Earlier this year, The Washingtonian Group decided to create this blog as an outlet to spotlight the people, places and things we truly love and recommend. Each month, The Close will be spotlighting a local DMV influencer and leader in their field. As soon as the The Close was conceptualized, the team unanimously agreed there was no better person to feature than our partner and friend, Brach Roache'.
We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Architect and Developer, Brach Roache' to ask him about his life and business success thus far. What was initially intended to be an article focused on just real-estate somehow turned into much more. What evolved instead: an incredibly honest and profound discussion about the importance of timing, vision, and purpose.
In preparation for this interview, Brach asked us to familiarize ourselves with the term Alchemy.
What is Alchemy? Historically speaking, it is the medieval forerunner of chemistry, based on the supposed transformation of matter. The practice of alchemy was concerned particularly with attempts to convert base metals into gold or to find a universal elixir. Most commonly today, the term refers to the seemingly magical process of any type of transformation, creation, or combination.
We still didn’t quite understand what he was getting at or how this was going to relate to our interview, but after we sat down together it all began to make sense.
It became clear why the concept of Alchemy is something that Brach passionately refers back to several times over the course of our interview.
Throughout our interview, we learned that there are many facets to his work; some are very creative, some very detailed and calculated, and some are based solely on financing and timing. It seems as though his work and legacy are the direct product of Alchemy in action; many combined visions and efforts over a period of time that ultimately (sometimes seemingly magically) culminate into one big, positive ripple effect.
“As a developer, my job is to look at problem areas and ask ‘How do I resolve this issue?’
There are two different approaches any one (business person) can take: Number One is profit by all means necessary...The other approach which is to ask, “How do I connect with this community philanthropically, and how can I advance this community without displacing people?”
While pursuing football professionally in college, Brach simultaneously managed to work towards his degree(s) in architecture and environmental planning. From an early age, his passions were always split between fine arts and football, but after learning more about his family history, one thing became clear: He knew that he wanted to use his talent and platform as a way to help people and create a legacy for himself. Growing up in the “mixing bowl of Silver Springs” as he called it, meant experiencing different cultures from a young age. This lead him to the realization that when the city planning is done well, “all different cultures can come together because there’s no need for segregation when a community is designed with a natural flow.”
We had some more questions for Brach, wouldn’t you?! Keep reading on for the full interview, and prepare to be inspired...
TWG: How did you meet Andres and begin working with The Washingtonian Group?
B: Through an investor I’ve known for years, he’s actually a good friend of mine...One of my roles was to go out and hunt for large (development) projects; a lot of his investments are located in the states and internationally. It just so happened that my friend knew Andres, and recommended we link up since Andres also has partners and clients all around the world.
Funny enough, we touched based in 2017 sometime, but we didn’t necessarily move forward with anything right away; there was a large gap of time that passed before I reached back out to him. It’s all about timing.
TWG: Life is all about timing, and relationships especially…
B: Absolutely! It can be the right person, wrong time and if you link up too soon then you really miss the opportunity to gain the full potential of that relationship.
TWG: YES! You could not have said it any better. It definitely takes tuning into your intuition, but how exactly do you feel you know when “the right time” is?
B: It’s a skill set that takes time to hone. One thing I try to do when I form my relationships with people is take myself out of it, and put myself in the other person’s shoes. It really comes down to tuning into empathy. I try to be as empathetic as possible; I ask myself things like: how does it feel to be this person, what are they facing on a day to day basis, what kind of fears and or pressures do they have, ect.. Do you know what I mean? I try to put myself in their shoes to the full extent so I understand how to be of service to them.
TWG: That’s really profound. I think as real estate agents we can learn a lot from that concept, but especially in our personal relationships, too. The job of an architect and developer is so impactful because the work you create literally impacts people’s lives on a small and a large scale, day in and day out. How exactly do you approach a new project?
B: I approach a new business venture the same way I approach each and every relationship I have. Every relationship we have in our lives is based on value. So if I can bring value to someone’s life, or to their business, that’s when it’s a meaningful relationship that can weather storms. For me, this concept transfers into each relationship and opportunity that I have, whether it’s personal or business. I do my best to approach everyone I encounter with compassion, and sit back and observe the situation until I have a really good feel for the next move that is best for everyone.
TWG: Do you think this approach is what naturally aligns you with the right people?
B: Yes, Absolutely! A very large scale of my work comes from natural interactions that have unfolded organically, without me having to force it. Mostly, the skill is in learning how to pay attention, be observant, and operate with other’s needs in mind first.
TWG: As an architect, how do you know when you have created the best design for your client?
B: The basis of architecture is finding a concept that flows in every single layer. That’s where the success is, whether that’s planning large neighborhood development project or building single family homes...but again, it’s all about timing. Sometimes it takes several months just to come up with the best concept that works for a space. You have to allow things to take form naturally without rushing the process.
TWG: What exactly is a developer’s role?
B: At the highest level, they are they people working through all the complicated, unique problems, solving equations (literally and figuratively), and coming up with all of the creative solutions. The best developers are the ones that have relationships with the people, with the community. There have been times where I work with mayors; we look at the entire city from an elevated perspective, and analyze problem areas, hot-spots, historic districts, and we come up with ways to optimize the areas. Good developers are people who take the time to connect with the people they're serving so that they design and build with them in mind. They must also understand the local economy and markets.
TWG: Can you explain the difference between what flippers do and what a true developer does?
B: Flippers are often inexperienced investors who buy and flip properties for the sole purpose of turning a profit, that's not development and it can often times serve as a disservice to a community in many ways.
TWG: You have so many projects you are always working on the same time. How do you stay motivated when you are feeling challenged or stretched thin?
B: After many years working tirelessly as an NFL prospect, ultimately what made me strongest was being forced to recover from a near death injury; that taught me so much. I remember laying on the football field, waking up from being unconscious, and as I'm in coming to, the words came to me like a rush, "You've got to make a decision with what way you want your life to go and evolve into something more." I hung up my cleats after that because I knew it was time for me to transition and pursue my passion for architecture. During that time, I really had to become a different person, and that's part of the Alchemy. We die for our own self over and over and become a new person in order to reach new heights. So to answer your question, it isn't so much something that I do, but rather a mindset that I have developed that has literally been woven into my identity over time.
TWG: What is one thing in life that you are most grateful for right now?
B: I always knew deep down that there was a greater purpose to my path, but I’ve faced a lot of adversity in my life and results for me didn’t materialize overnight, so I have really had to practice patience. But these days I feel like I’m finally starting to step into a very prominent role in my industry and I feel a lot of respect from my peers. I’m also very fortunate that people have recognized my talent and tenacity...Now I’m getting to a point in life where I’m naturally aligning with people who act as a power circuit to my life and I’m really grateful to know that I am only ever one call away from anything I need. It’s a really amazing feeling to know my hard work and dedication is what created that.