84 MARCH/APRIL 2015 | BETHESDAMAGAZINE.COM
Every worker—including the boss—
wears a motion-sensing pedometer and
as our conversation extends over several hours, his flashes a message. “It’s
telling me ‘Let’s go,’ I’ve been sitting too
much,” he says.
In one room, folks can privately
record their weight and blood pressure and earn prizes for achieving
personal goals. Another space is set
aside for meditation—Abramson
says many employees like to spend
time there before plunging into the
region’s hellish traffic. After meditation, “they’re not so tired,” he says, so
they “come home richer” and readier
to enjoy their families.
The Tower Companies get richer
too. Wellness works as a business strategy, because healthier employees raise
efficiency and lower insurance premiums. “If you do the right thing, you are
rewarding the bottom line,” he says.
The Abramson family story starts
in this area around 1920, when
Abramson’s grandfather moved here
from New York and opened a clothing
store. His father, Sonny, earned a law
degree, became a captain in the Army
Air Force during World War II, and
came home to a grim future.
“He’s a lawyer, he has one client, and
the client is dead,” says Abramson.
Abramson’s mother, Ruth, had saved
$3,000 from her salary as a government
worker during the war, the sum total of
the family’s assets. One day a friend told
Sonny that he had just signed a contract
for a new house and put down a $500
This was postwar Washington and
living space was extremely scarce. The
elder Abramson offered to buy the
contract on the spot and give the man a
He wrote out a check for $1,000
and wandered down the street “in a
complete daze,” says his son. “What
has he done? He’s spent a third of their
money, without telling my mother, on
something he never saw.”
But the young lawyer was learning
fast. He re-sold the contract to another
friend for $1,500, pocketing a $500
profit. As Jeffrey tells it, “My father
would turn to me and say, ‘That’s when
I decided I’m going into real estate.’ ”
Good choice. The elder Abramson
started building houses. Then he partnered with the Giant grocery chain and
constructed shopping centers. Another
partnership with the Lerner family,
which now owns the Washington
Nationals, produced downtown office
buildings and suburban shopping malls
including White Flint.
Meanwhile young Jeffrey was bored
with school. Often he’d skip class at
Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School
and take a bus to Capitol Hill. “It was
alive,” he says.
After graduation he decided to skip
banter | HOMETOWN
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701 King Farm Blvd., Rockville, MD •(240) 398-3842
Call (240) 398-3842 or visit
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a personalized tour!
ISKF Bethesda mag half pg JanFeb Life Well Played ad.indd 1 12/4/2014 3:11: 22 PM