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D.C. CRE Veteran Joins J Street Cos., Travis Kalanick Faces a Leave of Absence


Noun. A decent, upright, mature and responsible person.


Noun, slang. An awkward, clumsy, or unlucky person whose endeavors tend to fail. A loser.


This post was written in part by our communications intern, Tiffany Ko.

Mensch of the Week:

Mike Balaban

This week, Washington D.C. based company J Street Cos. added Mike Balaban to its development team. As part of the team, Balaban will be responsible for all of generating, underwriting, and managing new ground up and value-add developments, according to Commercial Property Executive.

Balaban holds an impressive background, especially in adaptice re-use and historic redevelopment in addition to ground-up development. Prior to his new role as development executive, Balaban served as principal at msb Urban and SB Urban. As principal, he focused primarily on spearheading the Urban Suites concept and micro-housing developments. Before that, Balaban headed Lowe Enterprises‘ non-hospitality projects on the East Coast.

Of Bruce Baschuk, J Street Cos. chairman, Balaban commented to Biz Journals:

“Bruce and I have talked about investment opportunities in developing markets for a long time, and we have stayed in touch about projects that could have been of mutual interest on many occasions. I recently reached back out to Bruce to consider some things that I’ve been working on that could perhaps be of mutual interest, and one thing led to another, and before we knew it we had a handshake and I walked in the door.”

Balaban will be a great addition to the J Street Cos. development team; he has a wealth of experience in acquiring, developing, and managing over $11.5BB of mixed-use projects in the D.C. metro area. Some notable projects include Fairmont Building and the Air Right Center in Bethesda, the Chevy Chase Pavilion in Chevy Chase, and the Ballston Metro Center.

With such experience in the D.C. area, there is no doubt that Balaban will be a great addition to his new company!



Schlemiel of the Week:

Travis Kalanick // Uber

Travis Kalanick, the current CEO of Uber, a company that is under fire for so many claims of sexual harassment, is this week’s Schlemiel.

Kalanick is facing some trouble because many believe that he initially ignored the sexual harassment claims and other means of misbehavior in the company. As a result, more unethical behavior ensued. Back in February, Uber hired Eric Holder, a former attorney general, when a former employee came forth about sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace. Her bravery allowed other women in the company to speak of their experiences since there were 215 claims of sexual harassment in the workplace following the employee’s blog post.

Holder’s job was to investigate the workplace conditions and the company’s culture, and as a result, he came up with several recommendations. The board members of Uber unanimously agreed on all of the Holder report recommendations. This report supposedly consists of cultural reforms, but the actual details will not be disclosed until later this week.

Some say that it would be best if Kalanick takes a leave of absence because of the controversies. We’re wondering if one of Holder’s recommendations includes giving Kalanick the boot. In addition, the report could possibly include hiring a new executive team since the company now lacks a stable team.

In addition, Senior Vice President Emil Michael just left the company, but Uber did not disclose any details about his departure. Michael worked very closely with Kalanick and was apparently a close buddy as well. There are rumors that the board was pressuring Michael to leave. We have no clue if he was fired or if he voluntarily left.

In the past couple of years, there have been many reports about Uber’s shortcomings and how employees have mishandled certain situations regarding passengers, sexual harassment in the workplace, and more. Hopefully the Holder report contains some feasible recommendations that will eliminate the misbehavior in this company.

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