Within the next 30 days, a startup home builder, Citizens Homes, expects to begin construction on its first model in Bent Creek, a 343-acre residential community in Nolensville, Tenn., near Nashville; and models in two other communities in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The new company’s Web site indicates that Citizens Homes also plans to be active in Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.; Washington, D.C.; and along the Carolina coasts.
However, Citizens, which incorporated in April 2009, isn’t just another startup. One of its partners is Tony Mon, who 18 months earlier had been ousted as chief executive with the financially struggling TOUSA.
Mon is launching Citizens Home with two developers—Ralph Teal and Gilford Edwards—who are managing partners at Plantation Sales LLC, a developer of waterfront and golf course communities that include West Wing Plantation and Hilton Head Lakes in South Carolina. Previously, Teal and Edwards owned Pinehurst Builders, which in the 1990s grew to be one of South Carolina’s largest private home builders before they sold the company to Crossman Communities in 1998.
In 2002, Crossman merged with Beazer Homes, where Edwards had been a divisional president for 18 years. Two other former Beazer executives are now partners at Citizens Homes: Scott Thorson, who had been president of Beazer’s South Atlantic Region; and David Hughes, a 27-year Beazer employee and currently Beazer division president in Nashville. Hughes will join Citizens officially at the end of this month.
Teal, Edwards, and Hughes did not return phone calls from BUILDER requesting comment. In an email, Thorson—who indicated he was speaking as well for Mon—said that Citizens was still in its formative stages and had neither completed its recruiting efforts nor had finalized where its offices would be. He confirmed that the new company intended to enter markets “throughout the Southeast in the coming year,” but also said it was too early to comment about where, or about how many homes it intended to build annually.
In his email, Thorson said that Citizens Homes would build homes for first-time and first move-up buyers. In Myrtle Beach, prices are likely to range, respectively, from the $120s to $170s; and from $180’s to $230’s. Its homes at Bent Creek will start in the $230s, he said
(Bent Creek’s Web site shows that three other builders—Newmark Homes, The Jones Company, and Westview Homes—are selling homes in that community with prices ranging from the $280s to the $340s.)
Thorson said that Teal and Edwards’ development company would not be developing lots for Citizens Homes, which instead would purchase lots under option contracts only for the time being. “Should the opportunity to purchase raw land or large tracts of developed lots at severe discounts become available, we have established relationships with outside land bank sources who will purchase these positions and sell lots to the company under lot option contracts,” he added.
John Caulfield is senior editor for BUILDER magazine.