Kevin Plank, who founded performance apparel behemoth Under Armour as a 24-year-old entrepreneur, recently sold his Georgetown home for $17.8 million. He and his wife D. J. Plank originally offered the house in 2018 for $29.5 million, which was the highest listing price on the DC market at the time.
Finding no buyers, they relisted it at $24.5 million, and on June 15 they finalized the sale at almost 40 percent below their original asking price.
From Football Player to Billionaire
In the 1990s Plank was a college football player who had walked on at the University of Maryland. He played fullback and was a special teams captain. At the time players wore cotton T-shirts under their jerseys, and during practices and games they would become so waterlogged with sweat that they had to be changed several times.
Kevin Plank thought there ought to be a better way. Players wore compression shorts made of technical materials that didn’t retain excessive moisture. Certainly a shirt could have the same properties. Plank set about developing a microfiber shirt with sweat-wicking properties that would keep him and his teammates more comfortable.
He set up shop in his grandmother’s DC home, not far from the 34th Street property he and his wife would later own. Once he had a product, he traveled the East coast with samples in the trunk of his car. He used $20,000 of saving and took on $40,000 in credit card debt. Late in 1996 he made his first big team sale and Under Armour was on its way to success.
A New Kind of Sports Apparel
“Performance apparel” wasn’t even a clothing category when Under Armour began its explosive growth. Soon competitors such as Nike, Reebok and Adidas would introduce their own wicking sports clothing. But Under Armour was the company that lead the way.
Under Armour eventually expanded from T-shirts into other items of apparel such as pants, leggings, shorts, caps and gloves. They also sell bags, caps and protective gear and are a major player in supplying team uniforms. Over the years they have engaged sports celebrities such as NBA start Stephen Curry and celebrity wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as spokespersons for their product line.
Kevin Plank took the company public in 2005. Today it has over 14,000 employers and annual sales of around $5 billion. Soon it will move into a new 4 million square foot headquarters at Port Covington, a center currently being developed along Baltimore Harbor. Plank is the executive director of the multi-billion dollar, 235 acre project.
Under Armour’s steady growth leveled off in 2017 and 2018 and the company actually lost money in those years. In October of last year Plank stepped down from the corporation as CEO but remains involved as the brand chief. He is now 47 years old.
In 2013, Kevin and D. J. Plank bought the residence at 1405 34th St. Northwest for around $7.85 million. Built in 1820, it boasted a proud historical legacy as a home to an ambassador and a hosting site for US presidents and world leaders, but the stately interior was somewhat dated with too many beige furnishings and too much dark hardwood.
It was overdue for an update, and the Planks engaged Maryland designers Patrick Sutton and Pyramid Building to undertake a renovation. They added a lower-level media room designed and furnished to look like a Prohibition-era speakeasy.
The gem of the renovation, however, is the stunning million-dollar marble staircase. It weighs 22,000 pounds and is built from the same marble used in the Jefferson Memorial.
A First-rate DC Property
Today the property shines as one of Washington’s premier homes. The 12,000 square foot federal style building sits on a third of an acre and enjoys nearly half a block of frontage. There is ample resident parking, an unusual feature in the capital city.
The three-story building is partially covered by ivy that hints at the luxury to be found inside. Among the many features are a gourmet kitchen any chef would be pleased with and a whiskey and cigar room. There’s a heated lap pool and a detached gym.
There are eight bedrooms, eight full baths and four half baths. Each of the upstairs bedrooms is dedicated to an American president. The bedroom suite is a double master that pays homage to George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt.
During their ownership, the Planks entertained guests from around the world, but they found they used the Georgetown home less frequently than they had anticipated. Their primary residence is in Greenspring Valley in Baltimore County, closer to the new Under Armour facility. They have two children and their net worth is approximately $1 billion.