By: Karen Laurence Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers
When talking about new construction in South Florida, GL Homes must be mentioned. Since 1976, GL homes has grown from a small local builder to one of the nations largest. Named “2nd largest private home builder in Florida” by Florida Trends Magazine and considered the 20th largest builder in the United States, Karen Laurence sat down with Jill Didonna, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at GL Homes, to find out what the company is up to.
What do you think attributes to the success of GL homes in Palm Beach County?
It is the diversity of the product that meets the needs of the population and the lifestyle that is afforded the homeowners living in the communities through the clubhouse and the many amenities and activities within. Right now there are three new developments opening here in Palm Beach County. One recently opened is Valencia Bay, an over 55 plus community that has taken off very well, appealing to the baby boomers from the Northeast, including Canada. The next is the Berkley, which just opened on March 4th, catering to the high-end client. And the next, opening on March 11, is the Dakota, which is an all-ages community. Concurrently, the developments that still have some homes available are Seven Bridges and Tuscany and Valencia Cove.
There is a lot of advertising done here and in the Northeast, where a large percentage of your population comes from. What is your reasoning on that?
GL homes is trying to get to the population before they come to Florida to buy a home. That is why there is so much advertising and we are so successful in having people come down to Florida. They know ahead of time that one of their stops will be GL homes, to look at or purchase a primary, second or retirement home. Usually these people are very serious about purchasing a home here in Florida. GL makes it easy to be an absentee buyer. The staff has many out of state buyers and knows very well how to pull everything all together for their purchase.
Please explain the lottery for lots and why you have chosen it.
In order to determine a fair way to reserve the lots for purchase, GL has a lottery. People will come into register for their lots and then a lottery will be drawn. This is usually pre-construction with current pricing, so it is a way to get in the ground floor, at the lowest cost. It has proven to be the most organized way to handle the opening day surge.
In the new developments, GL is changing the outside look from Mediterranean to a more modern look. We employ top designers for both the interior and the exterior of the homes. The trend is moving towards cleaner lines, no barrel roof (flatter roofs,) flatter windows, no arches and flatter windows and different color choices.
GL has an assortment of all ages, different income levels, and 55 plus homes. What will your plans for the future look like?
We will be building more of the same developments. We plan upon being in Palm Beach County for a long, long time.
Karen Laurence is a sales associate with The Keyes Company. She is a Technical Real Estate Instructor, Real Estate Agent and Certified Luxury Agent.