Quietly, over the past nine months, D.R. Horton has been downsizing in the Denver market, beginning with the closure of Trimark Communities. In addition, Horton has consolidated Melody Homes and Continental Homes under the D.R. Horton name according to Roger Reinhardt, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver.
"I think I would characterize what D.R. Horton did as a bit unusual," Reinhardt told BUILDER Online in a telephone interview. "They came into the Denver market, and after a certain period of time they became very aggressive in acquiring other building companies.
"Through the process of the economy and the state of the building industry here, they figured out that the Trimark operation wasn't a piece that was working well for them in concert with their corporate philosophy," Reinhardt continues. "So, just as quickly as they acquired [Trimark], they basically phased it out."
According to numerous sources, as many as 200 Denver division employees have been laid off. D.R. Horton's Denver division declined to comment, and the Dallas-based corporate office did not return numerous e-mails or phone calls.
Trimark, primarily a multifamily builder, was the subject of a substantial class-action lawsuit in 2005 alleging construction defects that the parent company settled for $39.5 million.
Trimark was purchased by D.R. Horton in 1996 from brothers Dale and Rob Francescon, who stayed on with the company an additional four years after the sale. According to Reinhardt, Trimark was part of D.R. Horton's process of "acquiring builders in the name of consolidation."
"I think they tried to really broaden their product portfolio, and Trimark was their answer on the multifamily side," Reinhardt says.
According to this year's "Local Leaders" data from BUILDER magazine, the national home builder was the top-ranked home builder in the 21st-ranked market, Denver, with a 15.6 percent market share. In addition, D.R. Horton was the top builder in the nation according to the 2006 BUILDER 100.
D.R. Horton's actions in Denver are similar to recent downsizings by other builders. Centex Homes earlier announced its departure from the Columbus, Ohio, housing market, and Pulte Homes is in the process of cutting 16 percent of its workforce. Pulte and Centex were third and fourth respectively in the 2006 BUILDER 100.
"I wouldn't look back over my shoulder and say that Trimark was a casualty or that it failed," Reinhardt concludes. "It was just a conscious decision to phase out that portion of the D.R. Horton portfolio."