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TAO + LEE Associates, Inc., Becomes First Mosaic Ambassador Architecture Company

in Companies/News

St. Louis Mosaic Project is pleased with the addition of its recent two Mosaic Ambassador Companies in the Architecture industry. TAO + LEE is the first Mosaic Ambassador Architecture Company to be joining, followed by Trivers Associates. Based in St. Louis and founded in 1995, TAO + LEE provides architectural, planning, interiors and creative design services. The founders and principals and longtime Mosaic Ambassadors, Peter Tao and Helen Lee, modeled the firm based on their extensive global experiences with projects located both domestically and internationally.

TAO + LEE has been tremendously involved in the St. Louis community. The firm recently led an effort to improve health and wellness as well as inclusion at the St. Louis Public School’s Nahed Chapman New American Academy. This is a transitional school for 500+ new immigrants and refugee children who come from different countries and speak different languages. Nahed Chapman New American Academy is one of thirty three Mosaic Ambassador Schools. In partnership with the construction industry in St. Louis, TAO + LEE envisioned, then co-led a tremendous project to create a new soccer field and social gathering space, at Nahed Chapman New American Academy as a means to build bridges for the students through sports. This was dedicated in 2016.

The firm continues to support a variety of causes and initiatives focused on immigrants and refugees, including the St. Louis Mosaic Project, where Mr. Tao is a member of the Steering Committee, the International Institute and Welcoming America. TAO + LEE will continue to mentor professionals from the international community. Mr. Tao and Ms. Lee have participated in mentorship programs such as the OCA St. Louis MAAP Program; Ms. Lee’s recent efforts helped connect an individual with employment at Caleres. The firm has stepped forward in its role in international student retention by hiring an international student with a STEM degree and will continue to mentor international students. In addition to professionals and international students, TAO + LEE will also continue to support cultural and international affinity groups.

TAO + LEE has been widely recognized for engagement efforts in the City of St. Louis and the greater St. Louis community with regards to Diversity and Inclusion. Recognitions include Business of the Year Award, Asian Business of the Year, Diverse Business Leader and has also been featured in the book Who’s Who Diversity in Color. TAO + LEE is an active sponsor of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis (AACC) and Organization of Chinese-Americans-Asian Pacific American Advocates (OCA St. Louis).

The St. Louis Mosaic Project was launched in 2012 in response to an economic impact report that showed St. Louis was lagging in immigrant growth and highlighted the potential economic benefits of increasing its foreign-born population. The Mosaic Project is a regional initiative that is professionally managed by St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, World Trade Center and a 27-member committee. Its goal is to transform St. Louis into the fastest growing major metropolitan area for immigration by 2020 and promote regional prosperity through immigration and innovation. Learn more at www.stlmosaicproject.org.

TAO + LEE Associates, Inc. is an award winning St. Louis based design firm providing Architectural, Planning, Interiors, and Creative Design services for a diversity of project types, sizes & applications. The firm has extensive experience in the planning, design and execution of Commercial, Cultural and Educational, Residential, Restaurants and Retail, as well as variety of other project types, which include Healthcare, Industrial, Sports-Recreation, as well as unique Creative Design projects (including Art Projects and Installations). 

Hager Companies Announces Regional Sales Additions

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Resources will support growth in access control and architectural design markets

Hager Companies<http://www.hagerco.com/>, a leading U.S. manufacturer of commercial and residential door hardware products, announces the addition of 10 direct and independent sales representatives to better support the company’s current customer base and new product lines, as well as the access control and architectural design communities.

“As Hager grows into new and more sophisticated product categories, we are dedicated to adding strategic resources in order to provide our customers with opportunities to supply Hager’s full line of electronic access control and mechanical hardware solutions,” said Eric Rose, Vice President of U.S. Sales for Hager Companies.

Hager has made significant strides in the access control market, most notably the recent alliance with SALTO Systems and introduction of the Hager powered by SALTO HS4 product line. The additions of technical and specification writing roles to the company, as well as distributor representatives, will further provide its channel partners with a single solution for access control and mechanical hardware needs.

Hager’s full-line of architectural hardware is creating more demand within the architectural community. With the additions of architectural specification consultants, Hager will work on supporting the specification and design community by raising awareness of available specification services and solutions to meet the form, fit, function and budget of all building types.

“As more architects turn to Hager for its specification consultation and writing capabilities, it’s important to raise awareness of available options and to ensure that specifications for both public and private partnerships are meeting the needs of the owner and code requirements,” added Rose.

The recent additions of both independent and direct sales representatives will further support Hager’s operations in the following regions: Arizona, California, Tennessee, Maryland, Washington, Missouri, Ohio and Colorado.

