AAMD's Silent Auction 2017

Stonebridge Builders was proud to participate in the 2017's Silent Auction and Charity Gala at Mile High Station in Downtown Denver.  Our donation of a gift certificate to the Denver Performing Arts Center garnered a nice amount towards Family Homestead.  

Value-Add Projects Like Kitchen and Baths Yield Big ROI

SB-2101 Glenarm After-19.JPG

When a local multifamily community was feeling the pressure of Denver's highly competitive rental market, they turned to Stonebridge Builders for help. They needed to consider upgrades not only to address deferred maintenance issues and outdated amenities, but also to justify rent increases to be consistent with local demand.   In densely populated urban areas with many options for apartment living, property owners need to set themselves apart from the competition. For many, this means rehabilitation projects to bring value where others don't. By industry standards, a successful renovation project should generate rent increases between 10-30%from interior improvements, and renovations to kitchens and baths tend to generate the greatest ROI.     

A great example of this strategy is Home Properties, headquartered in Rochester, NY. The company owns over 43,000 units in 121 properties primarily located in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The company strategy is to acquire assets that most other developers would not be interested in. They're not looking for the newest, most attractive or luxury communities. The assets they acquire are in need of rehabilitation. The company knows that by rehabbing and renovating properties that are "a little beaten up and a little run-down" they can achieve substantial rent increases, which ultimately drives revenue. This strategy has yielded an 11.4 percent average annual total return over the past 10 years, and a 5- year compounded return of 11.7 percent.

Deferred maintenance is certainly an area of focus in multifamily renovation, however the most significant investments are made in upgrading kitchens and baths.   In Denver, Stonebridge Builders helped the local company to exercise this strategy and achieve the same results. Kitchens were upgraded with updated cabinetry and counter tops, state of the art appliances and both pendant and recessed  lighting to create a brighter look and feel. Baths were also remodeled with upgraded materials and lighting, which justified rent increases, encouraged retention and decreased vacancies.  

If your multifamily property could use a little TLC, and you're considering a value-add project, look to Stonebridge Builders for a consultation and ultimately for a seamless and successful process.  

SB-2101 Glenarm After-12.JPG

In the Midst of a Boom, Existing Properties Need to Compete with New Construction

Denver is in the midst of a boom in the multifamily market. Over 80 new projects were completed in the last 5 years, and with 25,000 units under construction this year and 3,246 new apartments delivered in the first quarter, existing projects need to step it up to compete.

Average rents for apartments built since 2010 are 60% higher than rents for apartments built in the 1970’s. Compare $1729 versus $1079 respectively and it’s clear that outdated multifamily properties need to renovate, remodel and add amenities in order to take advantage of rising rental rates. 

Chris Tolar, President of Stonebridge Builders, a Denver-based commercial construction company specializing in apartment renovations says, “The bulk of our business is in multi-unit apartment rehabs. Regardless of location, property owners are feeling the pressure to upgrade and update individual units given the current market conditions. The increase in inventory of brand new units is creating a pressure to keep up and compete. “

Stonebridge Builders Business Development Director, Lance Miller, confirms that complete unit renovations and clubhouse remodels consist of the bulk of their contracts for properties with larger renovation budgets. However, for apartment communities with tighter budgets, upgrading existing common areas and clubhouses and adding amenities like BBQs, dog runs, dog washes and especially package rooms, allows them to compete with new construction.

Construction of a package room can be a big upgrade at a relatively low price point compared to other renovations. Package rooms provide a much desired, convenient service for residents. Safe, 24-7 access to package retrieval is an amenity most residents are willing to pay extra for, and can be a deciding factor when choosing a community.

Tolar says, “Since Amazon has come on the scene, with most people doing the bulk of their shopping online these days, it can be a major burden for the on-site staff to constantly have to pull packages for residents. As a solution, we convert space inside of a clubhouse or common area into a self-service package retrieval facility. For communities that just don’t have inside space to convert, outdoor/weatherproof lockers are also available. Also, we can, and have built additions to house a new package room when space is limited.”

