Street of Dreams arson devastates home builders

Todd Lockie hoped the Street of Dreams would take his small, custom home building business to the next level.

Now he’s wondering how his three-man company will survive after the $1.9 million home they built was destroyed by what he called “evil people.”

“It’s a total loss,” he said Monday, after returning from the scene. “At this point I’m losing half a million (dollars) on this, even with insurance.”

His Snohomish company, Lockie Homes Inc., was handpicked to build an upscale Craftsman-style home, one of five in the Street of Dreams’ Quinn’s Crossing development located southwest of Monroe.

For a small builder, it was an incredible opportunity for Lockie, the only time tens of thousands of people would pay to see his work. His crew spent six months building the home, sometimes working 12 to 14 hours at a stretch. Lockie dumped $150,000 of his own money into the project. He opted for the best materials and paid extra for the best subcontractors.

The completed 4,600-square-foot-home looked like an upscale lodge with four rustic fireplaces, a home theater with a wet bar, a gourmet kitchen with a built-in espresso machine and an outdoor living room.

Lockie’s home hadn’t sold. One buyer had made an offer on the La Belle Fleur home and the sale was pending, said Patti Smith, an associate broker with Windermere Real Estate in Bellevue. She expected an interested party to make an offer on the Urban Lodge, the home she was listing, next week.

“They are very sad,” she said. “You decide on a home and that home is gone.”

Usually Street of Dreams homes sell faster than this group, said Smith, who has sold homes involved in the show since 1984. But she said the subprime mortgage mess hit at the worst time.

Each of the five builders has to cover any losses not picked up by insurance. Lockie did have builder’s risk insurance, but that covered the cost to build the home, not the appraised value, something he didn’t realize when he purchased the policy. To rebuild would cost more because he can’t count on discounts, free services and products from companies that benefit from the show’s exposure.

Participating in the show was never a money-maker for his company, Lockie said. Regardless, he plans to rebuild.

“I’m going to have to,” he said. “Unless God shuts the door I’m going to keep going forward. I can’t honestly tell you how but we will rebuild.”

Grey Lundberg, owner of CMI Homes Inc., isn’t sure whether his insurance fully covers the home his company built, the Urban Lodge. It had the highest “green” rating of any of the homes. On Monday, it was reduced to a charred foundation.

“We’re passionate about energy efficiency and indoor air quality and being good stewards in our building practices,” he said. “We love to advance it in the industry.”

He doesn’t know if he’ll rebuild in a neighborhood “targeted by terrorists.”

Lundberg said workers at his company are stunned and shocked. It’s ironic, he said, that people protesting for the environment would choose houses where builders were trying to show better practices. And he’s saddened by the loss of a house he and 75 other contractors put so much work into.

“You put time and effort and all your heart into it and it’s destroyed,” he said. “It’s weird. It’s a weird feeling.”

Reporter Debra Smith: 425-339-3197 or dsmith@heraldnet.com.

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