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Knoebel Construction Begins Construction of Shoppes at Mid Rivers

in Companies/News

Knoebel Construction, Inc. of Chesterfield, MO, has broken ground on the vertical construction of the Shoppes at Mid Rivers in St. Peters, MO. The $54 million project consists of 14 buildings within the 270,000-square-foot shopping center located just north of Interstate 70 in St. Charles County, MO. The buildings will be constructed concurrently, with scheduled completion in the fall of 2017. The developer is GBT Realty Corp. of Brentwood, TN. The architect is MJM Architects of Nashville, TN.

The Shoppes at Mid Rivers is located on a high-visibility, 28-acre parcel directly across I-70 from Mid Rivers Mall, the only regional mall in St. Charles County. Confirmed tenants include Academy Sports + Outdoors, Burlington, Ross Dress for Less, Marshalls, HomeGoods, ULTA Beauty, Five Below and Famous Footwear.

Knoebel Construction has divided the work into subprojects with separate management teams, in order to meet the expedited schedule and goal of completing the mall in time for the 2017 holiday shopping season.

Knoebel Construction, Inc. is a national general contractor specializing in retail development, restaurant, grocery and retail construction.

Vacancy & Rental Rates at 10-Year Record Levels

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The St. Louis industrial market was active in the fourth quarter of 2016, as 1.0 million square feet was absorbed. Overall vacancy decreased 10 basis points from the prior quarter to 6.1%, while average quoted rents increased to $4.20/SF from $4.35/SF. A total of 860,800 square feet of space delivered to the market during the quarter, while projects under construction remained significant, with 5.8 million square feet of product planned for delivery.

Following solid activity in the third quarter of 2016, the market held steady in the fourth quarter, realizing positive net absorption for the seventh consecutive quarter with nearly 4.9 million square feet absorbed during 2016. Quoted rental rates increased $0.23/SF during the past four quarters, as 3.8 million square feet of space delivered to the market.

With market vacancy hovering at a 10-year low, expect ongoing speculative construction starts, build-to-suit offerings and significant leasing and sales activity to continue for various areas of the metro.

Full Report Here: Newmark Grubb Zimmer PDF

Kadean Construction Tapped to Build ‘Aviator 10’

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New Building Is Kadean’s Fourth in Aviator Business Park in Hazelwood, MO, site of the Old Ford Plant

Kadean Construction has been tapped by Panattoni Development to construct its fourth light industrial building in the Aviator Business Park in the City of Hazelwood, one mile north of the St. Louis-Lambert International Airport, it was announced today.

The 548,000 square foot, concrete, tilt-up building, which will cover 13 acres under roof, will have a clear height of 32 feet, and a total of 82 loading docks – 40 on the north side and 42 on the south – side, said Mike Eveler, president of Kadean Construction Co., which is based in suburban St. Louis.

“This will be a very flexible building that can be used for as many as four companies or one very large tenant,” he said. “The pass-through design, the number of docks, the all-concrete pavement and roadway and tractor trailer storage around the perimeter will make it very appealing for a tenant that relies on a high volume of daily transfers of goods or for other light industrial purposes.”

Construction of the building will begin immediately, and is due to be completed by mid-August, said John Piedimonte, Kadean Vice President of Pre-Construction.

The building will be constructed with a structural steel frame and nine-inch thick, steel-reinforced concrete walls, and a seven-inch thick, concrete floor. It also will have an early suppression, fast-response (ESFR) fire protection system, LED lighting, and other amenities, Piedimonte said.

Aviator 10 will be the fourth Kadean-built structure in the 155-acre business park, which is served by Norfolk Southern Railroad and provides easy access to interstates 70, 270, 64, 44, 55 and other area highways. Kadean also built Aviator 3, 4, and 7, most of which are fully occupied. More space is available for a half-dozen smaller commercial or light industrial facilities on the site as well.

Aviator 10 is currently listed as a “spec” building, although Panattoni is in discussions with a variety of potential tenants, said Panattoni Development Partner Mark Branstetter, of St. Louis, who oversees development for the company in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.