Whether you’re considering a complete overhaul of your multifamily property, a new clubhouse or looking to add or upgrade specific amenities, call Stonebridge Builders, the industry expert in Rehabs and construction.

Listening: The Secret to Great Selling and Client Retention


Regardless of the industry, the same principles apply to ensure successful sales and a winning client experience.

We’ve all had a nightmare sales experience in one form or another. How about the one when the sales rep starts talking, and doesn’t stop? They give every detail about the product and service without taking a breath. It’s even worse when what they’re explaining in every last detail has no relevance to your wants or needs.  We know when we’re simply being “pitched” and it doesn’t feel good.

On the flip side, every one of us that has ever held a sales position has inadvertently done the very same thing that feels so bad to be on the receiving end of. And unfortunately, it’s the very thing that most likely prevented us from getting the sale. We know the product so well that we overload our prospect by explaining every detail, but we don’t take the time or make the effort to get connected to their needs. We talk too much, don’t ask enough questions and we don’t listen.

If we’re savvy enough, we might actually catch ourselves talking too much and then shift to ask a question or two. But so often, even if we do manage to catch ourselves, we just continue our pitch where we left off. 

We talk too much because we know our products and services inside and out and we don’t want to leave anything out that could end up being important to the prospect. We don’t have to share every detail. Instead, we should tune in to what’s important to our client and speak directly to that.

So, how do we know what to share and what to leave out? Ask questions that get your client talking. Shift into genuine inquiry and discovery mode to uncover what their true needs are and which pain points you can address and solve.

Start with the question that will align you with their most critical issues. For example,  “If I were able to meet your most pressing needs, what would they be?”

Once you have identified your prospects needs, you can tailor the conversation to speak directly to solving them. However, when you think you’re clear and ready to move on with your presentation, before you start talking again, pause and ask clarifying questions. It’s your responsibility to make sure that you have not only listened, but have also truly heard, understood and integrated what they said. Ask, “I understand your most pressing issues are X and X. Did I get that right?” 

If they answer yes, then you know which direction to go in and the specific information you need to share with them. If their answer is “no” or “not exactly,” then seize the opportunity to get clear by asking more questions.

A successful sale starts with listening, listening with a great desire to learn. It takes awareness, attention, intention and tremendous effort, but the pay off is well worth it in the end. If you truly listen to your clients, they will be clients for life!

Give Renters What They Want - More Storage!


The latest trends in apartment living are proving that it’s all about generation and location.  As a result, many multi-family developers are focusing on urban projects to attract millennials, the largest population of renters, who want to spend less time commuting and more time pursuing activities and creating a balanced lifestyle.

Jeff Kayce, in a recent webinar for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), discussed emerging trends in interior and exterior spaces and how generational differences impact apartment design.  He said, “It’s all about the lifestyle for today’s renters. They want the urban experience of less commute time and immediate access to various activities.” They are willing to sacrifice space for location and quality of life.

With the cost per square foot higher than in outlying neighborhoods, urban living means smaller living spaces.  To offset the higher cost of urban development, multi-family property owners are consistently looking for ways to maximize rental income. With 44% of non-homeowner millennials not looking to purchase a home, but instead choosing smaller living spaces in favor of more appealing locations, storage space isn’t just a want but has become a necessity, and they are willing to pay a premium for it.

This year, Multifamily Executive’s Concept Community conducted a nationwide survey of over 84,000 renters. The findings highlighted that in-unit storage and oversized closet space are highly desired amenities that can increase rent by upwards of $75 per month. Almost half of renters surveyed (49%) said they would pay $75 extra per month for a larger closet (10’ by 6’) versus the standard sized closet (4’ by 6’.)

J Turner Research surveyed Millennials, Gen X’ers, Baby Boomers and members of the Silent Generation. The two younger generations made up 80% of those surveyed. With other hot topics, in general, the older the renter the more cost conscious they tend to be. That is not so in this case. There isn’t a significant demographic difference in willingness to pay for additional closet and storage space. Across the board, when renters were asked if they would consider paying an additional $25 per month, or $100 total for more in-unit storage, surprisingly there wasn’t a significant change in willingness to pay extra. 45% of renters were still willing to pay more rent for more storage.  

