Traverse City Record-Eagle


June 15, 2014

Annual Home Builders Association tour underway

TRAVERSE CITY — Gary Jurkovich’s ‘blank check’ house in the Parade of Homes has it all: An outdoor kitchen, gas fireplace and theater with a state-of-the-art audio visual system, theater seating and concession stand.

Building a blank check house for each Parade of Homes is a Pathway Homes tradition, and the houses usually are sold by the end of the event.

“It might sound a little reckless but it does bring us business,” said Jurkovich, Pathway Homes’ CEO. “It gives us a chance to highlight and show what we can do without having to conform to a particular client.”

Pathway Homes is one of the building companies displaying houses on the Home Builders Association Grand Traverse Area Inc.’s Parade of Homes. The parade takes place today, then again Thursday through Sunday. Thirteen homes, two developments and a condo are on the route in Williamsburg, Traverse City, Old Mission Peninsula, Suttons Bay, Leland and Glen Arbor.

The parade is a chance for local builders to show designs to thousands of people.

“It’s really the best marketing we can do,” said Brian Mohr, of Calybr Homes. “For people that are actually looking for builders they want to see what kind of work you do, to touch, feel, walk through, open doors and look at paint jobs. For me it’s the one big shot a year to gain some business.”

It’s the Home Builders Association’s 25th parade. Kathy Maisonville, the association’s outgoing director, is proud the event continued through an economic recession that caused tough times for builders.

Maisonville said builders show fewer “spec” homes, or homes designed and built to show off skills rather than built specifically for a client, since the decline.

“Most of the homes being built are for customers,” she said. “They’re pre-sold, they were designed for customers. That has been a change since the Great Recession. Builders are not investing in spec homes anymore because they can’t afford to.”

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