Over the next few months, we’re giving our residents (and future residents!) an opportunity to get to know the Park Chelsea team a little better with a series of Meet the Team posts! Today, we’re hearing from your General Manager PJ on what brought him here, what he loves about the building and the neighborhood and what he’s up to when he isn’t hard at work!
How did you end up in DC?
I relocated to DC in 2006 from Boston with the intention of working on The Yards project in 2008, however at that time pretty much all of the new development projects were put on hold, especially in SE DC. At that point there was very little to do in the neighborhood.
Eventually in 2010 the project moved forward, in the mean time I was able to really get to know the DC market very well and the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood.
What made you want to come work at Park Chelsea/The Collective?
Park Chelsea, and The Collective overall, is very unique project and something that I don’t think DC has ever seen before.
The concept of having this development with a ton of shared and distinctive amenities is something that I have only seen at a few buildings in New York, but not yet here in DC.
I love it when a company is willing to step out of the box, do things differently, and challenge what is ‘normal’. Normal is nice, but can be boring… The Collective is not going to be boring.
When you’re not working at Park Chelsea, where can we find you?
The short answer is everywhere…
And since I live in Chinatown near the Verizon Center, I end up going to a lot of games and shows there.
If Park Chelsea were a House of Cards/Scandal character, what would it be?
I’ve only seen 2 episodes of House of Cards, and have never seen Scandal…
So, I would say we’re most like George-Michael from Arrested Development… he is trying to find his own identity and stand apart from the rest of his family.
What are you Netflix-binging on right now?
I wish I could say something great like foreign documentaries about meaningful social causes… but I’ve actually been binging on Malcom in the Middle, but I am looking for new recommendations because I am almost finished.
If you were to work from home, which Park Chelsea space would you choose?
I would definitely choose one of the corner apartments that have been designed with great flex spaces. And when I needed to escape my apartment I would probably split my time between the Courtyard and the Library; or maybe the Garden Room and Roof Deck…
When you want to unwind at the end of the day, where do you go?
When the weather cooperates I like to walk home from work. It’s a really nice walk from the Capitol Riverfront to my place in Chinatown.
It’s a short walk and you’re able to take in a lot of what DC has to offer; neighborhoods like Capitol Hill; institutions like the Smithsonian museums, and the energy of a young city through the Penn Quarter and Chinatown.
When the weather doesn’t cooperate I go to happy hour.
How would you work on your wellness/fitness at Park Chelsea?
During construction, walking the building to check on progress gave me a lot of exercise; walking up 13 flights of stairs is a pretty good workout.
I’m also excited about our Fitness On Demand program in the fitness studio.
How does life at Park Chelsea allow you to challenge yourself?
Being a part of a project this size and with several phases there will always be challenges.
But I like being challenged; it’s very satisfying to see a project go from a concept or idea, to a rendering, to design, to construction, to reality.
Describe your perfect day at Park Chelsea:
Seeing everyone happy and truly excited to be where they are…
Residents should love their apartment and the building.
New visitors should be impressed by this incredible project.
Our team should enjoy their job and proud to work in a great office environment.
3 words to describe Park Chelsea:
Unexpected Casual Elegance.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the neighborhood and what do you order?
BlueJacket. I order whatever new beer Greg Engert brings us to drink and we usually get the charcuterie and cheese boards… I’m Italian, so salted cured meats and cheeses are in my DNA.
If Park Chelsea were a drink, what would it be?
I’ll say, a Hendricks and soda; with cucumber and lime.
It’s refreshing and surprisingly delicious.
What’s a local organization doing good in our DC community that residents and readers should know about?
It’s an Art Space and Community Center that does an excellent job at promoting emerging artists of all kind (street artist, musicians, dancers, poets, etc.); and provides a space for adults and kids to learn about and create art.
They often partner/promote other organizations throughout the city like Albus Cavus/Open Walls, SMYAL, and DC Public Schools to help reach the other neighborhoods throughout DC.
Where is your favorite spot to grab lunch in the neighborhood?
If I take a lunch, I try to keep it simple. I’ll go to Justin’s Café or one of the food trucks.
Where do you head for happy hour?
The short answer, again, is everywhere…