Upon graduation from the University of Virginia, the Staunton, Va., native landed a job at the Boston-based consulting company. His first set of clients included home builder Ryland Group.
“One of the reasons I wanted to pursue consulting to start with was to provide me with provide a well-rounded exposure to a lot of businesses,” said Goldenberg. “Sure enough, I fell in love with the home building business. Until this day — 24 years later — I never get tired of walking into a house. I found my passion.”
Ryland hired Goldenberg, and he moved to the company’s corporate headquarters in Columbia, Md. A few years into his tenure, Ryland sponsored him to obtain a master’s degree with the agreement that he would come back to the company. After graduation, he was preparing to move to the company’s Dallas, Texas, division when he received a call saying there was no longer a job.
“That was a strange and ‘aha’ moment in my life,” he recalls.
Goldenberg called his former mentor, who had since joined Morrison Homes, and he hired Goldenberg on the spot.
“He told me instead of Dallas it’s now Atlanta — it all worked out for the best.” Morrison was the American subsidiary of the largest home builder in the United Kingdom.
In 1994, Goldenberg moved to Atlanta, bought a pickup truck and began work in the trenches as a warranty technician. He moved up through a number of positions, including purchasing and estimating, while selling houses on the weekends.
In 1997, at 29 years old, he was promoted to senior VP of the southeast division. By 2004, he oversaw more than 2,100 closings and $570 million in revenue.
David Gernatt, who served as Goldenberg’s VP at the company, describes him as “passionate.”
“Gregg is passionate about his work and has been an innovator in the marketplace,” Gernatt said.
At the end of that year, the parent company made a strategic decision to sell the metro Atlanta home business. Not wanting to move, Goldenberg started his own Cobb County- based development company called K2 Ventures.
“I looked at the marketplace and realized that Atlanta really didn’t need any more homebuilders. We needed developers to get the home sites on the ground for the major home builders,” Goldenberg said.
In 2008, as Goldenberg describes, the “great apocalypse” occurred.
“Real estate construction came to a grinding halt,” he said.
To survive, he says his company provided construction services to banks as they took over unfinished houses. “We did anything we could. … We weren’t proud.”
In early 2010, he connected with a New York-based investment group that had purchased 1,500 home sites from banks around metro Atlanta. Goldenberg developed a plan for each neighborhood and flew to New York to pitch the investors. He recalls telling them, “It’s time to start another home building business in Atlanta.”
Along with two partners, Jon Roby and Thomas Olsen, Acadia was born. The trio hired architects to develop home plans and by 2011, the company sold 53 homes.
In 2012, 153 houses sold at an average price of $280,000, producing $42 million in revenues. In Cobb, the company has developed and sold homes in Sherwood Park in Smyrna; Reece Farms in Powder Springs; Arbor Green in Kennesaw and Eagles Crest in Acworth.
Goldenberg said there is a very low supply of home sites in desirable locations.
“Pent-up demand is there, and with the continuation of affordability and low interest rates, there is a solid demand,” he said. “We pride ourselves in being able to focus first on location then coming up with the right home plan to meet that location.”
Goldenberg said he will never forget the implosion of real estate business.
“It was a bad game of musical chairs — when the music stopped, we were all left with all these chairs … Only the strongest survived.”