About Hager Companies
Founded in 1849, St. Louis-based Hager Companies offers more than 6,000 full-line quality door hardware products under one brand name. With 12 product lines including, commercial hinges, residential hinges, Roton(r) continuous geared hinges, stainless steel continuous hinges, exit devices, locks, door controls, auxiliary, threshold and weatherstripping, sliding door hardware, access control products and Euroline our European hardware line. Hager focuses on architectural hardware that exceeds today’s building standards that are built to last. For additional information, visit www.hagerco.com<http://www.hagerco.com>.

ASA Midwest Council Hosts St. Louis Construction Showcase and BBQ

in Associations/News

Free event scheduled for May 24th in Queeny Park 

The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) Midwest Council has assembled more than 60 companies to participate in its 5th Annual St. Louis Construction Showcase & BBQ on Wednesday, May 24th in Queeny Park.  The event is free for all to attend! Visit www.asamidwest.com for a full list of exhibitors scheduled to be in attendance.

The free event is open from 2:00-7:00 p.m., with judging of the BBQ competition to begin at 4:30 p.m.  Attendees will be able to visit with companies that represent all aspects of the St Louis construction industry, while enjoying some fantastic FREE BBQ samples and refreshments, provided by the exhibitors.

“The event provides a great chance for anyone in the construction industry to network and experience the latest & greatest in construction technology, software, equipment, tools and supplies,” said ASA Midwest Council president Amy Heeger. “We moved the event to May this year, and think the milder weather will lend to an even better experience for all of our exhibitors and attendees. We are looking forward to a great turnout, and are excited about the more than 60 companies already signed up to exhibit at the annual showcase.”

For more information about the FREE TO ATTEND ASA Construction Showcase & BBQ on May 24th at Queeny Park, visit  www.asamidwest.com/asa-midwest-council-events/?ee=160

The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) Midwest Council is a construction trade association made up of quality specialty contractors and suppliers serving the construction industry and the community in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area and southern Illinois. The ASA Midwest Council’s purpose is to improve the construction process through active participation in education, advocacy and cooperation. For more information about the ASA Midwest Council, visit www.asamidwest.com or contact executive director Susan Winkelmann at susan@asamidwest.com  
ASA has been Building. Community. for 50 years. Est. 1967

Flance Early Learning Center Receives 2017 AIA/HUD Secretary’s Award

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The Flance Early Learning Center has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for a 2017 AIA/HUD Secretary’s Award in the Community-Informed Design category. The annual, national award recognizes just one project in each of four categories. This is the second HUD Secretary’s Award bestowed upon Trivers Associates in two years; 3010 Apartments was the recipient of the National Trust/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation in 2015. It is also the second AIA Award for the Flance Early Learning Center, which was recognized by AIA St. Louis with a Merit Award in the Architecture category.

The awards were presented at the American Institute of Architects Conference on Architecture, held April 27-29 in Orlando, Florida. Project Architect Emily Scanlon, AIA received the award, which recognizes design that supports physical communities as they rebuild social structures and relationships that may have been weakened by outmigration, disinvestment and the isolation of inner-city areas.

Located only one mile from the downtown core and built on the site of one of the last failed public housing high-rise structures in St. Louis, the Flance Early Learning Center aspires to proactively alter the course of one of the most impoverished zip codes in Missouri. This neighborhood has the lowest average household income in the City of St. Louis, the highest percentage of households living below the poverty line at 26%, as well as the highest number of children ages 0-5 living in poverty.

A community-based design was critical to the success of the Flance Center. With this in mind, seven community meetings were held with public and private partners. These meetings included key community and neighborhood leaders, volunteers, as well as Urban Strategies, McCormack Baron Salazar, staff from facility operator University City Children’s Center and Trivers Associates. Every effort was made to design a facility with extensive community input that addressed the needs of both the children and the neighborhood. The community room in the facility is the direct result of the recommendation of the community members who participated in the design process and is placed at the most accessible point in the building to facilitate community dialog.

The massing of the center allows the structure to “hug” the age-appropriate outdoor spaces. This provides an abstracted, organic-formed, tree-like façade which creates a shaded interstitial porch for each classroom’s direct outdoor access, critical to the pedagogy of the facility. Analogous to the dappling of light through a tree canopy, the use of perforated metal filters the light, shading the south and west facing glass further contributing to the facility’s pending LEED certification. The facility obtained a grant with MSD to create raingardens for parking lot run-off, an experiential natural playground, and two 2,500 gallon cisterns for water collection from the roof.

