Paul Estridge Jr.: On a New Chapter in the Estridge Legacy
As one drives around the city of Carmel and the surrounding communities in Hamilton County, one would be hard-pressed not to see some of the definitive influences that the Estridge family has made on several of the area’s neighborhood developments. As the area’s “Hometown Builder” of more than 50 years, Estridge companies have built 8,000-plus homes and developed more than 30 neighborhoods in central Indiana—including Harmony and Serenade.
A recent announcement from Estridge Homes LLC details the passing of the reigns of the Carmel-based homebuilding company from Paul Estridge Jr. to his leadership team. Estridge will remain an owner and emphasized that he is not “retiring” but will be stepping away from the day-to-day operations of Carmel-based Estridge Homes LLC. He will continue to assist the leadership team with strategic planning on current and future projects.
Estridge, 63, received a single-lung transplant earlier this year to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and looks at his experience like an “extension of life.”
“I’m going to live a very active life, and I’m not retiring—I’m rewiring,” Estridge expressed. “I’m stepping back out of the day-to-day operations, and that’s going to enable me to focus on my health and fitness, and there’s some other things that I’d like to do.”
Stepping up as CEO is Carmel resident Clint Mitchell. Mitchell joined Estridge Homes in 2015, and Westfield resident and COO Rob McGraw has been with the company since 1995.
Homebuilding—It’s a Family Affair
Estridge Jr. shared that he was only a kid—10 years old—when his late father, Paul Estridge Sr., established Paul E. Estridge Homes.
“In the early days, I was 10 years old when Dad [Paul Estridge Sr.] decided to open up his own homebuilding company,” Estridge shared. “I started with him holding the tape measure, sweeping and scrapping out drywall. It is difficult working for your parents—my mother was every bit as involved with bookkeeping and design, but it was what it was. There was a family work ethic—you worked when you weren’t doing something else you had to do.”
Estridge recalled the endless hours in which he would sit listening to his father’s phone conversations and meetings and sitting in homes on the weekends holding open houses, trying to emulate what his father did when he greeted and spoke with potential clients. Estridge shared that his father was the first homebuilder to introduce zero-lot-line products and communities to the Indianapolis area.
In 1983, Estridge started his own company, The Estridge Group, and he bought out his father’s business in 1992.
“Building whole neighborhoods of homes became our passion and what we really focused on over the years,” Estridge said. “What we find when we build the entire neighborhood is that we’re able to create an experience and lifestyle for people that goes beyond just the house. Otherwise, we’d just be building a subdivision with houses.”
Looking Into the Future of Estridge Homes
When asked how much Mitchell and McGraw will be relying on the sage wisdom and experience of Estridge, Mitchell replied, “Very much—Paul certainly has a lot of wisdom and knows this area as well as anyone and has much experience as a builder in the Indianapolis market. As we look at growth, we’re looking for Paul’s insight. We’d like to look outside of the Carmel and Westfield areas where we can make some pretty big investments with a community and create the kind of neighborhood design that brings in the home design to complement the neighborhood layouts, amenities and landscaping.”
Mitchell added that in many of their communities, they appeal to multiple demographics and often to multigenerational buyers.
“We look at who our buyer is, and we look at multiple demographics,” Mitchell said. “We are not just focusing on one type of buyer and have different price points and different sizes of homes within the same neighborhood. For example, within Harmony, we have young couples, singles, families and empty nesters and sometimes within the same family. We have people with parents and kids living in the same community, and it’s pretty cool.”
Mitchell shared that by the end of this year, Estridge Homes expects to begin construction of a new 550-home development in Westfield—name to be announced—and the company’s first luxury townhome developments, Park West in Westfield and 16 Gateway in downtown Indianapolis, will be additional projects with the new CEO and COO at the helm.
Announcing Monterey Coastal Cuisine!
Estridge shared that he had always been interested in the restaurant industry but that it was never the right time or fit for him.
“I had never had time for it, nor did I have what I thought was the knowledge and expertise to get involved in it,” Estridge stated. “Then the moons aligned about a year and half ago when I approached Chris Thomas, who was the general manager at Kona Grill. He had approached me about doing something together about 15 years ago, but when we spoke again a year and a half ago, it seemed like an interesting time to do it. He’s a tremendous operator, and I wouldn’t be doing this without him.”
Estridge added, “What is true of everything that I’ve ever started is that it’s always been about getting the right people together and the right team of people.”
Monterey Coastal Cuisine, co-owned by Estridge and Thomas, is expected to open on April 3 and will feature a selection of sushi, seafood and steaks in a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere at 110 West Main Street, just east of the Monon Greenway. Visit montereycuisine.com for updates and more information.
Most Impactful Project
When asked out of all the projects and businesses that Estridge has built and had interest in, which one has meant the most to him and had the biggest impact on his career, he replied, “For sure it’s Centennial. And Harmony is a very close second. All the things we learned with Centennial, we’ve built them into Harmony. We were able to do some really big ideas like the sledding hill. I think it’s the most used sledding hill in the county. People send me pictures of the kids when it snows, and there’s like 100 kids on top of that hill.”
In addition to his favorite project, Estridge was gracious enough to share a favored moment related to Centennial.
“As far as special moments, I love the wintertime—driving into Centennial,” Estridge expressed. “Seeing the church lit up and the trees along the street all lit up—if I could be buried there, that’s where I would be buried.”
Estridge believes that one of the responsibilities of builders is to create spaces for people to connect and to build memories.
“We’re designing homes that emphasize more of the front porch, where people can live and sit out there, waving at their neighbors, as opposed to everybody being in the backyard,” Estridge said. “It’s those little things that really have an impact on people’s connectivity with their neighbors and how well they know them.”
For more information on Estridge Homes and its communities, visit estridge.com.