Jeffrey M. Zell

President / Chief Executive Officer

Jeffrey Zell founded JM Zell Partners, Ltd in 1989, with a unique vision for providing client-centered real estate consulting. Developed over his 30-year career, Jeff’s innovative approach to delivering practical solutions while fostering meaningful client relationships forms the core of JM Zell’s value-added process.

Jeff believes that only by partnering with clients and truly understanding their business as well as their real estate needs can JM Zell provide long range, comprehensive, unbiased advice. By evaluating factors including a client’s long-term needs, financial objectives, and corporate culture, JM Zell is able to provide customized, proactive and fiscally responsible solutions for major corporations, institutional investors, professional firms, unions, governmental institutions and not-for-profit organizations.

To fully realize his vision, Jeff attracted a diverse, multi-disciplinary staff of seasoned professionals who share in his philosophy (and in the profits of the company, based on client satisfaction and results). This collective approach ensures that everyone at JM Zell works for the common good, and that our client’s best interests are never compromised.

Jeff has provided strategic planning, investment, lease negotiation, development consulting and project management services for award-winning projects for over 25 years. Jeff’s greatest strengths are his creative strategic thinking, business acumen, transactional ability, marketing savvy and financial expertise.  A member of the distinguished Counselors of Real Estate, available only to the most respected real estate specialists who are known for innovation and creative problem solving, Jeff is a licensed real estate broker in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.  He is a graduate of Syracuse University and active in many charitable causes.


Philanthropy & Charitable Causes

United States Holocaust Memorial
Union Sportsman's Alliances
National Gallery of Art
The Phillips Collection
Syracuse University
Shakespeare Theatre Company

Professional Associations

The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE)

Marc Sobel

Executive Vice President / General Counsel

Marc Sobel is a founding partner of JM Zell as well as its general counsel.  His more than 25 years of real estate experience began as an attorney with the law firms of Simpson Thacher Bartlett in New York and Sidley Austin in Washington, DC.

Since forming JM Zell in 1989, he has provided legal consulting and strategic planning for a wide range of clients.  He advises on matters of construction, ownership and structuring of real estate interests and transactions, real estate financing, negotiation of lease and purchase transactions, and construction and architectural relationships.  

Marc has honed his practical knowledge of construction as project manager for significant commercial building projects in a number of geographic areas including Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles. His legal background and hands-on knowledge of real estate issues make Marc invaluable to our clients.  Marc’s strengths include his creative problem solving, real estate law expertise and project management skills.

Marc earned his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center following completion of an MSc at the London School of Economics and undergraduate studies at Georgetown University. A sought-after lecturer on commercial leasing for the DC Bar, Marc enjoys a 5-star AV rating from Martindale Hubbell.  Marc is also the Chairman of the Board of Advisors of the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Philanthropy & Charitable Causes

Georgetown University
Kluge-Rhue Aboriginal Art Collection
National Gallery of Art

Scott B. Kaufmann

Senior Vice President / Chief Financial Officer

Scott Kaufmann is a founding partner of JM Zell Partners. He has an exceptional knowledge of development, financing, business, planning, operations and project management.  With more than 20 years in the industry, Scott has earned a reputation for developing and implementing practical real estate strategies that support and enhance the client’s organizational, business, operational and financial goals. His strengths also include evaluating situations, analyzing approaches and options, devising creative solutions to complex problems and presenting alternative strategies in a manner that facilitates informed decision-making at every level.

Over the years, Scott has been responsible for all aspects of planning, development, operations planning, construction oversight and commissioning of over a million square feet of owner occupied and commercial property in the Washington DC metropolitan area and nationally.  His experience extends to master planning for large mixed-use developments as well as specialized use planning for not-for-profit organizations, museums and cultural institutions. 

Scott has successfully overseen multiple projects, from planning, budgeting and acquisition to working with the architects, engineers, designers and contractors through final development and occupancy.  He has also been very effective in working with local governmental jurisdictions in the filing and processing of building permits, zoning variances, code interpretation and dispute resolution.

A graduate of The George Washington University with a degree in finance, Scott’s strengths are his construction and development expertise, superb project management skills, creative problem solving ability and financial aptitude.  Scott is a licensed real estate sales person in the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland.  Scott is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC.


