Written by David Castellon
Editor’s note: The April 28 print edition of The Business Journal celebrated our newsroom’s 25th anniversary. As part of that package, we featured articles about other local businesses celebrating noteworthy anniversaries. Here’s one of them.
If you drive anywhere in Fresno County, odds are you’ll pass a home or neighborhood that was built or is being built by Granville Homes, Inc.
Since its start in 1977, the company has built more than 5,800 homes in the city of Fresno and Fresno County.
And it hasn’t been just traditional, single-family homes, as Granville is credited with kick starting the revitalization of Fresno’s downtown by building urban housing complexes starting in 2005, and they now number about 300 individual condominiums in 11 buildings that include the Lede, which opened last year.
It’s a far cry from how founder Farid Assemi started 40 years ago. He had started building homes with his father in their native Iran, and when Assemi immigrated to the U.S. in 1977, he— with the backing of his family — got a bank loan to start a home-building business, with the first one built in 1987 in Madera.
Initially, success was elusive, as the recession of the early 1980s hurt the demand for new homes.
“After the recession, we started building homes again, and we have been building since,” said Assemi’s younger brother, Darius Assemi, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1978 and later came to work for his brother’s company, then named “Assemi Development.”
“In 1987 is when we started getting into production housing in Fresno,” going from individual home builds to constructing subdivisions.
“We were building five or six homes a year, then we went to 20 or 30 homes a year,” and current estimates are that Granville will build about 200 homes by the end of this year, said Darius, now Granville’s president and CEO.