Garrett Calacci at Pelican Hill Resort’s Villa Club; photography by Edward Duarte

In Development

by Andrew Myers | magazine | April 12, 2012

Never in the post-Eisenhower era has it been harder to engineer a career as a home developer. How then has 35-year-old, Newport Beach-born Garrett Calacci managed not simply to survive, but to thrive?

It starts with a deep foundation. “I’d always wanted to be a home developer,” says Calacci, who graduated from USC in 1999 with a degree in business and real estate finance. Trouble was, unlike classmates heading to professional schools or into careers with clear tracks, erectors of homes—both tract and custom—must build their own path.

After briefly interning for a developer, Calacci pooled his savings and purchased “an old duplex building” in Newport. Not only did he renovate and sell the two units, he parlayed their sale to buttress his professional bona fides, joining residential brokerage firm Coast Newport Properties for two years. All the while he continued to buy, renovate and sell residential real estate (most notably condominiums on the Balboa Peninsula). And once he judged his foundation finished, Calacci started to build.

In 2001, he expanded to ground-up construction, first for tract projects and then custom homes. Later he added land entitlement projects and, most recently in 2009, moved construction completely in-house (Waterpointe Custom Homebuilders Inc. and Waterpointe Real Estate Group now complement his original company, Waterpointe Homes LLC). “I had to control the entire process, from design through construction and sale,” says Calacci, who lives in a two-bedroom villa in Pelican Hill and favors made-to-measure David August suits, adding that in the last year his custom home business “has taken off”—an ascent he ascribes to his six- to seven-month construction time and $150-$200-per-square-foot costs.