Given the results of the survey, when it comes time to remodel or renovate current units or break ground on a new project, it is clear that building over-sized closets is a design feature that will pay off in the end, given that six feet of additional closet space can yield up to $100 more rent per unit per month. To generate increased revenue and appeal to all renters, call Stonebridge Builders to create the design and complete the renovations to your multi-family communities. 

Make your next Rehab, Remodel or Renovation a Huge Success!


Imagine this scenario; you’ve determined the scope of a large renovation project, chosen a contractor and are about to get started. Your number one goal is a smooth, stress-free process. But is that possible on large-scale apartment rehabilitation or new ground up construction projects? It’s not only possible, but guaranteed if the right steps are taken before you begin or break ground.

The essential key to making your renovation a huge success is the quality of communication with the contractor from start to finish. The way that information is shared with your contractor and with your residents is critical to a successful process and outcome.

According to Chris Tolar, President and CEO at Stonebridge Builders, there are a few critical communication requirements for a smooth rehab project, most importantly that the project is viewed by all stakeholders as a collaborative endeavor, not an US versus Them mentality. Additionally, before any construction begins, the client first needs to communicate the full scope of work to the contractor. There is a shared responsibility to confirm that the clients’ expectations are clearly understood by the contractor, and that agreements are set in place to create a system for accountability.

Tolar also emphasizes trust as a crucial component to a solid client/contractor relationship. The contractor should be hired and trusted to manage all pieces of the project – materials, construction, scheduling, permitting, etc.

For the most efficient exchange of information and decision-making regarding the project, the client should have one designated point of contact to deal with any and all rehab questions.

Diana Pittro, executive vice president of Chicago’s RMK Management Corpleverages technology and communication tools early in the rehab process, and then employs them at every point along the way. She starts every project with an extensive spreadsheet she calls her “Bible.” This includes everything from scope of work, detailed lists of all necessary materials, projected install dates to marketing and resident communications plans, on-site storage and rotation scenarios, costs, and analysis tabs. This spreadsheet is created and updated long before residents get notice of the upcoming renovations. Residents are informed of what’s going to happen and when at 90, 60, and 30 days and then one week before any construction begins.

“If you do it right, your residents are the last to know, but they still find out well before you start any work,” Pittro says.

On inferior renovation projects and rehabs, communication is sub-standard and work often commences before very clear agreements are set in place regarding the specific course of action at every stage of the project.  When the client and contractor aren’t on the exact same page from the start, the project tends to extend beyond projected deadlines and budget, resources are poorly managed and residents are inconvenienced and frustrated, which ultimately affects lease renewal rates.

When considering improving your property with a rehab, renovation or remodel, partner with a contractor like Stonebridge Builders. Their commitment to the highest quality craftsmanship, exceptional service and consistent and thorough communication at every step of the way will ensure your project is a huge success

Business is Booming . . . What You Need to Know.

SB-1600 Glenarm unit 1201-24.JPG

1) Denver is Hot!

No doubt if you are in the development industry in the Rocky Mountain region you are well aware of this fact. It is the main topic or at minimum the sub-headline of all industry events. Denver has garnered both domestic and international attention as the hot spot of the interior U.S. for capitol investment and development.

Check any top list (thriving economy, diversified economic market, gen Y hot spot, sustainable market, venture capital funded investment hot spot, 2nd Best place in the US to launch a start-up according to Forbes, healthy and fit communities, effective public education, etc.

Denver is the envy of almost any interior United States metropolitan community. So naturally investors and capital development has quickly followed these positive trends, creating the construction boom we are living and serving our clients in.

2) Emerging New Players

On both the development and investment side of the equation many new people are getting involved. Of course everyone wants the "best" working on their projects. However the labor market has not been flooded by the same vigor, in fact other factors, such as the need for labor in the emerging energy markets of North Dakota has pulled many away.

What does this mean? More people are demanding the supply of good labor and trades. Who are the trades choosing to work for in such a flush market? Their loyalties stay with those who they know, who will pay a fair price (within the hot market) and who have longevity and will survive when times are not as abundant. We are proud to maintain our strong trade relationships with those we have worked with for years.

