Posted on 01-02-2013
As a full-service real estate development, commercial construction, and property management company, Van Buskirk Companies knows what it takes to make Sioux Falls a great place to live and work.
Van Buskirk Companies was started by Myron Van Buskirk in 1971 with single-family home construction and within two years a truss-manufacturing operation was opened in Brandon, S.D. Van Buskirk quickly expanded the business to include the land development of single-family subdivisions. Within a few short years, the Van Buskirk operations encompassed the entire home-building process to include everything from concrete foundations to real estate brokerage.
As interest rates skyrocketed in the early1980s, it became necessary to refocus the business strategy on the home building and subdivision businesses. As the business climate steadily improved, Van Buskirk extended the company into commercial construction and, in the 1990s, the company began adding apartment communities to its portfolio. By the end of its third decade in business, the company no longer built single-family homes. The focus to single-family subdivisions, apartment complexes, and commercial construction was complete. By the early 2000s, Van Buskirk had also added a significant amount of retail and office to its holdings.
As a family-owned business, it makes sense that Van Buskirk Companies would understand what people need to feel a sense of comfort. In the early years of the company, Myron Van Buskirk and his wife Joan built hundreds of homes throughout the Sioux Falls area. While Joan still works on the occasional office design, Myron, the founder, continues his focus on the strategic direction of the firm.
The second generation of sons --- Steve, Mike, and Chad — divide various aspects of the company’s operations. Steve, who holds a master’s degree in finance and is experienced in construction and land development, concentrates his work on the land development. Mike, a licensed real estate broker and mechanical engineer, takes the lead in commercial real estate, property management, and commercial leasing and development. Chad, who is a civil engineer with years of heavy construction experience, delivers quality design-build solutions in the construction division.
The Van Buskirks are also well-known as industry leaders. Myron Van Buskirk is an inductee into the HBA of Sioux Falls Housing Hall of Fame, was the first president of the South Dakota Home Builder Association, and was a past president of the Home Builders Association of the Sioux Empire. Steve Van Buskirk is past president of the Home Builders Association and a member of the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, while Mike Van Buskirk has served as the president of the South Dakota Multi-Housing Association and on the Board of Dakota Business Finance. Chad Van Buskirk continues to serve on the Small Business Advisory Council.
From concept to construction and beyond, the company’s commercial real estate and construction divisions offer clients a full spectrum of services including office leasing, retail and commercial sites, land sales, design-build construction, and build-to-suit options. “If someone calls in and they are looking for a place to locate, we will generate a viable option for them,” explains Steve Van Buskirk, director of land development. “We will build and lease back a location, sell them the land, or we can construct a custom building if they prefer to own.”
Having the ability to use the latest technology in 3-D modeling and architectural renderings, Chad Van Buskirk, director of commercial construction, helps clients visualize their dreams before they become reality. “Whether it’s a retail space, office user, or an industrial project, we sit down and interview our clients to find out how a new facility will benefit them, and then find a cost-effective solution to deliver their dream,” he says. “We make sure we do a thorough job of drawings and specifications so they know when the planning is complete they will get what they expected.”
Whether it is government permitting, ordinance navigation, consultations with engineers and architects, or assistance with sales and marketing, the Van Buskirk professionals have the experience and expertise to navigate through it all with its customers.
The company continues to expand and presently manages nearly 300,000 square feet of office and retail space, including The Bridges at 57th, a premier regional lifestyle center featuring a collection of boutique and specialty shops, gourmet restaurants, and a women’s medical center and spa. Located nearby, in another highly desirable area, is the company’s Remington Pointe Business Park, a 14-acre development featuring distinctive buildings and tasteful landscape.
When it comes to residential communities, Van Buskirk Companies has a reputation for building neighborhoods where people want to live. The company has earned the trust of homebuyers by protecting home values with an unwavering lot-pricing structure. “That’s part of our fairness,” explains Steve Van Buskirk. “We protect our homeowners and their house values by making sure the lot prices don’t decrease. Even with the market downturn in 2007, we kept our prices stable because we believed it was our responsibility to keep values up.”
Van Buskirk adds that the company’s “standard of fairness” extends to the community of builders who erect the homes in its subdivisions. “With our residential neighborhoods, we’ve got two types of clients. We’ve got the builder clients who buy lots for spec homes and the consumers who buy a lot and then hire a homebuilder to construct a house for them. We don’t compete with the homebuilders or have convoluted pricing schemes; we have clear prices for all of the interested parties.”
Although Van Buskirk Companies no longer builds houses, the company uses its resources to help homeowners dream. Those resources include Parade at Home video tours on the company website. “We use innovative means to help people learn about the homebuilding process,” explains Steve Van Buskirk. “We take on an advisory role, by helping to inform clients and get them up to speed, and then, after their home is built, we continue to communicate and answer questions. We give a lot of service after the sale, so homeowners will be more satisfied with their choice.”
Among the distinctively different neighborhoods under the Van Buskirk Companies banner are several mixed-use developments, including Heather Ridge, The Bluffs of Brandon, Hazeltine, Copper Creek, and Cherry Lake Reserve.
Van Buskirk Companies also has comfortable and luxurious apartment communities in South Dakota, including Sioux Falls, Mitchell, and Watertown. The company also has an apartment community in South Sioux City, Nebraska. Each of these communities offers easy access to shopping centers, restaurants, entertainment venues, and recreation areas. Potential renters can view available options using the company’s online apartment finder. Visitors can see the 360-degree tours, floor plans, maps of area amenities, and information about the surrounding community.
With this segment of its business, Van Buskirk prides itself on creating satisfaction by maintaining properties that are safe and highly desired. “We think our customers are happier and they stay in our apartments longer if things are clean and maintained,” says Mike Van Buskirk, director of commercial real estate. “We don’t believe in deferred maintenance. If something needs to be fixed, we fix it, because we own those properties, and we plan to own them for a long time.”
Van Buskirk credits its superior service to its apartment managers and maintenance staff — many of whom have been with the company a decade or more. These dedicated professionals keep everything in tip-top shape. “Our heritage of talking to people and finding out what they need in a home transferred over to our apartment business. We are used to taking care of people,” says Mike Van Buskirk. “We are fortunate to have the right people managing our apartment complexes; they follow through on our principals.” In fact, he says, the company good-naturedly calls its apartment managers the “mayors” of their communities because they get to know their neighbors and go above and beyond to ensure satisfaction. “They get to be ingrained in the whole community,” he says, “and every apartment complex tends to get its own personality.”
Self-storage units in Mitchell and North Sioux City, S.D., and fully furnished corporate apartments, which are ready for temporary professional users, have also been added to the services provided by the company.
Together the Van Buskirk expertise has helped develop some of the most desirable properties in the region, garnering awards such the People’s Choice for Best Residential Neighborhood and Best New Retail Center. “The choices we assist clients with are major investment decisions,” says Steve Van Buskirk. “We know it’s a difficult decision when our customers are looking at a new house or new business location and the only thing they see is an empty field with nothing else around it. So people rely on us for guidance and our follow through — we do what we say, and we’ll finish what we start.”
Throughout its history, Van Buskirk Companies has developed safe, beautiful properties with an eye on the future. “The thing we really like about this business is that, when we’re all done with everything, and the grass is growing in the yard, and the people are living in their homes, we can drive down the street and feel that we did a good job, we feel satisfied,” says Steve Van Buskirk. “There is something physical we left behind that is going to be of enduring value.”
- article published in Sioux Falls Visions Book 2013