Top 50

Top 50: Building on a Dream McLain Companies expands its portfolio while remaining true to its founders’ ideals.

by Chelsea Yaeger

Bryan and Sylvia McLain
Photo by Robin May

Bryan and Sylvia McLain started their journey as builders with a vision to not only build homes, but to develop neighborhoods; 15 years later, they’ve made lots of money, gone through a name change and immersed themselves in a good cause.

“We’ve always been developers, so we tried to start branding our company under a larger umbrella,” says Bryan McLain. “We go out and purchase land and design neighborhoods.”

According to McLain, over the past 10 years McLain Companies has created 10 to 12 developments.

From 2015 to 2016, the company’s revenue increased by $2.3 million. McLain attributes this to the interest in Lafayette’s first exclusive membership home community.

“It’s hard to say you’re the first at anything, but I can tell you we had never seen anything like what we put together,” McLain says. “It’s definitely the first of its kind anywhere in Louisiana, and probably anywhere in the South.

“The market was flat for builders, as everyone knows,” he continues. “Our revenues grew because of our cottages; we diversified into the cottage markets in addition to our other businesses, and that allowed us to push growth.”

The gated community, dubbed “The Cottage,” has private fencing, private parking and is petfriendly. McLain says it’s the perks of owning a home without paying the mortgage, as the cottages are rented.

“They’ve been extremely well-received,” McLain says. Both Southpark and E. Broussard locations are “100 percent leased up.”

McLain Companies is currently looking to develop traditional neighborhoods in Acadiana.

“We’re about to embark on a shopping center,” says McLain. “We continue to evolve as we grow, hence the name McLain Companies. We think our big growth through the company is through the cottages. We’re looking at Baton Rouge and New Orleans. We just signed a deal to build another neighborhood of cottages in Lake Charles. We’re on a very good path for continued growth.”

Because of the company’s success, the couple has been able to give back to the Lafayette community, as well as the nation.

“We’ve been involved with [St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital] for nine years,” says McLain.

When Symphony Designers’ Showhouse discontinued funding the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway in Lafayette, the McLains stepped in to continue and take over the project and have been the builders ever since.

“As God would close a door and open another,” explains McLain, “St. Jude called on us to donate a lot back in 2009.”

The couple had never even visited the hospital’s site in Memphis.

“We felt like it was the right thing to do,” says McLain. “It was a very slow time in the real estate market in 2009, and it was an amazing revelation after that. Not long after, our business started turning around. It was incredible. We’ve been giving back to them ever since.”