Monday, December 15, 2014

Renew Jax: Apartments Will Deliver Investment to Neighborhood

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., (December 15, 2014) – Mayor Alvin Brown was joined today by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown and Council Member Dr. Johnny Gaffney to announce the latest Renew Jax enhancement, C.B. Dailey Villas. The investment in East Jacksonville is intended to provide quality housing options, with preference for veterans to continue empowering neighborhoods. 

“With Renew Jax, we’re empowering our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Brown.  “The C.B. Dailey Villas are a great example of what we can achieve with the power of public-private partnerships. Along with other Renew Jax projects, this housing development for veterans will improve quality of life and expand economic opportunities in our neighborhoods.”

The launch of Renew Jax follows recent actions by Mayor Brown to activate investment in distressed areas of Jacksonville. The mayor has reactivated the Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund, and its board will begin leveraging new job opportunities and spark investment.  

The Fund Board will focus on small businesses, entrepreneurs and commercial development.  Mayor Brown also appointed members of the Community Wealth Building Initiative task force to help create new, innovative strategies to empower neighborhood economic development in Northwest Jacksonville. The task force is chaired by Darnell Smith of Florida Blue.

“I’m proud of what’s happening in Jacksonville and all the hard work being done to transform neighborhoods,” said Rep. Brown. “Today’s announcement is not just a victory for East Jacksonville, it’s a step in the right direction for the entire city.”

C.B. Dailey Villas will provide affordable, quality rental housing for individuals living between 50 to 120 percent of the area’s median income, and designed to attract local veterans. Construction is expected to be completed August 2015 and will consist of 24 one-bedroom apartment homes and feature a fully-equipped fitness center and billiard room. The total project cost is $3.3 million – with funding from federal, state and private sources, including a generous grant of $200,000 from EverBank.

The development, located at 1055 East 1st St., is named after local fair housing advocate and community activist Rev. Charles B. Dailey, who was a longtime religious and civil rights leader in Jacksonville. Rev. Dailey was the pastor of First Baptist Church of Oakland in East Jacksonville, which is now led by his son, Torin Terrell Dailey.  

Under Rev. Dailey’s leadership, the church was a pioneer in building affordable housing and promoting economic development in East Jacksonville. Wealth Watchers, the nonprofit developer of this project, chose to recognize Rev. Dailey’s many years of community leadership in East Jacksonville by naming this development in his honor.

“C.B. Dailey Villas is the type of development that can change the face of this neighborhood, and I’m pleased to be a part of it,” said Council Member Gaffney. “I’m confident this is the beginning of many great things for Jacksonville’s Eastside. “

“Wealth Watchers Inc. is honored to continue the work of Rev. Charles B. Dailey by providing quality housing opportunities in the East Side Community,” said Carrie Davis, president of Wealth Watchers.  “We are thankful to the men and women of the armed services who served and made sacrifices for our country and our freedom and we are honored to be able to offer them an opportunity to live close to our amazing sports complex and our river.”

Rev. Dailey dedicated his life to affecting change in the community, working against racial inequity and serving as a voice for hope during turbulent times in the city’s history. He never wavered in his commitment to the greater good, and encouraged the black and white communities to work toward partnership. A passionate civil rights and fair housing advocate, Rev. Dailey cultivated relationships in every sector of the city and worked closely with government and faith leaders, including fellow change-maker Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick, Sr., pastor of Bethel Baptist Institutional Church.

“Anyone who knew Rev. Dailey knew that he was concerned about the wholeness of people and wanted them to be blessed with housing, employment and health,” said Bishop Rudolph McKissick Sr.  “He was a vet and it is only fitting that this project would house veterans in the area where he labored for so long.  There could not be a better tribute to carry his name and ensure that he will continue to live among us.  There will never be another C. B. Dailey. “

Renew Jax is founded on public-private partnerships to improve and expand housing opportunities, promote economic development and job creation, and strengthen families. Renew Jax will target blighted, underserved neighborhoods, specifically those in East Jacksonville and Northwest Jacksonville. For more information, visit

Sunday, December 14, 2014

National Green Building Standard Approved for Military Housing in NDAA

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has applauded Congress for authorizing the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS) for all military residential construction, which represents 16 percent of the federal real estate portfolio. Passed today by the Senate, and last week by the House, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will provide affordable choices in meeting military energy and water reduction goals.  

