Crescent Resources LLC
400 South Tryon Street, Suite 1300, Charlotte, NC 28202 Revenues: 2001 revenues for Crescent's residential division: $430 million. 2002: No projections available. (Crescent is a business unit of Duke Energy, which does not report revenues by business unit.)
Overview: Specializing in high-end, residential master-planned communities with custom home projects, Crescent communities give buyers larger lots, walking trails, green space, and activity consolidated to the community. Crescent projects include spec homes where buyers can find products in varying stages. By making some modifications, most can get "about 90 percent of their dream home," says Art Raymond, senior vice president of residential development. "We don't see many true custom packages today, where people buy a lot and say they will build their dream home in two years. It produces divorces instead of houses."
LandMar Group LLC
10161 Centurion Parkway N., Suite 190, Jacksonville, FL 32256 Revenues: 2001: $56 million; 2002 projections: $52 million.
Overview: Specializing in community development, LandMar has found its niche by creating high-end communities with amenities in great locations and making them affordable for the mid-range buyer. "The key is to be ahead of the curve for hot markets," says Ed Burr, president and CEO. A recent land purchase in Brooksville, Fla., located about 45 miles north of Tampa, is an example. "I just bought 1,800 acres that I think is going to be a bedroom community for the north Tampa and Pasco (county) business market," says Burr. About 70 percent of LandMar's business focuses on master planned communities with about 30 percent directed at "opportunity development," says Burr. This includes infill and oceanfront projects.
Forest City Enterprises
1100 Terminal Tower, 50 Public Square, Cleveland, OH 44115 Revenues: 2001: $795 million; 2002: $907 million.
Overview: "At Forest City, we're very committed to a city strategy," says Ronald Ratner, executive vice president of Forest City Enterprises and president of the residential group. "Cities are complex to work in, but we think they offer great rewards." A specialist in urban development, Forest City is currently involved in several residential infill projects: most notably Stapleton, in Denver. When the city of Denver chose to close its airport, the decision was made to develop the 4,200 acre parcel as balanced community for residents to live, work, and play. Since January 2001, 650 lots sold and 460 homes have closed. Products range from $175,000 to $700,000, and there are waiting lists for each of the product types. "I can't think of another project that is like Stapleton anywhere else in the country," says Ratner. With four strategic business units, Forest City could commit to develop retail, office, and residential over a long period of time. "We are the 6-fingered glove to fit the six-fingered hand," says Ratner. "We have all the different skills within one entity, so we could meet Denver's need for flexibility."
The Empire Companies
3536 Concours Street, Suite 300, Ontario, CA 91764 Revenues: 2001: N/A; 2002 projections: $105 million.
Overview: After selling his home-building business, Forecast Homes, to K. Hovnanian Enterprises, Jim Preveti, president, took the proceeds and formed The Empire Companies in January of 2002. Specializing in master planned communities, residential developments, and commercial projects in California's Inland Empire, Preveti says the company's objective is to provide a steady stream of fully entitled, finished lots on as as-needed basis. This Just-In-Time delivery process is offered through Empire Capital's Homebuilder Entitled Lot Purchase Program -- or HELP. "At Empire, we have specialists within our team that know how to do the entitlements," says Preveti. "That's our expertise."
3030 LBJ Freeway, Suite 1500, Dallas, TX 75234 Revenues: 2001: $1.5 billion; 2002 projections: N/A.
Overview: By recognizing the country's demographic shift of aging baby boomers, Terrabrook has been able to capitalize on new markets and has shifted its business focus as well. "Five or six years ago, pretty much everything we did was at the edge of growth with a big piece of land -- 4,000 or 5,000 acres," says Scott Nesbit, president. "Now, we still do some of that, but we're also doing second homes, resort locations, and we continue to look hard for infill and high-density opportunities."
9404 Genesee Avenue., Suite 230, La Jolla, CA 92037 Revenues: 2001: $350 million; 2002 projections: $375 million.
Overview: With a dedication to varied densities and a diversity of products, Newland now includes Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) neighborhoods of 400 to 600 units within its newer master planned communities. A new marketing focus that relies on intense consumer research early in the development process will soon to be the standard at Newland. Emily Traficante, Newland's senior vice president of marketing, says she predicts the information--currently being implemented at the Seven Meadows community in Houston--will greatly influence the products that builders offer in Newland communities. "Builders have never seen it detailed quite like that," says Bob McLeod, Newland's CEO and chairman. "No one has ever built or sold homes quite like this."
23823 Valencia Boulevard, Valencia, CA 91355 Revenues: 2001: $ 241 million; 2002: $162 million (9 months actual).
Overview: A community planner and developer of land in the California market, Newhall Land created Valencia, a true mixed-use community with a 15,000-acre master plan, in 1965. Included are 15,000 homes for 45,000 residents and 45,000 jobs. "I like to think that we've been doing smart growth since the beginning of our development in the mid-60's," says Gary Cusimano, president and CEO. The company's current activity focuses on Westridge Valencia, a 1,700-home neighborhood with a Tournament Players Club (TPC) golf course. The company's newest development, Newhall Ranch, is a 12,000-acre parcel contiguous to Valencia. With plans for 21,600 homes on 12,000 acres, this project has been caught in the entitlement process since 1997, with development slated to begin in 2005.
Published in BIG BUILDER Magazine, February 2003