Gavigan Homes – The Village at Battery Creek

Most companies have a corporate culture, but at Gavigan Homes, employees have esprit de corps – as in the U.S. Marine Corps. “Most of our employees actually feel like they joined the Marines by working with the company – my wife was a drill instructor,” jokes CEO Billy Gavigan. “We run it like a military sort of a group and organization.

We have the same sort of a fundamental belief, and we value things like integrity and honor.” Gavigan himself left the Marine Corps in 2005 to join Gavigan Homes, which his father James founded in 1969. Billy spent 12 years with the Marines in East Africa, Tajikistan, the East and West Coasts of the United States, and even six months in the bomb squad of presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

The elder Gavigan – James, who is still chairman of the company – founded it as a custom homebuilder headquartered in Troy, N.Y. When he joined the family business, Billy moved it to Beaufort, S.C., and introduced a new specialty. “We strive to be the No. 1 military and veteran homebuilder, and we’re expanding to other bases over the next couple of years,” he announces.

Fully-gated Community

A current project in Beaufort is The Village at Battery Creek, a 46-unit waterfront townhome development located at the base of the Parris Island Bridge. It is the development closest to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. The units range in size from 1,400 to 3,000 square feet and are priced from $199,000 to $400,000. “They have the same finish quality you would expect to see in a home priced significantly higher,” Gavigan maintains.

Plans are for the 46 units to be spread out over eight or nine two- to four-story buildings. The first eight-unit building is completed, with more scheduled for completion in the next several months.

“We strive to price our homes correctly so the majority of our inventory sells before construction is completed,” Gavigan asserts. That price is eased by Gavigan buying home lots wholesale at distressed asset sales, sometimes for as little as half their original price.

“Some competitors may have paid too much for their land and now have to take that debt into consideration in their pricing,” Gavigan maintains. “We stay lean as a company with no debt.” The company’s projects are either cash-driven or financed through private investors, he says.

“Our last three developments have been bank-owned, failed developments that we turned around,” Gavigan points out. “That’s our model – we go in and buy partially started projects that people could not complete and we tailor the vision into something more applicable for the current market.”

For The Village at Battery Creek, the infrast­r­ucture – such as a bottom coat on the roads and a portion of the foundation pads – was in place. The gate was installed but not finished or functional, and the first building was not completed. “It was the right place, but the wrong price,” Gavigan notes. “We redesigned the project for what we thought would work in the market. Now we’re in a more affordable price point, and that’s what the market really dictates.”

He estimates the cost of the finished development to be approximately $25 million. Ame­nities include full gating, a resort pool, access to a nature-viewing boardwalk, a 51-slip marina and firepit. Gavigan Homes self-performs the mech­anical, electrical and plumbing in the de­velopment and will use a wide variety of sub­­contractors. 

Real Green

Gavigan is aiming for The Village at Battery Creek to be the first LEED for Neighborhood Development (ND) neighborhood in the nation. “No community that I am aware of has yet made it through the ND certification,” maintains Gavigan, who serves on the U.S. Green Building Council and whose company is a mem­ber. “What we’ve learned is that the green building wave is really the wave of the future for construction,” he continues. “Everyone we talk to wants to be more conscious of that – they’re viewing it from both an economic and an environmental standpoint.”

The Village at Battery Creek is not noticeably green, but it does include a number of subtle features. “When you walk in, it’s hard to pick out the green features,” Gavigan asserts.

“We’re not building a house to be overly in-your-face green – we’re doing it to be fiscally and environmentally conscious,” he adds. “So a homeowner can have the benefits of living in a green home with reduced consumption of electricity. But ... the buyer of today is first, price, then green.

“We’re not building green to be cool – we’re building it because that’s the way it’s supposed to be done, and we’re making the house as efficient as possible,” he emphasizes.

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