Nearly 200 employees from a commercial real estate firm were surprised during a holiday party with a bonus check in celebration of the company’s latest milestone.

St. John Properties, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, said it surprised its workers with $10 million dollar in bonuses that will be divided between all 198 employees based on how long they’ve been with the company.

Company founder and chairman Edward St. John kept the secret tightly concealed, with only five employees aware of the bonus before the surprise announcement at Saturday’s holiday party, according to a news release.

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St. John Properties decided to gift the money in celebration of the company “developing 20 million square feet of office, flex/R&D, retail, and warehouse space in eight states,” the news release said. The goal was set all the way back in 2005.

During the holiday party, St. John addressed the crowd in attendance while sealed red envelopes were handed to each employee.

“To celebrate the achievement of our goal, we wanted to reward our employees in a big way that would make a significant impact on their lives,” St. John said, according to the news release.

“I am thankful for every one of our employees, for their hard work and dedication. I couldn’t think of a better way to show it.”

St. John invited his employees to open their red envelopes, revealing the amount of their bonus written inside. The average employee received $50,000, the news release stated.

Video footage captured the moments that employees saw their checks — which were gifted in addition to their regular year-end bonuses and other company benefits.

“What happened tonight was magical,” one employee said. “It is life-changing.”

St. John, who founded St. John Properties, Inc. in 1971 with two employees, credited the success and growth of the company to the hard work and dedication of his employees.

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“I steer the boat, but they’re the ones that run the boat. They’re the ones that make the boat go,” St. John said in the video.

“My philosophy has always been to surround myself with the best and the brightest — and that is what we have done,” he said.

“Every professional at St. John Properties is committed to excellence every day.”

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