ince the late 1970s, Robin Hill Development Company in Lisle has concentrated purely on land development, primarily in the far west suburbs. President and founder Vince Solano, Jr. attributes his "survival" and success to picking the right project at the right time and in the right place - and choosing the right people to get the job done.
Solano says that rather than trying to be a jack of all trades and maintain a full staff of development experts, he subcontracts all work on a per-project basis to a number of consultants and trade professionals. Solano "hires out" everything from advertising and PR to earth moving and excavation, and thus finds the best, most qualified people for each specific project.
Such a unique approach to business - especially in the building/development industry - has helped establish Robin Hill Development Company as one of the area's premier and most savvy land development experts
"We've never had a failed project," he notes. "Everything we've done - working together with these project partners - has been a success. We've taken great pains to establish our credibility, and we have achieved that."
With the company's reputation in land development firmly established, Solano is taking carefully measured "next step" toward future growth for his company. Robin Hill Development recently opened a new home building division specializing in construction of semi-custom and custom-built single family residences. . "Buyers have become more reliant on the stability and credibility of the builder/developer," he explains. "They want a builder who knows not only how to construct a quality home, but also one who understands the importance of planning and developing communities as a whole - with safe, comfortable neighborhoods, landscaping, recreational amenities, etc."
The new home building division is headed by John King, a 25-year veteran of the industry. His most recent position was as vice president of construction and development for Spruce Development based in Bloomfield Hills,Michigan.
The Spruce name is locally recognized, as developer of Cotswold on the Lake in Northbrook, a luxury residential community of 103 attached and detached single-family homes. Spruce Development has also garnered national renown as owner/developer of the magnificent Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City, Michigan.
"John brings an impressive depth and breadth of expe rience to us, both in development and marketing," commented Solano. "His background and expertise are great assets to the new division."
Said King: "Combined with this company's established foundation in land development, we have an extraordinary opportunity to further establish the Robin Hill name as a standard of excellence in the industry and marketplace."
The home building division's first project is at Broken Arrow, an exciting 579-acre master-planned golf course com munity in Lockport which Solano had a major role in developing. When completed, the community's build-out value is expected to be $250 million, and will include the $7 million Broken Arrow Lodge. It will house a Golf Learning Center - a world-class training facility for golfers of all abilities - and also serve as a clubhouse designed for both recreational and executive conference use.
"We want to build on the credibility we've established as a land developer by taking a leadership role in building out the remaining custom and semi-custom homesites," Solano said. "At this point, with 240 sites remaining, we have a mar ket which typically favors a small-market, high-end builder like ourselves."
Four homes under construction at Broken Arrow, site of this summer's Southwest Suburban Home Builders Association Home Show, are early evidence of the great things to come from Robin Hill Development Company's home building division. All four homes will be featured in the show.
"Our homes are designed for the lifestyle created by the master development plan to take full advantage of the community's layout and natural environmental features," noted Solano. Models, he added, provide buyers a selection of homes at base prices that include superior appointments - thus reducing or eliminating the need for costly upgrades.
"I think visitors to our Show models will be pleasantly surprised to find that most of what they see is included as stan dard in Robin Hill homes," King said. "Other builders' options are standard features in our homes - and still affordably priced."
Robin Hill Development Company is also building at Royal Fox, a nearly completed 300-home luxury golf course community in St. Charles. The home building division will also cater to home buyers with their own plans and/or sites, as well as those seeking a quality builder with in-house plans designed for today's lifestyle.
The SSHBA Home Show takes place July 20 through August 4, and Solano and King are excited to be a part of it this year. Solano's association with the SSHBA, however, goes far beyond participation in the home showcase event.
An active member for several years, he views the group as a unified voice for the housing industry, pro-active in identify ing and assisting the resolution of industry issues at all govern ment levels. Association-sponsored events and networking among members - both socially and professionally - provide a forum for builders to exchange ideas, problems and solutions.
"An association can only be as strong as its members," Solano noted, "and while we are all essentially competitors in the home building market, we still work together for the benefit of the industry as a whole - because it benefits each of us in the long run."
Moreover, he said, the association and its staff serve as a kind of clearinghouse - a centrally located resource - for educa tion and information to only builders and other SSHBA mem bers, but for the home buyer and media as well.
Robin Hill Development Company's venture into home building comes once again at "the right place, and the right time." It's the right move for a company already well-recognized and well-established in the Chicago-area building/development market - and a move that home buyers enthusiastically embrace.
Robin Hill Development Company is offering one- and two-story custom homes priced from $225,000 in Long Bow Creek, Dakota Glen and Thunder Hill, three of Broken Arrow's most secluded neighborhoods. All surrounded by the community's handsome, 27-hole golf course, many sites are on cul-de-sacs or back up directly to the course. Each homesite has a minimum 80' frontage and are improved with all city services.
In Long Bow Creek, 50 lots are available from 10,567 to 19,345 sq. ft. and priced from $49,900 to $63,105. In Dakota Glen, 103 lots are available, sized 15,029 to 20,859 sq. ft. and priced from $69,600 to $89,400. In Thunder Hill, 106 lots ranging in size from 17,199 sq. ft. to 27,030 sq. ft. are priced from $108,400 to $116,400.
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