“We commend the commitment of Congress to offer options in residential construction to maximize resources and cost effectiveness in military housing,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. “The NGBS is a cost-effective green building rating system, and the only residential standard approved by the American National Standards Institute.  Its inclusion in the NDAA reinforces the NGBS as a market leader.”

Previously, the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program was the only green rating system specifically approved for use for new military construction projects. With the passage of this bill, Congress intends to have the Department of Defense consider all facets of certification going forward, including cost, when deciding among rating systems. Project managers can select the NGBS, LEED or the Green Globes program when choosing a green certification for new residential or remodeling projects.

NAA Announces 2014 Affiliate Membership Challenge Winners

The National Apartment Association (NAA) has announced the winners of the 2014 Affiliate Membership Challenge—a competition created to energize NAA affiliates and their leaderships to actively recruit non-member properties and companies in their local areas to help affiliates and the NAA Network grow.

The winner of the Large Affiliate category is the Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA) of Metropolitan Washington, which increased its membership base by over 45,000 units in 2014 (as of October 2014).

The Apartment Owners and Managers Association of Wisconsin increased its membership by over 13,000 units, winning the Mid-Sized/Small Affiliate category. 

With over 222 percent growth—an increase from 2,000 units to over 6,000 units—the Greater Toledo Apartment Association won the Largest Percentage Growth category.

Winning affiliates each received $2,000, a five-day/four-night cruise and two complimentary, full conference registrations to the 2015 NAA Education Conference & Exposition June 24-27 in Las Vegas.

“NAA would like to congratulate the winners for their amazing growth in 2014,” said David Edwards, CAE, VP of Membership and Affiliate Services for NAA. 

“Additionally, we would like to congratulate the many other NAA Affiliates that participated in the Challenge and grew their associations. The growth of our Affiliates supports an overall stronger NAA Network and a stronger voice for the apartment industry.”  

First and second-half winners were also recognized. Affiliates with the largest first-half growth were AOBA (Large), Apartment Association of New Mexico (Mid-Sized/Small) and Pennsylvania Apartment Association West (Largest Percentage Growth).

Affiliates with the largest second-half growth were Utah Apartment Association (Large), Apartment Association of Greater Memphis (Mid-Sized/Small) and Capital City Apartment Association (Largest Percentage Growth).

and second-half affiliate winners each received $1,000 and a five-day/four-night cruise.

CSCWorks, CORT, AIM Cruise Incentives, Home Depot and CallMax sponsored the challenge.

ICSC Foundation Launches DeBartolo Scholarship

Mall pioneer Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. died in 1994, but yet more people are about to enjoy the fruits of his success, and that of his descendants. 
The ICSC Foundation announced the launch of the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. Scholarship, seeded by a $500,000 donation from the DeBartolo families, the DeBartolo Corp., and DeBartolo Holdings. The scholarship will go to a graduate student of real estate, retail or a related field.
The announcement was made Monday at ICSC’s New York National Deal Making, at the Javits Center in New York City..
DeBartolo founded his company after World War II, building his first shopping center in Boardman, a suburb of Youngstown, Ohio, where the company had its headquarters. He built the firm up to become one of the largest in the U.S. at the time of his death, with 63 malls, 18 community centers and several office buildings in 23 states, amounting to about 95 million square feet of commercial real estate. 
DeBartolo was legendary for identifying prime locations for centers. After observing that Walt Disney was buying up parcels in Florida, for instance, DeBartolo snapped sites around the exits of the interstate then under development.
“Our father was very proud of ICSC and supported the organization from its very beginning,” said a statement from Marie Denise DeBartolo York and Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr. released Monday. “He was philanthropic by nature and taught us the importance of giving back generously to the community. Because of him, our family believes strongly in the value of education, so it is only fitting that this scholarship be created in his name to help educate and develop future leaders in the real estate community.”
Among many institutions and causes to benefit from his generosity, the University of Notre Dame, DeBartolo’s alma mater, received some $33 million in all. He funded the main classroom building (DeBartolo Hall) there and the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. There is also a DeBartolo Hall at Youngstown (Ohio) State University, in DeBartolo’s hometown.
The ICSC scholarship will pay out $17,000 annually to cover the tuition and related costs in perpetuity.
“Mr. DeBartolo is a legend in our industry,” said Norris Eber, CRX CSM CLS, president of Abbell Associates, LLC and ICSC Foundation chairman. “Having his name on an ICSC Foundation scholarship is an honor. We are grateful to the DeBartolo family for their incredible generosity and the impact they are creating on the next generation of industry legends.”
To make a donation visit

Monday, December 8, 2014

Veteran Craftsman, Builder Joins Generation Homes

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.  (December 8, 2014) – Cora Johnston, president of Generation Homes, announced that Jon Berthiaume has joined the custom homebuilder as a project manager with a concentration on the remodeling division.