“We’re very proud of the progress we’re making at Aviator Business Park,” he said “The companies there now employ nearly 300 men and women from across the region. Aviator 10 will continue to enhance the park’s vitality and vibrancy, and we’re looking forward to Aviator’s continued growth and success.”

Kadean Construction, named one of the fastest growing companies in the region by the St. Louis Business Journal, specializes in pre-construction, design-build, construction management, and general contracting at the regional and national level.

Area Residents Invited to Centennial Greenway Expansion Project Open House in St. Charles

in Associations

Project Includes New Pedestrian Bridges over Highways 364 and 94 

Great Rivers Greenway is inviting area residents to a community open house on Thursday, Feb. 9, to learn the latest details about the soon-to-be constructed bicycle and pedestrian bridges over highways 364 and 94 in the City of St. Charles. This phase of the project involves extending the existing Centennial Greenway that links Heritage Park and the Katy Trail State Park to connect thousands of residents on both sides of the community.

The open house will be held at the St. Charles County Heritage Museum at Heritage Park (1630 Heritage Landing, St. Peters, MO 63303) from 5 – 7 p.m.  Area residents are invited to stop by anytime during that timeframe to ask questions, review maps and learn more about the expanded greenway. Duplicate 30-minute presentations will be held at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.

The plans call for a one-mile extension of the existing 2.2-mile Centennial Greenway just east of the Heritage Museum. The paved greenway will head north and cross both highways 364 and 94 where it will connect to Old Highway 94 near Muegge Road. The new route will enable on-street connections to nearby Laurel Park, Schaefer Park, Wapelhorst Park, the Laurel Park Trail, the McClay Branch of the St. Charles City-County Library, Francis Howell North High School and Henderson Elementary School – all of which are less than two miles from the bridges.

“This is a game-changing connection for people in the City of St. Charles, St. Charles County and beyond,” says St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann. “By bridging these two highways, thousands of people who live, work, and go to school in this area will now be able to safely walk or ride a bike to get where they need to go. It will also connect them to the Katy Trail and St. Louis County via the existing Centennial Greenway.”

In addition to a paved trail and bridges, the greenway expansion will also feature a rest stop landscaped with native plants. The interpretive signage will highlight the unique features of the Centennial Greenway and its connections to the region’s rivers, parks and communities.

“We are grateful for our partners at the City of St. Charles, St. Charles County, and Missouri Department of Transportation whose input and support helped make this project a reality,” says Susan Trautman, Executive Director Great Rivers Greenway. “We have been working together for a long time to expand the Centennial Greenway over these two highways. We are eager to eliminate this barrier and open up a new route so people can walk or ride bikes to get to work and school, run errands or just enjoy some fresh air.”

Great Rivers Greenway connects the St. Louis region with greenways so people can explore their rivers, parks and communities, making it a vibrant place to live, work and play. For more information, visit

Focus on Construction: News From the National Association of Home Builders 2017 Convention

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RubinBrown recently attended the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builder’s Show in Orlando, Florida. The show is combined with the Kitchen and Bath Industry, International Window Coverings and International Surface Event Shows bringing the overall attendance to approximately 80,000. RubinBrown was kind enough to share their construction industry-related observations below.

Tax Reform

Clearly, the talk of the show was upcoming tax reform. Numerous presentations on the subject were held, including a special meeting of the Executive Board to discuss the topic in further detail. NAHB, through its lobbyists, have and continue to devote substantial resources to be part of the tax reform process. It appears they are as actively involved with those crafting new policies as any trade association in the country. NAHB was not involved in 1986 tax reform and as a result was “run over” with the changes that occurred – a lesson they don’t want to repeat.

