Gary Ouellette and Nathan Schwartzberg
GN Homes, LLC
When Gary Ouellette and Nathan Schwartzberg first came together in 2009 to leverage their experience into a new development company, the two industry veterans knew they were bringing something new to the table.
The story of GN Homes begins in 2006, when Ouellette, who was running his own mortgage company at the time, was forced to face the reality of an impending financial crisis. Working as a catalyst, the crumbling real estate market pushed Ouellette into general contracting, where he eventually partnered with Schwartzberg. As he describes, “it was the best thing to ever happen to me.”
“We currently have large re-development projects in the construction phase, as well as many new construction homes ranging in price from $400,000 to $1.4 million,” the pair say. The projects are located in several North Side neighborhoods such as Lincoln Square, Horner Park, Albany Park, Irving Park and West Bucktown, as well as suburban Highland Park, Barrington, Hinsdale and La Grange.
The firm’s success, which includes an appearance on the popular show “Kitchen Crashers” and the 2014 Good Neighbor Award given by the Chicago Association of Realtors, has helped elevate GN Homes into the upper echelon of the industry. However, Ouellette and Schwartzberg say the way they prefer to distinguish themselves is by approaching projects as if they themselves were going to live there.
Rather than looking at a property as a dollars and cents kind of developer, the two say they walk through every property with the “eyes of a future homebuyer.” They admit the premise is simple, but point out that most developers in the market place cost-effectiveness over quality. There is a juxtaposition in the industry between how developers build and what buyers want, and GN Homes is working to bridge that gap.
Hoping to keep their momentum, Ouellette and Schwartzberg say their short-term goal is to complete 20 to 30 new re-development and new construction projects annually, but ultimately they’d like to open up GN Homes to condominium, townhouse and community development.