Pride Mark Homes In The News

Father James R. Barbato, left, and son James P. Barbato keep Pride Mark Homes on the go

It’s no coincidence that Pride Mark Homes Inc. has several new projects and more than 300 new housing units in the works in several eastside towns all at once.

The Victor-based developer has a major housing project in the approval stages in the Perinton hamlet of Egypt, which calls for 26 bungalows, 60 townhouses, 66 apartments and four greenhouse-style nursing homes.

Also in the works is a 92-unit subdivision in Pittsford, and the developer is awaiting a decision on a rezoning request in Webster that could lead to 100 new townhouses.

Pride Mark also is teaming up with Buckingham Properties on a major mixed-use project in Brighton, which after several stops and starts may be moving forward soon, as a public hearing on draft environmental impact statement for the Winfield Park project is scheduled for Sept. 11.

These newer projects are gaining speed as projects in Victor, Penfield and North Chili either or are nearing completion, said James P. Barbato, who became president at the company his father started in 1972.

“Part of it appears like it’s all happening at once, but there is logic to it,” said James P. Barbato. “It’s by model and design, and we’re not going crazy buying stuff. It’s all been calculated.”

The growth of the company started by James R. Barbato, and involvement and stewardship of his son James P. Barbato, has pretty much followed plan, although achieving it was delayed somewhat.

The elder Barbato always wanted to get into real estate development and investment, and he went so far as to ask his father for a loan to get started — when he was 18.

“He thought I was a little young for that and he kind of suppressed my involvement in real estate at that time,” James R. Barbato said. “I didn’t realize what I didn’t know at 18 years old.”

So he waited, and in 1972 he started with a partner the home-building business, although he stayed involved in the fuel oil business until he was able to ease out of the job after about six years.

A Gates resident at the time, his first completed subdivision was built near the Gates Chili High School. Many other projects were completed in both Gates and Chili before he shifted eastward, into Penfield. The company has built about 1,900 single-family homes in the area over time, he estimates, although the focus today has shifted more toward town houses, apartments, light commercial and assisted-living and skilled-nursing facilities.

Before Pride Mark began to evolve, however, the younger Barbato formally became involved in the company after graduating college in 1995. His involvement started long before that, as he joined his father at age 16, working summers at construction sites, while attending high school and college at the University of Buffalo.

“I look back and I don’t remember making the conscious decision that this is what I was going to do,” James P. Barbato said. “I was always heading in this direction and I always planned on it. I’ve really grown up in it. I’ve had a lot of hands-on experience and training from my father, and I got a good education too. I love it.”

Since he’s joined, the younger Barbato, 41, successfully earned an executive MBA degree from the Simon School. Pride Mark also has partnered with Morell Builders and shares space on Route 96 with Indè, a kitchen and bath remodeling and design studio.

“It’s been a fast-growing business for us and a nice complement to what we do,” James P. Barbato said.

The elder Barbato has pulled back from the day-to-day operations so his son can grow the organization.

“He brought new energy and enabled Pride Mark to grow in the manner that it has,” James R. Barbato said. “There was a time where he was helping me. Now, he’s leading the charge and I support him. It’s been a great relationship.”

That’s not to say he isn’t involved. At age 82, he still comes to work every day, and is heavily involved in getting new projects started and helps during the approval process.

“I enjoy the challenge of having goals set years ago coming together,” James R. Barbato said. “I’m always ready for the next challenge and I’m always looking for the next opportunity. I wouldn’t be a happy camper if I stayed home.”

The son continually learns from the father, including a key lesson that has enabled the company to grow.

His father taught him the value of treating people fairly, whether it’s the company’s 13 employees, subcontractors or customers. They both strive to do so in their every-day dealings with clients and partners, and it works in their father-son business relationship.

“We both speak our minds and we respect each other’s opinions,” James P. Barbato said. “We don’t always agree but we listen to each other and we feel we come out with the right solution. It’s been a great relationship.”

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