The editors at BUILDER and our partners at Hearthstone invite you to nominate a candidate for a coveted annual honor, the 22nd annual Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Award. Each year, the Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Award honors a home builder who demonstrates a lifetime commitment to public service. Recent honorees include Great Southern Homes’ Michael Nieri, Pulte’s Built to Honor program, Hayden Homes’ Hayden Watson, and Oakwood Homes‘ Pat Hamill.
The company-wide program provides mortgage-free homes to U.S. military veterans and their families.
In March of last year, Sgt. Howard Appleby was on a tour of Babcock Ranch, a solar-powered master-planned community in southwestern Florida. Turning a corner, he saw an open lot with a billboard with his name on it and a small crowd, there to celebrate the surprise groundbreaking of his new home. “I started crying, and my wife was in shock—we couldn’t believe it,” he recalls. “Everyone was clapping and waving the American flag, saying, ‘Welcome home!’”
The founder of Great Southern Homes may construct homes for his business, but builds up his community through his various charitable endeavors.
“Generous,” “supportive,” and “selfless” are just a few of the recurring words that were used to describe the character of Great Southern Homes’ Michael Nieri. Founder, owner, and president of the Irmo, S.C.–based home building company, Nieri has always strived to provide well-built, affordably priced homes for first-time and move-up buyers, but he also believes in building up and giving back to his local community by sharing his success with several charities and groups in need.
Watson has led Hayden Homes for close to three decades, starting as CEO in 1999, and becoming Chairman in 2016. Under his leadership, the company ranks as one of the top 35 private home builders in the country, with an economic impact of more than $3 billion since inception. Hayden Homes has provided more than 16,000 new homes to price conscious, value-driven home buyers in underserved markets throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Hayden has built a strong foundation of giving and generosity, throughout the company’s entire suite of brands including Simplicity Homes, WiseSize and Hayden Homes. Hayden Homes commits ten percent of profits including one eighth of one percent of every home sale to charitable causes.
The trio of home building companies led by Watson have donated more than $18.5 million to a variety of causes including the non-profit, First Story. Watson founded First Story to provide hardworking, deserving and capable families with an affordable home and a major step toward financial freedom. Additionally, more than 80 percent of his staff contributes to this organization through a regular payroll deduction called “Give As You Go,” matched 100% by Hayden Homes.
PulteGroup announced today that its Built to Honor program has been chosen to receive a $20,000 grant from Hearthstone, the for-sale residential investor, which wanted to recognize Pulte’s commitment to public service through its Built to Honor program.
PulteGroup’s Built to Honor program was launched in 2013 to recognize and thank returning military personnel injured during their term of service by providing mortgage-free homes to the veterans and their families.
2/20/2018: William Lyon Homes (the “Company” or “William Lyon Homes”) (NYSE: WLH), a leading homebuilder in the Western U.S., today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire RSI Communities (“RSI”), a Southern California and Texas based homebuilder, and three additional related real estate assets for an aggregate cash purchase price of approximately $460 million. The transaction marks the Company’s entry into Texas and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018, subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions.
RSI Communities has operated in the Inland Empire of Southern California and the Austin and San Antonio, Texas markets since being founded by Newport Beach based entrepreneur and building products veteran, Ron Simon, and 30-year homebuilding veteran, Todd Palmaer. As of December 31, 2017, RSI owned or controlled 11,128 lots, including 6,895 in Austin, Texas, 1,060 in San Antonio, Texas and 3,173 in the Inland Empire, California. RSI primarily targets the entry level and first time buyer segments.
4/17/17: Those who know DeNova Homes founders David and Lori Sanson, who happen also to be familiar with the Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Award, might agree that this was a collision course in the making going back to about December 2004. It was only a matter of when stars would align–not if–our annual process of identifying and celebrating home builders who give back in big ways would find the Sansons and spotlight their work.
A major focus of their attention and a lot of Dave’s waking hours is the fundraising and completion of a $1 million dining hall at Fairfield, Calif. Mission Solano Bridge to Life Center, on which DeNova, Nordby Construction, and HomeAid Northern California have teamed up with plans to complete Phase 2 construction this year. This new facility will give the Bridge to Life Center’s 208 homeless and hungry individuals an opportunity to be fed, housed and trained with compassionate and strategic care.
2/22/17: The owners of Woodside Homes have agreed to sell the 40-year old entity, ranked 27 in the Builder 100, to Japan’s largest homebuilding enterprise Sekisui House in a deal with an estimated value in excess of $468 million.
The transaction–which transfers ownership of all shares of the company including equity interests of BUILDER parent-company Hanley Wood majority owners Oaktree AC (35.7%), Stonehill Institutional Partners (33.4%) and 12 other “owners” whose stakes total 30.9%–is set to close March 1.
The deal is one in an increasingly rapid-fire series of private home builder acquisitions by Japanese mega-corporations fueled by expansionist interests in the United States market, and more suppressed growth opportunity in Japan itself. Several other deals are said to be in the works as well, with both Japanese–Sumitomo, Daiwa House–and a number of China-based organizations seeking beachheads in the United States home building and residential development business.
12/19/16: Land Advisors Organization, a real estate firm specializing in residential land development projects since 1987, has announced the sale of Seabluff Condominiums, a 75 unit “permit-ready” project located in West LA’s Playa Vista, CA.
The project is located in Phase 1 of the Playa Vista master plan and is the last for-sale attached development parcel available in the entire community.
Terms were not disclosed. Land Advisors exclusively represented Playa Capital Company, LLC, a subsidiary of Brookfield Residential Properties, Inc., in the sale to Sea Bluffs – Playa Vista, L.P., a joint venture between Hearthstone and The New Home Company. The Land Advisors’ team representing the seller was comprised of Tim Barden, Richard Byrd, and Chris Gomez-Ortigoza.
12/16/16: With the holiday season in full swing, it’s a great time to journey through the impressive list of the generous builders who have been recognized with the Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Award. The program is celebrating 17 years and has provided more than $5.5 million to charities selected by the winners, making it the largest philanthropic award in the industry.