In 2010 Bob Kennedy hired me as CEO and partner of Kennedy Homes. Over the next eleven years it was quite a run, and ended unfortunately by Bob’s stroke and near death in late 2018. Today we are selling off the remaining small number of Kennedy inventory homes.
Trevi at The Gardens– In 2010/11 many real estate developers were tip toeing out of this country’s worst recession. The fact was when Bob and I were going through all of the pre-entitlement company due diligence we were not entirely certain that we were not still in the recession. Adding to the uncertainty, some states and areas entered the recession later (like North Carolina) and subsequently exited the recession later. But we persevered and ended up buying the property. One notable event tied directly to our uncertainty of the times was that after the initial contract we negotiated a $400,000 reduction in the price and the seller agreed.
Palm Beach Gardens– Palm Beach Gardens was a new experience for me. I was not used to their total control of everything to do with design, product mix and landscaping. Their development orders (basically rules of how to manage the development of the project) were also quite detailed. The zoning and land use were fairly straightforward. It was evident that during entitlements we would need to hire a professional land planner and have an influential land use attorney on the bench.
We selected Don Hearing of Cotleur and Hearing in Jupiter. It was a wise decision. Eventually, through Don’s wrangling and powers of persuasion we received approval to build 75 -(30’ wide) townhomes on 10 acres. Light density by town home standards.
We also hired Affiniti architects in Boca Raton to design 4 distinct models including one model with a master bedroom on the first floor. Something not typical in townhomes-it turned out to be a best seller. Another first for me was building right beside I-95. This required nearly 600 feet of sound wall up to a height of 16 feet. Fortunately, we sold very quickly once we the models opened and the buildings were underway.
The Project– Trevi was designed with 30’ wide townhomes and 2 car garages. The mix was 3 and 4-bedroom, 3 baths ranging from 1675 sf to around 2100 sf. As part of their controls the town of Palm Beach Gardens requires you choose all of the unit types in advance. In other words, all of the unit types were pre-planned and not changeable. Fortunately, we had 4 solid models to sell. We hired my long-time friend and excellent interior designer Kay Green to decorate the models and enhance our marketing plan.
Once the models opened, we sold out in just under a year and turned over our first community to the resident run HOA. Eight years later and less than a half mile west on the same street, we applied everything we had learned at Trevi at the Gardens to our new Trevi called Trevi Isle, which sold out in May of this year.
Stephen Gravett has been a real estate developer for over 45 years and was most recently CEO of Kennedy Homes for the past 11 years and is still CEO of Kennedy Development Partners (KDP) and full time Director of Operations for 5 Star Developers. He is also a state licensed broker and since 1980 a State licensed General Contractor Unlimited. He flew B-52’s in the US Air Force during the Vietnam war.