Jared Amzallag and Zander Diamont met in Los Angeles and moved to Arizona to work on real estate development together. When the pandemic hit, they were in the middle of a rezoning process for a 15-unit townhouse development. Realizing that their timeline for the rezoning process would be further delayed, they shifted their sights on a COVID-related need — home office space.
“The first thought was backyard offices,” said Diamont. “We had a lot of free time on our hands, and we are both ambitious, so we said let’s leverage our marketing background and design a cool little backyard office, then launch a website and see what happens.”
Amzallag grew up in Scottsdale, attended Arizona State University and owned an advertising agency. He joked that he doesn’t go to synagogue but sees his rabbi about once a week. Rabbi Pinchas Allouche from Scottsdale’s Congregation Beth Tefillah and his father are close friends.
“I go to his house for dinner during the holidays,” said Amzallag. “I love him and his family. He and my dad have become inseparable over the last few years.”
Diamont’s background is in luxury real estate sales and marketing. He belonged to Stephen Wise Temple in Los Angeles but since moving to Arizona, he said he’s had his head down working for the last year and a half and hasn’t had a chance “to dive in here” and find a synagogue to join.
After they launched the Minimal Living Concepts website, the phone started ringing and hasn’t stopped.
“Suddenly, people started asking for bigger units, so we designed a full lineup and started selling units and growing from there,” said Diamont. “So, the passion side project turned into the main one. It’s a blessing that it did.”
Minimal Living Concepts currently offers six floor plans, ranging from 429 square feet to 1,600 square feet. Amzallag and Diamont said their most popular product is Live, a one-bedroom living space designed with minimalism and utility in mind. They are currently working on new designs for 2023, including a unit that won’t have plumbing or walls; it will just be an open, finished space with electricity for use as a gym or an artist’s studio.
Diamont said that they are hired for an array of different situations. People have wanted space for an office, pool house, kids’ playroom, a child coming home from college or out-of-town guests. They have snowbirds who build on their kids’ property. The parents live out of state and spend three months in the unit.
“About 60% of the time, people are looking to build multigenerational housing on their property,” said Amzallag. “They say, ‘I’m looking to build a place for my mother or father, or both, to come live on my property with me. I want to keep them close to home and I don’t want to put them in assisted living.’”
They joked that many of their clients come to them “like a scorned lover who has been burned” by a contractor in the past through a terrible experience with a remodeling project.
“We’re trying to bring a new opportunity to the construction space and tell people you can get something that’s predesigned, prepackaged and you’ll understand exactly what it is that’s being delivered to you — within 98% accuracy of exactly what that project costs,” said Diamont.
Minimal Living Concepts handles the entirety of the project from planning to permitting — all the way through construction. Typically, with a new build, people need to hire an architect to draw up the plans and then hire a contractor to help them through the building process, Diamont said.
“In terms of an accessible, consumer-friendly, direct-to-the-consumer system, it doesn’t really exist,” he said. “Right now, we’re bringing it to guest homes and additions and our plan is to bring that same model into full-scale home building as well.”
Amzallag and Diamont, who are both millennials, said that their age group is looking for alternative housing. They researched prefabrication, steel building methods and even shipping containers before coming back to wood as the material for their construction, stating it’s “easy to build with, flexible, everybody knows how to use and it’s accessible everywhere.”
But nine-foot ceilings, commercial-grade, large dual-pane windows and wrapping the structure in a steel façade give the units a modern look that mimics those popular housing alternatives.
Their goal is to complete 50 projects this year and expand into 3-10 full residential dwellings. They are also working on finding contracting partners to start offering projects in the Flagstaff area and Tucson. “By the end of the year, we want to be all over Arizona,” said Diamont.
“We talk about it all the time; it doesn’t feel like work for us. We’re growing our baby and it’s been awesome watching this thing take on a life of its own.” JN
For more information, visit minimallivingconcepts.com.