“His solid background and experience is a perfect fit for our personal commitment to timeless architectural details, stylish craftsmanship, innovative design elements and the forward-thinking integration of technology and sustainability,” Johnston said.

Berthiaume has 28 years of experience as a custom builder, remodeler and woodworking craftsman.

“I’m currently leading of most of the Generation Homes remodels including a whole house remodel and some small master bath renovation. I’m also helping other project managers complete various projects,” Berthiaume said.

In addition to completing several custom homes, kitchen and bath renovations, and entire home remodels he has worked on many large scale hotel projects and multifamily renovations.

“Since I was a young I’ve known that I would be in the building industry. In High school trade classes I was lucky enough to build a full house, to college, where I was lucky enough to design and build full houses,” he said.

With a passion for woodworking and construction, Berthiaume received a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Technologies and Building from Keene (UNH) State College in Keene, N.H.

He went to work with an adjunct professor at a nationally known timber frame company. While working for the company in New Hampshire he built numerous custom furniture pieces for clients all over the nation.

While in New England he also worked in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York City. Berthiaume was a builder, woodworker, designer and project manager with the timber company until coming to Florida about ten years ago.

Here he worked for the a commercial general contractor that traveled extensively all over Florida remodeling hotels, apartments, homes, kitchens and baths. Projects included large scale hotel renovations in Palm Beach and South Beach as well as hundreds of small renovations throughout Northeast Florida.

Generation Homes is building in Ponte Vedra Beach, Vilano Beach, St. Augustine Beach, Sea Grove, Anastasia Dunes, Sea Colony. Marsh Creek, Whispering Oaks and on various lots in St. Johns and Flagler Beach, Beach Haven, Oceanside in Palm Coast, in historic Beauclerc in Jacksonville as well as on private lots in Northeast Florida.

For more information call Donna Sadowski vice president of sales and marketing at (904) 955-4769 or visit

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Closing the Homeowner Satisfaction Gap


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.  – A recent national survey by the Demand Institute focuses on what new homeowner’s want in their “ideal” home.

“There’s the ideal home. Then there are the homes in which we actually live,” said Donna Sadowski, vice president of sales and marketing for St. Augustine based Generation Homes. “Our No. 1 priority as a personal, custom builder is to bridge the housing satisfaction gap and create the ideal home for each owner.”

The following are some of the major housing desires noted in the survey:

Energy Efficiency
Perhaps because the desire to save money on rising energy costs is so universal, energy efficiency has the highest satisfaction gap in the report with 71 percent of respondents saying they thought a home’s energy efficiency was important.

Generation Homes energy-efficient Shades of Green® program allows homebuyers to choose the level of green built into their home.  The goal is to save homeowners money on monthly utility bills by engineered construction such as the open cell spray foam insulation under the roof.

One feature of sustainable design is passive heating and cooling, which reduces energy costs. To avoid destructive grading, homes are built with stem walls or crawl spaces.

“The increase in the cost of energy has become increasingly burdensome on households,” and there’s accompanying awareness and concern about the environment, said Cora Johnston, president of Generation Homes.

Average household spending on home electricity has grown 56 percent since 2000, according to the report.

Updated Kitchens and Finishes
Sixty-two percent said an updated kitchen with modern appliances and fixtures is important.

“Some homeowners just have a difficult time visualizing their finished kitchen, which is why material selection can prove so challenging. We work with homeowners to create their kitchen and finishes based on their ideas and needs,” said Generation Homes’ custom team designer Kim Guerra.

Using effective and proven construction techniques Generation Homes has earned a well-deserved reputation for finish, style and sustainability.

This feature may be more important than in past years, as people report cooking and eating at home more now, compared with five years ago, according to the report.

More Space and Age in Place Features
The GrowHome® is designed and engineered by Generation Homes for easy expansion and alteration, enabling it to change as the owners’ needs change.

