About TriStar Group
TriStar Group, LLC is a Baltimore real estate development company dedicated to doing well by doing good.
The TriStar team works to generate current income and long-term wealth for our investors while helping to revitalize the city of Baltimore. As a result, TriStar focuses on income-producing projects that improve the quality of life of the families and neighborhoods we serve. We acquire, renovate and manage multi-family housing with a focus on government voucher programs and private guaranteed rent placements. We also acquire, renovate and manage a portfolio of vacation and corporate rental properties in Baltimore’s most desirable areas. Out latest project, St. Paul CoWork, located in the desirable business district of Baltimore, capitalizes on the growing share economy.
Each member of the TriStar Group team brings a unique skillset to this enterprise. In addition to their individual areas of expertise, the founders each have substantial building and general contracting experience—imperative for evaluating potential and successfully profiting from real estate projects. The TriStar Group founders have more than 75 years combined real estate experience and have completed more than 350 projects.
Meet The Team
Managing Partner, Founder
A native of the Washington DC area, Steve Briggs has over 30 years experience in real estate development, construction, property management, finance and entrepreneurship. His background includes single family detached, townhome and condominium renovation and construction in Virginia, Delaware, Colorado and Vermont. Steve has served as general partner on commercial historic preservation and downtown revitalization projects, utilizing limited partnerships, real estate syndications, industrial revenue bond financing, and private mortgage-backed securities. Steve is a former principal of a national award-winning custom home building company, SAI Contractors, that specializes in green building. He holds a National Association of Home Builders “Master Certified Green Professional” and “Certified Aging in Place” designation. Steve is responsible for corporate finance, business development, legal matters and compliance for TriStar.
Susan Butler Colwell
Managing Partner, Founder
With over 20 years spent as a marketing and communications specialist and a decade spent as a home builder, Principal and Communications Manager Susan Colwell has a clear understanding of the construction industry and real-estate market fluctuations. Susan also spent five years managing two successful vacation-rental companies; Shenview Property Management and River Bend Retreats—both catering to an upscale clientele. Her networking skills and in-depth knowledge of estimating, marketing, property management, communications and sales are tremendous assets in identifying and acting on lucrative investment cycles and attracting buyers, investors and renters. Susan manages marketing & PR, renovations, client and investor relations, vacation-rental sales, fund raising, and communications for TriStar. As a veteran of Public Radio Broadcasting Susan also educates and mentors investors on building long term wealth in real estate through Tristar’s newest platform Real Estate Investor Radio a podcast that lives on Itunes and Real Estate Investor Radio.
Raphael Cassagnol brings more than 21 years real estate investing experience and 17 years construction experience to the TriStar team. During his career, Raphael has completed 81 projects in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. alone and has worked with other investors on projects throughout the U.S. and in Costa Rica. Raphael knows the Baltimore market and has made this city his primary investment focus for the last 3 years. His areas of expertise include multi-family, construction management, property management, senior living facilities and creative financing.
A Maryland native with extensive knowledge of Baltimore, Jason Kuntz brings more than a decade of operations, business management and team-building experience to TriStar Group. His work with various high-profile, high-volume production companies and web developers has proven an excellent background in negotiating the day-to-day operations and business development of TriStar. Jason became the sole video producer and was instrumental in creating a full-service video and motion department at HZDG (an integrated creative agency specializing in branding, advertising, and digital based in Rockville, MD with offices in DC, New York, and Baltimore) where he produced campaigns and content for Rosetta Stone, Volkswagen, and Hilton. At Brightline Interactive (a company specializing in place-based digital experiences for national brands) Jason managed the Business Development team—tripling the previous year’s revenue, while landing four new cornerstone clients. Jason also developed the agency’s first formal creative department. Growing from 2 to 6 employees, the team served as the creative backbone for countless award winning campaigns for the nation’s biggest brands. Jason manages property management, business development and operations for TriStar. Due to his outstanding performance, unwavering dedication to our company and a deep commitment to serving our investors, Jason became a TriStar Group partner in 2018.
General Manager, Charm City Suites
Charm City Suites General Manager, Helen Kruger has 30 years in the hotel industry managing high-revenue, high profile properties throughout the United States-including 15 years at the Ritz Carlton in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia. Much like her impressive track record with Ritz Carlton, Helen has consistently outperformed revenue goals during her time with Charm City Suites by finding and employing lucrative marketing opportunities and revenue-generating strategies. A seasoned hotel executive with distinguished experience in delivering marketing strategies and overseeing daily operations to increase sales and revenues, Helen is a strategic leader with expertise in managing budgets, driving revenue and aligning creative collateral with business objectives. Her expertise in building and strengthening relations with clients, vendors and all members of the organization help TriStar achieve business and financial objectives.
Maria Smith, ARM, NALP
Property Manager, TriStar Property Management
Maria Smith started her property management career as a leasing professional and has 17 plus years experience in both commercial and residential property management. She also has and award-winning track record in multi-million dollar real estate management operations in the Baltimore, D.C., and the Northern Virginia areas. These portfolios included Class A luxury, tax credit, moderate income, plus Section 8 housing; both individual homes to 600 plus unit communities with mixed use space combining residential and commercial. These properties received Gold Star recognition by MMHA for it’s superior curb appeal & best in it’s class category. As a lease up specialist, she brings a wealth of knowledge in construction management, property re-positioning, and real estate marketing. Maria served three years as co-chair member for IREM Chapter 16 in Baltimore as the ARM liaison for new candidates and the real estate education management committee. Maria is passionate about serving residents and business tenants at every level with top notch service and superior sites.