Since 1980, Bob Mendelsohn has directed the coordination of large development projects, usually involving public/private partnerships. His work includes selection and assembling of viable professional teams, assisting in securing financing and directing development activities during the pre-construction phase. He has played a major role in the development of some 8 million square feet of mixed-use projects in Washington, D.C., with a combined value of over $2.3 billion, including Market Square (1.2 million sq. ft.), Washington Harbor (700,000 sq. ft.), The Portals (3 million sq. ft.), the Ronald Reagan Building (3 million sq. ft.); as well as the Brentwood Road USPS General Mail Facility (600,000 sq. ft.). The Ronald Reagan Building, after the Pentagon, the largest federal building in the United States, is a good example of Mendelsohn’s efforts. Originally called “The International Cultural and Trade Center”, the project was the subject of spirited competition conducted by the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation and the General Services Administration. Mendelsohn formed, and was a partner in, The Delta Partnership, which won the award. As the Federal Triangle Corporation, the venture designed and constructed this landmark development.
Bob Mendelsohn served as president of the West Coast Division of Republic Urban Properties LLC from 2005 to October 2008. Under his leadership, Republic was awarded the right to co-develop the first major Transit Oriented Development project undertaken by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, which operates the light rail system in the San Jose region. Transit Oriented Development is of particular interest to Mendelsohn, who co-authored with Joseph Bender (consultant to the Master Developer) a book on best practices in the field, together with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Returning City: Historic Preservation and Transit in the Age of Civic Renewal. The book was produced at the request of Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta, and funded by DOT. Currently, Mendelsohn leads Republic Metropolitan, LLC, specializing in public/private projects.
Bob Mendelsohn graduated cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in political science. Following his graduation in 1959, he completed the Coro Foundation Internship in Public Affairs in 1960-1961. He went on to become the Community Relations Specialist for the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency.
Following his tenure with the Redevelopment Agency, Mendelsohn became the Administrative Assistant to State Senator J Eugene McAteer of San Francisco, for whom he co-wrote State Bill #309, the “Save the Bay” Act that created the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), of which he was an original member.
In 1967, Mendelsohn was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and was reelected in 1971 and 1975. During this time, he represented the City on the BCDC and the California Coastal Zone Conservation Commission.
Mendelsohn then went to Washington, D.C., in 1977 to become Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior, Cecil D. Andrus, in the administration of President Jimmy Carter. He represented Secretary Andrus on the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Commission which directed the transformation of a blighted and embarrassing eyesore into a grand boulevard, bordered by handsome well-designed buildings. As a member of the Board of Trustees of the Wolf Trap Foundation, he served on the building committee that rebuilt the Filene Center after it was destroyed by fire. Central to the project’s success was a public/private financing program, devised by Mendelsohn.
He was later appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council. As a member of the three-member Executive Committee of the Museum Development Committee, he helped direct the design and construction of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Currently, as a member of the board of The San Francisco Museum At The Palace, Mendelsohn is helping to lead the effort to adaptively reuse the historic and iconic Palace of Fine Arts as a museum complex celebrating the innovation stories of San Francisco and the Bay Area.
Mendelsohn has served on the Board of Washington Trustees of the Federal City Council; as a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Parks and Conservation Association; as a member of the Executive Board of the College of Letters and Science, University of California, Berkeley; and as a member of the Board of the Coro Center for Civic Leadership.