Historied Hospitality Development

“We’ve been fortunate to have 100 once-in-a-lifetime projects.” That’s Dave Love’s assessment of the first 25 years of New Star General Contractors, a major player in the Park City and Deer Valley, Utah, construction markets.

New Star has been at the forefront of development—including ski resorts, custom homes, and high-end mixed-use projects—that has made Utah’s Wasatch Mountains one of the nation’s premier destinations for upscale skiing and golf. And word of mouth has been a key marketing tool along the way, New Star’s clients enthusiastically letting future clients tour their properties—including their homes. “We can’t buy marketing like that,” Love says.

The economic downturn has slowed growth in the region, but Love is as upbeat as he was on day one. “We’re just waiting for people to want to build fun things again,” he says. In the meantime, he can rely on his company’s successful history to speak volumes. 

1986: Colleagues set out on their own

Dave Love and Steve Williams work for Canon Construction on many projects in and around Utah’s ski industry in the Wasatch Mountains. When the owners of Canon decide to close their business, Love and Williams form a partnership. “We started with $10,000, and we had just $5,000 after paying for our workers’ comp insurance,” Love says. “We did anything and everything, from driveways to tenant improvements.”

1986: New company name

Williams is an amateur astronomer, so the new partners want to name their business “North Star,” but an excavation contractor already has that name. One day Love’s wife sees a street sign for New Star Drive, and that’s the name they choose. “Some took the name to mean that we were claiming to be the ‘new stars’ among local contractors, but that was not our intention,” Love says. “Over time, however, it has grown to signify really fun, quality projects.”

1989: Royal Plaza

The turning-point project for New Star is Royal Plaza at the top of Deer Valley. The mixed-use development is one of the first of its kind in the area, with retail on the first floor, offices on the second, and condos on the third and fourth. “We were very fortunate to get that project and build something that pleased the people of Deer Valley,” Love says. “After that we became known as a company that can do something fabulous.”

1992: Opening a wood mill

“We’re a big company with a small-company craftsman philosophy,” Love says. “What we do is as much about art as it is anything [else].” That philosophy leads New Star to open its own wood mill to craft fine millwork. “We didn’t know we couldn’t start our own mill that way,” he says. “We thought we could do it better than the people we were using.”

2000

2000: Lucrative golf club work

Prior to this year, there weren’t many high-end golf clubs in Utah. New Star is hired to build clubhouses for what will become two of the state’s premier golf clubs: Glenwild Golf Club & Spa (above) and Tuhaye Golf Club at Talisker. “Up here they call their clubhouses ‘lodges’ because of the influence of the ski industry,” Love says.

2002

2002: Stein Eriksen Lodge

In time for the 2002 Winter Olympics, New Star completes the Phase 3 expansion of the Stein Eriksen Lodge (left), Deer Valley, Utah’s only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star resort. For Love, the project continues an earlier legacy; he had helped build the first phases of the lodge when he worked for Canon Construction.

2008: Rethinking employment

The company reaches its peak size with 250 employees. “When you grow like that, the quality of employees is never going to be as great as it is when you have just six employees,” Love says. The company is now half the size it was, with three-fourths of the reduction due to the economy and one-fourth based on strategic planning.

2010: Service division opens

New Star increases its offerings with a service division dedicated to smaller remodeling and repair jobs. The division takes on projects ranging from kitchen renovations to snow removal. “Incorporating the service division into New Star’s toolkit lets us utilize our expertise and specialized manpower on smaller custom jobs with efficiency and cost effectiveness,” Love says.

2011: Ready for new challenges

“For a while, working in Deer Valley and Park City was like a license to print money,” Love says. “Developers could sell anything they built. Not anymore. America hit the reset button three years ago.” The result is new projects with new priorities. “We’re working on a multifamily project that is different from the huge projects of the past. It is modern, green, and has smaller living spaces.” ABQ