Hasta la vista
One of Central Florida’s more exciting enterprises, Bellavista Homes has been built upon its ability to forge healthy and strong relationships with all of its potential buyers, and is now benefiting from increased migration to the Sunshine State
Formed in 2014, while Central Florida-based residential community developer and builder Bellavista Homes may be a relatively young entity, its activities are buttressed by the many years of industry experience possessed by its founding members. At the core of the company are its three principle leaders, individuals who each possess 30-plus years of experience in the home building market, and who – even when in the past they worked for competing firms – have managed to maintain a strong relationship with one another.
Aldo Martin, CEO and co-founder of Bellavista Building Group and Bellavista Homes talks about how the company came to be. “It was several years after the recession of 2006-2007 – which caused many businesses in our sector to go to the wall – that I was attending a trade show and happened to come across one of the men who would go on to become a partner here, Dennis Perez. I remember saying to him that I believed that the market would return to growth, and that I was looking at putting together a team together for a new venture.”
There may have been a degree of scepticism towards Aldo’s thoughts at the time, but within a matter of months the new business was up and running, with Aldo as employee number one, partner Steven Hiss as employee number two, and Dennis joining the fold later. “When making the transition to the new team, we were very privileged to see the vast majority of the clients that we had forged strong relationships with in the past migrate over to us,” Aldo continues. “That meant that from day one, we had contracts in place, work to carry out, and cash flow coming in, which allowed us to get off to a fast start. Many of those clients remain with us to this day, and the relationships we share with them only go from strength-to-strength.”
One of the things that said clients tell Aldo and his team on a regular basis is that what they particularly like about working with Bellavista is the knowledge that the company will not only always be upfront about the potential challenges facing a project, but that it will invariably come back with a solution to those issues. “I certainly think that is a trademark of who we are,” Aldo affirms. “Another quality that sets us apart is our flexibility. When we started Bellavista, we knew that we needed to diversify ourselves, if for nothing else than to be best prepared for the next cycle that might impact upon the residential building market. This way of thinking led us to take on more commercial and industrial work.
“Here in the US, it is much more common for people in our space to be very sector specific in the projects they undertake. We – on the other hand – do all kinds of work, from detached single-family homes, to multi-family housing products and apartment complexes made up of hundreds of units. We also do a wealth of commercial work, including office spaces, sports facilities, event/convention centers, and hotels.”
While Aldo appreciates that what he is about to say can often be regarded as a cliché, he is still keen to stress how the business sees itself and its employees as one big family. “There is absolutely no way whatsoever that we could have gotten to where we are today without the efforts of our people, and in turn our own ability to ensure that they remain happy and focused on the task at hand,” he says. “When it comes to our clients and sub-contractors, we apply a similar mind-set in that we treat them and their respective businesses as if they were our own, working hard to protect them, and always making decisions that essentially treats their bottom line as importantly as Bellavista’s. What you have to remember as well, is that a sub-contractor can have the luxury of choosing who they wish to work with. Therefore, it is imperative that we maintain the best possible relationships with this workforce.”
Proof of Bellavista’s superior efforts and workmanship can be found in its many completed projects, examples of which Aldo is more than happy to share details of. “One particularly memorable undertaking was our work on Balmoral at Water’s Edge, a resort community located in Haines City, Florida,” he details. As well as boasting resort styled single family homes, Balmoral at Water’s Edge also comes with resort styled swimming pools, a water park, gardens, and a gated entrance.
“There is a great story linked to this project, and one that really goes a long way towards highlighting how we constantly strive to go that extra mile for our clients,” Aldo continues. “The first phase of it involved the building out of the homes themselves, the resort’s amenity center, and its main swimming pool, and it was next to the latter that the client wanted to have built the water park, complete with towers, slides and more. Not long after this first phase of the project was complete, the client came to us to say that they were planning a grand opening of the complex in 45 day’s time, and that they really wanted the site cleaned up and as operational as possible before his guests arrived. So, what we did was gather the team together to devise a way in which we could complete the second phase – which was supposed to have a four-month lead time – in 45 days.
“In order to achieve this turnaround, we worked every single day, pretty much around the clock, to the point where the night before the grand opening itself, myself, Dennis and several other team members were on-site at 1am cleaning things down and making it ready to receive people. The result was that the client was able to hold his grand opening celebration, and while the water slides were not yet open for use, they were lit up with water running down them, providing a fantastic visual for everyone. Needless to say, this bought us a huge amount of credit with the client, and we have since gone on to do additional business with them to the tune of several hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
For Bellavista, the work continues to come in thick and fast. Among the varied mix of projects that it is currently working on – as of August 2021 – or has plans to in the coming months, include 100,000-square feet of professional office space close to Orlando International Airport, several large apartment complexes located throughout the state, up to 1000 residential units, a number of large custom homes, and even a church!
In spite of the damage dealt globally by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Bellavista would in fact enjoy its best year ever in terms of revenues and profit margins. Part of this would have been down to the fact that it was considered an essential business, able to operate throughout the last year-and-a-half, while another important factor is the increase in migration to Florida, which has created immense demand for housing. “This migration is not only occurring domestically, but also internationally, with more and more people from South America – for example – wanting to come here to start a new life,” Aldo highlights. “As a matter of fact, I was recently speaking to an old mentor of mine, who told me that he felt that Central Florida is now in the midst of a similar wave of expansion as that seen in places like Atlanta 30-off years ago, and that will see it being a major metropolis in the South East of the country for years to come.
“Fortunately for us, Orlando has plenty of space in which to grow, and I believe that the local economy will only become more diverse as we welcome more homeowners and businesses to the region. From that perspective, the future looks fantastic for companies such as Bellavista!”
Services: Residential community developer and builder