Custom homebuilder Michael Banks is developing the abodes of tomorrow.
Michael Banks at 4840 Dexter St. NW, one of the homes his firm has completed
Michael Banks didn’t have to look much further than his own home to find his career path. “I always felt like being a builder is what I was supposed to become,” says the principal of The Banks Development Co. (banksdevco.com), a custom homebuilding venture he runs with brother Scott and colleague David Alokonis. “You could say it’s in my blood. For me, it’s also a way to connect to my (now-deceased) father and grandfather.”
This family tree has deep roots. It begins with grandfather William Strang Banks, who co-founded DC construction firm Banks and Lee Development Inc. in the 1940s. It was later run by his sons, one of whom was Michael and Scott’s dad, Robert.
The company has seen plenty of growth in the industry over the years, having worked with high-profile clients in the region (think former Capitals star Mike Green and wife Courtney) and earning various awards. Today, he and his team are seeing a greater pull toward “good modern homes—looser floor plans and informal living,” he says. “But for us, the simpler the design, the more exacting the craftsmanship.”
He is excited about a future spec collab with Jones Boer Architects that veers more contemporary. “We feel it’s important to do a spec house every few years to show... the possibilities,” he adds, like 3030 Chain Bridge Road NW. The $16.5 million manse was the highest sale in DC in 2018.
Keeping things in the family, Michael’s wife, Ally, is also an interior designer, whose work was recently featured in Southern Home. “We have four kids,” he says. “For years, we’ve brought them to job sites. Right now, they all yell ‘No!’ at the prospect. But who knows what will pique their future interest.”