Craig Evanco’s priorities are clear-cut and two-fold: family and work, in that order.
With 1 million square feet of assets in his current portfolio, Evanco has made plenty of investments during his 40-year realty tenure, but some stand out as more important than the rest.
“I feel my best investments are my four children,” Evanco said. “And I also am thankful everyday that my wife was very supportive and we have been through, gee whiz, 41 years, a strong team.”
Evanco remembers tagging along with his dad, who worked for a national retail chain, to check out potential sites for shopping centers as a child. Seeing Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate signs plastered over vacant lots got his real estate juices flowing, and a stint at a men’s clothing shop while studying at San Diego State University sealed the deal. There Evanco was able to interact with men from a variety of business backgrounds, and found himself particularly drawn to the commercial realtors.
“Through my days at the toggery shop selling clothes, I was introduced to some of these people and I just liked them,” Evanco said. “They had good personalities, they were very upbeat, they were very positive and very professional. And I liked that. And I liked the bigness, I liked the scale that you know you’re involved in acres of land to either build a shopping center or an office building or an industrial park.”
Out of college Evanco worked in banking for a year and a half, but always with commercial real estate as the end goal. When a position opened at Coldwell Banker, he jumped on it. After amassing 19 years of experience, he decided to branch out on his own and founded Evanco Realty Advisors in 1993.
Evanco attributes much of his firm’s recent success to a decision five years ago to more narrowly define its purpose and drastically reduce the services offered from nine to three. Now Evanco Realty Advisors focuses on acquisitions, development, and asset and property management. Evanco said this list will dwindle further next year, as development is cut. He said finding a niche market and specializing in both location and services offered is key for success in today’s market.
“I think today you need to focus more and be more highly specialized,” Evanco said. “There were brokers many years ago that would do office, industrial [and] retail — and it worked. They served their clients well.
“The commercial real estate industry today is so much different because you really need to define who you are, you need to define and know the geographic region, and you need to know and define the asset class.”
Evanco Realty’s largest asset class is multi-tenant industrial, with investment parameters between $1 million and $4 million in total property value for acquisitions. The bulk of Evanco Realty’s holdings are in the 50,000 to 75,000 square foot range.
“What that does is it creates a niche for us that typically the larger companies don’t go after, and some of the smaller companies are not geared up for properties that big,” Evanco said. “So even though there is competition, we never really look at it as competition. We look at it as friends in the industry.”