Philanthropy & Charitable Causes

The George Washington University
Shakespeare Theatre Company
National Gallery of Art

Professional Associations

American Association of Museums
The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE)
The Urban Land Institute

Louis W. Kluger

Senior Vice President

With more than 25 years’ experience in commercial real estate, Louis Kluger has a deep understanding of the real estate industry with regard to finance, financial analysis, brokerage and marketing.  Louis’ financial and analytical strengths underpin his abilities in crafting real estate strategies as well as performing site selection, negotiation, litigation support and project management services. 

Louis has provided leadership and analytical abilities to various projects for clients ranging from not-for-profits clients to large multinational corporations and private investors. Notable projects include the sale-lease back of a large headquarters property in Northern Virginia, the sale of a manufacturing plant and developable land in Kansas City, acquisitions of multiple distribution centers and other pharma-related facilities around the United States and Canada, reorganization of a multi-family historic property in Philadelphia as well as numerous other consulting assignments.

Louis is a licensed real estate broker in Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Missouri, Georgia and Tennessee.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the Echols Scholar Program at The University of Virginia.


Philanthropy & Charitable Causes

The University of Virginia
World Bicycle Relief
National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Professional Associations

The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE)

Aida Downing

Senior Principal

Aida Downing is a founding partner of JM Zell, bringing over 25 years of analytical skills and creative insight in the areas of strategic planning, operations planning, marketing and project management.  Her expertise in needs analysis for facilities, master planning and renovation or redevelopment projects is unsurpassed.

Aida’s extensive background in marketing and communications gives her particular insight into how an organization’s culture, values and brand translate into approaches for enhancing operations and work environments.  This approach results in improved employee effectiveness, collaboration, customer service, and other tangible and intangible benefits.  

She has significant experience in working with all aspects of visitor-oriented, hospitality, and destination venues in which the facility must support the overall guest experience. Recent clients include governmental agencies, museums and national parks as well as unions and corporations seeking hotels, educational complexes and other special uses.


Philanthropy & Charitable Causes
AARP Foundation
El Ayudante
Empowerment International
Feed America
La Clinica del Pueblo
National Geographic
Southern Poverty Law Center

Robert J. Neuman Jr.

Senior Principal

With his diversified background in various aspects of real estate and depth of knowledge of markets across the country, Bob Neuman helps JM Zell’s clients, from the largest not-for-profit, to the smallest high-tech startup, find sound solutions to their real estate needs. For over 25 years, Bob has represented numerous tenants, skillfully guiding them through the relocation process – from needs analysis and strategic planning through market search, lease negotiation, design and construction, lease negotiation and move-in. He likewise provides leasing services to sub-landlords and landlords, where his strengths in financial strategies and market analyses are critical.

Bob has represented the interests of a variety of clients with their acquisitions and dispositions of real estate, including Sidley Austin LLC, The Washington Post, SmartBrief, Development Alternatives Inc., International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers, The Shakespeare Theatre, National Trust For Historic Preservation and Carlyle Plaza Development.  Bob brings a deep understanding of every aspect of leasing and brokerage, combined with his strong financial and analytical ability and highly effective project management skills, to each of the clients he serves.

A licensed real estate broker in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia, Bob is a graduate of American University with a BS in Finance with a concentration in Real Estate and Urban Development.


Philanthropy & Charitable Causes

The National Aquarium
Shakespeare Theatre Company

Jason B. Zell

Vice President of Acquisitions

Jason is responsible for JM Zell’s investment and sales efforts, working in concert with executive leadership to craft high-level investment strategy, source viable real estate investment opportunities, and structure joint venture/partnerships.

Over the last 9 years, Jason led research and marketing efforts for several national real estate strategy engagements including Sanofi and Science Applications International Corporation. Prior to joining JM Zell in his current capacity, Jason co-founded a technology and digital marketing company where he was responsible for client acquisition and management. 

Jason holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Regional Development from the University of Arizona, where he was recognized for his outstanding academic achievements by the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR). Jason is a licensed real estate salesperson in the District of Columbia and Commonwealth of Virginia.