Here is the latest:

  • The time frame of any changes may not be as fast as many expect. The House is expected to come out with its version of tax reform soon, but will be held up until the Senate addresses in the fall, or late summer at the earliest. The House version will be more radical, while the Senate more moderate. The Senate and Supreme Court confirmations and replacing Obamacare will likely further slowdown the process. A final bill, after reconciliation between House and Senate, may not even happen until 2018.
  • The proposed highest tax rate will certainly come down, for both individuals, corporations and pass-throughs. Top rates of 33%, 25% and everything in between are being discussed.
  • Cost recovery or 100% expensing is being proposed by several. This would allow homebuilders to expense all assets except land as incurred, but allow no deduction for business interest. The concern is that this could change current business practices and lead to overbuilding.
  • The biggest concern is the Mortgage Interest Deduction and its effect on the home building industry. All ideas proposed do not mention ending the deduction, but instead there are related consequences. If the standard deduction is doubled to $24,000 as proposed, NAHB estimates 90% of current taxpayers with a mortgage will not be able to claim the deduction, which is substantial. NAHB is studying the issue closely and some ideas have come forward including:
    • An above the line deduction for mortgage interest paid – similar to an IRA
    • A tax credit to incentivize home ownership
  • Several proposals have suggested the elimination of the property tax deductions and a cap on overall itemized deductions.

Stay tuned as RubinBrown will monitor and provide updates as available.

Housing Outlook

Home building starts are expected to increase 10% in 2017 from 2016, and another 9% in 2018.

The top 4 concerns for the industry according to a recent NAHB survey:

  1. Cost/availability of labor
  2. Cost/availability of lots
  3. Impact fees
  4. Surging building material prices

The housing market index hit 70 in December, the highest since 2005. The thought is home ownership has bottomed out at 62.9% and is on the way back up.

Other Items of Interest

  • NAHB endorsed candidates for the first time in the recent election, 131 of 139 endorsed won.
  • Any reference to rising interest rates is now being referred to as “historically favorable rates”.
  • Several builders across the country are complaining about new postal regulations that require mail boxes to be set in a cluster format.

Any federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments): (i) is intended for your use only; (ii) is based on the accuracy and completeness of the facts you have provided us; and (iii) may not be relied upon to avoid penalties.


Holland Construction Services Completes Addition at The Homestead at Hickory View Retirement Community

in Companies/News

Holland  Construction  Services,  Inc.  recently  completed  construction  on  an  11,000  square‐foot  addition  at  The  Homestead  at  Hickory  View  senior  living  community.    This vibrant independent living  community  is  located 40 miles west of St. Louis in Washington, Missouri.

The new $2.5 million addition added 14 units to the existing  facility.  This newly renovated community now offers 79 spacious apartments and luxurious amenities including an updated fitness and physical therapy center.

The Homestead at Hickory View is owned and operated by Spectrum Retirement Communities, LLC.  Bernida Egging Chapman, Vice President of Construction at Spectrum, commenting on the success of the project stated, “We thoroughly enjoyed working with Holland on this project.  Holland was the only contractor that helped us figure out  a way to make this addition viable.”

Holland is also currently working with Spectrum on Sycamore Creek Senior Living, a new upscale senior living community  in Pickerington, Ohio.

Holland  Construction  Services  is  a  fullservice  construction  management,  general  contracting,  and  design/build  firm  based in Swansea, IL.

People On The Move In The Local Construction Industry

in People
The latest People in the News highlighting new hires, promotions, honors & recognition of the men and women in the St. Louis building community.

Oculus Inc. Adds To Its Professional Staff

Carol Saucedo

Carol E. Saucedo as a new Business Developer in their Dallas office. Carol brings over 20 years of marketing and business development experience to Oculus Inc.  She has extensive experience in the Professional Services industry, working with engineering and design firms. Carol will be responsible for the cultivating new opportunities and relationships for Oculus while collaborating with the Corporate Marketing team located in St. Louis to create and implement new marketing and sales strategies. Oculus has been growing their portfolio and office in the Dallas market and Carol will be working to expand relationships and pursue new business opportunities in Dallas and surrounding areas.

“We’ve been searching for the right Business Developer for our Dallas office,” said Lisa Bell-Reim, Oculus Inc. President.  “Carol is the perfect fit for our organization and we can’t wait for our clients to become acquainted with her and to see what new relationships she cultivates.”

