LBCW was founded in 1984 by Clay W. Hamlin, III and Lynn B. Hamlin to facilitate their family's business investments. The Hamlin family has a long track record as successful investors with a particular focus on real estate.
In 1989, Clay partnered with Jay Shidler of The Shidler Group to form Hamlin / Shidler Investment Corporation ("H/SIC"). H/SIC focused on investments in commercial real estate properties in the Mid-Atlantic region. The strategy was successful and by 1994 H/SIC had participated in the formation of two publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trusts ("REITs"). In addition, by 1997, H/SIC had amassed another $170 million of commercial office assets. In order to facilitate the continued growth of its portfolio, H/SIC merged its commercial property holdings into a publicly traded REIT named Royale Investments. Upon completion of the merger, H/SIC partners became the controlling shareholders of Royale, and Clay was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the company. In 1998, Royale changed its name to Corporate Office Properties Trust ("COPT").
In 1998, under Clay's leadership, COPT's growth continued with the acquisition of Constellation Real Estate Group, the real estate subsidiary of Baltimore Gas & Electric Company. The transaction increased COPT's portfolio by 59% and made the company one of the largest commercial real estate operators in the Mid-Atlantic region. In that same year, COPT completed an offering of 7.5 million shares of stock and became listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "OFC". Since 1998, COPT has become a leading acquirer, developer and manager of commercial properties for the United States Government and the defense and information technology sectors. The Company's quarterly dividend has increased over 300% since 1998 and in the decade ending December 31, 2009, COPT produced a total return of 692% - the highest among all equity REITs.
In 2005, Clay retired as Chief Executive Officer of COPT and began to devote significant time to the management of LBCW. In 2009 LBCW began a strategy of putting in place a talented, professional management team dedicated to the task of diversifying LBCW's investments for the long-run benefit of the Hamlin family. As part of this strategy management has increased the partnership's exposure to asset classes beyond real estate.
Today, LBCW continues to grow and is actively pursuing its investment strategy through an extensive network of investment partners that allows it to select among the best investments from a broad range of companies and management teams, private equity and hedge funds, and other private investors and entrepreneurs.