Mayer Dahan knew early on that to rise in the City of Angels, his work would need to speak for itself to gain the respect and support needed as an entrepreneur. In the cutthroat world of development only the finest and most talented rise to the top. Trusting his natural ability and relying on an unyielding work ethic, Dahan set forth on the path less-traveled holding to a firm belief that he could revolutionize residential housing.
Years later, now at the ripe age of 33, Dahan’s Prime Five Homes is the marquee player in Los Angeles eco-friendly housing. His eco-friendly luxury homes have given Angelenos the environmentally sustainable living options which they have craved for so long, something we found is very dear to Dahan. Yet, dominating business and caring for the environment was not enough for this dynamic influencer. Looking to give back to the city that raised him, Dahan started The Dream Builders Project in 2013 and has since taken his philanthropic efforts to a whole new level. We sat down with this power player to learn about a few of his favorite projects, the challenges of becoming a successful developer in the city of Los Angeles and what he has in store for the future.
Q: As a developer, you’re able to change the face of the city by building amazing structures. What does that mean to you?
MD: Growing up in the neighborhoods that I am now working in has personally bonded me to its roots and potential. Developing has given me the privilege of positively impacting the day-to-day lives of individuals through beautiful modern designs, water and energy conservation, efficient use of space, and enhanced safety and building techniques. Our development methods are not just meant for our present market, but more to lead a new building standard. My job isn’t just about building a business, it’s about building the future of housing.
Q: Our readers are often interested in what other top entrepreneurs’ daily schedules and routines look like; do you mind sharing your typical day with us?
MD: I wake up moderately early and start with a light breakfast of fresh vegetables and a homemade ginger shot (sometimes a smoothie if I’m on the go). I think it’s very important to get nutrition in the morning, even if you don’t have an appetite. I take the time to review my schedule for the day, conscious of opportunities to optimize my time and make the day overall more efficient. I then head to the office for staff meetings and knock out the day-to-day tasks that need to be completed. I keep the afternoon open for meetings and before returning home, I make time for an intense 30 minute workout. I personally enjoy a workout in the middle of the day, it allows me time to regroup and re-energize.
Once home I usually spend 2-3 hours reading and researching different personal and professional topics. I constantly aim to expand my overall understanding of myself, the world market, and remain up to date with the constantly changing trends and opportunities. Staying current and ahead of the curve keeps my mind fresh to cultivate new ideas and approaches.
Q: Take us through your overall process when designing and developing a home.
MD: When designing and developing a home, I consistently start with factoring in the current market trends and any advancements of technology and engineering that have recently come to fruition. Seamlessly integrating new technological advancements and unique design concepts without compromising our efforts in sustainable, luxurious building is not always easy, but extremely rewarding.
Part of our success lies in the unique way we conduct our project timeline. Commonly, most of the materials and finishes for a project are chosen prior to the development, but I prefer to wait until the process has already begun. I enjoy finalizing window placement and finishing materials during the development of the project to see which texture, material or placement works best with the space. A combined 100+ years of experience with our entire team has allowed us to create a smooth yet intricate process to build and renovate projects perfectly into its home site.
Q: At 33, you’re considered a successful developer of Los Angeles. How did you get to where you are today, and what were some of the challenges you faced?
MD: Since the beginning of my career I have consistently taken educated risks and pursued endeavors that were often overlooked. Instead of trying to be better than other developers, I decided to develop a product that no one in this city had seen before. As a young developer, I have found it challenging to gain respect and support from others professionally and many times, I have found myself trying to over succeed just to prove myself. I am learning that ageism is a huge issue in the industry I am in, and as funny as it may seem, my boyish looks have been counteractive to my success.
Q: What is the mission at Prime Five Homes and how have you set out to accomplish your goals?
MD: Our mission has always been to revolutionize the residential housing market by creating homes for the eco-conscious and luxury home buyer. By bringing environmentally sustainable living methods into modern luxury home design, we have developed homes that seamlessly integrate a low carbon footprint and environmentally friendly building practices with the highest accommodations and comfort available on the market.
Our firm has become successful with our modern and technologically driven designs. We pride ourselves on our ability to give clients what they deserve, which is fair and affordable luxury construction and renovation services.
Q: There has been a strong shift in the luxury market towards more eco-friendly and sustainable real estate; what are the advantages to building a “green” home?
MD: Advantages to building an eco-friendly home, outside of the obvious moral responsibility to do the right thing and make choices to care for our environment, has now become the most desirable and respectable building method. People express themselves and their beliefs through their spending habits – buying an eco-friendly home is our society’s way of saying “I care and want to make a difference.”
Q: You’ve built more than 11 multi-million dollar homes; what was your favorite project and why?
MD: Historically, my favorite project has been the most recently completed project. Each addition to our portfolio shows the timeline of the growth and progression of ideas and concepts of our company. 849 N. Curson was constructed and designed as the epitome and unrivaled bond between a luxurious and carefree life and the conscious thoughtfulness of a sustainable home; a perfect embodiment of our mission. The project is also one that stands out for me because of its sense of space, cutting-edge technology and unique, complex architecture.
Q: Tell us about the eco-friendly home systems that are now available to home builders and residents.
MD: I think that our population believes that technology is the only source for eco-friendly living, but there are several ways to live a sustainable life that are readily available to the general public. Efficiently utilizing living space, introducing flexible indoor/outdoor space, and installing solar panels and using natural light to your advantage are just a few of the ways to construct a home to be more eco-friendly.
In regards to technology, we install Crestron Home Automation systems in our homes, which allows everything from lighting, air conditioning, and home theater systems to be controlled in house and remotely. The technology uses intelligence software that can track habits and manages utility usage in an attempt to waste less energy and resources.
Q: You speak frequently about the importance of being a social entrepreneur. What are the social projects you’re currently working on?
MD: I founded The Dream Builders Project on the premise of wanting a more effective and efficient way to give back to the community. Through my experience, I found that many organizations are either wasteful when it comes to their funds and efforts, or too restricted in their mission of aid. I aspired to create an organization that changed that. In an attempt to impact and improve the lives of as many as possible, The Dream Builders Project is not restricted to any particular group or cause and impacts several social issues including homelessness, human trafficking, education, art and music therapy, severe illness and disease, and more. It serves as a direct link from our community and organized businesses to genuine, impactful organizations. Our development firm, Prime Five Homes, is a large sponsor of The Dream Builders Project and dedicates funds for administrative support so that 100% of every dollar donated to The Dream Builders Project goes directly back into the community. Through the process of The Dream Builders Project, I have been able to give back to the community that raised me.
Q: What do you have your sights fixed on next?
MD: I am currently focusing on expanding Prime Five Homes to service clientele in a range of socioeconomic situations. The homes that we have developed from the ground up have sold anywhere from $2,000,000 – $3,600,000, and the market for that price point is small. In an effort to expand our clientele, as well as the social and environmental impact of our developments, our business model has recently started a portfolio that includes eco-friendly renovations for any budget. Think of it as a revolutionary renovation, in more than one way – budget friendly and eco-friendly. With that same construct, I plan to expand The Dream Builders Project’s initiatives not only nationwide, but overseas as well.
To learn more about Prime Five Homes and the Dream Builders Project, visit www.dahanproperties.com.