Oculus Inc. is a nationally, WBE-Certified, full-service architecture and consulting services firm with offices in St. Louis & Dallas.

Asif Kadiani & Nick Zahner Join Murphy Company 

Asif Kadiani

Asif Kadiani, P.E., CEM, GBE, LEED AP, has joined Murphy Company as senior engineer, design-build. The announcement was made by Mark Bengard, P.E., senior vice president, sales and pre-construction for the mechanical engineering and contracting firm.

A registered professional engineer in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Oklahoma, Kadiani also is a certified energy manager, a green building engineer, and a LEED accredited professional.  He is a member of the editorial advisory board for HPAC Magazine and is a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Kadiani holds an MBA from Eastern Illinois University. He earned his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Bombay, both in Bombay, India.  He also took pre-engineering coursework at the University of Bombay.

Since 1993, Kadiani has worked on major projects in higher education, K-12 education, municipal and government, healthcare, military, data centers, research, communications, transportation and commercial facilities throughout the Midwest.

“We are delighted to welcome Asif to the Murphy team,” said Bengard.  “His expertise in the design and analyses of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, building automation, fire protection and plumbing systems fits nicely with both our service platforms and the markets we serve. His experience supervising project teams also is very helpful.”

Nicholas Zahner Hired by Murphy Co. as Safety Engineer

Nicholas Kahner

Nicholas (Nick) Zahner has joined Murphy Company as a safety engineer. The announcement was made by Chris Hamilton, director of safety. Zahner is a 2015 graduate of the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg where he majored in safety management. Previously, Nick served as the environmental health and safety coordinator for HarbisonWalker International where he provided safety oversight of all safety programs and policies.

Murphy Company delivers mechanical solutions to the industrial, commercial, institutional and heavy industrial markets.

Nick Walker Joins IMPACT Strategies as Director of Development & Construction Services

Nick Walker

Nick Walker has 20 years of experience as a registered architect and as a construction manager.  Walker most recently was Vice President of Development and Construction for a St. Louis-based developer and builder of senior housing properties. Walker is a registered architect in Missouri and a member of the American Institute of Architects and NCARB.  He has vast experience in all levels of senior housing projects and is a certified aging-in-place specialist though the NAHB.

A resident of Des Peres, Missouri, Walker earned a bachelor’s degree in Architecture at the University of Kentucky and an MBA at Saint Louis University. He also completed the Construction Leadership Institute program at Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.

February 3, 2017

Ron Landolt,  LANDCO Construction’s CEO, announced two staff promotions at the firm’s Strategic Planning Session held on January 27, 2017.

Linda Bernhard

Linda Bernhard was promoted to President. Linda has over 20 years of experience in the St. Louis commercial construction market in the areas of Construction Management, Strategic Planning, Preconstruction and Human Resources.  Linda is an accredited LEED Green  Associate and recipient of the Project Manager of the Year Award in 2016 from the American Subcontractors Association ( ASA) of the Midwest Council.  Linda is a graduate of the University of Kansas with a degree in Architectural Engineering with an emphasis in Construction Management.

Greg Zuzack

Greg Zuzack was promoted to Vice President. Greg, a graduate of St. Louis University,  joined the firm in 2008 and has over 30 years of experience in the St. Louis commercial construction market in the areas of Business Development, Strategic Planning, Preconstruction and Project Management.  Greg is an accredited LEED Green Associate, and is actively involved with IFMA and BOMA.

“Both Linda Bernhard and Greg Zuzack exemplify a high level of character, competency, and capacity which are exceptional traits that every firm is looking for in their employees. It goes without saying that Linda and Greg are truly genuine leaders in the commercial construction industry. I am extremely proud of their accomplishments and pleased to have both of them on our team,” stated Ron Landolt at the firm’s 2017 Strategic Planning Session.

St. Louis based LANDCO Construction is a leading commercial construction contractor providing Preconstruction, Construction Management and Interior Construction Services.