The interior utilizes a more sophisticated yet strategically playful color palate which fills the space with light and energy while allowing the building to remain a canvas for children to create and learn. To educate parents on the high-value of dietary nourishment for their children, a full-service and demonstration kitchen was given significant visibility emphasizing the importance of dietary health and dining.

This Center is just one piece of a complicated puzzle meant to alter an entire generation’s trajectory in one of the most challenged neighborhoods in the State. It starts early nurturing one child at a time.

For more information and to see the other recipients of this year’s awards, please click here.

Mosby Building Arts Wins 1 Chrysalis & 2 HBA Awards

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Multiple honors for the universal design and marketing efforts of the St. Louis design-build remodeling firm 

Mosby Building Arts has been honored with a national Chrysalis Award in the Residential Universal Design category, plus two awards from the Home Builders’ Association (HBA) of St. Louis for home remodeling marketing campaigns.

  • Chrysalis Award for Residential Universal Design
    The Chrysalis Award-winning project is a Kirkwood, MO master bathroom that easily accommodates the wife and her husband in a wheelchair. This nod marks the second time Mosby has won in the Residential Universal Design category (see the previous winner – an accessible kitchen), and underscores the remodeling firm’s commitment to making life easier for everyone of all capabilities.

Jake Spurgeon, the Mosby designer of the accessible bathroom, said, “We made the couple so happy with a handsome bathroom that caters to all of their needs and desires. To also earn a Chrysalis Award for our efforts is a nice bonus. We thank the Chrysalis Award judges for once again recognizing our accessibility remodeling efforts.”

See more photos of the award-winning accessible bathroom.

Continuing to set new standards of professionalism, the 2017 Chrysalis Awards program honored 80 remodeling companies from across the nation. The entries were judged on overall design, the creative use of space and materials, and the degree to which the project enhance the original structure. “Mosby has won 12 Chrysalis Awards in the past 16 years, demonstrating their ongoing commitment to professionalism and excellence,” says Ken Kanline, director of the Chrysalis program. All of the 2017 award-winning projects can be seen on the Chrysalis website beginning in late June.

  • Best Print Ad , Remodeler: St. Louis Blues 50thAnniversary Yearbook
  • Best Specialty Niche, Remodeler: Biliken Club elevator at Chaifetz Arena (pictured above)

Mosby Building Arts has been the trusted resource for home remodeling, design and architecture in Metro St. Louis for 70 years. 

Integrated Facility Services at Work on $10 Million Seismic Retrofit of Mechanical Systems at St. Louis Federal Building

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Integrated Facility Services (IFS) has begun work on a nearly $10 million ($9,818,910) HVAC, plumbing and fire protection renovation project at the Robert A. Young Federal Building in downtown St. Louis. The project is part of a $62 million design-build seismic retrofit of the historic 20-story building led by McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., the design-build contractor.

The 1.05 million-square-foot Robert A. Young Federal Building is located within 150 miles of the New Madrid fault, one of the largest known earthquake faults in North America. IFS is relocating, replacing and bracing mechanical systems, VAV boxes, HVAC ductwork, fire protection and plumbing to accommodate the new structural steel braces and seismic dampers being installed.

The Robert A. Young Federal Building, built in 1933, is owned and managed by the U.S. General Services Administration. The building is 98 percent occupied by nearly 40 federal agencies, with more than 3,000 workers. The design-build team is working to minimize disruption while renovating the building for enhanced safety during and after a potential seismic event. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2018.

Integrated Facility Services (IFS) is a full-service HVAC, plumbing, piping, fire protection and building automation firm with more than 270 professional and trade employees. 

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is one of the nation’s premier commercial construction companies. Founded in 1864, the firm is currently the 17th largest builder in America.

Home Builders Association Donates More Than $7,000 to DOORWAYS

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On behalf of the Home Builders Charitable Foundation (HBCF), 2017 HBA President Ken Kruse of Payne Family Homes (left) and HBCF President John Eilermann of McBride & Son Companies (right) presented a $7,210 donation to Herman Johnson of DOORWAYS  (also known as Interfaith Residence).

The funds will be used to make lighting improvements in their family residential complex. DOORWAYS is an interfaith non-profit organization which provides housing and related supportive services to improve quality of life and health outcomes for people affected by HIV/AIDS.

The HBA is a local trade association of more than 600 member firms representing the residential construction industry. The Home Builders Charitable Foundation, the HBA’s charitable arm, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing housing assistance to people or organizations with special shelter needs.

