YOU KNOW HANNAH BARTOLETTA Homes has made a splash with its latest plan when partner Charley Hannah starts a conversation with, “I don't feel crazy.” The Tampa, Fla.–based builder is defending his decision to complete a 113-unit, gated custom home community with 15 spec homes.

Hannah admits that the housing market has weakened and that his company's sales will be off the 90-home mark it hit last year, worth about $85 million in revenue. But he says he's confident the company has found a market niche strong enough not only to withstand the downturn but to support a 35 percent increase in average sales price. The spec homes will close out the company's exclusive TreeTops community, located between Tampa and St. Petersburg. “I would not put 15 high-end specs in all the communities we're building in, but I will in this one,” Hannah says, adding that this plan helps ensure that TreeTops is built out according to the company's original vision.

Construction has already begun on a few of the homes, which will take 12 to 18 months to complete. The company will gladly sell all 15 before they're finished. Hannah expects to have sold two or three by this month as buyers see them getting started. “Over the next 12 months, I think we will see an improvement in the market,” he says.

THINKING BIG: The Dartmouth IV model is among the planned specs Hannah Bartoletta Homes is  building in its TreeTops development. The plan calls for 5,669 square feet  of living space.
THINKING BIG: The Dartmouth IV model is among the planned specs Hannah Bartoletta Homes is building in its TreeTops development. The plan calls for 5,669 square feet of living space.

It's a $15 million gamble he's willing to take.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Tampa, FL, Orlando, FL.