Builder focuses on value in a tight market
Gary Levitas, president and founder of the Wheeling-based Northfield Group, loves dealing with people. He enjoys the fact that he and his wife, Marina, work together in the sales office of their Millbrook Pointe row home/townhouse community on Wolf Road, just south of its intersection with Milwaukee Avenue in Wheeling.
Prospective buyers who visit deal directly with them, sharing their dreams and ideas for their next home and the Levitases do their best to make those dreams come true.
"While we can't change the exterior footprints of our buildings, we can try to meet each buyer's needs. We can enlarge a bedroom or relocate a bathroom and help them choose their finishes," Levitas said.
"I love it when the buyer sees the finished product and it is just as they had envisioned it — only better," he continued.
"Our goal is to provide our buyers with value and quality. We want them to love their new place and feel that they got a great buy that will appreciate in the years to come," Levitas said.
What is the history of your company?
Levitas founded The Northfield Group 12 years ago in Chicago. The company built townhouses in Brookfield, condominiums and single family homes in the city's Armitage area and condominiums with first-floor retail in the Bucktown and Wicker Park neighborhoods before heading northwest to Wheeling.
In 2009 the company broke ground on Millbrook Pointe, its largest community to date. It will have 60 units once complete. Northfield Group is simultaneously building single-family homes on scattered sites in Northbrook and Chicago.
Phase I is sold out and Phase II is underway at Millbrook Pointe. The brick and stone buildings include three-level row homes which are popular with singles and young families who want to experience urban living, as well as two-story townhouses with basements, which are particularly attractive to empty-nesters. One plan even offers a first-floor master bedroom.
The base price of units at Millbrook Pointe range from $289,000 to $369,000 and the community features a gazebo and several fountains. It is located adjacent to Potawatomi Woods Forest Preserve and near Wheeling's famed Restaurant Row.
Northfield Group's proven track record and its one-year warranty at Millbrook Pointe are additional pluses for shoppers, Levitas said.
What are the biggest changes you have seen in the building business?
"The economy, of course, has changed dramatically. When I started in the business, everything that was built sold quickly. Now it is a buyers' market and there are lots of choices for buyers.
"Interestingly, that helps us because prospective buyers quickly notice the quality of our construction and finishes and that sets us apart from our competition. They like the fact that we are a smaller, more hands-on company that gives a lot of attention to detail and value. In a tight, tough market like the one we have today, those things help us and we have seen our traffic and sales grow accordingly. We expect to close a total of 18 units in 2012."
What are your future plans?
"We will continue to concentrate on Millbrook Pointe, but we are also watching for potential redevelopment opportunities in Chicago and the Northern suburbs."
For more information about The Northfield Group or Millbrook Pointe, visit www.northfieldgroup.com or www.millbrookpointe.com.
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