Theodore Nathan Lerner
October 15, 1925
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Died||February 12, 2023 (aged 97)|
Chevy Chase, Maryland, U.S.
|Education||George Washington University (AA, LLB)|
|Occupation(s)||Managing principal owner of the Washington Nationals and Lerner Enterprises|
|Children||3, including Mark|
Theodore Nathan Lerner (October 15, 1925 – February 12, 2023) was an American real estate developer, and managing principal owner of the Washington Nationals baseball team. He was the founder of the real estate company Lerner Enterprises, the largest private landowner in the Washington metropolitan area, which owns commercial, retail, residential, and hotel properties, as well as Chelsea Piers in New York City. In 2015, Forbes magazine named him the richest person in Maryland.
Lerner was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family in Northwest Washington D.C., the eldest of three children born to Mayer, a 1921 emigrant from Palestine, and Ethel, who emigrated from Lithuania. He attended Raymond Elementary School, McFarland Junior High, and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1944.
Lerner served with the U.S. Army as a typist during the latter part of World War II. Using the G.I. Bill, he attended George Washington University, where he received first an Associate of Arts and then an L.L.B. from the George Washington University Law School in 1949. While in law school, he sold homes on the weekends, which piqued his interest in real estate.
In 1952, Lerner borrowed $250 from his wife and founded the real estate company Lerner Enterprises in Rockville, Maryland. Among the Lerner Enterprises ventures is a partnership in Chelsea Piers, a 30-acre (120,000 m2) sports and entertainment complex on the Hudson River in New York City; the Tysons II commercial development; shopping centers including White Flint and Dulles Town Center; and thousands of homes and apartments, along with numerous office buildings. Lerner also played a role in developing other shopping centers in the Washington area, including Tysons Corner Center and Wheaton Plaza.
The headquarters of Lerner Enterprises in Rockville was the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certified multi-tenant commercial building in the D.C. area and has been the recipient of multiple design and environmental awards.
The Washington Nationals franchise (then known as the Montreal Expos) was formerly owned and operated by Major League Baseball from February 15, 2002, until the official transfer of ownership to Lerner on July 24, 2006. The Lerner family is the majority owner of the franchise, controlling over 90% of the shares. Lerner retired as managing principal owner in 2018, ceding the role to his son, Mark D. Lerner.
Under Lerner's ownership, the Nationals have won four National League East division championships and appeared in the postseason five times.
Lerner won a World Series ring when the Nationals defeated the Houston Astros in the 2019 World Series.
The Lerner family is also a partner in Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League, the Washington Mystics of the Women's National Basketball Association, the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association, and Capital One Arena.
The Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation provides support to many organizations, including: Food and Friends; The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Shady Grove Adventist Hospital; Hadley's Park; the Weizmann Institute of Science; the Scleroderma Foundation of Greater Washington; YouthAids; Junior Achievement of the Greater Washington Area; the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School; and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, among many others. Ted and his wife Annette are founding members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. The American Academy of Achievement awarded Ted Lerner the Golden Plate Award of Excellence in 1990.
The campus of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville is named in his and his wife's honor after a multimillion-dollar donation to the school. The lunch room in the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy was donated by the Lerner Family. The family has also donated the Lerner Family Health and Wellness Center and Theodore Lerner Hall at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Along with the Lerner Center at Hebrew University in Israel. The family donated the theater at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Maryland.
Notable achievements include:
On June 17, 1951, he married Annette M. Lerner. They had three children: Mark D. Lerner (married to Judy Lenkin Lerner), Debra Lerner Cohen (married to Edward L. Cohen) and Marla Lerner Tanenbaum (married to Robert K. Tanenbaum). Ted Lerner had nine grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
His daughter, Marla Lerner Tanenbaum, is chair of The Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation and chair of the Washington Nationals Philanthropies and the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. The family are the sole owners and heirs of Lerner Enterprises.
Lerner died from pneumonia at his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on February 12, 2023, at the age of 97.