Canadian homebuilder gains Texas toehold

By Houston Chronicle | October 21, 2016


Canada-based Empire Communities has launched a homebuilding division in Texas and will start putting up houses in the Dellrose community in the Cypress area in 2017. The company plans to build 300 houses in the 600-acre community, which is being developed by its Empire Continental Land affiliate along Bauer Road just north of U.S. 290. The development is west of the Grand Parkway near the Fairfield community.

Empire Continental Land has been assembling land for residential projects in Austin and Houston over the last four years. Currently building in Dellrose, where homes start around $210,000, are Beazer Homes, CalAtlantic Homes, Plantation Homes and Princeton Classic Homes. Amenities include a resident clubhouse, resort style pool, splash pad, parks, walking trails, tennis courts and a courtyard with an outdoor fireplace.

Empire Communities has tapped some local homebuilding veterans to head the Texas operations. James Miller serves as division president, Carl “Wade” Bradow as division executive vice president, and John S. Arditi joins as controller. Miller and Bradow hail from Houston-based McGuyer Homebuilders, where Miller served as region president and Bradow was division president of land acquisition. Arditi worked for Meritage Homes Corp. and Lennar Corp. before that.

Empire Communities has built more than 10,000 homes and condominiums since 1993, mainly in the Toronto and southwestern Ontario areas. The builder is entering the Houston market as home construction is projected to fall by more than 10 percent in 2016, according to housing consulting firm Metrostudy.

Another builder, History Maker Homes, is expanding outside the Dallas/Fort Worth area to Houston. Drees Custom Homes, the last national builder to enter the Houston market, started building homes here in 2014. Shea Homes and Sitterle Homes each entered the local market in 2013.

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