The construction industry has no choice but to innovate. It’s facing increasing costs, a shortage of skilled workers, and an existing business model plagued by inefficiency, outdated processes, low productivity, and cost overruns. Truly integrated, end-to-end construction services will help to solve these problems.
CEO Darell Schmidt, working in close partnership with President Matt Gehrke, brings 40+ years of experience and a track record of more than $1.2B in commercial and residential development. With meticulous research, we gain a clear view on how each property is likely to perform in the marketplace.
As developers, we have long been focused on building modern, efficient housing at attainable prices. In, this niche, with conservative leverage, it is possible to consistently deliver significant ROI regardless of how the overall real estate market is performing. We are proud of our track record of delivering results to the investors who entrust us in funding our developments.
With 40+ years of real estate experience that includes more than $1.2B in commercial and residential development, Darell Schmidt is known as a developer, builder, and businessman you can trust. By putting relationships first, communicating honestly and transparently, and reliably identifying the right opportunities at the right times, he has been highly successful across the real estate spectrum. Mr. Schmidt is the CEO and managing partner of Allante Development, responsible for corporate oversight, finance/investment strategy, opportunity identification, deal structuring, investor and community relations, and overall project oversight.
Finding His Calling in Real Estate
After graduating from high school, Schmidt developed a keen interest in real estate which later turned into a lifetime passion. Schmidt’s mother had a real estate license and loved her job. She’d often told him about her work, and he was intrigued. He and his mother joined forces as he learned the ropes, quickly progressing to a specialization in income property listing and sales. To bolster his knowledge and credibility, he earned the coveted Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation in 1978, becoming only the 972nd member of the organization. (Today, membership exceeds 9,500 worldwide, though only an estimated 6% of US-based commercial real estate professionals have qualified for the designation.) Mr. Schmidt simultaneously earned his BS in real estate and construction management from the University of Denver. He’d found his new path, and it quickly became his central passion.
Getting Started in Development
From 1976 to 1981, Mr. Schmidt served as director of leasing for a prominent Denver-area developer. Two weeks after marrying his wife, Re, in 1981, he founded his own real estate development company, Falcon Ventures.
After attending a seminar on shopping center development, Mr. Schmidt knew he had the skills needed to become a developer. He already understood financing, leasing, and strategic thinking. All he needed was the right piece of land.
When Mr. Schmidt identified a four-acre plot next to a K-Mart (considered a highly desirable tenant at the time), he knew he’d found the right opportunity. That first deal, which would ultimately become the Monaco Village Shopping Center, was negotiated in 1984. He followed up in 1986 with the $1M Clinton Shopette development in another amazing location (next to a Target, near I-25 and Arapahoe), ultimately selling the property for $3.2M in 2015. From there, opportunities proliferated. In total, Falcon Ventures was responsible for developing and leasing more than $30M of office and retail space, developing 261,000 SF and leasing 500,000+ SF.
Finding Success in Homebuilding
After the Tax Reform Act of 1986 devalued commercial real estate and made financing virtually impossible, Mr. Schmidt knew he had to change course. He sensed that the market was ripe for homebuilding, so he sold most of his commercial portfolio and founded Falcon Homes in 1986. Success was immediate. In the first month, they sold eight houses at the Falcon Creek development in Highlands Ranch and never looked back.
Falcon Homes would go on to become one of Denver’s largest private homebuilders, building and selling 2,700 single-family and multifamily properties and developing more than 1,150 acres of land. The company, which was widely lauded for its innovative designs and excellent warranty department, received many honors over its 15-year span. Accolades included numerous awards for Merchandising Excellence, with 12 awards including the Grand Award for Merchandising Excellence; the Quality, Value, and Affordability Award from Builder Magazine; and a Golden Nugget Award of Merit as “Best in the West” from the Pacific Coast Builder Conference, the Western Builder Show, and Builder Magazine.
Mr. Schmidt’s uncanny ability to identify ideal locations led to many noteworthy successes. In 1992, he purchased the parking lot for Golf Club at Beaver Creek, which was adjacent to the planned Elkhorn Lift. His plan was to build a 7-story midrise condominium building with 52 high-end condominiums priced up to $1.5M. The development was an immediate triumph, selling all units shortly after completion and doubling his investors’ money in four years’ time. Other representative successes included Wildcat Ridge, a 160-acre/402-home joint venture with Prudential Home Building Investors; a joint venture with Mobil Oil to develop 665 homes at Stonegate; and numerous other joint ventures with Weyerhaeuser and Residential Funding Corporation, a division of GMAC.
Identifying the Next Big Opportunity: Multifamily
Mr. Schmidt understood the warning signs as the Great Recession was in full bloom by 2008, creating huge opportunities in multifamily acquisition and development.
In 2009, Mr. Schmidt and his son Daren attended a multifamily convention, learning how promising the multifamily market sector looked. Nationwide demand for apartments far exceeded supply, and the Denver market was no exception. The Schmidts formed Allante Properties in 2011, developing a business plan focused on developing multifamily apartments in the Denver area.
