Q & A with Steve Ellis
Co-Founder of MGB Built Fine Custom Homes Steve
The new construction market is booming, and MGB Built has been working on some interesting custom luxury homes in very desirable locations around the area. Can you fill us in on some of your current projects?
We do a lot of waterfront construction and currently are working on three new waterfront custom homes and are nearing completion on three custom spec homes on Siesta Key that are sold or under contract. MGB Built also is the exclusive builder in Granada Park, a small community of luxury homes just off Siesta Drive west of the Trail near the north bridge to Siesta Key. The location is ideal because it’s so close to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and also to all the arts and amenities downtown. We’ve built five homes, four of which have sold for more than $1 million and one is now on the market, nearing completion, offered at $1.15 million. Home sites also are available from the $200,000s. Steve
MGB Built has been in business since 2006 and was able to grow through the real estate downturn. How did you manage to do that?
My partner, Grant Castilow, and I started out primarily renovating and retrofitting existing homes for green certification. Our first home was a 1960s “flower street” house and from there, people started calling on us to give advice and teach people what green building meant. People saw us as the experts and even though the economy tanked, we kept growing. We were asked independently by two area physicians to build waterfront homes on Siesta Key and Casey Key respectively to Leeds Platinum standards, which is the highest green certification level, and we found ourselves in high-end custom homebuilding working with some of the best architects and designers in the region. Steve
“We’re building a home to last.” – Steve Ellis, MGB
MGB Built incorporates green building standards into all of its custom homes although most homeowners are not interested in pursuing certification. Why is that?
The tangible benefits of building to those standards far outweigh the costs. Those benefits include the interior air quality of the home, superior air conditioning systems, lower cost to operate and maintain the home, and reduced insurance premiums. The homes go above and beyond in terms of fortifications for our Florida climate conditions. Steve
We go above and beyond in other ways, as well, from the quality of our finishes to using materials that stand up well in a coastal climate. People don’t want to do a lot of maintenance, and over the years we’ve perfected what works. Our exterior fasteners are stainless steel, and we try not to have a lot of exposed wood unless that is a look our client specifically wants. Other than beautifully sand textured or smooth stucco over concrete, we use durable Hardie board for soffits, fascia and siding components, and three coats of the best paint are applied. We’re building a home to last. Steve
“Our team has combined experience of more than 250 years.” – Steve Ellis, MGB
What kind of experience can homebuyers expect when working with MGB Built, and what is your Client Bill of Rights?
Building a true fine custom home is a complex process. It’s something like creating a tailor-made suit, only with over 200,000 parts. Through the years we’ve never built the same home twice, and we’ve developed processes that accommodate the many differences in each home, which reduce the opportunity for oversights. We also carefully vet our tradespeople and hire experienced people who know how to work to our standards. Our project managers all have at least 35 years of experience, and our team has combined experience of more than 250 years. Steve
Communication among all parties throughout construction is an important part of our process. Our clients receive weekly updates, which allows them to hold us accountable and allows us to hold all team members accountable. Our Client Bill of Rights describes the integrity we strive for and the respect and satisfaction clients can expect from us.
Ultimately, what are homebuyers looking for and how do you deliver it?
Building a home is a very personal experience. Every house is different because individual clients have their own visions. People come to us because they appreciate the quality of what goes into the homes we build, and they want to build a fortified residence to last. A number of our clients are some of the most philanthropic people in town. Many have lived and travelled extensively around the world. They appreciate fine craftsmanship and want to bring everything they love together in their forever dream home. Steve
MGB Built does a lot of universal design because clients want to be able to live in their home under any circumstances as they age. We try to help them make good informed decisions while they are designing their home so our clients can be both cost effective and have all the comforts and the things they dream about. If someone is looking for something unique, they need a builder with the skills and expertise, the experienced tradespeople, and the right process to bring it all together. And that’s what MGB Built Fine Custom Homes delivers.