Architects Dusica Stankovic and Colten Baker Join HOK’s St. Louis Office

Dusica Stankovic

Architects Dusica Stankovic and Colten Baker have joined HOK in St. Louis. Both will support the HOK team working on the Indiana University Health Bloomington Regional Academic Healthcare project. Stankovic serves as a senior project architect and Baker serves as a design professional.


Stankovic joins HOK from RDG Planning & Design in Des Moines, Ia. She earned her master of architecture at the University of Belgrade and her degree in architecture from the University of Sarajevo.

Colten Baker

Baker joins HOK from Oculus Inc. in St. Louis, Mo. He earned his master of architecture and degree in architectural studies from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill.

HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm.

Great Rivers Greenway Welcomes Angelica Gutierrez as Project Manager

Angelica Gutierrez

Great Rivers Greenway is pleased to welcome Angelica Gutierrez, of North St. Louis County, to its team of professionals who are working to connect the St. Louis region through the development of greenways so people can live life outside. Gutierrez has joined as Project Manager, overseeing all aspects of greenway construction projects, from community engagement to design and construction. She will also coordinate the organization’s involvement in the Gateway Bike Plan, which aims to identify the regional system of on-street bikeways and develop strategies for education, encouragement, and enforcement to make bicycling safe for people of all ages and abilities.

As an industrial engineer, she brings to Great Rivers Greenway nearly 16 years of experience in project management, including a background in public works and production management. Her prior experience includes nine years with the City of University City, where she most recently held the position of Senior Public Works Manager. Her efforts there included streetscapes, bridge replacement, street and sidewalk repair and maintenance, bicycle facilities and traffic signal installation projects.

Great Rivers Greenway connects the St. Louis region with greenways so people can explore their rivers, parks and communities, making it a vibrant place to live, work

Tauquincy Neal, FM for St. Charles City-County Library District, Earns FMP and SFP Designations

Tauquincy Neal

Tauquincy Neal, facility manager for St. Charles City-County Library District, has attained credentials as a Facility Management Professional (FMP) and Sustainability Facility ProfessionaL (SFP). Only members of the International Facility Management Association can earn these professional designations. Neal is a member of the IFMA St. Louis chapter.

Neal took an extensive online course and passed assessments in four focus areas to achieve the FMP designation. Professionals who earn the designation demonstrate a proven comprehension of the foundations of facility management and knowledge in the core facility management topics deemed critical by employers.

Additionally, she took an extensive online course and passed assessments in three focus areas to achieve the SFP designation. Focus areas provide a complete picture of how SFPs can improve the sustainability of their facilities in all eight major categories of sustainable facility management as defined by IFMA: energy, water, materials and resources, workplace management, indoor environmental quality, quality of services, waste and site impact.

Neal started with the St. Charles City-County Library District in August 2015, as its first facility manager. She manages the day-to-day maintenance of all buildings and grounds, projects, and all contractors and vendors, as well as its delivery and supply operations. The library district comprises 12 branches in St. Charles City and County. She also is responsible for its administrative office.

Neal has been a member of IFMA St. Louis since 2015.

IFMA St. Louis offers its members a learning and networking environment among its diverse membership, and supplies its members with the tools to achieve their professional goals.  

Jake Haggmark Joins HOK’s St. Louis Office as Senior Design Professional

Jake Haggmark

Jake Haggmark has joined HOK in St. Louis. He will support the HOK team as a senior design professional working on high-profile, corporate design projects across the US.

Haggmark joins HOK from CannonDesign in St. Louis, Missouri. He earned his master of architecture from the Knowlton School of Architecture at The Ohio State University and his degree in architecture from Alfred State College.

HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm.

Lee Burford Joins Holland Construction Services as Senior Project Manager

Lee Burford

Holland Construction Services (Holland), is pleased to announce that Lee Burford has joined the Holland team as Senior Project Manager. Lee comes to Holland with over 36 years of construction management experience overseeing a variety of multi-million dollar projects both as a project manager and project director.

Lee has the designation of Certified Professional Constructor, the American Institute of Constructors highest level of certification only given to established constructors with years of project oversight experience.   He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management from Bradley University.