Allegro Expands Senior Living Business with New Community in Richmond Heights, MO

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Allegro Senior Living, a leader in managing senior communities and St. Louis based company with headquarters in Clayton, began construction on its 12th community. In conjunction with IronRock Investments, Allegro jointly funded the project located on Bellevue Avenue near the SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital campus. This will be the 1st community in St. Louis for Allegro who operates 11 other properties throughout Florida and Kentucky. The Richmond Heights community will contain 87 units within 91,000 square feet offering premier Assisted Living and Memory Care services to the area’s seniors. First occupancy is expected in the fall of 2018. When complete, Allegro anticipates creating 80 permanent jobs in addition to 75 construction jobs to build the project.

Allegro is a well-respected leader and expert in the senior living industry with a long-standing reputation of efficiently managing senior communities. Allegro’s most recent development is opening this fall in Winter Park, Florida near Orlando. The company is proud to have a development opportunity in the St. Louis area, home to its headquarters.

“We are grateful to Lawrence Group, IronRock Investments and Commerce Bank, who helped make this project possible,” says Larry Schiffer, Chairman & CEO of Allegro Senior Living. “Allegro has a strong brand in senior living and we are proud to finally introduce our brand to the home of our corporate headquarters.”

Lawrence Group, also headquartered in St. Louis, is providing architectural design and construction management services.

The new 4-story Allegro will primarily cater to Assisted Living residents with the 4th floor dedicated to Memory Care services. Luxury accommodations will include a bistro and bar with outdoor balcony dining, stadium theater, fitness center, full service salon & spa and therapy services. The community will represent the latest best practices in programming and design, following up on the successful resort-style approach of other Allegro communities.

Financing for the project was provided by Commerce Bank.

Changes to Lessees’ Financial Statements Under the New Lease Accounting Standard

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By Ralph Petta, President and CEO, Equipment Leasing and Finance Association

With the approval of new rules for lease accounting by the Financial Accounting Standards Board in 2016, lessees are considering how the new standard will affect them. Many of the lease accounting changes are relatively neutral and should not impact the ability of companies to acquire productive equipment to operate and grow their businesses. The primary reasons to lease equipment will remain intact under the new standard, which is known as Accounting Standards Codification Topic 842 (ASC 842) and will generally take effect in 2019. One of the key changes is that leases previously classified as operating leases under current accounting standards will now be capitalized and thus reported on corporate balance sheets. With the changes in balance sheet reporting, some financial statement ratios may be affected.  

Financial Statement Ratios

A financial statement and its corresponding ratios are a key indicator of a company’s financial health and are relied on by lenders and reviewed by potential investors, so it is important to understand any changes to financial statement ratios under the new standard.

Under ASC 842, operating leases will no longer appear simply as a table of future payments in the footnotes; they will appear as a “right-of-use” asset and an offsetting lease liability on the balance sheet. We understand from credit agencies that the lease liability should be considered a non-debt type of liability; that is, an “other” operating liability. As a result, the return on assets (ROA) financial ratio is likely the only ratio that will change, although total liabilities will increase. Other financial ratios should remain unchanged. It is expected that there should be minimal impact on debt covenants and no impact on debt limit covenants. Overall, the new rules should have no impact on the profit and loss (P&L), or income statement because the lease-related costs should remain the same.

To illustrate the changes in the key financial ratios, let’s examine the difference between leasing a $50,000 piece of equipment under the current standard, ASC 840 (formerly known as FAS 13), and the new standard, ASC 842. Looking at the methods for calculating typical financial ratios, you can see that some ratios are unchanged (blue sideways arrows), while some decline (red downward arrow) and some increase (green upward arrow).

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Insert accompanying graphic here]

•   ROE – Return on Equity – No change. ROE is calculated as Net Income divided by Equity. This ratio is unchanged because there’s no change in the lessee’s lease expense for an operating lease from ASC 840 to ASC 842. Both are straight lined, and there should be no change in equity as a result of the accounting change.


•   ROA – Decline. ROA is calculated as Net Income divided by Assets. While there is no change in Net Income because the lessee’s lease expense is straight lined under both guidelines, the amount of Assets reported do increase under ASC 842 since the operating lease will be capitalized on the balance sheet. An increase in the denominator (Assets) will thus reduce the ROA ratio.


•   Debt-to-Equity – No change. While the lease liability is on balance sheet under ASC 842, the lease obligation is considered an “other” liability but is not classified as debt. Since there should be no increase in debt, there should be no change to the ratio.


•   Total Liabilities – Increase. The lease liability is now on balance sheet under ASC 842 resulting in an increase in liabilities.


