Case Studies

Shelter Builders Group Inc.

Catering to the high-end custom market

Over the course of a decade, Shelter Builders Group Inc. (SBG) has gained much recognition in the Hollywood Hills and the exclusive suburbs of West Los Angeles. The luxury homebuilder has carved a niche in catering to custom, high-end clients, rising to the demanding challenge of building some of the most elaborate and extreme quality custom estate homes in the area, all entirely on a referral basis.

“I don’t do any advertising – no website, no Facebook page, just 100 percent referrals and recommendations,” reveals Mark Grossi, founder and president of SBG.

Grossi, who set out serious entrepreneurial ambitions right after college, says he’s learned the construction business is more than building an elegant product, but also building a long-valued trusted relationship.

“It’s about absolute relationships with everyone – the clients, architects, interior designers, vendors and subcontractors,” he explains. “Relationships are the source of referrals; they ease in the expediting of construction, assist in buying power and productivity – it all translates to relationships.”

Hands-on ownership in every aspect

That’s one reason Grossi says he’s involved in every square inch of each ground-up home SBG carries out. “We currently have five projects in production,” he details. “We’re working on everything from a 28,000-square-foot palatial French estate home with a 45-car underground garage to a high-tech modern cantilevered property with a $1 million plus structural foundation in the Hills.”

No matter the size or scale of the project, fine attention to detail and continuous direct contact with all parties is paramount for Grossi. “SBG currently has eight direct employees, but we employ over 300 subcontractors that stay in repeat business,” he shares. “I recently had the opportunity to expand to Miami, Florida, but in the tune of keeping relationships and service consistent, I didn’t want to spread my business too thin. Even though I have quality staff, almost everything still comes through me.”

Owning and being highly involved in his own company was always an aspiration for Grossi. As a student at Arizona State University’s School of Construction, he knew he wanted to build homes that reflected individual tastes. After interning at a top Phoenix area development company, Grossi was promoted to vice president upon graduation.

When he moved west to California, Grossi landed a job with one of L.A.’s most in demand custom residential builders, but he knew he wanted to do his own thing. “I come from a family of Ivy League professionals, but I always knew this is what I wanted to do,” he says. “When I first moved to L.A., I spent four years working for a well-known custom home builder that deals with some of the most notoriously difficult celebrity clients and even though it really put me through the ringer, starting my own company just felt natural.”

When he finally established SBG in 2003, business took off rapidly. “The first project we worked on was for a top studio executive, a 25,000-square-foot Beverly Hills estate home, which we finished in 18 months,” he tells. “After finishing this project, the client referred me several other notable clients and SBG grew with a tremendous accelerated pace.”

Grossi says the only slow down came in 2010 into 2011 when the recession finally began to hit even some of L.A.’s deepest pockets. “The residential market, even for some big-name clients, slowed down to the point where I took on a very challenging project in London, England, and was commuting overseas on a bi-weekly basis,” he recounts. “The London-based project was an impressive 400-year-old townhouse renovation for which the entire and exact five-floor street façade must be maintained and untouched. We demolished all structure other than the front elevation, which was shored up for preservation, then continued to excavate six subterranean levels, which included car elevators to garages and a full-sized swimming pool with a beach 70 feet below street level.”

This project launched international success for the company and a second, London-based office. Grossi partnered up with a British native who is heading up the expansion into the luxury home boom in the London residential renovations market.

However, Grossi says there’s now plenty of work in greater L.A. to keep the company busy. “Just recently it’s picked back up considerably and we’re getting back into more big projects,” he adds. “I’m excited about the coming year.”

Excelling in the extraordinary

When it comes to the most extravagant, over the top designs, SBG truly excels. “We’ll tear down a $5 million home on the west side and make it a premier $25 million estate home,” says Grossi.

Never afraid of a challenge, the company is currently working on a nearly three-year project in the glamorous Bel-Air neighborhood, including a 45-car underground garage.

“The home itself is approximately 28,000 square feet,” explains Grossi. “We started the project almost three years ago and it will be complete by the end of 2014; it’s been a massive undertaking.”

Not far from the famous Hollywood sign is another marvel of L.A.-style opulence that SBG has facilitated. “We delivered a modern cantilevered ground-up home in the steep terrain in the Hills,” details Grossi. “The house is 5,000 square feet on a significant structural foundation. This foundation actually cost as much to build as the 45-car garage in Bel-Air.”

With more projects in the works, 2015 looks to be a very productive year for the trusted custom builder. “I’m excited for the opportunities and to continue to build relationships and grow contacts,” adds Grossi.

Working on some of L.A.’s finest luxury homes is all in a day’s work for Shelter Builders Group Inc. where the bigger, the better and the more detailed quality is a focal point.

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Spring 2018



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