Broker and Managing Partner
Andre P. Smith is the founder and managing partner of The Velocity Group, LLC, which was formed to provide customized real estate development, brokerage, asset management and investment services for institutional and commercial clients in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metropolitan regions.
Andre developed a strong interest in real estate while employed as a legal case manager. This position afforded Andre the ability to develop a strong knowledge of real estate law, business law, litigation, mergers, and real estate planning. Andre obtained his real estate sales license in 2001 and followed by his real estate broker’s license in 2006. Prior to the launch of The Velocity Group, LLC, Andre served as the a principal and managing partner of Horizon Real Estate Group (Horizon) and effectively managed a sales team of over 75 real estate professionals who were licensed in multiple states. As an accomplished real estate broker and developer his teams has closed over 2 Billion square feet of lease space, sold and developed real estate under his leadership the company’s annual sales revenue topped 50 Million. As a result, the firm was recognized as one of the largest independently owned full service minority owned real estate firm in the region and ranked in the top 5% in the United States. Andre’s crowing accomplishment came when Horizon was selected as the development consultant for the Suitland Federal Center project. This was a 475 Million dollar walkable, sustainable, transit oriented, mixed use, Town Center with 700 housing units and 76,000 square feet of retail in the shadow of the nation’s capitol.
Andre has successfully negotiated hundreds of real estate transactions which have included industrial, retail, office and other various income producing properties. He has a special interest in land investment, site selection, mixed-use development and multi-family properties. Andre has received a number of sales awards and industry designations and has conducted professional training for regional and national real estate brokerages and associations. He is often called on to speak nationally as a subject matter expert for conferences and workshops on an array of topics involving affordable housing, opportunity zones, capacity building for small business, marketing, sales strategies, leadership and real estate investment.
Andre has a passion for training and served as the lead facilitator for the inaugural class of the CEO Growth Academy for the District of Columbia’s Department of Small and Local Business Development. He delivered the nationally recognized “Streetwise MBA” program focuses on assisting emerging CEO’s of real estate related businesses achieve and sustain growth and reach scalability. This program has produced over 42% growth in the participating companies and resulted in over 14.5 Million in new contract revenue collectively for firms enrolled in the program with in a 6 month period.
Andre is a leader in his local church and serves on several non-profits organizations boards that are impacting social and economic transformational change in areas of democracy in housing, eradicating homelessness, mentoring, assisting small business in building capacity and gaining access to capital.
When he is not working Andre is a voracious reader of titles on business leadership, personal development, management, investing, real estate, politics urban planning. Andre is an avid cyclist and is currently training for the Salisbury University Sea Gull Century (Fall 2020), a 100 mile open road bike race on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Andre enjoys spending time with family, traveling, coaching various sports teams, healthy living and healthy eating!
Craig Butler, Legal Counsel
Prior to joining the team of The Velocity Group, LLC Craig founded The Butler Law Group, PLLC a boutique law practice that consists of General Corporate, Government Contracts, Civil Litigation, Real Estate and Asset Protection.
The General Corporate Practice included the representation of profit and non-profit entities in business formation, business counseling, financing, negotiating and drafting commercial agreements, licensing, copyright and trademark.
The Government Contract Practice included the representation of clients in procurement matters, contract negotiations, compliance and contract disputes.
The Civil Litigation Practice included the representation of clients in civil lawsuits involving real estate and business issues including government contract disputes, breach of contract, foreclosure defense, landlord tenant, boundary line and title disputes.
In the Real Estate Practice, they developed an expertise in foreclosure prevention. The Butler Law Group, PLLC developed an extensive experience in negotiating loan modifications, repayment plans, short sales, deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure and foreclosure defense. They represented developer clients in matters involving land acquisition and financing. Additionally, they negotiate and drafted agreements to purchase real estate, notes, deeds, deeds of trust and leases (commercial and residential).
Russ Wheeler, Director of Real Estate Development
Mr. Wheeler has been instrumental in the development of large mixed-use residential, office, and retail development projects though out the Washington DC metropolitan area. Over his tenure in the real estate industry he has led development efforts for the successful delivery of ground up new construction, adaptive reuse, as well as historical renovations projects. As a senior-level real estate professional Mr. Wheeler has direct experience overseeing the development activities of complex real estate development projects and has exhibited a proven track-record of success, by consistently delivering projects on time and under budget. His abilities include managing projects from: (i) pre-development; (ii) entitlements; (iii) financing; (iv) project pricing and bidding review; (v) construction and development; (vi) to stabilization/delivery. Mr. Wheeler has experience developing projects in all three local jurisdictions, which include Washington DC; Maryland, and Virginia. One of Mr. Wheeler’s crowing accomplishments includes overseeing the development of two large mixed-use development projects located in Rockville Maryland—the projects combined yielded over 850k SF of residential and retail/commercial space. Mr. Wheeler serves at the point of contact for Owner’s and oversees all aspects of the development process including, review of consultant contract, building design, contract negotiations, bidding and general construction, change order review and negotiations, and project closeout.
Mr. Wheeler holds a Master’s in Real Estate Development from University of Maryland College Park and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Virginia Tech. He is also a licensed real estate sales person in Washington DC and Maryland.
RELEVANT PROJECT EXPERIENCE
Parkside- Oversaw the entitlement, design, and construction of a 3.5M SF master planned mixed use development project in Washington DC. The project included: (i) Class-A Office ; (ii) New Residential; and (iii) over 50k Sf of new retail space
The Howard Theatre- The redevelopment and historical renovation of an historical theater Shaw neighborhood of Washington DC.
The Galvan-Located at 1800 Rockville Pike Rockville MD. A 356-unit high-end rental building above 80k SF of commercial retail space with two-levels of below grade parking. Construction included the build out of a 65k SF Safeway Grocery Store.
The Terano-Located at 5720 Fishers Lane, Rockville MD. A 216 unit market rate rental building above 32k SF of retail commercial space.
Thirty32 Apartments-Washington DC- Located at 3232 Georgia Avenue Washington DC. This is a mixed-use new construction development yielding 69 affordable units with one level below grade parking and ground level retail. Financed with 4% Tax Exempt Bond Financing, Home Funds, and City Government grants. Total development costs of $34M.
Columbia Court- Washington DC: Affordable housing redevelopment of a city owned vacant building. Converting a 9 unit vacant apartment building into an 11 unit for sale condominium project targeting households at or below 60% AMI. Total project costs $2.7M.
1816 19th Street Condominiums: Managing the development and construction of a condominium conversion located in DuPont Circle. This development will consist of 5 high-end condo units. Responsibilities include oversight of the entire project.
142 O Street Condominiums: Managing the re-development and construction of a vacant building into 9 high-end residential units. Oversaw the in the entire development process from entitlements, construction management, and sales.