Costello College of Business at George Mason University Announces David Tarter as New Executive Director for Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship


Fairfax, Virginia (May 15, 2024)—Costello College of Business at George Mason University proudly welcomes David Tarter as the new Executive Director for the Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship (CREE) and Master’s in Real Estate Development Program. As the former five term Mayor of the City of Falls Church and an attorney with decades of legal and real estate experience, Tarter will work toward expanding experiential learning opportunities while building the size, reputation, and impact of Costello’s real estate programs and the Center.

David Tarter
David Tarter. Photo by Jeffrey Porovich/Costello

“We are thrilled to have someone with David Tarter’s considerable experience and knowledge as our new Executive Director to take the Center to the next level,” said Ajay Vinzé, dean of the Costello College of Business. “David will enhance the experience that students have come to expect at CREE while also increasing their career readiness. His unique background and skill set will allow Costello to expand collaboration and innovation opportunities within the real estate community, for the benefit of our students.”

As Mayor of Falls Church from 2014 to 2023, Tarter was instrumental in the City’s efforts to revitalize its aging downtown and promote smart growth development. During his tenure, he led the effort for 1.2 million square feet of transit-oriented development near the West Falls Church Metro station through an innovative public-private partnership. With a focus on walkability and street level vibrancy, Tarter helped attract new businesses like Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, and other grocery stores, a downtown multi-screen theater, hotels, senior living, office, and other new development. He has also testified before Congress on behalf of the City on local government matters. Prior to elected office, he chaired the City’s Economic Development Authority, which led the creation of Falls Church’s “Little City” brand.

While Mayor, he served as elected Chair of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC), a coalition of 13 local governments, where he was honored by the Virginia Association of Planning Districts with the Gordon N. Dixon Award for outstanding regional leadership during the coronavirus pandemic. Tarter also was elected as the President for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, a regional body comprised of elected officials from Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. governments facilitating cooperation among the region’s 5.7 million residents.

He previously founded Tarter Nova Law PLC, a boutique firm specializing in commercial real estate where he was lead counsel for governmental entitlements, land use approvals, and transactions for billions of dollars of transit-oriented developments and smart growth projects, including rezonings, site plans, and special exceptions for multi-family residential, office, hotel, and special purpose projects. He has been recognized by his peers as a “Top Attorney” by Martindale-Hubbell, Northern Virginia Magazine, and Arlington Magazine.

Prior to founding his own firm, he was a partner at Lawson, Tarter & Charvet, P.C., specializing in commercial real estate where representative matters included Metropolitan Park, a master planned by internationally recognized architect Robert A.M. Stern for over 3,000 residential units and now home to Amazon HQ2, as well as the Crystal City Sector Plan, where he represented one of the region’s largest property owners in Arlington County’s 40-year plan for Crystal City.

Bridging the gap between academia and practice, the Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship addresses the critical issues affecting the real estate industry and the future of the built environment. The Center supports graduate, undergraduate, and non-degree academic programs by providing scholarships for students, industry association memberships, networking opportunities, career advising, and numerous extra-curricular educational programs such as lectures from industry leaders, a unique student investment fund class, case study tours, webinars, and conferences.

To learn more about the Centers for Excellence at George Mason University, visit

About George Mason University
George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolled more than 40,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the last half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility. In 2023, the university launched Mason Now: Power the Possible, a one-billion-dollar comprehensive campaign to support student success, research, innovation, community, and stewardship. Learn more at

About Costello College of Business at George Mason University
The Donald G. Costello College of Business at George Mason University is one of the largest business schools in Virginia, and is located near Washington, D.C., and in South Korea. The AACSB-accredited college prepares undergraduate and graduate students from the U.S. and across the globe for career success in business and government, through its research-based faculty and focus on multi-disciplinary academic programs, inclusive entrepreneurship, modular education, and corporate partner engagement. Learn more at