3) You Get What You Pay For

Ah, yes. Quality and cost! 
Aren't these some of the most important factors that drive all business decisions?  Don't we wish they charted a parallel course to that of the proven trends of supply and demand (i.e the higher the quality (demand) the lower the cost (supply).

Even though this is what we all desire, the truth is, quality and cost DO NOT follow the trend of supply and demand. In fact your grandma's adage is more accurate; "You get what you pay for!"

These factors frequently consume conversations in our office. Stonebridge Builders is known for its quality. We characteristically find ourselves competitive with pricing, but exceed our customer's expectations with quality.

However, we still have clients that desire the supply and demand trend. Sometimes they pick a competitor that is cheaper, but pay for it in the long run with change orders. Or they pick the "yes" contractor that sounds good (i.e. is saying what we all want to hear) but in the end turns out to be a farce.

Stonebridge Builder's president Chris Tolar warns, "When clients treat cost and price as a top priority, they may very well be pursuing expensive, slow, and the wrong results. Just ask any friends who have hired the cheapest contractor for their project, how it went."

We as a firm actually believe there is another critical factor that matters the most and that's communication. When we can talk with our client and work together that is what creates a winning relationship for all. It is always why more than 90% of our business is referral based.

Miracle on Logan Street

"It's not what you call me, it's what I answer to." This eloquent African proverb embodies the true essence of empowerment.

Stonebridge Builders was extremely proud to be selected as the general contractor and partner with Mile High Behavioral Heathcare for this important community project. "A Miracle on Logan Street" is Mile High Behavioral Healthcare's newest housing initiative for single homeless women who are reclaiming their lives by participating in off-site substance use and/or mental health treatment. The house provides eight woman with their own living spaces, each with its own kitchenette and bathroom, as they continue their journey toward recovery, self-sufficiency and the empowered life.   Stonebridge Builders completed an extensive house renovation which included: remodeling nine individual apartment units, creating an additional ADA compliant suite, a new boiler, fixing all interior wall piping and plumbing, interior drywall repairs, exterior roof and gutter repairs and exterior painting.    Picture: Chris Tolar accepting a handmade quilt, at ribbon cutting ceremony, as a token of appreciation for Stonebridge Builders' contribution and work.

Rousing News for Denver’s Multifamily Industry in 2014!

Based on a recent broadcast from MFE Multifamily Executive Apartment Trends


The Top 10 Rent Growth Markets for 2014:

1. Seattle: 5.8

2. San Francico: 4.7

3. Denver: 4.6

4. San Jose: 4.5

5. Nashville: 4

6. San Diego: 4

7. Austin: 3.9

8. Dallas: 3.9

9. Houston: 3.9

10. New York City: 3.8

To read entire article- copy/paste follow link into your browser:


Stonebridge wins award!

Our team had a fantastic time steering the grocery cart up and down the aisles as fast as possible, dressed to a "T" as duck hunters from the entertaining Duck Dynasty series for the Comitis Crisis Center. The Annual Grocery Cart Races for Comitis Crisis Center always corroborates a basket of fun. Our team not only raised $1300 to donate to the center but our costumes out ranked the bunch earning the Best Team Costume Award! Everybody at Stonebridge Builders is always excited to live out our core value "service" in the community. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions to this charity from Stonebridge Builders and team, Sandy Mancinelli with Colorado Carpet Distributers, Seth Haley with Western Pacific, Derek Becker, owner of Wireworks Electric and Scott Slankard representing Water Systems.

Keeping Up with Color


Whether it’s the leaves on the trees or the latest fashion, color is always changing. In fall, the leaves are changing colors and the climate becomes blustery. This results in the finest of entertaining shifting from the backyard ball game or a BBQ on the deck to the coziness of the kitchen, family room or media room to take in a big game of football.

