Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
How to Succeed in Boise ... by Really Trying
Boise had no urban growth boundry restrictions, but David Hale was drawn to an underutilized residential zone that encouraged infill and higher-density development.
Hale built this 2003 parade home and four more on 3,200 square feet.
Seven years ago, 24-year-old David Hale relocated to Boise, Idaho, to become one of the city's most visible infill builders. Previously a construction manager for a Portland, Ore., production builder, he was familiar with Portland's restrictive urban growth boundary, which brought redevelopment in the downtown core. Unlike a lot of other builders, Hale liked the idea.
Boise had no such restrictions, but Hale was drawn to an underutilized residential zone that encouraged infill and higher-density development. He became the first builder to get a rezoning approval under its rules.
Now 31, with two construction managers on staff at Hale Development (www.haledevelopment.com), he cites challenges in finding land at the right price and building on tight lots. But he still prefers infill work for its use of existing city infrastructure and for its margins: "If I buy right, I can build 35 houses a year and do as well as a builder out in the subdivisions who builds twice as many homes."
He owes success to smart business sense, active community involvement and "just always keeping my name out there." Homeowners provide about 10 percent of Hale's land inventory and real estate agents bring him another 15 percent. The rest, he brings in himself, knocking on doors and distributing newsletters. An avid mountain bike racer and city cyclist, he can be found scouting parcels in the city on pedal power.