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Construction firms report steady parade of projects

Health care, education, residential dominate work for area’s builders

Projects that range from the ground-up building of college facilities to renovation of retail buildings keep local construction firms busy these days—and could for years to come.

LeChase Construction LLC, which has offices all over the East Coast, generally takes on two primary types of projects in the Rochester area.

“Over the last 10 years…we’ve been back and forth, with health care being our top market or education being our top market,” says William Mack, the firm’s president.

For about the last three years, projects for educational institutions have made up a high percentage of LeChase’s business.

“In western New York, there’s a tremendous number of great public and private colleges and universities, and they’re competing for a set amount of students,” Mack explains. “In order to continue to attract students, these colleges and universities need to continually upgrade their facilities, because students are choosing colleges based on what’s offered from a facilities standpoint.”

LeChase is the construction manager for one such bricks and mortar “upgrade” at Nazareth College. Last April, the college broke ground on its $15.5 million Jane and Lawrence Music Performance Center. Slated to open next spring, the 550-seat music performance venue is designed for large instrumental ensembles.

LeChase doesn’t limit its work to higher education: According to Mack, the firm is managing two construction projects for the Rochester City School District right now.

At the same time, LeChase continues to serve its second biggest set of customers—those in health care. Among other projects, the firm is managing the construction of the Rochester Regional Health System’s Sands-Constellation Center for Critical Care.

Rochester Regional Health broke ground on the seven-story, 312,000-square-foot Sands-Constellation Center last May. The facility, which will include 20 operating rooms, 108 private acuity-adaptable patient rooms and a large special-care nursery, is slated for completion in 2020.

Health care projects can account for as much as 40 percent of the business of DGA Builders LLC, depending upon the year, but currently don’t make up the majority of them.

“Multi-residential comprises 50 percent to 60 percent of our volume,” says CEO Michael Szuromi.  “We have numerous new construction projects in New York, Pennsylvania and Florida.”

Closer to home, the firm is working on a number of multi-residential projects in the Rochester area, including 933 the U. The 99-unit complex on Rochester’s University Avenue is slated to open in late 2018.

Multi-residential construction is one of The DiMarco Group’s mainstays.

“Multi-residential is something that the company has done for the last 30 years,” says Paul Colucci, the firm’s vice president of construction and development. “We either own, operate or have constructed approximately 8,000 multi-residential units throughout the Northeast, and we have a fairly significant portfolio of for-rent properties.”

Renovations of existing buildings, either for DiMarco’s customers or for re-use or rental by the firm, make up a big part of its construction work, according to Colucci. DiMarco is redeveloping as a retail space the former Wal-Mart store at BayTowne Plaza, one of the local properties it owns in Webster.

“We’re redeveloping that into seven different spaces for future tenants,” Colucci says.

DiMarco also redevelops or renovates local properties for use by educational institutions.

“We’re just wrapping up a very large project in the city of Rochester, which is Monroe Community College’s new downtown campus,” Colucci says.

Once renovation is completed this fall, MCC will occupy 255,000 square feet of four buildings that were once part of Eastman Kodak Co.’s State Street headquarters complex.

Though much of DiMarco’s business is in redevelopment, the company builds from the ground up as well. The firm just received approval for building a 384-apartment complex in Canandaigua. It’s slated to begin erecting the first 96 apartments in September. Just that section of the job will come to $10.5 million, according to Colucci.

Two local construction firms make up The Pike Companies Ltd. While LeCesse Construction Services primarily focuses on multi-family construction—including a major construction and renovation project at the Jewish Home of Rochester—The Pike Company Inc. takes on other types of jobs.

“On the Pike side, we’re doing a lot of manufacturing and health care-type work,” says Rufus Judson, CEO of The Pike Companies, Ltd.

Among other health care projects, Pike is working on one at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

“We’re excited to be turning over, at the University of Rochester Medical Center, a couple floors in the new Golisano Hospital,” Judson says. “We’ve been doing the fit-out of the interior.”

While that job is being completed, Pike is also overseeing construction of a new manufacturing plant in Chili.

“We’re in the middle of the American Packaging Corporation’s new flexible packaging plant,” Judson says.

American Packaging broke ground on the 350,000-square-foot plant in June. The company plans to invest nearly $170 million in the facility.

Though Pike is involved in many other types of projects, health care facility, multifamily residential and industrial construction could figure prominently in the firm’s future.

“There seems to be a good push across New York with manufacturing technology, so we’re hopeful for that sector to grow,” Judson says.

DGA also appears to look forward to the coming years.

“We will be starting several new multi-family residential construction projects in New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee,” Szuromi says. “Numerous regional health care projects are also completing their pre-construction phases and will transition to active construction this fall or winter.”

Colucci expects the coming years to be neither rosy nor rotten for the area’s construction firms.

“Rochester and the Northeast is generally three to four percent growth over the long term,” he says. “I think we’re still going to see that.”

Mike Costanza is a Rochester-area freelance writer.

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email madams@bridgetowermedia.com.

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