David K. Gildea

David K. Gildea, the managing partner of the firm, practices in the area of real estate development, land use and zoning. His practice area includes all jurisdictions in Maryland, with a focus on the Baltimore Metropolitan Area.

Mr. Gildea has represented entities ranging from large federal agencies to NYSE traded homebuilders and REITs to local land developers and retailers in obtaining development and entitlement approvals.  The types of projects Mr. Gildea has been involved in range from large town center mixed-use development, urban redevelopment efforts, large residential developments, hotels, hospitals, medical office buildings, apartment buildings,  multi-story office buildings, grocery-anchored retail centers, retirement communities, home improvement centers, industrial warehouses, fuel service stations, storage facilities, and a vast myriad of other uses.  Mr. Gildea has been involved in many large-scale projects in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area and is knowledgeable about the Growth Allocation process and obtaining approvals in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area.  Mr. Gildea has also been involved in many rezonings and Planned Unit Developments (“PUDs”) throughout the State of Maryland, most notably in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area. 

Mr. Gildea has strong relationships with local and State governmental agencies involved in the regulatory/entitlement process.  Mr. Gildea routinely resolves issues involving the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Maryland Department of Transportation, particularly with the State Highway Administration (“SHA”).

Mr. Gildea prides himself in working with both governmental agencies and community associations in a collaborative fashion. Mr. Gildea routinely works extensively with various stakeholders prior to commencing the development review process to resolve potential issues at the beginning of the process, rather than at the middle.  As a result, Mr. Gildea has been able to obtain numerous regulatory approvals for projects, while managing to have a small percentage of approvals appealed.  Mr. Gildea works to put projects in the ground, rather than in the courts, and always with a view towards gaining approvals in an expeditious manner.

Mr. Gildea received his J.D. degree from the University of Baltimore (cum laude), his B.A. degree from Washington and Lee University (cum laude) and his diploma from St. Paul's School for Boys in Baltimore, Maryland (cum laude). After passing the bar, he was the law clerk for the Honorable James T. Smith, Jr. in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County.

In the News

  • Smith, Gildea join Baltimore mayor’s team

    Officials with regional law firm Smith, Gildea & Schmidt LLC announced Wednesday that James T. Smith Jr. has left the firm to take on the role of chief of strategic alliances in the administration of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and Managing Partner David K. Gildea has been appointed to serve …Read More »
  • David Gildea appointed to Mayor Catherine Pugh’s Transition Team

    Smith, Gildea & Schmidt, LLC (SGS) is pleased to announce that Managing Partner David K. Gildea has been appointed to serve on newly elected Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s transition team. He has been named to the Development and Permitting committee of the Transition Team, which has been tasked with providing …Read More »
  • Court upholds Baltimore County’s rejection of referendum petitions

    A Baltimore County judge has upheld the local election board’s decision to reject petitions that sought to overturn county zoning maps. Circuit Judge Jan Marshall Alexander ruled this week in the case. In February, the county election board rejected the petitions used in the ballot drive, saying that signature collectors …Read More »


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