•   EBITDA and EBITDA margin – No change. EBITDA is calculated as Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization. The EBITDA margin is calculated as EBITDA divided by revenue. There is no change to the EBITDA or the EBITDA margin because the lessee’s rent in an Operating lease is recorded as lease expense under both the current and future guidance.


•   Net Worth – No change. Net worth is unchanged since equity is unchanged.

Additional resources

There are many reasons to lease equipment—managing cash flow, preserving capital and available traditional lines of credit, obtaining flexible financing solutions, managing tax liabilities and avoiding equipment technological obsolescence, just to name a few—that businesses will continue to enjoy with reporting leases on balance sheet. For more information and resources on ASC 842, including FAQs, 8 Steps to Help Transition and infographics, visit http://EquipmentFinanceAdvantage.org/newLAR.cfm.  

Disclaimer: The information in this document is a summary only and does not constitute financial advice. Readers should obtain their own independent accounting advice that takes into account all relevant aspects of a particular lessor’s or lessee’s business and products.

About the author
Ralph Petta is the President and CEO of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA), the trade association that represents companies in the $1 trillion equipment finance sector, which includes financial services companies and manufacturers engaged in financing capital goods. ELFA has been equipping business for success for more than 50 years. For more information on equipment financing, please visit www.EquipmentFinanceAdvantage.org and follow ELFA on Twitter @ELFAonline.

©Equipment Leasing and Finance Association 2017. Reprinted with permission.

Low Bid Joint Venture Team Files Lawsuit Against MSD in Deer Creek Tunneling Project

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The low bid joint venture team originally awarded a $145.3 million Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) tunneling project is suing the sewer district for rescinding the award of the project and inexplicably awarding it to the second lowest bidder.  The civil lawsuit was filed May 8, 2017 in St. Louis City Circuit Court by Jay Dee/Frontier-Kemper (JDFK) Joint Venture and by two taxpayers, Eugenia Jones and Peter Pfeifer.

MSD’s professional staff awarded the Deer Creek tunneling project to JDFK as the lowest, responsive, responsible bidder on two separate occasions.  During this process, MSD’s staff, including its executive director, denied multiple protests by the second lowest bidder, SAK Construction, LLC (SAK), and repeatedly concluded that the award of the project to JDFK was proper.  Among other things, MSD concluded: “SAK did not submit the lowest and best bid, but rather it was Jay Dee that submitted the lowest and best bid and met all bid requirements, and therefore, the award in Jay Dee’s favor was appropriate and will stand.”

But, in a series of unexplained decisions, MSD’s board of trustees refused to confirm the contract with JDFK for the project.   As a result, MSD rescinded the award to JDFK and on April 19, 2017 awarded the project to SAK, whose bid was $2.5 million higher than JDFK’s bidJDFK’s protest and appeal were unsuccessful and MSD refused to provide any reason for the board of trustees’ refusal to confirm the contract with JDFK for the Project.

“MSD still hasn’t explained why it rescinded our contract which was based on a thoroughly vetted and validated bid by MSD’s professional staff,” said John DiPonio, vice president of Livonia, Mich.-based Jay Dee Contractors, Inc., one of the joint venture partners.  “We build all over the country and the lack of accountability by MSD in its bidding process is astounding.” The other partner in the JDFK joint venture is Evansville, Ind.-based Frontier-Kemper Constructors, Inc.

The lawsuit alleges that MSD acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner in refusing to confirm the contract with JDFK and asks the court to rescind the notice of award to SAK and instead award the project to JDFK.  The lawsuit also seeks injunctive relief to prevent MSD from taking any steps in furtherance of the award of the project to SAK, including but not limited to precluding MSD from voting to confirm the contract with SAK at a May 11, 2017 MSD meeting.

The JDFK joint venture was one of several contractor teams that invested countless hours to get pre-qualified with MSD and subsequently bid on the Deer Creek Tunnel project.  JDFK was awarded the contract last September after presenting a highly detailed bid that met all of MSD’s specifications including business and workforce diversity, use of a highly skilled and safe workforce, pricing, technical skills and more.  JDFK’s bid was $145.3 million or $60 million below the MSD engineer estimate and $2.5 million less than SAK’s bid.

The Deer Project is one of eight tunneling projects in MSD’s $4.7 billion Project Clear.

Jay Dee Contractors, Inc. (www.jaydee.us) has more than 50 years of experience in proficiently delivering heavy underground tunneling work.  Frontier-Kemper Constructors, Inc. (www.frontierkemper.com) traces its roots to 1907 and is equally proficient in national infrastructure projects.

The civil lawsuit filed in St. Louis City Circuit Court is Case No. 1722-CC01259.

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