Weekly Feature

2013-10-09 / Front Page

Homebuilder making wishes come true

by STEVEN JAGORD
Editor


Natale Builders broke ground on a new home in Clarence earlier this year, and when sold, all proceeds will benefit Make-a-Wish Western New York. From left are Project Manager Ron Kozlowski, Make-a-Wish Development Manager Mary Hazel, Natale General Manager Larry LaDuca and Make-a-Wish Regional Development Director Tracy Gray. Natale Builders broke ground on a new home in Clarence earlier this year, and when sold, all proceeds will benefit Make-a-Wish Western New York. From left are Project Manager Ron Kozlowski, Make-a-Wish Development Manager Mary Hazel, Natale General Manager Larry LaDuca and Make-a-Wish Regional Development Director Tracy Gray. Since its inception in 1980, the Make-a-Wish Foundation has granted more than 250,000 wishes across the country to children with life-threatening conditions. This year, Clarence-based company Natale Builders is helping to facilitate a few more of them with a major project it has in the works.

The developer is building a home in Clarence at 6818 Ava Lane in the Rivera Greens subdivision off County Road between Stahley Road and Westminster Drive. When the home is completed and sold, 100 percent of the proceeds from the house will go to Make-a-Wish Western New York.

Natale General Manager Larry LaDuca discussed how the decision to take on the responsibility of making such a large commitment to the foundation came about.

“The owner of the company had done a Make-a-Wish house eight to 10 years ago, and that was very successful,” LaDuca said. “We raised about $100,000, and he wanted to do it again.”

The single-story ranch is 1,800 square feet and has three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. But what really sets it apart is the fact that it will meet “net zero” specifications.

“Basically, that means it consumes as much energy as it produces,”

LaDuca said. “It uses geothermal heating and cooling and solar panels, which help with electricity in the house, and it is super-insulated.”

LaDuca added that the Rivera Greens development will be the first in Western New York in which all of the homes built will be certified by the National Association of Home Builders to at least a “silver” net zero rating.

Natale hasn’t been taking on the project alone, however. Other companies are stepping up and getting involved by donating their talents and services in order to help make as much money as possible for Make-a-Wish.

Among some of the contributors are Buffalo GeoThermal Heating, Capital Heat, Greenview Landscaping and Anzalone Electric.

Mary Hazel, Make-a-Wish WNY manager of development, said the Western New York chapter is thankful that Natale offered to come back and do this kind of project to benefit them a second time.

“We’re just so grateful to Natale for providing this opportunity and how it will help provide numerous wishes,” Hazel said. “They did a very similar promotion for us a number of years ago. This is definitely one of the most unique promotions we are a part of.”

Hazel said the average cost of a wish for a child is $7,500, so when a project like this comes about, it can impact many families.

The house is expected to be listed at around $300,000, which according to LaDuca is less than the market value of surrounding homes. He said he hopes it will create a bidding war and that in the end, more money will be donated than the $100,000 last time.

Some of the wishes that were granted locally this year included a 12-year-old girl living with leukemia who wanted to learn how to hula dance in Hawaii and a 6-year-old boy who suffers from a heart condition who wanted to meet Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller. Make-a-Wish WNY grants more than 150 wishes annually.

“I really think the powerful thing about making a wish come true is not just about the special day or trip,” Hazel said. “It has such a long-lasting effect for the child and the family.

“We come in and take all of the pressure off and say we’ll make everything perfect, and it’s just such a wonderful thing to give families an opportunity to relax and enjoy one another’s company.”

The house is expected to be completed before winter. For more information, visit www.wny.wish.org or www.natalebuilders.com.

email: sjagord@beenews.com

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