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Saturday, December 19, 2015


The Starter Home 2.0 Business Model Story

In the Spring of 2006, when I was a second year architecture student at the University of Cincinnati on my first co-op job in Phoenix, Arizona I was flipping through a recently published Architectural Record magazine, when I came across an article I found so intriguing, that it would change the direction I would take my academic and professional career, leading me to where I'm at today as the Architect and Developer of the Starter Home 2.0 project. The article was simply titled 'K Lofts: San Diego, California', and while I very much enjoyed the architecture it featured, it was the introduction to Architect as Developer business model and the risks, rewards, and design freedoms associated with it that got me hooked to learning more about the subject and ultimately dedicating my thesis work to it. 
Photo I took of the K-Lofts project when visiting San Diego
In the Spring of 2010, I presented my Master of Architecture Thesis, titled 'Architect as Developer: A Model for Triple Top Line Development', which included a 100+ page document on how the Architect as Developer model facilitates more economically, ecologically and socially effective development, a building design and pro forma for the project. I also had the chance to collaborate with and learn from several developers and architect-developers along the way who were actually out in the real world doing this type of work, which was incredibly valuable as I looked to transition my theories to practice upon graduation. 
Thesis project to redevelop a vacant mixed-use building at Findley Market in Cincinnati
In the Spring of 2015 with a site acquired, plans designed, financing approved, and a builder on board, I broke ground on the Starter Home 2.0 Pleasant Ridge project that I am now living in. This was my first architect as developer project and the goal was to get my feet wet, learn as much as possible from the experience, and get a better understanding for what all goes into the development and construction of a new home. I now have a much better idea of what everything costs, how long everything takes, and who all I would like to work with again on future projects.
In the Spring of 2017 I will be breaking ground on the Starter Home 2.0 Oakley project, with an exit strategy of either selling that home upon completion, selling the Pleasant Ridge home and moving into Oakley project, or renting out the Oakley project. My intent is to treat this second project much more like a business venture than the first, paving the way for future development projects. In the meantime, 2016 is going to be a big year from a planning perspective, getting the new house designed, financed and permitted, and setting up systems to hit the ground running in 2017 and beyond.