Like many builders, Belmonte got his start on the ground floor, learning the building process from a friend in Hawaii after serving in the Army during the Vietnam War. He returned to his hometown of Coronado, married his high school sweetheart, and got as much experience as he could in framing, drywall, steel studs and other construction disciplines. Business took off and Belmonte started his own drywall and tenant-improvement firm, Belco Construction Ltd.
"Everything blossomed," he said. "We worked mostly with union contractors and did a lot of work for commercial clients such as Koll, Larson, Collins Development, Kvass, M.H. Golden and other large builders and developers. We were always one of the top five tenant-improvement companies in San Diego.
"Then came the savings and loan crisis. It was a huge hit for anyone in commercial business. Commercial lending got clobbered. Everyone had a piece of the payment pie and as a tenant-improvement sub, you were nearly the last person to be paid, if at all. In the late 1990s, I decided to direct my focus on building custom homes, where I could control the design, the construction costs and the distribution of money. I liked it because building a custom home is not repeating the same design over and over; each project is unique and individualized for a set client. It was something I always wanted to do."
Belmonte has been building custom homes throughout the county since then. One of the company's recent projects is a 7,500-square-foot residence in a gated community and includes an additional 1,000-square-foot pool house, mini soccer field and half basketball court. The firm also continues to work on selected commercial projects such as tenant improvements and condominiums.
Working throughout the county, Belmonte has learned to adapt to the individualized needs of every client. "We outline the entire process with each owner's vision as each home has a different design, completion schedule and budget to accomplish," he said.
"I pride myself that our team knows the effective costs of our clients' choices and we are able to offer each client money- and space-saving design ideas. For example, did you know that a well-designed kitchen can have monetary savings in non-essentials? That savings can potentially be used to add another room, which not only adds to the value of their home, but also to their chosen lifestyle. We build each home that is as individual as the owner. I want to ensure that every client's dream home becomes a reality.
"Our homes are definitely not rectangular or square boxes. The homes we build generally have multiple rooflines that flow up and down, and walls that move in and out. The larger Mediterranean homes will have turrets, a great deal of woodwork and a lot of detailing along with balconies, patios and porches. It is what makes them unique."
One year, Bartocci began building a custom Cape Cod-style home, and ended up remodeling and building three additional custom homes in the same block of J Avenue in Coronado. To Belmonte's credit, it has been said by many of his clients that he sincerely knows the individual needs of his clients.
He pays attention to detail and to the way a home should live. He also knows how to make "a small house live large, which is basically using the best space for your living area and taking advantage of every possible construction benefit you can give a client. Design is key to a good floor plan in a good home. And the other part is supervised construction and knowing the hard details that go into each home."
2535 Kettner Boulevard, Suite 1-A5 | San Diego, CA 92101 | (619) 702-0113 | www.bartoccidevelopment.com
By Glenn Grant, The Daily Transcript