, up and down the East Coast, bringing new economic growth into the region while expanding our footprint. DC’s strong national and international talent pool of diverse professionals has been crucial for our holistic practice. On a personal note, my wife and I moved here from Minneapolis, finding the cosmopolitan environment a refreshing change from the Midwest. DC is now our home.
How does community play a role in your day to day at work?
We bring a northern European, Scandinavian design aesthetic and ethos of community, preservation, and sustainability—cultivated in the Upper Midwest 30 years ago—align well with DC’s focus on sustainable design, where there’s a major focus on being a steward of sustainable design, whether it’s LEED certification principles or other environmental mandates. I’ve found DC to be a welcoming, progressive community that embraces new ideas, and I believe our firm contributes daily through our human-centric approach to urban placemaking. Our Georgetown office location embodies this too. We wanted to be part of a distinct DC neighborhood, immersed in its historic fabric and vibrant mix of restaurants, retail, office space, and housing that reflects BKV’s building designs.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received from someone else (at any point) in your career?
The best piece of professional advice I received was from my mentor who said: The architects’ role is to help a neighborhood understand how it can physically be enriched through the development of community and design, and the architect’s role is to be a leader in expressing that visionary potential.
What is something you are excited to either solve or spearhead in the next five years?
Creating a vibrant mixed-use downtown DC community blending residential, office, and civic spaces into a unified live-work destination. You go to Paris, Brussels, Rome, even San Francisco, their downtowns seamlessly integrate diverse functions rather than segregating them. I would like to see, and be a part of, bringing that same level of activity and vibrancy to the center of the DC metro area.
Founder & CEO | BKV Group DC
+ WDCEP Board of Directors