By Iris Richmond. "We're not custom builders," adds Phillip Creek, CFO of the Columbus, Ohio-based company. "Substantial changes have to be made to every home, and construction time takes twice as long as our core business, which isn't the best thing for us."

A business transaction concluded at the beginning of the year between Schottenstein, former division president Gary Haarer, and regional president Gary Carlson provided a smooth exit for the 16th-largest builder. The new owners split the division into two unaffiliated new companies offering high-end homes: Luxor Homes and Carlson Homes. Both builders expect to sell homes in the $800,000 range this year.

Details of the transaction, which Creek characterizes as immaterial, remain private, although Carlson says he considers the arrangement to be very generous.

"The division represented a good-sized investment for Schottenstein, and as a big producer with an affordable housing objective it didn't make sense," Carlson says. "In this area, affordable is anything under $500,000."

BIG BUILDER Magazine, April 2002