Photos: Courtesy of Peter Papadopoulos with Smith and Moore Architects, Inc. and Michael Stavaridis Photography.
GroundStone takes on unique and challenging residential projects in South Florida to fulfill market demand and
improve the communities where it builds.
By Janice Hoppe-Spiers, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media
GroundStone’s vision is to reinvent infill and boutique neighborhoods, enrich the lives of the community and provide places and spaces to “Create. Live. Prosper.” “We stay flexible,” founder and President Matthew Montgomery says. “We don’t have a pre-designed type of product all the time. We look at the marketplace and listen to what the market and community says it needs.”
Montgomery started the Jupiter, Fla.-based company in 2006 with more than 20 years of experience in sustainable construction and real estate development. He worked with some of the largest residential and commercial builders in south Florida, where he learned how to combine the best of a large public developer with the extensive local knowledge and flexibility of a smaller private builder.
“We must stop building for the sake of building, and look to our existing structures and boutique neighborhoods as to how we can all reuse, redevelop and recycle what we currently have, and transform the existing into a better, more sustainable and desirable future for our neighborhoods and communities,” Montgomery says.
GroundStone was built on Montgomery’s understanding that now is the time to make the right decisions for the future of the construction and development industries. One of those initial progressive decisions was teaming up with his now managing partner, Robert Brandon of Brandon Design Architectural firm.
Having been friends since 1996 and the same mentality on the future for the industry, it was no surprise that Brandon was his first call to assist in growing the new company. Brandon leads the design, sales and marketing for the firm. “Robert’s keen eye for design and creative mind from a marketing perspective make for a perfect team,” Montgomery says.
Today, GroundStone specializes in single-family, condominiums and senior living communities. “We are dedicated to creating sustainable, eco-conscious urban, boutique and suburban communities,” Montgomery says. “By paying close mind to the triple bottom line – a concept of three pillars that focus on people, planet, profits – we are able to cultivate communities that flourish for generations.”
The company prides itself on being ingrained in the local community and implements its social mission by taking on projects to better people’s lives. Two recent projects include Palm Beach Habilitation Center and Amy’s House. Palm Beach Habilitation Center provides services to adults with developmental, emotional and physical disabilities to help them achieve their greatest levels of independence.
GroundStone is partnering with the Palm Beach Habilitation Center to develop and construct a new building that will be the location for Seniors in Transition and Retirement Services (STARS). The STARS building will offer seniors the opportunity to meet with friends, stay active, maintain a healthy lifestyle and engage in community activities off-campus. The building will also be a hurricane shelter.
Amy’s House is a 7,500-square-foot group residence in Haverhill, Fla., owned and managed by Palm Beach Habilitation Center. It provides residents with a home environment and residential skills and training to increase independence. GroundStone was contracted to manage the planning, predevelopment and construction of this project. Amy’s House features six bedrooms with private bathrooms, a formal dining room, great room with informal eating area, screened porch, covered garage and a large outside yard and garden area. Public transportation is near the home and 24/7 supervision is provided to assist each person in reaching his or her potential.
Built for Life
After the recession, GroundStone seized an opportunity and purchased a beautiful intercoastal parcel called Bay Colony in Juno Beach, Fla., a $72 million condominium project on nearly 14 acres of landscaped gardens with Intracoastal views from private terraces. “This is a project that sat idle for more than 25 years,” Montgomery says. “We do the difficult deals that can’t seem to get done.”
Bay Colony went on to win many design awards, including Top Residential Real Estate Developers and The Gold award from Professional Builder for the best new community in America. “We found our niche in taking on the projects that the big nationals don’t want to do and the smaller guys can’t afford to do because that’s what the buyer and consumer wants,” Montgomery continues. “The product usually sells itself because it’s in a niche that’s underserved.”
GroundStone is now developing custom and spec homes on 13 lots in Martinique Estates at Abacoa in Jupiter. “We have pre-designed product that are already priced, but most buyers tend to do more custom design because there is limited opportunity in south Florida to do so,” Brandon says.
Open land is basically non-existent in south Florida, which makes the option to custom-design a home in Martinique Estates attractive. “Because of the land constraint we are doing more infill and high-end spec and luxury single-family homes because there is a demand,” Montgomery notes. “There is a demand for everything if we can hit it at the right price.”
Montgomery and Brandon expect half the lots to feature custom homes while the other half are built from the two model homes GroundStone offers. “What really makes Martinique Estates unique is that homebuyers can go full custom if they want,” Montgomery adds. “It’s a higher price point, but they are able to do that in this development and get the home they want, or they can stay at a lower price point and select a pre-designed home.”
Although both partners agree that either price point will bring a well-deserved essence of luxury to the favored community, Brandon notes, “Putting the ‘luxury’ in a new home isn’t about the money spent or having the latest trends; it’s about realizing the importance of long-term and social conscious outcomes.
It has the ability to build with your heart, stay focused and deliver excellence.” Martinique Estates and Bay Colony were both existing developments with infrastructure already in place. “Sustainability is about inherently good design, building a solid, energy-efficient home that will last,” Montgomery says. “Our biggest sustainable attribute is the projects themselves – we go into existing infrastructure to improve the areas and put less burden on the community. That’s the key to sustainability.”
Moving forward, GroundStone plans to continue doing more of the same. In addition to focusing on residential projects in south Florida, the company plans to head north to St. Lucie, Fla., and is looking into the North Carolina market. “While we do like to grow, it’s not like we have growth goals first and no control over the market,” Montgomery explains. “We try to maintain being profitable, providing a good return for our investors and being ready to deliver whatever the market needs.”