Housing for many oil workers in North Dakota leaves a lot to be desired, but NDD Group is stepping in to do its part to design and build long-term-stay housing to help solve an oil-rush housing crisis.

As tens of thousands of workers flooded into the Bakken oilfields, the shortage of housing in these areas led real estate developer Robert Gavin to spend 18 months researching the unique situation. He met with landowners and developed relationships with government planners and tribal leaders to perfect a model to develop housing for the oil services industry in the area. With production in the Bakken oilfields continuing at a brisk pace and showing no signs of letting up, Phase 1 of the Great American Lodge near Watford City, N.D., is reaching completion. 

With fuel costs increasing worldwide and transportation costs associated with importing diesel fuel (which is used to generate electricity on Grand Cayman), homeowners in Cayman are looking for ways to be energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. Owners of the luxury homes, villas and condominiums at NCB Group’s Cypress Pointe North on Grand Cayman will appreciate the project’s innovative integration of solar electricity generation and the use of geothermal cooling and water heating.

“Solar panels are becoming more affordable, and homeowners are exploring alternative energy sources,” NCB Group Managing Director Matthew Wight declares. “In the Cayman Islands, the national utilities company allows customers who use solar panels to sell the power they generate back to the grid.”

Depending on the electrical usage of the residents, they may be able to generate as much electricity as they use. “Based on our calculation, it will be very close,” Wight says. “The idea is that we’re trying to offset the cost with the production. Residents should get close to a net zero scenario.” Another sustainable feature are the cisterns below grade that catch rainwater for irrigating the native plants with which the community is landscaped.

Kinzie Builders [a part of Kinzie Real Estate Group] may be a new name in the Chicago-area real estate scene, but its leadership and staff are well versed in developing and building residential properties. The company, founded in 2011, taps into the knowledge and relationships fostered by founder and President Steve Spinell and other key staff members to successfully complete projects. Spinell brings more than 25 years of real estate development and consulting experience to his position.

The company employs a staff of experienced engineers and industry experts who help Kinzie guide projects in conjunction with other parties. “Our group is made up of forward-thinking project managers with a strong attention to detail; we are problem-solvers and because of that, we can deliver a great product and manage the process better than most,” Spinell says.

Collectively, Spinell and other company leaders have built more than $1 billion dollars of real estate development over the past 25 years. 

Milford Terrell founded DeBest Plumbing Inc. in 1973, and named the business after his goal of building “the best plumbing company in the Idaho region.” He explains, however, that DeBest only is able to offer the best plumbing services because it is staffed by highly skilled people. 

“When you look at the company as a whole, our people have been very important to our success,” Terrell says. “We’ve been very successful through economic ups and downs, and I believe that is because of our great personnel and the great support we provide to clients.”

Based in Boise, DeBest offers plumbing and mechanical contracting on residential, service, large remodel, commercial and industrial projects. Terrell notes that from scheduling and estimating to implementation, the company brings knowledge and professionalism to every project to ensure it adheres to client controls and standards, and remains flexible to each project’s changing requirements. This is how he has always worked and these are the standards he has set for his company. 

It can be hard to stand out in Los Angeles, but the Wilshire La Brea Miracle Mile apartments being developed by BRE Properties shouldn’t have any issues dazzling passersby. Its sheer size alone – nearly one million square feet, including 40,000 square feet of retail and 478 units – makes this building impossible to miss. 

The developer hired architectural firm TCA of Irvine and general contractor Bernards – a commercial builder headquartered in Los Angeles – to design and build the project. BRE Construction Manager Robert Latch is overseeing the project. 

“The most unique aspect to this job is the overall magnitude and scale of the building,” Latch says. “Even just the wood framing is such a large task for one contractor to frame out 478 units. The wood framing starts at the third floor and goes up six stories. It’s quite possible that we’re the tallest wood-frame building in L.A. right now.” 

For the University of Michigan – Dearborn (UMD), transforming a challenge into a success took some creativity. The state school has suffered decreased enrollment because of its lack of student housing, whether on or off-campus. Budget cuts in recent years made it impossible for the school to even consider it when academic needs hung in the balance. Even still, UMD knew that if it remained a commuter school, it would continue to negatively affect its freshman enrollment. As the school worked to solve its problem, the answer came in the form of a partnership. 

At a time when many home construction businesses were floundering, Pratt Home Builders found new life by tightening its belt and reassessing its focus. “We have a long history of building quality homes in the Chattanooga area,” president Win Pratt declares. “Even though our quality measures haven’t changed, our company is making more calculated and strategic decisions.”

Pratt Home Builders was founded in 1998 by Win and his father, James Pratt. The self-taught builders started out building traditional and craftsman-style homes. However, market downturns the company experienced during 2007 caused the firm to reassess its business strategies.

Under development in Barstow, Calif., Gadson Garden Estates will be a 463-unit senior housing and assisted-living community that will feature 166 townhomes (called Eldominiums) alongside assisted-living facility units. Gadson Garden Estates will be a unique senior living project and will designate Barstow as a haven for retirees and seniors from across the country.

“My background is in hospital and nursing home administration, and I have been interested in developing health delivery systems and unique operating concepts for many years,” explains Robert Merritt, developer and designer. 

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