Mike Balaban dreamed of being an architect as a kid in Philadelphia, and with conviction, he set off to obtain his degree, his license and a job designing buildings. Soon, while walking in the proverbial yellow wood, Mike took the road not taken and ended up with an MBA and the head of a major development organization for twenty years. But Mike’s story did not end up like the poem because, lucky for Mike, the roads that once diverged came back together again and returned him to the world of architecture and design. So while Mike was exploring in the woods, fortunate for us, he gained invaluable experience in the investment and development side of the real estate business. Today, having taken the road back to architecture, his experience gives him exceptional insight into the business of design, as Managing Director of the firm, not designing per se, but rather focusing on the planning, operations, and marketing of the firm’s practice.
With graduate degrees in both architecture and business, Mike has procured and managed the activities of best-in-class design practitioners for commercial, residential, and mixed-use properties, involving not only new buildings but also the re-development, adaptive re-use, and historic preservation so vital to the Winstanley practice. Projects have ranged from small quick value-adding projects for wealthy individuals to huge public-private partnerships involving hundreds of millions of private-equity dollars, and extended phased execution. In virtually all of them, the design has been an integral component of success. Formulating, communicating and managing the priorities of complex design programs is at the heart of what we do, and so, doing it from the design side of the table is not all that different: we believe the best teams work at proverbial round tables, with everybody pulling on the same oars.
As the acquirer, developer, and operator of properties, Mike has always been most energized by the confluence of business strategy, project execution, and the opportunity to leverage the contribution of enlightened land-use and architectural design. That is the opportunity and challenge for Winstanley, a firm with a distinctive strategy and a commitment to the built environment. The investors with whom Mike has worked have for the most part the same priorities as the clients for whom we work, and so, as they used to say in Philly, ”same difference”.
Mike has spent most of his professional life in the Amtrak corridor working in Boston, Philadelphia and for 30 years in Washington, DC focusing on urban infill and mixed-use developments. And throughout that period, Mike traveled extensively worldwide and has a remarkable ability to remember places and experiences. Just tell him the next place you are going and if he’s been there, he will tell you his favorite restaurant in that town and what he had for dinner! And if you buy him a beer, you might just get him to talk about the cog-rail train station at the top of the Jungfrau ski region or the way Moscow throbs with the power of an old and huge capital founded over 1,000 years ago by Scandinavians trying to get to the Black Sea. We are not quite sure what happens when you buy him two beers!!
Mike Balaban dreamed of being an architect as a kid in Philadelphia, and with conviction, he set off to obtain his degree, his license and a job designing buildings. Soon, while walking in the proverbial yellow wood, Mike took the road not taken and ended up with an MBA and the head of a major development organization for twenty years. Full Bio
Leejung Hong LEED AP
Leejung Hong LEED AP tackles both architecture and planning assignments with a vengeance. Clients love her organizational skills and have basically just resigned themselves to do what she says.
Michael Winstanley AIA
Michael Winstanley AIA leads the office creatively. He has won numerous design awards in architecture interiors and planning. His work has been widely published. Mr. Winstanley has been responsible for over 20 design awards from professional organizations.
George Eisenberger AIA LEED AP
George Eisenberger AIA LEED AP is very knowledgeable of building technology and project management protocols. He leads the technical compliance and quality assurance program for the firm.
Lisa McCabe Hobbs AIA LEED AP
Lisa McCabe Hobbs AIA LEED AP is interested in the quality of life. An architect with over 20 years of experience, Lisa loves taking challenging projects and making them simpler than the sum of all the complicated parts.