Jonathan Woodner Company

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The Jonathan Woodner Company is a real estate development and management company founded in 1944 by Ian Woodner. Their holdings consist of approximately 2,500 residential rental units and interests in commercial real estate.[1] The Company has built and maintained an interest in residential and commercial properties in New York, the District of Columbia and Atlanta over more than a half century. The company was named for Ian Woodner's infant son, Jonathan Woodner who later joined the business along with his sisters, Dian and Andrea. Jonathan Woodner died in an airplane crash in Maryland in 1988.

Mr. Woodner began building houses in Wilmington, Delaware, and later concentrated on Washington, DC and the New York metropolitan region, where his company erected housing complexes in Manhattan, Flushing, Queens and Yonkers.[2]


  • The company owns and/or manages the Crestwood Lake Apartments, 90 Beaumont Circle, Yonkers, NY 10710
  • In October 2007, the Jonathan Woodner Company acquired 21 East 67th Street, NEw York, NY from Columbus Properties. The five-story building with 8,500 square feet (790 m2) of commercial space is located in Midtown between Fifth and Madison avenues. The transaction was valued at approximately $15 million.[3]
  • The Woodner Apartments opened in 1952 in Upper Northwest Washington, DC. The building was originally operated as both a hotel and rental apartments. The Woodner Apartments is DC's largest single-structure apartment building, and was the largest air-conditioned building in the world when it debuted in 1952.[4] After the 1968 riots, the hotel was closed and the entire building converted to rental apartments. The Woodner Apartments continue to be operated by the Jonathan Woodner Company with over 1,000 rental units and a suite of retail operations including a restaurant (Sangria Cafe), a grocery (Woodner Grocery), a video rental store, a dry cleaner, and a variety of other shops. Also known as Apartments on the Park, the Woodner Apartments border the Rock Creek Park and are on the northern edge of the Mount Pleasant neighborhood in Washington, DC.
  • The Evening Star Building, Washington, DC - Purchased in 1961 by the Woodner family for $650,000, the Evening Star Building had fallen on somewhat hard times. In 1962, the building was converted into utilitarian offices and the space leased in its entirety to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) for use by the U.S. Department of Justice. The federal agency leased the space for more than 20 years. In May 1987, the Jonathan Woodner Company, commissioned a restoration, renovation, and expansion of the historic structure. The renovation/expansion of the Evening Star Building eventually yielded 208,000 square feet (19,300 m2) for offices and 10,000 square feet (930 m2) for retail. In addition, a private rooftop terrace crowns the downtown building.[5]
  • The Company developed Cincinnati's Swifton Center, the Queen City's first shopping mall. The Mall was opened for business in October 1956. The open-air complex was situated on two levels, with a single department store as its anchor. There were 550,000 leasable square feet and a three thousand car parking area. The 2-level, open-air shopping center, which was developed by the Jonathan Woodner Company, featured sixty-six retailers, including a 3-level department store at the southern end. This was built by Cincinnati-based Rollman's, become a Cincinnati-based Mabley And Carew in the early 1960s and Dayton-based Elder-Beerman in the mid-1970s.[6] The complex included the Huntington Meadows, and 1,154 unit apartment building.[7]

Court cases[edit]

  • 1954 - Jonathan Woodner Co. v. Mather., 210 F.2d 868 (D.C. Cir. 1954) Federal Circuits, D.C. Cir. (March 19, 1954)
  • 1971 - Jonathan Woodner Co. et al., Appellants, v. Aetna Insurance Company., 442 F.2d 754 (D.C. Cir. 1971) U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Cir. - Argued Sept. 18, 1970.Decided Jan. 11, 1971, Petition for Rehearing Denied Feb. 12, 1971 [8]
  • 1987 - Jonathan Woodner Co. v. Laufer, 531 A.2d 280, 287 (D.C. 1987)
  • 1997 - the U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene in a case between developers and former tenants of the Park Tower, a Northwest Washington, DC apartment building. The court let stand a 1990 award of compensatory damages of $965,000 to nine former tenants for forcing residents out in part by allowing the building to deteriorate while the Jonathan Woodner Company and Steven Z. Laufer planned to turn the units into condominiums. A separate $15 million punitive damages award was reversed by a lower court. The case is Jonathan Woodner Co. vs. Breeden.[9]
  • 2001 - Youssef v. 3636 Corp. 777 A.2d 787 (D.C. App.2001) - Plaintiff sued 3636 Corporation and Jonathan Woodner Company, the Woodner Apartment building’s owner and manager after they slipped and fell on ice, under the safety of a canopy and on a slip-resistant mat. The trial court found for defendants, holding that plaintiff failed to prove actual or constructive notice of the patch of ice on the mat. The D.C. Court of Appeals reversed, finding that defendants had a duty to “exercise the degree of care which an ordinarily prudent person, in view of existing circumstances, would exercise to avoid injury to a person lawfully using [the premises]." The case was remanded for jury determination of whether or not the defendants acted reasonably under the circumstances.[10]
  • 2007 - The Equal Rights Center and Ms. S. Boubeau brought suit against the Jonathan Woodner Company for violation of the District of Columbia law that prohibits discrimination based on source of income. The plaintiffs alleged that Woodner refused to accept Housing Choice Vouchers. On April 17, 2008, the Court granted in part and denied in part Woodner’s motion to dismiss, concluding that all of Ms. Bourbeau’s claims survived Woodner’s legal challenges. The Court also concluded that ERC’s claims that Woodner engaged in discriminatory conduct before April 25, 2005 (when ERC’s corporate charter was revoked) did not survive, but ERC’s claims that Woodner engaged in discriminatory conduct after April 25, 2005 (when ERC’s corporate charter was reinstated) did survive. See Bourbeau v. Jonathan Woodner Co., 549 F. Supp. 2d 78 (D.D.C. 2008). On June 2, 2008, before any discovery had taken place, Woodner filed a motion for summary judgment with respect to ERC’s remaining claims. The Court denied Woodner’s motion. The Court said that: “ERC’s claim that Woodner maintained a discriminatory policy after April 25, 2005 is neither vague nor conclusory; it is based on (1) specific factual allegations involving ERC’s 6 testers and Ms. Bourbeau, and (2) the common-sense proposition that if there was an established policy of discrimination in place at the Woodner as late as April 8, 2005 (when Ms. Bourbeau was turned away) it likely remained in place on or after April 25, 2005 (when ERC’s charter was reinstated).” On June 19, 2009, the Court entered an Agreed Order and Settlement Agreement whereby Woodner agreed not to discriminate on the basis of source of income, to implement or strengthen non-discrimination policies at its apartment properties in the District of Columbia, to provide fair housing training to its employees, and to display signs letting potential renters know that Woodner accepts housing choice vouchers. Woodner also agreed to a monetary settlement of $200,000.[11][12]