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March 26, 2008

Our friends at Prologis, the world's largest owner, manager and developer of distribution facilities, have been ranked No. 1 in the real estate industry on FORTUNE's 2008 list of "America's Most Admired Companies"—and it’s the second year in a row! Congrats.


Always looking for an excuse to go to lunch in Annapolis, we zipped out Rt. 50 yesterday to see what kind of brilliant people are able to set up a commercial real estate shop (of national scope) on the water. Basile Baumann Prost Cole is a “development adviser” specializing in helping public sector agencies figure out what to do with valuable land and other assets, then seeing the projects through from soup to nuts. They’ve helped DC evaluate the land on which City Vista has risen, and for the New Jersey Transit Corp. helped convert property to encourage ridership and generate revenue for transit improvements. Over their 18 years, they’ve done work in 47 states and 4 countries, and created $8B in construction.


Middle and right yesterday, co-founders Ralph Basile and Jim Prost, with VP Dave Starnes.   The 38-person firm’s biggest client has been the US Navy, which they help to privatize real estate assets around the globe—giving them an excuse for another great office in San Diego and work in other Navy hubs in Seattle, Charleston, and Norfolk. They also work with the private side, like on Gallery Place with Western Development and Akridge. Currently they’re helping Fairfax County evaluate developer proposals for a $100M mixed-use rehab of the former Lorton Penitentiary. (Must be a view of the water from there, too.)

Kane Company

When they’re not crunching numbers, you’ll find Jim remodeling his historic townhouse on Bolton Hill, Ralph outside boating, fishing, or hunting, and Dave jogging—this past weekend he ran an “Ultra Marathon” (a 50 miler!) in 10 hours and 18 minutes.  He swears he made it into work on time Monday morning.  



Local real estate maven, Donna Evers of Evers & Co., has been in the DC market for 33 years and seen a lot of trends come and go.  But the biggest change she’s seen has been in the last 10: “Everyone wants to be near commercial right now—stores, restaurants, and of course, Metro."  We paid a visit to her Chevy Chase office to talk with the gal who started the largest independent woman-owned-and-run residential real estate company in the Metro area.


As far as DC goes, Donna says the city “used to be grey but is now very young.”  And, of course, the young people want to be where the action is.  "Ten years ago, if people could look out a window in the house they were thinking of buying, and see a commercial building or a store, they wouldn't want it. Now it's just the opposite, a “more European-city concept.”  


Despite growing popularity of books like The Not-So-Big House, Donna hasn’t seen that translate to real buyers yet. “People don’t want to give up size.”  And, contrary to media reports, Donna said housing prices haven’t gone down, but actually risen 2% in DC, Montgomery County, Falls Church, Arlington, and Alexandria. The Michigan-native started Evers & Co in 1985 and now has 60 agents between her Chevy Chase, Bluemont, and Dupont Circle offices.  When she’s not working, you’ll find her and her husband of 43 years, Bob, at their country home in Bluemont “among grapevines and sweeping views of the Shenandoah Valley.”  She says when they bought the place, she thought, “Wouldn’t a vineyard look nice here?” so they planted in ’99 and had their first vintage of cabernet franc and chardonnay in 2002.

Reznick Group
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