With every property it builds and develops, Charlew Builders customizes homes to its clients’ every needs. By Bianca Herron
In 1967, Charlew (Charles Lewandowski) Construction Company was incorporated as a family-owned business by Charles Lewandowski, Sr. along with his sons, Lawrence Lewandowski and Charles Lewandowski, Jr. The company was founded on a commitment to value, craftsmanship and service instilled in these brothers by their father, Charles J. Lewandowski, Sr. In 2009, Corey Lewandowski, third generation builder, now president of Charlew Builders, Inc., continues the commitment to excellence instilled by his family. Corey Lewandowski says it is tremendously rewarding to continue a 50-year tradition of building custom, quality homes for clients.
Today, Charlew Builders is one of the leading homebuilders and developers in the capital region of New York.
“At Charlew, we are not just building homes, but creating communities, and with that comes environmental and socially responsible factors,” says Lewandowski.
Charlew has partnered with the conservancy group of Saratoga PLAN (Preserving Land and Nature) on its previous development, Meadow Vista, located in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The outcome—The Rowland Hollow Creek Preserve, an innovative conservation subdivision project with more than ~45 acres and 3/4 mile of public walking trails. The preserve project got underway after many developers opted out of buying the property.
Lewandowski, however, said he had a clear vision for the property when he saw it. And added that there will be more like it to follow. “You will find this in every (development) in the future,” he says. “Getting the proper density and the proper price point so the developer can still be profitable is key.” Lewandowski added trends in the housing industry point to land preservation being a driving force in the future. While he has proposed the concept in other towns, he says that they have not been quite as receiving as the Spa City.
“Through its history, Charlew has learned that it takes creativity, patience and persistence to make such projects possible,” Lewandowski says.
Reacting To Needs
The Schenectady, New York-based company offers a portfolio of more than 20 standard home styles, which feature three to five bedrooms and can be either semi-customized or fully customized to a client’s needs.
“It’s truly my passion – building and developing communities – as it was my family’s,” Lewandowski says. “What sets us apart in today’s marketplace is the personalization of every home, which we customize to our clients’ lifestyle.
Lewandowski attributes much of the company’s success to its relationships with clients. “I interact with each and everyone of our clients.” Lewandowski says. “We build their homes as if they are our own, so what’s important to them, is certainly most important to us.”
Charlew Builders builds homes, which range in cost from $300,000 to more than $1 million. The company could not build these homes without the continued support of its subcontractors and suppliers, some of who have worked with Charlew Builders for more than 40 years, according to Lewandowski.
“Another thing that sets us apart from our competition is that our business relationships with our subcontractors are generational,” Lewandowski says. “Today, we’re working with second-generation family businesses, which is a huge advantage. We know how to work together seamlessly and get the job done.”
“I attribute the success of our relationships to the thoughts and beliefs of Charles and Lawrence Lewandowski,” he added. “They’ve always instilled the importance of partnerships and the need to co-exist. We want our partnerships to prosper and carry on. And our long-standing relationships are certainly an example of that.”
The Charlew Builders team works with its clients to personalize homes, brainstorm innovative ideas and create customizable concepts.
“Once we have those concepts identified we send them to an engineer for final review,” Lewandowski explains. “Our team works with each client, so we’ll hold several meetings to understand their lifestyle, which includes the functional needs and leisure desires of the family. From there, with their valuable input, together, we craft a high-quality home.”
The Lewandowski family has developed many homes through the years, and there is not one that is more special than the other. “They’re all special to me,” Lewandownski says. “We work six days a week and every single day I get up with a bounce in my step because I’m excited about every single project. Some are certainly more challenging than others, but I enjoy them all. So much so that I personally circle back to communities completed.
“I love that part of my job,” he says, adding that Charlew also prides itself on its customer relationships. “It’s the most rewarding aspect of our business—the customer loyalty and generational business that we do—it’s the cornerstone to our continued success. Without even realizing it, these relationships are helping us achieve our dreams, while we are building theirs.”
Charlew Builders’ newest community— Forest Hills, is a unique project, according to Lewandowski, because the idea for it started nearly 20 years ago.
“At that time, Charlew was trying to obtain approvals for the parcel of land,” Lewandowski explains. “For one reason or another we were not successful in our endeavors. So our company dropped the project. The land was sold twice after that, and it wasn’t until 2014 that Lewandowski circled back around to re-purchase the land.
“Charlew partnered with a quality local developer who had a similar vision for the land, to get the remaining approvals, which were successful,” Lewandowski says. “We started clearing the land in 2015 and in late 2016 we finished the infrastructure and started construction. This project would not have been possible without the extraordinary vision, passion and 15-year long perseverance of Jeff Myers, at Shelco Development. And for that, we are grateful.”
The project is well ahead of schedule and is currently exceeding expectations. The community features 75 home sites, ranging from 1/2-acre to more an 1 ?-acres, while maintaining a significant amount of conservation area. “Our homes are personalized to clients lifestyles.” Lewandowski says. “The community feels really spacious with the way the homes are positioned through the rolling hills and long private cul-de-sacs, something that our clients are telling us they really appreciate.
“Some of our clients resided in a three- to five-mile radius of Forest Hills and are now moving into the community,” Lewandowski explains. “So they may have changed their address, but they haven’t changed their lifestyle. We’ve tagged the community “City Close, Country Quiet” because it is exactly just that.”
Ultimately, the success of Forest Hills likely means there is more prosperity in store for Charlew Builders, Lewandowski concludes. “We’re certainly thankful and Charlew will continue to stay true to its beliefs and founding principals of always putting our clients desires at the center of what we do,” he says. “And with that, we hope we’re going to have continued success.”
And, on behalf of the Charlew team— a most sincere thank you to all of the families who have entrusted the Lewandowski family to help fulfill their dreams.