MAG Builders Inc.
- Written by: Matt Sulem
- Produced by: Nick Randall
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Along with getting married and finding a new job, buying a home is said to be one of the three most stressful events in a person’s life. This refers to both the searching for and eventual purchase of a home, but the stress can be compounded when the house is being built from the ground up.
(Insert your favorite “contractors are evil” joke here.)
“Builders get a bad rap,” says Alex Dooley, the director of marketing for Denver-based MAG Builders, explaining that companies in the industry are often accused of only caring about the construction and profits.
“But we don’t just build homes,” Dooley says. “We also support the community any way we can, and that’s very rewarding for both us and the people who buy these houses.”
When MAG was founded in 1999 by now-CEO Michael Griger and Chief Financial Officer Michael Moylen, they initially built only single-family homes and duplexes, but have expanded into multi-family structures of six or more units in the last year.
With this growth came the founding of a new sub-brand, MAG Socials, which focuses on working with community members—including both residents and local businesses—to integrate the multi-family developments into their neighborhoods.
MAG also encourages socializing amongst the residents by hosting parties and other events at these new complexes, Dooley explains. The first event was held at Tennyson Social, a 12-unit townhome development in the increasingly desirable city-center neighborhood of Berkeley.
The neighborhood is home to the annual Tennyson bar crawl and the Tennyson Arts District, as well as numerous restaurants, trendy shops, galleries and parks.
Before the new owners even closed on their homes in January 2017, MAG threw a buyer appreciation party to introduce the new homeowners to each other and “set the tone for the people who buy the property,” she says.
The residents now independently hold quarterly social gatherings, which Dooley credits to MAG’s initiation of the sense of community. And the director of marketing should know; she currently owns one of the 12 units, which are divided equally between two separate structures.
Built in MAG’s signature “mountain meets modern” style, the exterior and interiors use natural materials, colors and textures, including Colorado beetle-kill pine, gray brick and stucco on the envelope. Inside, contemporary amenities are incorporated, and each home is personalized in terms of paint, cabinetry, appliance brands and other finishing options down to the door knobs.
The units feature a three-level layout with two bedrooms and one to four bathrooms, as well as an attached two-car garage. And the mountain theme isn’t simply limited to the décor. The townhomes also feature private roof-decks with views of the surrounding peaks.
The Tennyson Social project was also notable for wrapping the construction—from groundbreaking to closing—in under a year, when comparable developments take an average of 18 months. MAG’s managers deserve most of the credit for keeping the project on schedule, Dooley says, with the rest of the kudos going to the various subcontractors.
MAG crafts close and continued relationships with all of these vendors, most of whom have worked with the builder for several years.
“When I go out on the site, I can’t even remember which people work for us and which ones are our subs anymore,” Dooley jokes.
Those site workers also include the CEO and CFO, as well as Chief Operating Officer Jon Swenson. Griger, for instance, likes to go out during the framing process to ensure everything is in order, and Swenson, despite his executive title, can be spotted toting a bag of tools around more often than not.
“It has more of a family feel,” Dooley says of the company vibe. “Everyone knows Mike and Mike. They really enjoy meeting with the clients, even if it’s just for lunch or dinner or happy hour—just to bring comfort to everybody.”
And if a construction site ends up with extra materials after a job is completed, those also go back into the community.
“We donate unused materials from our sites to Habitat for Humanity,” Dooley says, noting that, to date, they estimate this has amounted to some $500,000 worth of materials.
Colorado is currently in the midst—or at the tail end, depending on who you ask—of a population boom. According to 2016 state census records, the number of residents grew by nearly 92,000 in the previous year, and 101,000 the year before that. Aside from that minor dip, the expansion has been exponential, as five years prior, in 2010, Colorado only added about 20,000 new residents.
Much of this growth can be attributed to the state’s economy, which boasts a recent increase in the number of jobs and a subsequent drop in unemployment. Earlier this year, U.S. News and World Report listed Colorado No. 1 in America in terms of economic strength.
Dooley adds a few more enticements:
“You can always be outside in Denver—even when it’s snowing,” she says before lobbing a playful jab at the harsh New England weather that surrounds US Builders Review’s offices in Portland, Maine. “Denver has 300 days of sunshine. If you love the outdoors, you’ll love it here.”
In addition to skiing, hiking and biking, Dooley cites the city’s ample breweries, festivals, block parties and other events, as well as Denver’s walkability and bike-ability.
With two new projects by MAG Socials on the way, the Mile High City might get even more appealing.
Like Tennyson, Highland Park Social will also contain 12 roof-deck-equipped units and recently broke ground in the Highlands neighborhood with an estimated completion date late in 2018. Back in Berkeley, Berkeley Social, a four-unit complex, has plans to break ground and add even more to the bustling community early next year.
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