The former CEO of the shuttered McCar Homes has started a new home building company in Atlanta, continuing to carry on his family's 50-plus-year Georgia home building tradition.

Keith McSwain, former CEO of Alpharetta, Ga.-based McCar Homes, is now CEO of KM Homes, a new company formed in October. The company's Web site,, offers homes in two communities in Forsyth County: Evans Farm and Gates of Luberon.

McSwain is the son of Dan and Elaine McSwain, who started building homes in Vidalia, Ga., more than 50 years ago. In 1985, the family moved into the Atlanta market and began building homes outside the city's perimeter. Keith McSwain became CEO in 1996.

The family business grew fast and far after moving to Atlanta, expanding into Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro, N.C.; Greenville and Columbia, S.C.; and Tampa, Fla. Between 1996 and its peak in 2006, closings grew 1,043% from 214 to 2,265. Revenue climbed 699% from $40 million to $612 million, according to a company investor prospectus on the McCar Web site.

In early 2007, Keith McSwain took time off to spend more time with his family. Steve Roberts was hired to take over the McCar helm. But by 2008, as the full impact of the housing downturn hit, sales had fallen precipitously to 1,377 houses for $368 million in revenue, according to the prospectus.

In 2009, economic conditions deteriorated further; the McCar assets were sold, and land investor Hearthstone canceled agreements with McCar to build homes on land it owns in several communities in Atlanta and the Carolinas. Hearthstone then struck a deal with Beazer Homes USA to manage, market, sell, and finish building out those 462 lots in six Atlanta communities.

“Although the last three years have been very difficult, KM Homes is excited about the opportunities of 2010,” said Keith McSwain.

KM Homes’ Web site doesn’t mention the McCar name in its “About Us” section. But it does talk about the McSwain family’s history as home builders: “As the company continues to grow and expand the name, KM Homes pays tribute to its founders and continues to strive and have a passion for the future.”

Teresa Burney is a senior editor for BUILDER and BIG BUILDER magazines.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Atlanta, GA, Greensboro, NC.

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