Over the past six years, Nashville, Tennessee, has seen a massive surge in residents, or at least that’s what John Beyer has noticed since he joined Regent Homes in 2016 as VP of land development. “For some reason, in the last five years, everybody in the US wants to come here,” Beyer says. In 2021 and 2022, Regent homes sold over 850 homes combined.
Beyer started working in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1993, but he can trace his interest in land development all the way back to high school. His neighbor, who was a civil engineer, became his first mentor in the industry and employed him as a land surveyor, which first sparked his interest in his future career. Throughout college, Beyer worked on survey crews. “I even traveled with one company to the southeastern US to do road surveying for proposed road improvements,” shares Beyer. “That was when I decided to go to college for civil engineering.”
Beyer trained at a civil engineering company in Nashville, Tennessee, but after five years, he decided that he liked building more than designing. “My engineering background helped me understand why the engineers design things as they did,” explains Beyer. “The combination of my skills as an engineer and my experience in construction helped me improve projects.”
He also attributes his expertise to the role models he has had throughout his career. “I was very fortunate to have really good mentors in the industry who taught me what I call the ‘right way’ to develop the property,” explains Beyer. “[The right way] involves evaluating the budget for projects and doing the research to make sure they have the proper utilities and proper zoning.” For a period, Beyer worked independently before he was approached by Regent Homes.
Regent Homes specializes in traditional neighborhood developments, which typically feature single-family homes, condos, and some commercial buildings to make up the amenities of the neighborhood. Burkitt Ridge, a major development that Beyer recently led with Regent Homes, was approved for 800 units, which allowed them to develop over 200 apartments along with a commercial center.
Another development procured by Beyer called Carothers Farm similarly features a wide variety of property types. “As of now, we have purchased about 1600 or 1700 units of which we probably built 400 of those,” shares Beyer. “We’re continuing to put new product on the ground.”
In addition to identifying properties to purchase, Beyer is also involved in overseeing building performance, constructing projects, and hiring the associated team of engineers, contractors, and construction managers. With the increase in demand, Beyer and his team have seen an increase in resource prices as well as labor shortages. “What we’ve had to do is diversify our subbase, adding more subcontractors to our base group,” explains Beyer, “We have had to diversify in labor as well to expand the number of people we’ve hired.”
Despite these challenges, Beyer remains optimistic that supply chain and labor issues will likely calm down soon. Moreover, Beyer maintains a high standard as he and his team navigate these issues. “I’m kind of a perfectionist,” Beyer admits. “This is hard in my business because construction is very imperfect. I try to work with my team and train them to have the flexibility to use their own management style, but, ultimately, you learn a lot in our business through hard knocks.”