The genesis of Chartwell Capital was the 1973 founding by Jerry Long of a residential development company by the name of Custom Living Communities. In that first year Custom Living got off to a modest start by building three homes. A few years later, Bob Casse joined Custom Living and soon became director of sales and marketing. By the mid 1980s Mr. Long and Mr. Casse had built the firm into one of the largest privately held resdential builders in the United States with, in today's dollars, over two hundred million in annual revenues.
Frank Nitti joined Custom Living in the mid 1980s bringing his several years of hands on experience in commercial and apartment development. Mr. Nitti led Custom Living's team of acquisition and analysis specialist as expansion was taking place into other states.
The company built a variety of products in several different states with its primary operations being in New Jersey, California and the Washington, D.C. area. Over the years Custom Living and its affiliates built thousands of homes, hundreds of miles of roads, condominiums, townhouses, apartments, offices and retail centers. The housing products ranged from multi-million dollar estate homes to low and moderate income apartments.
A Typical project would entail the selection and the purchase of raw land which would be planned and processed through approvals. Before the land would be purchased careful evaluations were conducted to examine several variables. A thorough market study would be undertaken to determine the appropriate product type. An engineering analysis would be done to calculate whether or not the property could support the necessary yield at an acceptable cost under the zoning and land use law applicable to the site. If the evaluations were positive, the company moved forward to process the approvals and entitlements. Sometimes that process could cost in excess of a million dollars and take several years to complete.
Upon completion of approvals, full scale development would commence. Roads and other improvements would be constructed and sales offices and models would be built. Models would be thoughtfully decorated to suite the tastes of the target markets and the sales offices would be designed to be informative and welcoming. Brochures and collateral material were produced and the sales office would be staffed with gracious sales personnel. Homes would be built by small army of craftsman. Finally a service staff would fine tune the end product before closings and attend to customer service post closings.
Custom Living had as many as 200 employees and hundreds of sub contractors at work in three states. Besides the large construction and sales staff, it had in house the equivalent of small legal, accounting and engineering firms. It built and sold nearly two billion dollars of real estate ranging from apartments to luxury golf course communities.
After 1991 economic conditions were not suitable to continue Custom Living's large development operation so Custom Living was dissolved and Long, Casse and Nitti went on to other things.
After waiting and watching real estate slide downward for the last several years, Mr. Long, Mr. Casse
and Mr. Nitti
concluded the time was right to reunite in a collaborative association through
Mr. Long's Chartwell Capital to take advantage of current market opportunities. More recently Tobin Newman, founder of Barrons Hospitality has joined Chartwell to work as a team to acquire and develop resorts and hotels throughout the United States.