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Lessons from Legends in Real Estate

Join the University of Baltimore Real Estate and Economic Development Advisory Board as they host father and son team Donald and Thibault Manekin for the next installment of Lessons from Legends.

Event Details

Donald and Thibault Manekin Lessons from Legends in Real Estate
featuring Donald Manekin

Interviewed by his son Thibault Manekin

Date: Mar. 30, 2017
Light refreshments: 5:30 p.m.
Program: 6 p.m.
Location: UB Student Center, 5th Floor
21 W. Mt. Royal Ave., Baltimore, MD 21201

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  • More About the Conversation

    Please join us for an evening of discussion with two of the Baltimore regions most influential and respected practitioners.  Donald and Thibault will share their philosophies, vision for development and lessons learned with the UB students and the built environment community.

    In 2006, Donald and Thibault Manekin founded Seawall Development, a Baltimore-based firm focused on redeveloping historic buildings into mixed use projects. Now, a decade into Seawall’s multiple efforts, the father and son team will share their story during the next Lessons from Legends talk, hosted by the University of Baltimore's Merrick School of Business on Thursday, March 30 beginning at 6 p.m. in UB's Wright Theater, located in the UB Student Center, 21 W. Mt. Royal Ave. The talk is free and open to the public; attendance details are listed below.

    The Manekins’ mission was to develop attractive, affordable housing for teachers and cost effective, efficient and collaborative office space for non-profit organizations. Two of their projects in Baltimore City are the highly acclaimed Miller’s Court and Union Mill in the Remington and Hamden neighborhoods.

    Seawall also rehabilitated homes in Remington and many were purchased by teachers wanting to make Baltimore their home, especially those in the Miller’s Court apartments. To date, the company has completed or is pursuing development of over $200 million of creative adaptive reuse projects in Baltimore and Philadelphia.

    With more than five decades of combined experience, Donald and Thibault Manekin have brought their passion and wisdom for urban revitalization to life with Seawall. Seawall’s projects, focused on social good, have won numerous awards, including President Obama’s Champion of Change Award, Community Impact Awards, recognition through NAIOP, Green Housing Awards through ULI to name a few.

  • About Donald Manekin 

    For more than four decades, Donald Manekin has worked on community-focused real estate development, civic leadership and philanthropic missions in the Baltimore-Washington region.  In 2006, after a six-year hiatus from real estate development, he returned to co-found Seawall Development Company with his son Thibault.

    Seawall Development Company’s projects are focused on redeveloping functionally obsolescent, long vacant historical buildings into mixed use projects that provide great affordable housing for teachers as well as cost effective, efficient and collaborative office space for non-profit organizations.  Miller’s Court ( and Union Mill ( are two recent projects in Baltimore; in Philadelphia Oxford Mills ( replicates the Baltimore model. 

    Donald Manekin learned the real estate business from his father, Harold Manekin, co-founder of the Manekin Corporation, whose company he joined in 1975.  In 1979, Donald opened a satellite office in fast-growing Howard County, where he employed 30 staff members and developed 2.5 million square feet of space used for offices, industry, flex and build to suit.

    Donald brought an emphasis on long-term goals to his professional, civic and philanthropic work.  As regional president of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties and a member of its national board, he traveled to speak on the importance of a long-term orientation for property managers. He taught in the graduate  real estate programs at Johns Hopkins University and M.I.T.  His board service includes Johns Hopkins University Schools of Business and Education Advisory Board, Maryland Economic Development Authority, and the Jemicy School.

    After retiring from Manekin in 2000, he served as chief operating officer of the Baltimore City Schools for two years and managed an $850 million budget, streamlined its financial systems and oversaw its blueprint for high school reform.  Donald continues to work with many civic organizations including Teach for America, Experience Corps, TAI Sophia and Building Educated Leaders for Life. 

  • About Thibault Manekin 

    Thibault grew up in Baltimore and graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in business and marketing. After graduating, he traveled  to Coast Rica to help start a United Way International office in San Jose, then followed that with a year in Baltimore with United Way of Central Maryland. In 2001, he helped create Peace Players International (, whose mission is to bring together children from war torn countries through basketball and open dialogue. Thibault helped to grow the program from a $10,000 a year budget to a $3,000,000 operation with a staff of over 150 people worldwide. The program currently operates in South Africa, Israel/Palestine, Northern Ireland and Cyprus.

    In 2006, Thibault moved back to Baltimore to consider what it means to be a real estate developer. He co-founded Seawall Development.  Seawall’s mission is to help improve communities by breathing a new life back into forgotten historic buildings by filling them with people who in their everyday lives are making cities better places. Seawall is the creator of the Center for Educational Excellence model that provides discounted class A apartments to teachers and collaborative office space for education focused nonprofits.

    Seawall’s projects have received numerous awards, including: President Obama’s Champion of Change Award, The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence, Novogradac - Real Estate Qualified Low Income Community Investment of the Year, United States Environmental Protection Agency – National Award for Smart Growth Achievement, Urban Land Institute and many more.

  • What is the Lessons from Legends Series?

    UB's Lessons from Legends series presents conversations with leaders who have shown a true mastery of their business. Students, alumni and friends have an opportunity to learn from some important Baltimore legends—some of the most influential and successful leaders in the city's history—who are sharing their experiences, career paths, successes and challenges.