Altitude Design Build is one of the hottest builders in Park City, Utah.
IT IS ONE OF THE hottest design/build firms in Park City, Utah, yet one of its partners admits he has trouble screwing in a light bulb. How’s that possible?
“It’s true,” says Larry Feldman, managing partner of Altitude Design Build. “I still have to remind myself by saying, ‘Righty tighty, lefty loosey!’ Fortunately, my partner is the best builder I know in the entire region.”
Enter Lane Jacobson, who for 17 years has built a variety of homes in Park City and beyond, but fell on hard times during the economic downturn in 2007.
That’s when he met Feldman, and the rest is history.
Formed less than two years ago, Altitude currently has 10 jobs either under construction or about to start thanks primarily to a philosophy that designs and builds custom homes for a price that still leaves money in the pockets of clients after the build is done.
The two partnered up when Feldman and his wife, Heather, engaged Jacobson to build their 2014 Showcase of Homes estate.
“We looked at a lot of established builders in the area, but chose Lane because he boldly made the statement that he would single-handedly change the way we thought of builders in a climate where most of the builders charge outlandish cost-plus percentages and a square foot price of $300 to $400,” Feldman says. “Then, when our designer, Bill Van Sickle, called us to say that Jacobson personally came to his office and spent four hours dissecting the design in an effort to save us money, we were sold.”
The two merged when the couple decided to flip their home and approached Jacobson with the idea of forming a revolutionary concept for building homes in possibly the most sought-after ski resort in the nation. The Vail Resorts merger of Park City Mountain and Canyons has made it the largest ski resort in the nation, which sits adjacent to perennial favorite Deer Valley Ski Resort.
“After Larry approached me and I agreed, he said, ‘The only way I’m doing this is if we build homes for other people the same way we just did for us,’” Jacobson says. “That is, on time and at budget or below. I reminded him that’s exactly what I promised and delivered for them and nothing was going to change.”
One of the main reasons Altitude Design Build can build so cost-efficiently is due to the fact that the company charges a flat 10 percent cost-plus fee and doesn’t extend any additional margins to line items – something commonly done throughout the nation.
“The 2-by-4s that we are using are the same ones the other builders use, so why is it costing so much more to build that home than it is to build my home?" Feldman questions. "I don't understand it, there’s no reason for it and I’m not about to get the reputation of being just another builder out for the almighty dollar. We’ll get more business in the end by being honest, forthright people looking to one thing, build a home for our clients that leaves them satisfied with the process and a home that hopefully gives them years and years of memories.”
While Feldman finds the clients and runs the day-to-day operation and Jacobson handles every aspect of the actual build, the two still needed someone to design these magnificent homes and the answer was right in front of them in Van Sickle Design & Drafting.
“We have a comfort level with him and his team both on a work-ethic level as well as his obvious design talents,” Jacobson says. “He’s on top of everything at all times and has a design flair that will rival anyone in the business.”
Van Sickle was eager to form the alliance.
“After Lane came by to work on the Feldman plan that day and then delivered what he promised throughout the build, I can honestly say that when I decide to build my next home, Lane’s my man,” Van Sickle says. “That, along with Larry’s seemingly unique ability to find the clients and then nurture them throughout the build, makes them a very strong team.”
While the two entities have a synergy that works well for all, they also accept business from other sources.
So, if Van Sickle gets approached by a client that already has a builder, or Altitude is engaged by someone who has a plan in hand, they can act independently.
Add to this Heather, who happens to be Equity Real Estate Luxury Group's No. 1 agent for the past three years, and a client who might want to build a spec home can use her services as well should they need help marketing and selling a finished product.
Steve Rosenberg, who lives in Cleveland and recently used the entire Altitude team to design, build and sell the home, is quick to point out how seamless the process worked for him.
“Heather found me the property, Bill quickly came up with a winning design, and Lane and Larry were able to finish the entire build in Old Town in just eight months while keeping me abreast with constant emails and phone calls,” Rosenberg said with a smile. “Heather then sold the house in short order and I made a tidy profit.”
So, what began two years ago as a promising startup company has quickly emerged as a major player in the scorching hot design/build industry of Park City. Feldman and Jacobson are ready for the challenge.