Colleen Bennett - Sotheby's International Realty

LOCAL CONSTRUCTION FOURCAST: Young Contractors Produce Building Boomlet

May 30, 2010
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From left, Paul Pieroth and Steven Paul stand in front of their latest La Verne project, the Kiddie Academy due to be completed this winter.

From left, Paul Pieroth and Steven Paul stand in front of their latest La Verne project, the Kiddie Academy due to be completed this winter.

When people want something built right, they’re increasingly turning to a couple of twentysomethings who live and work right here in La Verne.

The latest showcase project of wunderkind contractors Steven Paul, 29 and Paul Pieroth, 27, is going up at 931 Baseline Road in La Verne, a 7,200-square-foot Kiddie Academy Child Care Learning Center that when completed and opened for enrollment in winter 2010 will provide children, ages six weeks to 12 years, with a nurturing and educationally rich environment that goes far beyond your basic nursery school.

Taste of Asia La Verne

While all of their residential and commercial projects bear their custom touches, this latest project is especially personal. They not only own the land and the structure they’re currently constructing, but they and their wives, Brittney Paul and Jessica Pieroth, will help run the educationally focused child care center. Among the new enrollees will be their own children.

“We really wanted to build a top-of-the-line facility because we live and work in the community,” said Steven. “We’re building it not only for our children who will be coming here, but for all the other current and future kids who live in the community. We’ll be coming here for the next 30 years.”

The Fourcast Development partners stand at the future entrance to the Kiddie Academy.

The Fourcast Development partners stand at the future entrance to the Kiddie Academy.

Unique building elements at the academy will include special lighting, expanded ceiling heights, enhanced insulation to dampen street noise, state-of-the-art energy efficiency and upgraded surfaces and flooring designed to last decades, not years.

Other design features include computer-enabled classrooms, around the clock video monitoring so parents can peek in on their kids any time of day and a high-tech, double-door entry-and-exit access code and security system to provide parents with peace of mind. Doors and cabinets also contain pinch-guards, and electrical outlets have been tamper-proofed.

The Kiddie Academy, based in Maryland has operated and franchised education-based childcare facilities through the United States since 1981. But the La Verne facility promises to be one of the company’s crown jewels.

 “We want it to be a landmark and a gateway to the city,” said Paul. “The hillside in front of the building is going to be like Disneyland landscaping. It’s going to be beautiful.”

“We could have built the prototypical facility, which would have been cheaper and faster, but we really wanted to make something beautiful that fits the city,” Steven added. “This is the only one that will be designed like this. There won’t be another like it.”

The care they’ve gone to extends to the large, shady oak tree they’ve preserved and literally built their facility around. Working with an arborist and the city of La Verne, they’ve recently pruned the magnificent tree so it looks healthier than ever.

“We wanted to ensure it’s going to be around for another 100 years,” Paul said.

Belying their youth, Steven and Paul share an extraordinarily mature career focus. Steven graduated from Glendora High in 1999, and Paul is also a fellow Tartan from the class of 2000. They met while working at Walton Construction in Glendora after Steven had graduated from Brigham Young University in Utah where he majored in construction management while Paul had graduated from California State Univeristy at Fullerton.

Steven eventually left Walton to pursue a real estate career and other endeavors, but it wasn’t long before the friends saw the logic and practicality of combining their interests to form Fourcast Development so they could undertake their own projects.

A look down the main hallway.

A look down the main hallway.

 

“We just figured we could develop some projects ourselves, so we put some cash together and started our first project.” Paul said. Financial support was also easier to obtain when they were starting out.

“That’s back when loans were happening,” Paul noted.

Their first projects were three spec homes on Emerald, and then they bought land to develop two more homes Chelsea, where they currently live today. They’re neighbors.

From the beginning, quality has been their hallmark. Their houses feature natural stones like granite and travertine, crown molding throughout and stainless steel appliances. They’re also savvy marketers. To spur sales for one spec home, they gave away a Prius to the new homeowner.

“We don’t advertise,” Steven said. “We don’t go and look for city projects. “We simply try to build quality projects for our friends and ourselves. We’ve stuck to our guns, and our clients appreciate that.”

To that point, they recently turned down a retail project in San Dimas because they didn’t think it would be the right fit.

“We knew right away it wouldn’t work,” Paul said, “even though they were chomping at the bit to hire us and couldn’t understand why a couple of young builders would turn down work in this economic environment.

“So I would say that’s our specialty — we pick and choose our clients.”

Steven and Paul just completed a commercial project at 358 E. Foothill Blvd. in San Dimas, close to their office at 448 Foothill Blvd., suite 210, in San Dimas.

While they have both mastered the nuts and bolts of residential and retail construction — from financing to finishing — they’re extremely focused on completing the Kiddie Academy. Every day, they walk through the structure to ensure the facility’s quality and that it stays on schedule and on budget.

They eagerly point to where the learning labs, bookcases and computers will go in the age-appropriate classrooms and proudly show off where the kitchen will cook up nutritious snacks and wholesome meals.

Looking out a window that offers a clear view of Baseline, partners Paul and Steven have a clear vision of their future.

Looking out a window that offers a clear view of Baseline, partners Paul and Steven have a clear vision of their future.

Truly, they’re builders with a vision. They bought the land for the Kiddie Academy almost three years ago for that special day when they could break ground and build their unique learning academy for kids.

“Our long-term goal is to have 20 or 30 of these,” Paul said. “We just want to move down the road and build in cities we’re comfortable with.”

The city of La Verne, they added, has provided that initial comfort zone.

“They’re really like a partner,” Steven said. “They’ve really helped make this project happen. We’ve worked in cities where you kind of have to watch your back and keep on the lookout for someone who is just aching to poke a hole in something. Here in La Verne, they want to help you. The environment has been really positive.

“Honestly, a big selling point for us was that this project was in La Verne,” Steven added. “We knew we could get it off the ground here; somewhere else it might have been a battle. Here it was just the right fit.”

Critical to their partnership is their respect for each other and their give-and-take sense of humor. Asked how they continue to bring their projects in on budget despite the high-quality of their work and the high-end construction materials they use, Paul said, “Steven does a great job of estimating. We also build have some contingency we’ve set aside, and if not, we just take it out of his lunch money.”

To learn more about La Verne’s new Kiddie Academy, please visit www.kiddieacademy.com. Enrollment is now underway. For more enrollment information, click on the website’s Academy Locator.

 

 

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