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Building On A Legacy
Jewish builders and developers continue to innovate in the region.
Anyone house hunting today will recognize the phenomenal impact of the many successful Jewish builders and developers in Southeastern Michigan. A great portion of the most coveted homes, condominiums and apartment complexes in the area for more than 70 years are a source of pride for those within the industry.
“The competition between Jewish developers and builders in our market is respectful and friendly and built on long-standing trust.”
— Jim Galbraith
“In many cases, Jewish builders and developers are second- and sometimes third-generation in the business,” said Jim Galbraith, president of Lautrec Ltd., a development and real estate management company. “These families were entrepreneurs early on and saw the need and opportunity in the emerging suburbs for housing, retail and industrial growth following WW II and the Korean War.”
Galbraith works closely with Lautrec owner, Mickey Shapiro, 70, a patriarch in the industry, whose father, Asa, a Holocaust survivor, began with a lumber yard in 1949, supplying wood trim to tradesmen in the area. It’s still operating today as ASA Builders Supply in Walled Lake, and Mickey’s brothers Steve and Edward took over after their father retired.
“To explain a little history — after the war, a lot of the Jewish refugees here became painters, carpenters and plumbers to make a living, and we all worked together very tight knit in the building industry,” said Shapiro, an award-winning real estate developer since 1973. “These relationships began with my father’s generation and continue within many companies. We stick together, and we’ve helped each other succeed.”
Galbraith agrees, “The competition between the Jewish developers and builders in our market is respectful and friendly and built on long-standing trust. Competitors will often partner together where there is a mutual advantage based on the scale of the development, product mix or marketing.”
ShearWater Apartment Homes
One such new collaboration — the first in the location in over a decade — is ShearWater Apartment Homes, a $30-million community created by M. Shapiro Real Estate and MJC Companies at the intersection of Maple and Beck roads in Commerce Township.
MJC Companies’ principal Michael J. Chirco said, “ShearWater is our response to the growing market of upscale singles, couples and families seeking apartments with the spaciousness, premium features and refined architecture they are used to seeing in luxury homes and condominiums in our area.”
Shapiro added, “The units located in the heart of Oakland County’s lake district offer spacious floor plans, each including two or three bedrooms, two baths, two-car attached garage and personal outdoor space.
“And with 9-foot ceilings and full-height glass door walls that create an amazing open feeling, these 1,600- to 1,800-square-foot apartments are unlike any other in the area.”
ShearWater showcases premium interior details, including planked wood-grain flooring, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and in-residence washers and dryers.
Their design begins at the lush entry boulevard and continues to the community clubhouse with a fireside lounge, galley kitchen, business center, state-of-the-art fitness center and locker rooms. Outside, residents can enjoy a resort-class pool, spa and four-season lanai with a huge fireplace.
“Oakland County’s high-end market segment has been waiting for a product like this for some time,” Shapiro said. “ShearWater’s size, absolute A-plus location and elevated design are beyond any other apartments you’ll find in the region.”
The Reserve of Beverly Crest
Another residential community — The Reserve of Beverly Crest by AP Builders — will include 11 tree-lined homesites in West Bloomfield at the Maple and Orchard Lake corridor. The principals of AP Builders, Steve Perlman and Pete Alshab, have been in the home-building industry for more than 50 combined years. Together, they merged their talents and established AP Builders in 2014.
Birmingham resident Perlman, 59, whose father, Sanford Perlman, was in the industry, is also a founding principal of Ivanhoe-Huntley Homes, a top 5 award-winning builder during its 20-year existence.
“There hasn’t been any new housing development in this prime area for more than 10 years, so we are excited to offer these luxury homes at what I like to call ‘Main at Main’ — Orchard Lake Road and Maple Road, the heart of everything,” Perlman said. “You’ll have walkable access to shops at Orchard Mall, Boardwalk, restaurants and recreation — something many people really want.”
The upscale homes are 3,000- to 3,400-square- feet and include a grand entry, two-story great room, 9-foot ceilings, state-of-the-art kitchen with an oversized island and prep areas, and a spacious master suite.
Commitment To Their Community
Both Shapiro and Perlman give back to the Jewish community in philanthropic ways, including contributing to the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills.
“Mickey has also been appointed to the executive council of the USC Shoah Foundation, headed by Steven Spielberg, whose goal is to record and archive testimonials of Holocaust survivors for public viewing,” said Frank Roth of Lautrec Ltd. “And he was appointed to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., by President George W. Bush in 2007.”
Shapiro is also a board member of the Jewish Hospice and Chaplaincy Network in West Bloomfield and active at Congregation Beth Ahm in Bloomfield Township.
Perlman is a supporter of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and JARC and an active member at Temple Israel in West Bloomfield.
Howard Fingeroot, area president of M/I Homes of Michigan, has been in the residential homebuilding and development business in Southeast Michigan for close to 25 years, and is close with his Jewish peers in the industry. Most of them are seasoned in the business, he says, and “the best at what they do.”
He is currently a business partner with Shapiro in a development in West Bloomfield called Legacy Woods. “As a whole, Jewish builders and developers are strongly connected, and I expect we will continue to be leaders in the building industry,” Fingeroot said.
For more information:
Home Builder’s Association of Southeastern Michigan
2075 Walnut Lake Road
West Bloomfield, MI 48323
Susan Peck Special to the Jewish News