Often, the seasons change inspires us to update our home as well. Changes can be uncomplicated and minimal to refresh a room. Obliviously, major changes are exciting.  A remodeled kitchen or the basement finish of your dreams may be in the budget and can be done just in time for your entertaining events. Changing seasons is the perfect time to remember color for the walls. Because walls take up over half of the space in a room, wall color is essential to achieving the right look. Brighter colors create a more stimulating and playful environment, while pale and neutral tones evoke a sense of relaxation. You may want to set a certain mood. Design details and color choices will allow you to do so. Engaging a contractor can help you get the best design ideas and the remodel can be completed with minimal stress and anxiety.


Life of Luxury in Apartment Living!

SB-1600 Glenarm unit 1201-10.JPG

Apartment living can be much like staying at a resort. With busy schedules, long commutes to work, and the ability to enjoy the amenities found on most vacations, coming home to a luxury apartment can be such a delight! Stonebridge Builders has helped to spear head the growing trend of apartment living through remodeling and renovating several apartment communities in the Denver area. 

This article hits the nail on head with the Luxury of Apartment Living.

Live in Luxury, Elegance by Tyree Leisch

Apartment living can be acquired taste. At first the people who have lived in sprawling independent houses with garden and compound cannot imagine the life in an apartment. With the land prices shooting up out of reach even in tier 2 cities, the apartment living is necessity. However, there are so many advantages which they understand and enjoy only after moving into an apartment.

The independent house was a peaceful living once upon a time but, now, with smaller sites and no garden houses, it is a nightmare when the traffic increases and children have to play on the street. The apartments have so many amenities like garden, swimming pool, running tracks, children play area etc., that in cities it is the only way to live.

Another major advantage is maintenance. The apartment management charges certain amount for maintenance but, the backup power, water, external maintenance and security are taken care. It is a worry free living compared to independent house where everything needs to be taken care of by the owner.

Most of the apartment complexes have tenant association. In most cases, the maintenance will be done through it and it will be a democratic organization where tenants take turn to be the management team and most of the major decisions are taken by vote. In fact the tenant associations have several rights given by the government as well as responsibilities. In some cases, in order to make the city green, the wet waste or organic waste needs to be composted instead of the city municipality picking up the waste to be thrown in dump yard.

Schools and colleges have buses pickup children from the apartment complex and dropped off in the complex which more secure than dropping them on the road. The parking also is a great advantage compared to parking on the street in an independent house.

Stonebridge to Complete SBA E200 Initiative


Chris Tolar, President of Stonebridge Builders, will be graduating from the SBA's e200 Initiative on October 23, 2012.  The Emerging Leaders (e200) Initiative is a federal training initiative that specifically focuses on executives of established businesses, currently poised for growth, from communities across the country and provides them the organizational framework, resource network, and motivation required to build a sustainable business of size and scale.

Chris states: "For the past 7 months, I have been attending the e200 business 'bootcamp', in an effort to develop and refine the strategic direction of Stonebridge Builders.  The best part of the program was getting the chance to network with other Denver metro business owners, and learning about their businesses.  I have met folks ranging from microbrewery to insurance to security business owners, and we all share common challenges.  This has been an incredible journey."

The graduation ceremony will be held on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 6pm at the Aurora Civic Center.  The Aurora Mayor and City Council will be present.

For more information on the program, please visit the following link:


Stonebridge Builders Contributes to Comitis Crisis Center

comitis kitchen.jpg

Stonebridge Builders is proud to announce its recent contract award to remodel the Comitis Crisis Center's Commercial Kitchen. The Comitis Crisis Center is located in Aurora, Colorado, and seeks to serve socially-alienated infants, children, teenagers, young adults and adults; to be a viable alternative helping agency, helping people explore and understand themselves in their relationships to others and their environment; to assist them in solving their problems at crisis points and throughout everyday life; to provide preventative counseling in an attempt to alleviate the possibility of a crisis situation.

This project carries certain complexities because it is essential that the Comitis Center remains operable and able to provide meals for its recipients.  Roberta Hayes-Holmes, the Director of Development/Contracts and Grants Management has been instrumental in coordinating auxiliary kitchen facilities during the project.  Additionally, Stonebridge Builders has developed a creative project plan that will minimize resident disruption and has also contributed funds to assist with food and beverage supplies during the kitchen down-time. 

