Commercial Construction Market Shows Signs of Recovery

by George Waldon  on Monday, May. 30, 2011 12:00 am  

Business among the largest commercial contractors in Arkansas fell nearly 7 percent during 2010. Total revenue among the top 20 firms declined from $1.8 billion in 2009 to $1.68 billion last year.

But that performance, which follows two years of double-digit drops, can be viewed as a sign of improving conditions. Another positive indicator: Six companies in this year's list posted significant one-year gains.

(To see the Largest Commercial Contractors list, click here. A spreadsheet version of the list is available here.)

In terms of scale, revenue at Little Rock's Baldwin & Shell Construction Co. jumped 63 percent to more than $211.1 million. Powered by a strong book of education-related business, Baldwin & Shell moved from No. 4 last year to No. 3 in the state.

The company's one-year leap among the nation's roster of largest contractors was much more dramatic. Baldwin & Shell went from No. 380 to No. 241.

"I never dreamed we would rank at 241," said Bob Shell, company CEO. "That's pretty good for a little ol' bitty contractor from Arkansas to rank that high, but we sure will take it."

Shell said the company was prepared and waiting five years ago for the wave of construction projects let loose by the state mandate to improve educational infrastructure.

"At one time, we had $300 million under contract," he said. "We were set up for it. We had kind of anticipated it and planned ahead. We increased our supervision staff and office staff.

"We knew something was going to happen. We didn't dream it would be as large as it has, and it has continued."

Other big gainers on this year's list include CR Crawford Construction Inc. of Fayetteville (No. 7), 58.9 percent to $41 million; Ideal Construction Co. of Crossett (No. 8), 49.1 percent to $38.8 million; Clark Contractors LLC of Little Rock (No. 12), 332.8 percent to $27.3 million; Delk Construction Co. of Searcy (No. 17), 77.5 percent to $20.6 million; and Milestone Construction Co. of Springdale (No. 19), 62.6 percent to $18.7 million.

At the top of this year's list is Nabholz Construction Corp. of Conway with 2010 revenue of $433.1 million, which reflects a one-year decline of 3.9 percent.

On the national scene, Nabholz ranked No. 16 among contractors doing telecommunications-related construction. The firm, which does work for AT&T in a nine-state area, ranked No. 20 in this category for 2009.

Battling for Business



Please read our comments policy before commenting.