The city of St. Louis may be the Gateway to the West, but it’s older than many of its counterparts in the East — its founding as a French colony predates even that of the United States as a country. 

The city’s magnificent Forest Park — bigger than New York City’s Central Park — is a relic of the 1904 World’s Fair that marked St. Louis’ zenith as an urban center.

In a city rich with so much historic architecture but hurt by decades of urban sprawl, there hasn’t been a residential high-rise built downtown since 1965 — until the Roberts Tower went up in 2010, a modern glass-and-concrete structure along the Mississippi River.

Intended to be built-out as condos, the tower has sat empty ever since — a victim of the real estate bust — but not for long.

“We’re putting on the finishing touches,” says Mike Perry, president of St. Louis-based HBD Construction, which was hired by new owners to finally complete the interior — but as apartments, not condos. The first occupants will move in as soon as May.

The general contracting and construction management firm —in business since 1922 — does new construction but specializes in historic renovation, and this type of project was a learning experience. “This was the first time we took over work on a building that was brand new and that we didn’t construct,” Perry says. “We had an aggressive schedule and we found we could meet it. We confirmed it was possible to do what we set out to do from a cost standpoint.”

Working in real estate development for more than two decades, Capstone Development Partners LLC has perfected the art of win-win public/private partnerships with college and university communities. The principals of Capstone Development Partners bring more than 60 years of combined experience crafting development solutions for Capstone’s partner institutions. The national student housing developer creates housing on campus and on the “campus edge.”

“We identify capital real estate needs and provide turnkey development service including the provision or coordination of financing, design and construction services,” Principal Bruce McKee says. With aging on-campus inventory across the country and increased competition for students, student housing demand is strong on and very near the campus in most university markets, he notes.

  After a delay brought on by the onset of the recession, The Enclave at Brookside in Tulsa, Okla., is back under development, and developer The Bomasada Group says the end-result will be worth the wait. Vice President Tim Dison explains that the delay caused the firm to re-evaluate the floorplans and make some small but significant changes that should make the apartment complex a desirable destination for residents. 

Houston-based Bomasada Group purchased the site for the project in 2007 and started construction before the bursting of the housing bubble in 2008 put the project – and many like it across the nation – on hold. 

Now that the economy has started to make a recovery, the firm has been able to pick up where it left off, restarting construction in the middle of 2012. 

The process of buying a new home can be emotional, a fact that Beazer Homes is well aware of, Chief Marketing Officer Kathi James says. “Unlike most purchases you make, buying a home is full of excitement, nerves and hope for the future,” she says. “Our new home counselors love to help consumers find the perfect home that will suit the way they want to live.”

Atlanta-based Beazer has a multi-century legacy of helping consumers finding those perfect homes. In 1696, founder George Beazer arrived in Marshfield, England, and established the company.

Today, Beazer Homes is a top-10 homebuilder in the United States, with operations in 16 states. “Since going public in 1994, Beazer has proudly provided more than 170,000 homes to discerning homebuyers, and I’m happy to say that the homes we are building today retain high quality construction practices, giving tribute to our heritage, and are significantly more energy efficient than a resale and many other new builds,” James adds.

 When Royal Oaks Homes started in 2002, it was building three new houses per year. Growth and success soon followed to the point that last year, the company built a record 308 houses.

 ”We build really high-quality homes,” President Rich Van Tassel says. “You can see it in the finished product.”

 The company grew steadily, leveling off at a rate of 140 to 150 new homes per year. It constructed homes at this volume for five years. Then, in 2012, it built 268 new homes and exceeded 300 last year.

 Building at such large volumes requires efficient systems and processes. “It has to be pretty well thought-out,” Van Tassel says.

 JDS Development Group broke the record for the sale of the most expensive condominium in Manhattan last fall when its Walker Tower penthouse sold for just under its asking price of $55 million.

The New York, N.Y.- based company is a real estate development company formed by Michael Stern for the purchase and development of luxury residential real estate. Over the last several years, JDS Development Group has developed and constructed more than 4 million square feet of property in New York and Miami. “JDS is a fully integrated development and construction company,” Managing Partner Michael Stern says. “What sets us apart is the fact that we self-perform all of our work without the use of a third party construction manager and maintain a team of in-house design and construction personnel to streamline the entire process.”

 Gables Residential prides itself on being geographically focused because it chooses to build in established, premium neighborhoods (EPN) and high-growth markets throughout the United States. 

An EPN is an area with the highest per-square-foot home values in an individual market. The areas are ideal for apartment developers and owners because it has access to employment, retail, transportation and entertainment. “It’s not a trade secret,” Chief Investment Officer Ben Pisklak says. “We have just been incredibly disciplined to stick to the EPN theory. In good times and bad, we maintain our focus in those areas.” The Atlanta-based company is a vertically integrated real estate firm that has specialized in the development, construction, ownership, acquisition, financing and management of multifamily and mixed-use communities for more than 30 years. 

roviding a higher-level product and service offering is what Driver Urban is all about. Specializing in the planning and construction of urban living environments in California, the company has been steadily making a name for itself in multifamily and mixed-use developments, senior and affordable housing, hospitality and student housing projects since it was founded two years ago. 

Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Driver Urban has offices in California in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ontario, San Diego and San Mateo. The company has experience with a number of construction types including wood structures, steel structures and concrete superstructures. 

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