The Empire Group, a group of affiliated companies, has been in business for over 40 years as a real estate investor and developer of quality and innovative residential and commercial projects. Its founder, Richard Felker, along with Geoffrey Jacobs, a principal in the group, take pride in what they do. By adhering to a three-point philosophy of integrity, quality, and commitment they have led their organization to great achievements and success.
Since its inception in Wisconsin and through its current developments in Arizona, Empire has acquired or developed more than 100 properties in over 35 communities with a combined value in excess of $1 billion. Many of these projects have received local and national recognition for design and project excellence, including awards from the Pacific Coast Builders Conference, Builders Magazine and the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona. The following are but a few select examples of the projects Empire has developed:
Distressed Properties: In 2009 Empire recognized an emerging market opportunity in the acquisition of distressed and foreclosed homes and formed Empire ROF Management, LLC to develop this aspect of the business. Since then, Empire ROF has raised and deployed more than $100 million in equity capital through multiple private and institutional investment funds. To date these funds have purchased almost 1,000 recently built single family homes, making Empire ROF one of the nation’s largest and most active acquirers of these properties. Over 90% of these homes are occupied with tenants and all of them are mortgage- and debt-free.
Rather than execute a quick sale approach with these properties for the purpose of achieving an easy profit, Empire ROF has adopted a strategy that is equal parts humanitarian and entrepreneurial. Empire often rents these homes to displaced families and maintains and manages them while the housing market continues its recovery.
The benefits of this long-term hold approach are clear: individuals and families who have been dislocated by economic circumstance get the dignity of a quality home to live in – sometimes even in the very same house they lost – and the peace of mind of knowing that the house they’re living in won’t be foreclosed upon, so their family will have a stable home environment. Along the way Empire ROF will help its tenants rebound from their challenges through programs like third-party credit coaching and lease-purchase options, all with the goal of one day helping them to regain the title of homeowner.
Residential: Landmark on the Lake, a 27 story, 275 apartment high rise overlooking Lake Michigan in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Pavilions, a luxury 160 condominium project within the master planned community of Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona. Morningside, a 160 unit up-scale apartment development at Scottsdale Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Sanctuary at Paradise Valley, an exclusive 16 lot subdivision with panoramic views of metropolitan Phoenix. The Sanctuary at South Mountain, a 38 lot hillside custom lot subdivision in Phoenix, Arizona. Eagle Mountain, a 500 acre master planned community in Fountain Hills, Arizona which includes a Scott Miller-designed 18 hole championship golf course.
Commercial/Retail: The GE Medical Training Center, a 60 acre, 250,000 square foot campus in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. Estrella Town Center, a 30 acre retail center in Phoenix, Arizona. Coldwater Springs Promenade, a 20 acre retail and office center, which is anchored by Staples, located in Avondale, Arizona. The Lockheed/Goodyear Airport Facility, a 150 acre mixed-use industrial and office development, in Goodyear, Arizona.