Project Description

Some residential construction is under way

http://www.dailynews.com/general-news/20100911/some-residential-construction-is-under-way

There are some pockets of the San Fernando Valley that are breaking free of the malaise that has weighed down the residential construction sector.

New homes are being built – and sold – in neighborhoods in Canoga Park, Reseda, Winnetka, Pacoima, Sylmar, Valley Village and Granada Hills.

Seven of the projects are being developed by Canoga Park-based California Home Builders, providing paychecks for some 750 construction workers.

Company president and founder Shawn Evenhaim is getting the word out about the rebounding construction sector by posting red, white and blue banners reading “Keeping America Working” on each of his projects.

The company is building a total of 119 single-family homes and 129 condominium units priced from $200,000 to the mid-$400,000s.

Some projects will make money, he said, while others won’t.

But the important thing is to keep the company moving in tough economic times and creating jobs for the hard-hit construction sector, said Evenhaim, who started his company during the 1994 recession.

“We had some land that we’ve owned for a long time and we had two options: Keep sitting on it or build it and keep our company busy,” he said. “And I looked at it as keeping people working.”

Evenhaim doesn’t have to get construction loans because he’s able to self-fund the work. And he’s not worried about selling off the product, either.

The company has one home in its inventory.

“We don’t have as many buyers as we used to but people still buy homes in a recession,” he said. “The price has to be right and the product has to be great.”

Irvine-based Trumark Homes, which is building 81 townhomes at its High Lights project above Granada Hills, has a similar philosophy.

About 35 construction workers are currently working on the project.

“It’s a great time to be out there creating jobs,” said Michael Maples, the company’s co-founder.

Trumark Homes, a unit of Trumark Cos., was formed in 2008.

“It was a strategic move. We sketched out the business plan 15 years ago and decided the best time to start a homebuilding company was in a downturn,” he said. “We waited for a downturn and this was a pretty good downturn.”

They bought the High Lights site in a distressed asset sale. The infrastructure was already in place, which reduced the construction costs and enabled the company to price the homes from $300,000 to $380,000.

The company has sold 20 units, has 14 more pre-sold and three under construction.

“Our strategy is to buy property in constrained areas where there is not a lot of new homes, and this is a great example of that,” Maples said.