John C. Formant Real Estate Changing Direction

After 35 Years on Pennsylvania Avenue, Company Changes Addresses –and Direction

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Mike C. and John C. Formant. Photo: Andrew Lightman.

After 35 years on Pennsylvania Avenue, John C. Formant Real Estate is returning to the place where it all began. John C. Formant has moved to 406 H St NE. With the change in address also comes a change in direction for the independent, family-owned brokerage. The newly-named Formant Property Group will move away from property management and focus on brokerage, development and investment.

Company founder John C. Formant said that the team was excited about the move. “We want to expand the brokerage and focus on developments and investments,” said John C. Formant. Moving away from property management allows us to devote our full time and energy to development and sales. The move to H Street brings us closer to many of our investment properties and future development sites. It’s such a vibrant place to work and invest in. H Street is jumping.”

The shift in focus also comes with a more visible role for Mike C. Formant, John’s son. Mike, a former professional soccer player for Hobart Zebras F.C. of the Australian National Premier Leagues-Tasmania, will now help kick-start the firm’s operational change. Although the Formants work as a team, Mike will focus on growing the brokerage, while also heading up the residential development while his father focuses on larger commercial development.

For over 35 years, John Formant has been developing residential and commercial properties under his companies, Nantucket Holdings and Surfside Investments. “Some people don’t realize we’re the same company, but they know the quality of work,” said Kelly Formant, a principal with the firm and John Formant’s wife.

Nantucket Holdings and Surfside Investments completely renovate the interior and exterior of homes, gutting them out, redesigning floor plans and usually digging down the basements and adding two-story additions. The end result is an open, sun-filled space with well-appointed amenities and high-end, sleek finishes.

The newly configured company has several commercial projects waiting in the wings, John Formant said. The company has plans to build 17 houses at 4th and I Street NE. They are also looking to develop a mixed-use residential and retail unit at 10th and H Street NE as well as re-developing a gas station in Petworth.

As the Formants shift their attention to development and investment, they have kept their legacy in property management in trusted hands. Former John C. Formant Real Estate Office Manager Michael Frias has purchased the property management group from the Formants in a way that maintains the consistency of operations. Frias’s company will be called Tiber Realty Group LLC, and will retain much of the staff. It will be located in the same building as Formant Property Group, on the second floor at 406 H St. NE. Visitors entering the building can turn right from the hallway to visit Formant, and turn left to visit Tiber.

“So, two separate businesses, but still a lot of continuity going on,” said Mike C. Formant.

Deep Roots in DC

Formant is one of the few independent, family-run brokerages in the District. Mike and John have Washington real estate in their blood.

John C. Formant’s mother, known to her Greek family as ‘Yia Yia’, was born Angelina Kalavritinos near Seventh and K Streets NE, attending McKinley High School. She and her sister started up a business as teenagers.

“They were running a produce stand just next to Union Station,” said Mike Formant. “She and her sister saved up from that and bought their first property, a rooming house in 1939 when she was just 15.”

Just like his mother, John Formant got a start in the real estate business early, becoming the youngest broker in the District when he got his license in 1980 at the age of 19. He opened his own brokerage and property management company at 918 Pennsylvania Ave. SE in 1981.

In 1991, John C. Formant Real Estate took over Chatel Real Estate’s Capitol Hill office at 225 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. and later acquired Helen Carey Real Estate. “When we moved to 225 Pennsylvania Ave. SE in 1991, that was the spot,” said Kelly Formant. “We had walk-ins at that point. We were setting up our office in the basement, and we had people going down asking for our cards,” she said. “Now, thirty years later –you don’t need a street-level brick and mortar space like that, as you can do so much online.”

With the move to 406 H St NE, John C. Formant is bringing his business back home. In 1940, his mother Angelina opened her Brokerage in the 900 block of H Street NE. Now 95 years young, she still pops into the Formant offices, and has even jokingly asked for a desk in the new building.

Looking to the future, the Formants are excited to grow and strengthen their brokerage team.

“In the next couple of years, we’d like to grow the brokerage by not only growing our volume of sales, but also growing the number of agents and teams who are with us,” Mike Formant said. “I think it’s an interesting time to add agents to the Formant Group.”

Mike said he keeps the words of his hard-working Yia Yia in mind every day. “You don’t hustle, you don’t eat –that’s what she always taught me,” he said.

Formant Property Group may have changed direction, but the family will go on quietly hustling, letting success make the noise.

The new websites will go live by July 1, when you can learn more about the Formant Property Group by visiting formantpropertygroup.com and more about Tiber Realty Group LLC by visiting tiberrealtygroup.com. You can also visit their new offices on the Second Floor of 406 H St. NE.