Stoneridge Homes Inc.
After working in Huntsville, Alabama, for nearly 11 years, Jim Wright decided to use his experience in the homebuilding industry and start his own company. In 2009, Stoneridge Homes Inc. was established and has become a leading home and community developer in the Huntsville area.
Wright arrived in Huntsville working with a company called Westminster Homes. After the company was acquired and sold by another outfit, Wright decided to remain in Huntsville, where he bought some land and with his partner at the time, started Alabama Heritage Homes. After experiencing some success, the two partners decided to branch off and start their own individual companies.
Achieving goals through experience
With more than 35 years in the industry, Wright takes pride in serving his community. As a past National Homebuilder division president, construction manager, project manager and controller, Wright brings both knowledge and hands-on expertise to Stoneridge Homes. With a lifelong goal of becoming a homebuilder, Wright was able to combine this dream with an accounting and finance background to strengthen his business savviness. “Having that finance background really helped to get me where I am today,” Wright explains. “I have been fortunate to realize a dream that I have had since I was a young man.”
By keeping debt low and maintaining a solid cash flow, Stoneridge Homes has been able to overcome the challenges of starting a homebuilding and community development company in the midst of the recession. “It has taken a bit of luck but we’ve been very fortunate and are humbled,” says Wright. “I definitely have my team to thank for our success.” Stoneridge Homes maintains a staff of 8 construction managers who supervise the construction of each home and work directly with the company’s subcontractors.
With close subcontractor relationships, Stoneridge Homes has been able to create a reliable network without putting jobs out to bid. In contrast to this traditional method, Stoneridge Homes and its partners are able to accept bids from suppliers and lumber yards in order to receive the best price on materials. “Most of my subs and suppliers have been with me since I started in Huntsville in 1999,” recounts Wright. “I don’t go shopping for the best price. They give me a reasonable price for the service I get and it has worked that way since the beginning.”
Stoneridge Homes is currently in phase two of a 10-phase development in Huntsville called The Meadows. With the capacity for 700 lots, Stoneridge Homes acquired the property with 150 of those lots approximately 40 percent developed. “I did have to do some renovating and regrading to the properties,” Wright explains. “Overall it was a good thing that some of the lots were developed though, because it saved some money throughout the process.”
Purchasing the land was not without its share of challenges. The acquisition came at the height of the housing market collapse in 2008 and the property had been repossessed by local banks. “There were a lot challenges with the municipality as far as getting certain things zoned and annexed,” says Wright. “Our good credit score and strong reputation within the community certainly helped move things along.” The acquisition also created an opportunity for Stoneridge Homes to establish relationships with new local banks that the company had yet to work with.
The Meadows currently remains in the development stage. “We will add two different types of product,” says Wright. “We’re going to start adding townhouses and eventually will start building what we call our cottage homes, which will be placed on 60-foot lots.” Stoneridge Homes plans to begin this development process in 2016.
Once Stoneridge Homes’ development plans were implemented and construction was completed on a number of lots, The Meadows was quickly became a well sought-after community. Within the first year, 40 units were closed on. “We were also able to get our showcase home as the featured home for the Home Builders Association Parade of Homes,” says Wright. “We were able to outbid everybody else to get our home in the parade for last year.”
In the last 18 months, Stoneridge Homes has quadrupled its lot inventory size through the purchase of land from independent deals as well as other developers. The increase in inventory has not only increased the company’s assets, but also its presence in Huntsville as well as Madison and Limestone counties. Stoneridge Homes Inc. is now on pace to become one of the largest homebuilders in northern Alabama.
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