At 20, Donald Mammano began his own company, while attending the University of Scranton.
Mammano, now 33, and president of DFM Properties, recalls, as a youngster, holding a flashlight while his father fixed the kitchen sink. “From that point on I was fascinated,” he said. One day, he disassembled his dad’s ride on lawn mower, to make sense of the motor. “Unfortunately I got a little ahead of myself and was not able to put it back together before he got home from work,” he said.
His college experience fueled his fire. “When I stepped foot on campus I saw the market for college housing surrounding the University of Scranton. With my family background in real estate and construction in New York City, it clicked instantly,” he said. He began searching for houses in the newspaper. A few weeks into freshman year while socializing with his college mates off campus, he was inspecting the boiler rooms and asking to see their lease. “The next day I called my father and told him I wanted to drop out of college and start buying, renovating houses and renting them to students. He laughed at me and said get your college degree first and let us talk about it in four years.”
Mammano spent the next two years researching properties around campus and educating himself about market. By his junior year he informed his father he would graduate on time, but couldn’t wait to begin his business any longer. By the time he graduated he owned three houses and had approximately 35 tenants. “I was having so much fun doing what I loved to do while building my business, I never looked at it as working,” he noted.
Mammano finds it rewarding to transform a distressed property and turn it into a financially viable and ascetically pleasing property for the community.
Today DFM Properties provides housing to more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and medical students in the Scranton area. His companies specializes in student housing, real estate management, development and construction.
Notable projects are:
• a property at 317 Linden Street which is now a luxury apartment complex for graduate and medical students consisting of 56 apartments, an on site fitness center, rec room and laundry facility.
• the former Watres Armory, a 110,000- square-foot building, was fully renovated and leased to a world renowned, New York City-based artist. It is now a private museum for the collection and artworks of artist Hunt Slonem.
•The historic mansion, in the Woolworth estate is being renovated by DFM now.