At a Glance
Single-family residential homes and townhouses
How does your company stand apart from other architectural organizations in your area—and in the country?
Jay Bell: We are truly a family-owned business. My son is already playing an active role in the company, so we’ve been offering quality homes for three generations now, having started in 1976.
Your father was the firm’s original founder. What inspired him to start his own business?
JB: My father first began as a civil engineer by training doing a good deal of land development. Eventually he felt he was meant to sell houses to families and thought, why not? Stepping into the role as developer, he then took on home building and began Bell Development as it runs today. I followed in his footsteps, having not necessarily planned to be a part of the family business. Once I started helping him out, I fell in love with it and decided to make it my life, too, and I’m glad I did.
Are you based exclusively in Chattanooga?
JB: Yes. We only build in Hamilton County. The Chattanooga market is what we know best and whom we build for first and foremost, and the residents here know that. We do about 80 homes at $225,000 a home.
You work hard to incorporate sustainability into each of your homes. Why is this important to you?
JB: I think everything is moving towards incorporating sustainable elements in ones work, but I am cautious of “greenwashing.” At the end of the day, people still need a balance between energy efficiency and quality design and [a home that] is livable and satisfying to the client.
Was finding that balance important with the recent Stone Wall Farms project? What were your specific goals with the homes there?
JB: What makes Stone Wall Farms so unique is that it is designed to create a tight-knit community, and it succeeds as such. The whole neighborhood is connected by 12 miles of sidewalks and streetlights featuring both single-family and townhomes in a modern American style. It is truly a great place to live. Essentially, we took a cow pasture and made it a livable community with rows of new trees and great views of the surrounding mountains.
What are some of the plans you look to implement within your company in the near future?
JB: To compete in this challenging market, we offer our clients the most affordable homes for their money. Where many homebuilders are cutting corners and simplifying what they offer, we, on the other hand, are adding new features to entice new costumers, and it is has been very effective.
What do you think is most important about the services you provide?
JB: I’d like to stress the advantages of homeownership. People are saying now is not the time to own a home, but they are wrong. Owning your own home is the American dream and is always advantageous. Being a homeowner is more than just a financial investment. In many ways, owning a home brings an important sense of freedom to the owner and autonomy that cannot otherwise be experienced. ABQ