Philanthropy & Charitable Causes

Project Healing Waters

Matthew T. Draper


Matthew utilizes his diverse knowledge in real estate to offer JM Zell’s clients financial strategies for their real estate initiatives. His knowledge lies in his ability to perform complex financial analyses to determine feasibility and assess profitability. 

As an integral member of the JM Zell team, Matthew advises corporations, non-profits and private investors in all aspects of the field, from acquisition and disposition to development and financial structuring.  His work has led him to various challenging projects with clients such as the Association of American Medical Colleges, The Washington Post and the United Nations.  Prior to joining JM Zell, he led a variety of historic rehabilitation and urban development projects in the greater Washington, DC area. 

Matthew earned his undergraduate degree in Finance from James Madison University and holds his Masters in Real Estate from Georgetown University.  He is a licensed real estate professional in Maryland and the District of Columbia.


Philanthropy & Charitable Causes

Project Healing Waters

Jennifer C. Tantum

Director of Construction Services

Jennifer joined Zell in 1999 and has over 20 years of project management experience specifically related to construction management, property management and facilities operations.  In addition, Jennifer has expertise in security, telephone and data technologies. 

Additionally, she has worked on several challenging base building construction and interior fit-out projects which include Sanofi sales offices, research facility and headquarters located throughout the country; Smithsonian’s administrative offices and new American Art library facility; a post-production television studio and sound stage for Black Entertainment Television in Burbank, CA and in the District; renovation and expansion of The Phillips Collection Goh and Sant buildings; renovation of exhibit halls, conference and office space for National Geographic Society; renovation of United Way Worldwide headquarters in Alexandria, VA; CFA Institute in Charlottesville, VA; and most recently, The Washington Post headquarters in Washington, DC. 

Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Maryland.  She received a Master’s Certification in Project Management from George Washington University and is working towards Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI). 


Philanthropy & Charitable Causes

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Professional Associations


Christopher D. Bass

Director of Design Services

Since joining JM Zell in 2001 as the company’s architectural and interior design consultant, Christopher has provided strategic planning and management services that leverage his expertise on architectural issues as they relate to business, investment and financial strategies. 

Chris began his career as director of a $30 million residence hall renovations for American University.  Since then, he has over 20 years’ experience working for leading architectural and interior design firms, applying his design talents to dozens of commercial interior renovations and new construction projects for clients across the country. 

Christopher received a B.S. in Interior Design from Virginia Tech. He is a Professional Member of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), a NCIDQ Certified Interior Designer, and a Licensed Interior Designer in the District of Columbia.  Christopher is a LEED Accredited Professional with an Interior Design + Construction Specialty.  He holds a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from The George Washington University School of Business.


Professional Associations


Akilah A. King

Senior Associate / Move Coordination Services and Project Management Support

Akilah King joined the JM Zell team in August of 2006, advancing from her initial role as administrative assistant to project management support, becoming the primary move coordination specialist at JM Zell.  Working closely with the client’s assigned move team and JM Zell’s project team, Akilah has assisted major clients in headquarters relocation and consolidation including United Association, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and The Washington Post. She has facilitated and coordinated all aspects from pre-move planning, bidding, communications, and coordination to actual move oversight for over eight years.  She has an enviable record of effecting smooth relocation experiences for clients transitioning into new space.

She recently provided project management support for the International Union of Operating Engineers new 200,000 sf Conference and Training Center including furniture procurement management, FF&E installation oversight, coordination with contractor and vendor representatives, conflict resolution, project accounting, FF&E punch list and correction management.

Akilah works collaboratively with each client's designated internal move coordinators to assure effective interface with all stakeholders involved in a move.


Nabeel Chaudhary


Since joining JM Zell in 2015, Nabeel has applied his business and marketing training to multiple aspects of real estate, specializing in market analysis, strategic planning, and leasing. Nabeel has assisted clients with their space requirements at all stages including needs assessment, market research and education, strategy development, and lease negotiation. He has worked with large corporations, non-profits, and private investors on assignments ranging from acquisition and disposition, lease-up, development, and financial modeling.

Nabeel is a graduate of The George Washington University, earning his B.B.A. in International Business and Marketing. He is a licensed Salesperson in DC and is certified in Argus software.


Professional Associations

Urban Land Institute (ULI)