Investing in the Right Locations at the Right Time
Allante Properties’ first development, Fitzsimons Place, involved renovating 99 apartments. Its sale for $6.5M generated average annual returns of 26.81% for investors. Later in 2012, the passage of the JOBS act eliminated the SEC restriction on using media advertising to attract private investors. Through strategic media placements, Allante Properties was able to attract 120 investors who subsequently invested over $37M in their apartment business, sharing the return of cash flow and sales proceeds.
Newly armed with large pools of capital, Allante Properties focused on finding urban infill sites suitable for new-build developments. Both Highland Place (68 Class A apartments; 11,000 SF of retail) and Tennyson Place (81 Class A apartments) were walkable, close to amenities, and located in highly desirable neighborhoods. Both developments were intentionally designed with smaller unit sizes, including Denver’s very first “micro-apartments” (387 SF). Highland Place was a tremendous success, gaining high rental rates, generating significant cash flow distributions for investors, and ultimately selling for $24.5M in 2015. Tennyson Place and Emerson Place were developed in the ensuing years, focusing on a unit mix that included both micro-units and studio units and becoming a solid hit in the Denver market. The company continues to expand its portfolio, building and renovating additional projects in Denver; Phoenix, Arizona; and Boise, Idaho.
Helping to Build a Stronger Future for Sustainable Housing
Facing a shrinking workforce and growing demand, the construction industry has no choice but to innovate. Mr. Schmidt is convinced that technological innovation in the sector holds the potential to provide a better, more sustainable housing solution. That’s why his newest development firm, Allante Development, is dedicated to developing sites in the US using construction technology to more efficiently deliver attainable rental housing without compromising quality. Allante Development is excited to play a role in supporting the biggest revolution the construction industry has seen in decades. With a multi-year pipeline and a continued focus on building in the right locations at the right times, the potential is virtually unlimited.
A second-generation Denver native, Mr. Schmidt has lived in Denver for the majority of his life. Nowadays, he and Re split their time between Denver and Phoenix. After vacationing in Arizona for the past 30 years, they’ve been privileged to buy a home there. They spend their free time traveling, hiking, golfing, boating on Lake Saguaro, and exploring Phoenix and Denver’s thriving restaurant scenes. They also enjoy spending time with their three children and six grandchildren.
With 30+ years of real estate industry experience, attorney Matt Gehrke is known as a results-oriented developer, leader, advisor, and problem-solver. Far more than a real estate and trial attorney, Mr. Gehrke is adept at driving development strategy, managing legal risk, ensuring regulatory compliance, and closing transactions. He is a principal within Allante Development, serving as president. His enthusiasm for building and delivering projects is bolstered by his expertise in private equity syndication and all phases of real property finance, acquisition, development, management, and disposition, as well as commercial disputes and tax controversy resolution.
A Family Tradition of Real Estate
Mr. Gehrke always knew he’d work in real estate. It was part of his DNA. His grandparents were custom homebuilders in Denver. His father was a real estate broker and investor with apartments and other properties.
During high school, Mr. Gehrke helped his father manage apartments, worked at his best friend’s family-owned lumberyard, worked on an apartment-framing crew, and built redwood decks. During college, he worked as a property manager, responsible for marketing, sales, maintenance, and rent collection. He bought his first investment property — a condo in Littleton — right out of college, and successfully flipped it.
Gaining Development and Construction Experience Across Industries
By this point, Mr. Gehrke had already earned his BS in finance from the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Leeds School of Business. He went on to earn his JD from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, and was admitted to practice law in the state of Colorado in 1993.
Since 1999, Mr. Gehrke has served as General Counsel for several companies, advising them on real estate transactions, finance, planning, development, construction, and management, as well as litigation strategy and other business matters.
Though Mr. Gehrke has since gained broad experience in a range of industries, his career has remained grounded in real estate from day one. First, he spent seven years working with a leading tax law firm. Next, he spent four years as general manager and VP of operations for a fast-growing national telecom wire and cable supplier engaged in frequent property development and acquisition. In that role, he was responsible for coordinating several office/warehouse acquisitions and office build-outs. When this business was sold in 2001, Mr. Gehrke continued to work with its principals to acquire and develop land, condominium, hospitality, retail, storage, convenience store, and restaurant properties in Mexico, Costa Rica, Hawaii, and other locations, primarily in the southwest United States.
During that same period, Mr. Gehrke also became co-founder of a homebuilding business which developed several subdivisions and constructed luxury homes in Colorado and Arizona. With the homebuilding industry hit hard by the Great Recession, Mr. Gehrke’s focus shifted back to practicing law. Working predominantly with real estate clients, he assisted various partnerships and lenders in arranging financial workouts.
Joining Forces on Multifamily Development
Around 2010, as the market began to recover, Mr. Gehrke made the strategic decision to focus upon the multifamily market segment. He met Darell Schmidt when they were both looking at the same value-add property — which Mr. Schmidt already had under contract. It wasn’t long before Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Gehrke began working together.
Mr. Gehrke is married with three children. After spending the first 48 years of his life in Colorado, he and his family relocated to Arizona in 2017. The move was a natural one, since his wife, Summer, grew up in Arizona, and they both have family and friends throughout the state. The Gehrkes spend their free time enjoying the outdoors, including hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, skiing, boating, and water skiing. They love to travel, naming the Rocky Mountains as a longtime favorite destination.