Ms. Hayes-Holmes states “We are really excited to work with Stonebridge Builders, and are appreciative of Stonebridge’s efforts to be extremely accommodating, considering the circumstances of doing a renovation project in the middle of a homeless shelter.  We are thankful for Stonebridge’s donation to assist us with providing meals while the kitchen is down.  I especially enjoy my interactions with Pat Quinlan, who has been anything but a typical contractor.  My conversations with Pat are always productive and lively.”

More information on Comitis, including donation options, may be found at the following web site:  


Stonebridge Successfully Renews Commercial ICC License


To ensure that Stonebridge Builders continues to provide exceptional client service with the knowledge of recent building code updates, Chris Tolar recently updated his Commercial International Code Council (ICC) designation.  The ICC building codes change on a continual basis, and it is critical that all construction/remodeling firms understand the latest updates to ensure projects are remodeled in a safe and consistent manner.

What a Difference a Great Design Can Make!

Stonebridge Builders is proud to announce its recent completion of a Broomfield Apartment Clubhouse Renovation.  Taking direction from the talented Spire Design team's designs, Stonebridge completed this clubhouse remodel in just a few weeks resulting in limited downtime for the apartment community's tenants.  Spire Design, located in Greenwood Village, Colorado, was founded by the Principals Kim Reinke and Christina Fritschel.

Thank you to "Super Dave" Hanson, Stonebridge's Project Manager Extraordinaire for managing this project in a timely and professional manner.   Thank you also to the Spire Design team for their wonderful collaboration.

Top photo is the computer center before our renovation and after is the cyber cafe.

Stonebridge Completes the Rehab of a Major Apartment Community

Stonebridge Builders is proud to announce the completion of renovating almost 400 apartment units at the prominent Littleton Apartment Community, The Bluffs at Highlands Ranch.  Stonebridge was hired by BRE Properties, Inc., the apartment management company, to rehabilitate the apartment units.

"This has been a great project and partnership for us," remarked Chris Tolar, President of Stonebridge Builders.  "From the inception of the project, we were able to communicate very effectively with BRE Properties which allowed us to work hand-in-hand to renovate each apartment unit in less than 10 days."  Chuck Terry, an up-and-coming Project Manager with Stonebridge Builders, managed the majority of the apartment renovations, and provided exceptional client service.  Mr. Terry was also instrumental with client and vendor communications.  Stonebridge also thanks Justin Newburn, Director of Operations, for establishing & helping to manage consistent processes to manage apartment community rehabs.

"We are also ecstatic to report that all units were completed on time, which resulted in more rental days for BRE Properties.  I am very proud of our team, especially Chuck Terry, for managing such a large project that could not have been run more smoothly." commented Mr. Tolar.

Stonebridge looks forward to partnering with BRE Properties, Inc. for additional successful projects.


2011 AAMD Trade Show

The recent 2011 Apartment Association of Metro Denver's Trade Show was a success!  Thank you to all of our clients and vendors who stopped by our booth.  Thank you also to our own Justin Newburn, who attended dressed as Vanilla Ice.  Justin really worked hard for the team to transform into Vanilla Ice through shaving his 2-year old beard, and paying $20 to get his hair cut and colored, and colored again.  We all appreciate Justin's efforts, especially his rehearsed dance moves.

We met a lot of wonderful companies at the show, and also had a chance to connect with industry peers. 


About Stonebridge Builders:

Stonebridge Builders [http://www.stonebridgebuilders.net/contact.html] specializes in creating distinctive home and commercial transformations. These transformations include projects ranging from home additions, basement remodels, and kitchen remodels to bathroom redesigns. Additionally, we offer apartment maintenance and rehabilitation services and common area upgrades. For both residential and commercial properties, we offer the highest quality of service, complete our projects in a timely manner, and communicate throughout all phases of the transformation.

As a premier Denver Metro home remodeling contractor, our goal is to work closely with our clients to determine their needs and desires. Each step we take is aimed to create an environment that is reflective of our clients’ needs and wants. Whether our customers are looking to transform a single room, an entire home, or a multifamily community, we believe that open communication is one of the vital keys to achieving the desired results.