CORRECTED: State's Largest Construction Projects Tally Falls to $1.5 Billion

by George Waldon  on Monday, Dec. 5, 2011 12:00 am  

(Note: Corrections have been made to this story. See the end of the story for more.)

Construction contracts totaled almost $1.52 billion among the state's largest active commercial projects during 2011. That figure reflects a drop of more than 10 percent from a year ago and marks the third straight year that Arkansas commercial construction activity has fallen.

Education-related construction remained a dominant category for business, with 45 entries accounting for almost half this year's list. Eighteen of the projects were tied to higher ed, and the balance was devoted to K-12 schools.

(Click here to purchase a spreadsheet version of the this week's list of top construction projects.)

The $59.8 million high school campus in Maumelle is the biggest of the education projects, moving up to No. 3 this year from No. 6 in 2010.

Nabholz Construction Corp. of Conway tallied the most projects in the 2011 list. These 16 Nabholz contracts carried a combined value topping $319 million. This body of work was dominated by education-related construction, supported by a mix of corporate and health care buildings.

Baldwin & Shell Construction Co. of Little Rock registered 11 projects, with a combined value of almost $250 million. Nearly half those projects were among the 10 biggest on this year's list.

All five of these Baldwin & Shell contracts involved school work, ranging from the $29 million Honors Housing project at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to the $59.8 million Maumelle High School.

Three Little Rock general contractors each recorded six projects on the list, James H. Cone Inc., Dave Grundfest Co. and Clark Contractors LLC.

William Clark, CEO of Clark Contractors, said things were shaping up nicely for 2012 and that he thought his firm was over the financial hump after opening its doors for business in 2009.

"We have been selected to build a $20 million hotel project in Dallas, and we're chasing an $18 million hotel in Omaha, Neb.," Clark said. "We were recently awarded the contract for the [$17 million] McIlroy Building on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville."

He sees a more varied menu of bid opportunities heading into the new year, a departure from the concentration of institutional work that kept general contractors going the past few years.



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