Developer continues his father’s legacy with Silver Lode Development Company
July 10, 2018
David James started working in construction at the age of 3. His dad, who was a general contractor, brought him along on his projects. James asked if he could help and his father handed him a broom.
James continued to work in the business, even after his father passed away when he was 10 years old. He spent several years working as a general contractor and developer in California and Las Vegas, and recently opened Silver Lode Development Company in Park City.
James, who grew up in Sacramento, California, knew since he was young that he wanted to be like his dad. He loved that buildings his dad created, such as the Queen of the Snows Catholic Church in Squaw Valley, California, remained years after his father's death. He wanted to leave the same type of legacy.
"You can look back five years or 10 years later, drive your kids by it and say, 'I built that,' like my dad did," he said.
James worked with his father's business partner throughout his youth, learning the trade "from the ground up." At the age of 20, he got his license to do concrete and framing and began working at Panattoni Development Company. He mastered his skills and moved to Manhattan Beach, California. When he was 23, he received his general contracting license.
Although he loved the construction process, he found more joy being the "conductor" of the project as the contractor, just as his dad was. He partnered with a real estate broker and remodeled houses and condos for about 15 years until a real estate downturn led him to Las Vegas.
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He quickly started building homes in the Vegas area and received his general contracting license for the state of Nevada. But a new opportunity led him to be a developer for a commercial group, where he worked on large commercial spaces such as apartments and office buildings.
He enjoyed taking the wide-angle view of projects and managing architects, landscapers and general contractors. But after 10 years, he was ready for his next chapter.
While living in Las Vegas, James and his children started taking ski trips to Park City. The amount of trips slowly increased until, finally, he knew that it was time to make his vacation destination his permanent residence.
"I want to be in a place that I love being, and where I have access to the things that I love," he said. "The great outdoors is really what it comes down to."
When he came to Park City, one of his first projects was building the shared office space The Prospect Executive Suites. He was planning on being the developer and hiring a general contractor, but after seeing the costs associated with hiring one, he decided it would be easier to step back into the ring himself.
He hired a subcontractor to do the floors in The Prospect, and soon found himself on his hands and knees joining them to put the floor together.
"It kind of put me back in business," he said. "I thought, 'I kind of like this.'"
He enjoyed being able to work with his hands and see a finished product rather than working on paperwork behind the scenes.
"It goes back to my childhood of being in the field with my dad," he said. "He loved it. I think it is part of my DNA."
Now, he is continuing to do general contracting work, both remodeling homes and building them from scratch. He plans on working as a developer on future projects, such as affordable housing or mixed-use developments that include both retail and residential spaces.
No matter what part of the construction process he is involved in, he loves being able to see plans come together and form a permanent structure.
"I love seeing somebody's idea, whether it's my own or someone else's home or office building or shopping center, and taking it from start to finish and (having) something that stands," he said.
Silver Lode Development Company