“Renovations and additions have always been a part of owning a home,” Johnston said. “The plan for growth and change is engineered into the home’s design, making it simple and cost effective to grow the home when the family needs it to grow.”

The space is fully integrated with the original house, and the fa├žade and roofline will remain cohesive reducing the cost if the home needs to be expanded.

Generation Homes understands that people have a lot of stuff, and they need ample space for it. Nearly half of households have two or more refrigerators or freezers, and 48 percent have three or more TVs.

Fifty-five percent of survey respondents said they think a home with a lot of storage space is important.

Between now and 2020, the number of households headed by a person 65 and older is expected to grow 10 times faster than other households, according to the report. No surprise then that 76 percent of participants said that it’s important to live in a home that they can stay in as they get older.

Affordability and Good Investment
Eighty-one percent of those surveyed said that it’s important that a home’s cost fits in their budget, without requiring sacrifices.

“We create homes that reflect needs, tastes, personality and lifestyle within a budget. We take time to explore ideas and develop a unique design around the homeowner’s budget,” noted Sadowski.

Generation Homes is known for working closely with the homeowner throughout the budgeting, buying, construction and move in experience.

Sixty-five percent said that they think it’s important a home be a good long-term investment.

Generation Homes is an investment in fine, custom coastal living that is not only personally rewarding, but financially. The aim is for every Generation Homes to instantly appreciate in value from the day it is completed.

“Despite the dramatic drop in home prices between 2007 and 2012, Americans still overwhelmingly think that home ownership is an excellent investment,” Johnston said.

More than 10,000 households participated in a survey about their current homes and their ideal ones. The Demand Institute is a non-profit organization run by the Conference Board and Nielsen.

Generation Homes is building in Ponte Vedra Beach, Vilano Beach, St. Augustine Beach, Sea Grove, Anastasia Dunes, Sea Colony. Marsh Creek, Whispering Oaks and on various lots in St. Johns and Flagler Beach, Beach Haven, Oceanside in Palm Coast, in historic Beauclerc in Jacksonville as well as on private lots in Northeast Florida

For more information call Donna Sadowski at (904) 955-4769 or visit to download a copy of the new survey.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Spending Increase Comes as Consruction Industry Copes with Growing Shortages of Workers

Construction spending increased in October amid growing public-sector demand for construction and continued modest growth in residential, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said the new spending figures underscore the need for measures to increase the supply of qualified construction workers as firms worry about growing labor shortages.

"Today's data shows that construction growth remains volatile," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "While overall construction spending jumped by more than one percent in October, the gain followed two months of stagnation. Public construction was the fastest-growing segment for the month but the slowest-growing over the past year and for the first 10 months of 2014 combined. Conversely, private nonresidential construction inched down from September to October but has risen at double-digit rates--11 percent--for the combined January through October period. And private residential construction continues to grow very modestly, with multifamily construction taking the lead on an annual basis."

Construction spending in October totaled $971 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, up 1.1 percent from the September total and 3.3 percent higher than in October 2013, Simonson noted. Private residential spending edged up 1.3 percent from September and 1.9 percent from a year earlier, while private nonresidential spending dropped 1.0 percent for the month but rose 6.4 percent year-over-year. The third component of the total-public construction spending-increased 1.5 percent from September and 2.3 percent from a year ago.

Single-family home construction gained 1.8 percent for the month and 13.2 percent over 12 months, and multifamily increased 1.0 percent from the September level and jumped 27.2 percent from a year earlier. The largest private nonresidential type, power construction-which includes oil and gas fields and pipelines as well as electric power-slumped 1.9 percent in October but rose 0.3 percent from the prior year.

Commercial construction-comprising retail, warehouse and farm projects-decreased 2.6 percent for the month but increased 9.3 percent for the year. Manufacturing construction increased 3.4 percent for the month and 23 percent year-over-year. Among the largest public segments, highway and street construction inched up 1.1 percent for the month and declined 0.1 percent from October 2013. Public education construction inched up 2.2 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively.

"For 2014 as a whole and 2015, private nonresidential spending and multifamily spending should be the strongest segments, followed by single-family construction, with very limited prospects for public construction."

Association officials said the spending increases come as many firms report growing labor shortages. They urged elected and appointed officials to act on a series of measures the association has identified that will help expand the supply of qualified construction workers. "We need to make sure there are enough workers available to meet growing demand for construction," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer.