Columbia Residential’s Founder Dies at 70

Noel Khalil led the company for 30 years and was widely recognized for his contributions to affordable housing.

Noel Khalil. Image courtesy of Columbia Residential

Noel Khalil, the developer and founder of Columbia Residential and Columbia Ventures, has died at 70 after a long illness. During Khalil’s three decades as CEO of the Atlanta-based company, the firm gained a reputation for high-quality projects, notably affordable housing.

The firm started in 1991 as Affordable Housing Partnership Inc., concentrating on real estate development consulting. By 1995, the company expanded to full-service real estate development and management services, adopting its current name in the process. In 2013, Khalil founded Columbia Ventures to focus on residential-anchored mixed-use projects in major southeastern cities.

Today the company’s varied credits include 34 communities encompassing more than 9,000 units. In 2020 Khalil was inducted into the Affordable Housing Hall of Fame for his contributions to the multifamily industry.

Longtime colleagues are remembering the executive for his vision and generosity. “We are deeply saddened at the loss of our founder, mentor, and friend, Noel Khalil,” Jim Grauley, president & chief operating officer of Columbia Residential, told Multi-Housing News. “Noel had an incredible impact on Atlanta and other cities he worked in and his work created nearly 10,000 homes for families from very low income to market-rate.

“His vision and persona were the driving force behind the creation of Columbia Residential and Columbia Ventures and will continue to be our guide and inspiration for carrying the work of our companies forward,” Grauley added.

“Noel’s inspiration of ‘building cathedrals for God’s children’ will extend through the more than 350 associates of our combined companies to animate and continue the great work he started.

“The other thing that is so powerful, and will be so missed about Noel Khalil, is the individual generosity and personal touch he had with so many residents, staff members and partners. There are countless stories being recounted of how Noel gave opportunity, inspired careers, or helped in the most personal and impactful ways in so many lives he touched.”

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