Watergate Developer, Giuseppe Cecchi and Founder of IDI Group, Dies at 93

MN Blum would like to extend its most deepest and sincere condolences to the Cecchi family on the passing of Giuseppe Cecchi, a long time client and friend of MN Blum. The following excerpt has been taken from the Washington Business Journal.

Full article can be found here.

Prominent developer Giuseppe Cecchi, an Italian immigrant whose first project in the United States was Watergate complex, which he followed up with massive efforts like Burke Centre, Alexandria’s Parkfairfax and D.C.’s Renaissance Hotel, died Thursday, April 4th at the age of 93. He passed peacefully surrounded by family at his home in McLean, according to his obituary.

Cecchi, born in Milan, came to D.C. in the late 1950s to scout real estate for the firm Societa Generale Immobiliare (SGI), and soon started work on the Watergate, the District’s first-ever mixed use project combining residential, office, hotel and retail. The development, built over the course of a dozen years, was a predecessor for virtually all mixed-use projects to follow in Greater Washington, putting everything one might need in a single 10-acre setting.

In 1975, Cecchi founded IDI Group Cos. and quickly emerged as one of Greater Washington’s most prolific developers – by 1981, The Washington Post had declared Cecchi the “Condo King,” ruling over a “$300 million empire.”

Among his most notable work, Cecchi partnered with Milt Peterson and Til Hazel to build Burke, led the conversion of the aging Parkfairfax rental community into condominiums, development the Renaissance and Vista International hotels, build D.C.’s Techworld Plaza (though that one didn’t go as planned) and Alexandria’s Carlyle Towers, and so much more. Per his obituary, IDI’s run under Cecchi’s leadership grew to 28 residential communities totaling 14,000 homes, 2.7 million square feet of office and commercial, and 1,400 hotel rooms.

Cecchi was a 2012 inductee into the Washington Business Hall of Fame.

Today, IDI Group is led by Cecchi’s sons, Enrico, Carlos and John. The Arlington firm rolls along, tackling projects including the Huntington Club redevelopment, the Boulevard in Fairfax and the North Woodbridge Town Center, among others.