You hear the horror stories of builders going out of business leaving customers stranded with half built homes, contracts not fulfilled and lots of money lost. But here in Southwest Florida the story of a builder shutting his doors has a very different ending.
Bob Knight, president of Paul Homes, has been building houses in the community for 35 years. More than 500 homes have been built by the company. He had a respectable reputation and its one he wanted to keep even when he could no longer work. Knight had to quickly shut down his company this spring due to sudden health problems, but he didn’t want to leave all his customers with unfinished homes. So he contacted his friend Paul Beattie, owner of Beattie Development, who purchased Paul Homes and is now fulfilling all the contracts.
“Bob Knight has done everything right,” Beattie began.
Beattie quickly hired five of Knights employees and set out to complete the homes of 20 clients under contract.
“I honored the pricing of all the homes,” Beattie said. “We really came together as a builder community and really closed shop the right way. We are excited about carrying on the legacy, the attention to detail and the other great opportunities that were presented.”
Paul Homes customers were greatly relieved.
Dawn Stanchina’s home was about seven months into the building process. The outside was complete, but the inside was still just a shell.
“Oh complete disbelief. We were just shocked,” Stanchina said when asked about what she thought when she heard Paul Homes was going out of business.
That shock turned to happiness when she met Beattie.
“It definitely was a relief,” she described. “We were really lucky with how Beattie jumped in and helped out Paul Homes. A lot of it went quick. From a standpoint on how this business works, they did a lot in a very short period of time. Everybody tried to do their very best to get things moving. There were bumps along the way, but it was mostly that it had not been done before. A lot of the continuity was people I worked with at Paul Homes moved over. That continuity kept me a little more sane. We could have been out that money. So we know we are very, very lucky in this process. It could have gone so many different ways.”
Jeffrey Gazlay worked for Bob Knight for 19 years and is now employed by Beattie as the new home division manager.
“It’s been very seamless,” Gazley said. “The customers have felt that other than a name change nothing has changed. Beattie’s box is much larger and Beattie offers a lot more so we have been able to offer an even bigger service and that just adds to the excitement.”
Gazley said the shuttering of Paul Homes happened so quickly it did take everyone by surprise. That’s why he wanted to help with a smooth transition for the customers.
“I orchestrated that process,” Gazley said. “That was one of the things I wanted to focus on was that Bob Knight was taken care of and the clients were taken care of.”
Bob Knight has been and is one of the most honorable honest men that I ever met. He was a mentor and a role model for me for 19 years. He’s done the right thing. He went above and beyond anything that someone would do in that situation he was in. He needs to be known for that.”
Dean Goins said he was so glad to see Beattie take over the contract and leave everything from the blueprints to the pricing the same.
“Everything went fine,” Goins said. “They just picked it up and are doing it.
It was nice that they are doing it. Otherwise we would have had to start from scratch.
It took a long time to find the plan I liked, so I am glad they are going to build that.”
Leslie NeSmith chose Paul Homes after doing lots of research.
“He had a stellar reputation,” NeSmith began. “We were really caught off guard with the unexpected news that he was closing his doors. Everybody was shocked because it was Paul Homes and he had been here for years. It was a shocker, but I understand that there are things out of your control, and your health is one of those things.”
NeSmith said it is so scary to hear the builder you have a contract with is out of business.
“When I heard the news my heart sunk to my stomach,” she said. “You start thinking ‘oh my god what about all this money, what about the blueprints.’ Our immediate concern was ‘oh my God we were starting from scratch again.’”
But that didn’t happen.
“Bob Knight did take care of us and did try to do things smoothly and quickly,” NeSmith said. “ Paul Beattie – he turned a negative situation into a really positive one. It was a seamless process. The whole transition has been terrific.”
The deal was also beneficial for Beattie. He acquired the Majestic model on Cape Coral Parkway that has been extremely popular since it was built more than 10 years ago. Beattie plans to use the two adjacent lots to construct two more homes and create a model village.
The Majestic, that was remodeled in 2018, and has been recreated for buyers more than 100 times all around Southwest Florida, is a more traditional Mediterranean style house. Beattie plans to build a higher end, modern home and then later a more affordable house to show buyers a wide range of possibilities.
“Being that I am looking to grow, this works great,” Beattie said. “I obviously was looking for a new model home center because our model is over three years old. So I was able to acquire this property and will make a model village to show all of our projects in one place. We are launching this to honor Bob. We are calling it the Majestic series of homes.”
The Majestic spans 2,307 square feet and total 3,409 square feet of space. The $511,000 price includes the pool and upgraded finishes. Beattie plans to open his next model the first quarter of 2022. That more modern style home one will be about 2,700 under air and more than 5,000 total square feet with the outdoor living. He hopes to have a third model done by the end of 2022.
Paul Beattie said the name Paul Homes is a fun bonus in the purchase. Paul Homes was named after Knight’s original partner Gary Paul.
“I am not doing it because of the name. I am doing it because of Bob Knight,” Beattie said. “I really respect him. Bob Knight and I really developed a friendship and I looked up to him. We met four years ago at a professional event and we really hit it off. When I lost a sale to Paul Homes I knew they would get quality home. We were competitors through and through with quality, so it really was a perfect acquisition. I didn’t have to go outside my realm. We were doing the same product, so it was a very easy acquisition. I was honored when he decided to retire and he looked to me. I do have very big shoes to fill. I can’t think of another builder in town that I wanted to take on.”