Longtime Custom Builder Bill Silliman Carving Out New Niche in Central Florida Housing Market
June 14, 2014
ORLANDO, FL – One of Central Florida’s leading custom home builders over the past three decades has branched out into a new building arena and the shift in direction already is paying major dividends.
Bill Silliman, who over the years specialized building in Metro Orlando’s new, luxury communities, is now directing his home building efforts toward Central Florida’s oldest and most prestigious residential neighborhoods with his new company, Silliman CitySide.
Silliman CitySide, which will specialize exclusively in new home construction in Central Florida’s older core neighborhoods such as Winter Park, College Park, Maitland and downtown Orlando, marks the beginning of a new chapter for the veteran home builder as he looks to add to his award-winning legacy.
“As we inch closer to completing our current commitments in Waterstone and Keene’s Pointe in Windermere, we’ve begun preparing for the future and the exciting challenges and business opportunities it presents,” says Silliman.
To emphasize that point, Silliman has launched a new website to formally introduce Silliman CitySide at www.sillimanhomes.com. Not only does the new website reflect the new approach, it also includes a first-of-a-kind, innovative, user-friendly technology called Silliman Dream Planner (www.SillimanDreamPlanner.com) that allows a user to select a home plan and neighborhood location and calculate his monthly payment based on a down payment of his choosing.
And, capping it all off, Silliman recently opened a new 2,600 square-foot design studio on North Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando called Silliman CitySide Design Center which will cater to the builder’s new home buying customers.
“Although you could describe it as re-inventing ourselves, we look at it as adapting to a changing market and filling a void in that market,” says Silliman. “We have restructured ourselves and have positioned ourselves to build new luxury homes in Metro Orlando’s prime zip code areas that have been built out for years.”
That “restructuring” includes the financial muscle to purchase existing homes in those neighborhoods, raze them and replace them with new homes built to today’s standards. Silliman says the company has product to fit nearly every lot size ranging from 50-foot lots to estate-sized lots and everything in between. Home prices range from $600,000 to about $1.5 million and that’s where Silliman’s Dream Planner can help a buyer determine what plan meets his criteria.
While the concept of “tear downs” and subsequent new construction is not new to the area, it hasn’t been done to the extent that Silliman CitySide is planning – and doing. Since its launch almost 12 months ago, the company’s acquisition team has invested approximately $10 million purchasing select properties in its target areas. It has 15 homes under construction and already has logged about $5 million in home sales.
“We are delighted with the early success Silliman CitySide has experienced but not surprised,” says Partner Mark Vergason, a longtime Orlando advertising executive with Vergason Sojourner & McWaters who also provides the marketing expertise for Silliman’s companies.
“We believed our approach would appeal expressly to those who desired an opportunity to own a new home in one of Metro Orlando’s older, iconic neighborhoods,” says Vergason. “People are enamored with the idea of living in the shadows of Winter Park’s historic Park Avenue or overlooking College Park’s venerable Dubsdread Golf Course.”
According to Silliman, most buyers who have purchased homes in “mature” neighborhoods have had to make compromises in the process: settling for older construction, dated styling, poor insulation and excessive utility bills. And that doesn’t include the additional expense of renovating the home to their tastes and preferences.
By contrast, a person can buy a new Silliman CitySide home in old Winter Park or College Park that is constructed to today’s stringent building and energy codes and featuring the latest designs, state-of-the-art technologies and amenities.
“It’s a win-win situation,” says Silliman. “They get to live in the neighborhood of their dreams in a home built with all of the modern conveniences of today, instead of a home that was built a half century or more ago.”
Silliman says CitySide’s buyers to date have been mostly professionals, including doctors, lawyers and business owners who want to live close to work and Orlando’s plethora of amenities.
Silliman has been a mainstay in Orlando’s high-end, custom housing market since the early 1980s. His name and the Orlando luxury home builders associated with Silliman Homes have become synonymous with high-end design and fine craftsmanship, earning him and his company numerous industry awards, including a prestigious 2013 Aurora Award at the Southeast Builders Conference for the Palazzo Lago, a 7,628 square-foot, Mediterranean-styled lakefront estate at Waterstone in Windermere.