David S. Houston


David Houston concentrates his practice on real estate development, with particular emphasis on land use, zoning, and commercial leasing.

David represents land developers, owners, companies, and institutions, including prominent office and mixed use developers in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. He regularly provides in-depth zoning and land use analysis and counsel on a variety of complex development issues. He works with clients to analyze applicable development requirements, prepare all necessary applications, garner support for projects, and review and present land use proposals in public hearings and other forums.

David also has significant commercial leasing experience representing both landlords and tenants in transactions ranging from specialty retailers, theatres, big box stores, restaurants, fitness centers and entertainment uses, to in-line retail stores in super-regional and regional malls, lifestyle centers, neighborhood shopping centers, and mixed use street-level locations.

Chambers USA has recognized David since 2007 as a leading real estate attorney in Northern Virginia. In 2013, he was selected by Virginia Business Magazine as one of Virginia’s “Legal Elite: Real Estate/Land Use” attorneys. He has also received an AV® Preeminent Rating in both legal ability and ethical standards from Martindale-Hubbell®.


  • A landowner and master developer, in regard to all land use and zoning approvals for a 1.64 million square foot transit-oriented development containing office, multi-family residential, hotel, retail and mass transit parking facilities in Herndon, Virginia.
  • The largest privately owned residential property management company in the Mid-Atlantic region as land use counsel for a new multi-family high rise project in a designated revitalization area in Annandale, Virginia.
  • A major regional development company, in the entitlement process for a new luxury condominium community in Fairfax, Virginia.
  • A senior housing developer, in the acquisition and zoning approvals for a new assisted living and memory care facility in Reston, Virginia.
  • A public REIT, in retail and restaurant lease transactions in its Washington, DC metropolitan area office and mixed use properties.
  • A master developer for the replanning and redevelopment of an existing private school property to create a successful mixed use community in Fairfax, Virginia.
  • A national fitness company, in lease transactions for several brands and uses.
  • A leading wholesale distributor of petroleum services, in land use and zoning matters for its retail service station properties in the metropolitan Washington, DC region.
  • An independent boarding and day school, in land use planning and special exception approvals for its 370 acre campus in McLean, Virginia.
  • A national grocery retailer, in the development approval process to expand and revitalize existing stores and construct new stores in Northern Virginia.
  • Hotel developers as land use counsel in connection with the expansion of existing facilities and development of new properties in Northern Virginia.
  • Multi-generational Mid-Atlantic automobile dealers as land use counsel for new construction projects.


Professional Activities

David is currently a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, the Urban Land Institute, and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), and serves on the board of advisers for the Commercial Lease Law Insider. David has been a member of the American Bar Association, American Institute of Certified Planners, American Planning Association, USGBC – National Capital Region Chapter, and a LEED green associate of the U.S. Green Building Council.



  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia


  • George Washington University Law School, JD
  • University of Virginia, BP