Business leaders announced that Milt Peterson, a Washington-area real estate developer, died Wednesday at age 85. His family did not mention a cause of death.
Peterson was the founder and chairman of Peterson Companies, which built several towns around the Washington area. The business was the mastermind behind Downtown Silver Spring as well as Virginia’s planned communities of Burke Centre and Fair Lakes.
The company was best known, however, for constructing National Harbor in Oxon Hill. Several brokers previously tried to groom the forgotten land, but Peterson was the only successful one.
“He looked at a worn out sand and gravel pit on the Potomac River, and transformed it into an internationally recognized destination,” the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation said in a press release. “He stepped in where many others before him had failed, and made National Harbor a reality … Prince George’s County is a better place because of Milt Peterson.”