Holland Construction Services is a full-service construction management, general contracting, and design/build firm based in Swansea, Ill.

January 27, 2017

New Hires at Oculus, Inc.

Oculus Inc., a full-service architecture and interior design firm, is pleased to announce the addition of Josh West to its professional staff as an Intern Architect, Kaitlin McCormick from intern to Interior Designer and Zachary Mette to its professional staff as an Intern Architect.

Mt. West will be working with project and programming data, synthesizing information into floor plans and space layouts, developing approved layouts into developed designs, assisting with the preparation of construction details and drawings for permit. He brings experience working with community improvement, museum design, healthcare facilities, and transportation centers.  In addition, he also worked as a Teaching Assistant where he mentored multiple groups of students working on design and constructions projects. His software skills include Auto Cad, Revit, SketchUp, Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop. In addition to Mr. West’s experience, he holds a Masters of Architecture and a Bachelors of Architecture with a minor in Landscape Design from Southern Illinois University. “We are so pleased to have Josh join Oculus,” said Lisa Bell-Reim, Oculus Inc. President. “We look forward to working with him; his strong background in working with community based projects will be of great service to our federal work.”

Ms. McCormick comes to Oculus to help with creating design concepts, finish selections, developing furniture budgets, preparing finish plans, designing signage, assisting with the preparation of construction drawings for permits, preparing client presentations, and managing the product library.  She has been involved with projects for the Girl Scouts of America and multiple school and retail projects. In addition to her experience, Ms. McCormick holds a Bachelor of Human Environmental Studies/interior Design/Architectural Design from Southeast Missouri State University and is pursuing her NCIDQ. “We got to know Kaitlin very well as she worked for us an interior design intern,” said Lisa Bell-Reim, Oculus Inc. President.  “Based on the skill we recognized during her internship, we are thrilled she has joined the firm as a full time Interior Designer.”

Mr. Mette brings a background of work experience that includes leadership, technical skills and design skills.  His role at Oculus will be schematic design development, conceptual and construction documents, digital model construction, and drafting. Zach gained invaluable experience while he completed his Architecture Degree at Drury University (Springfield, MO) by working on Community Studio projects, which were real projects with actual clients, budgets and contractual agreements.  Through this program, he worked with the Army Corps of Engineers’ Joe Bald Park to create a 30-year vision for improving the facilities. He is skilled in spatial programming and the following software: Revit, CAD, Sketch up, InDesign and Photoshop. “Zach came to us as a summer intern before returning to his final year of school,” said Lisa Bell-Reim, Oculus Inc. President.  “We are thrilled he has come back in a full time role.”

Oculus Inc. is a nationally, WBE-Certified, full-service architecture and consulting services firm with offices in St. Louis & Dallas.  

Three from Byrne & Jones Sports Division Earn Certified Builder Accreditation

Ben Traetow

Ben Traetow and David Baalman of Byrne & Jones Construction’s sports division have earned Certified Field Builder (CFB-S)Tom Brockmann, also of Byrne & Jones Construction’s sports division, has earned Certified Track Builder (CTB) Byrne & Jones has installed more than 2,000 athletic surfaces in the Midwest, including artificial and natural turf fields for all types of sports as well as track and fields, tennis courts and associated site improvements.

David Baalman

CFB-S and CTB accreditations are awarded by the 52-year-old American Sports Builders Association and is given to those who have demonstrated a high level of expertise in synthetic turf field and running track construction.  Learn more at

Traetow has a degree in construction systems management from The Ohio State University.

Tom Brockmann

Baalman has a degree in construction management from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

Brockmann has a degree in mechanical engineering from Missouri University of Science & Technology.

Founded in 1976, Byrne & Jones Construction is a diversified St. Louis civil site contractor serving clients through six divisions – concrete, sports, asphalt, soil stabilization, marine and micro surfacing.  


The Engineering Center of St. Louis Presents Engineers Week

in Associations/News

Engineers Week to be held February 19-26 in St. Louis, Mo

The Engineering Center of St. Louis, a trusted resource in the greater St. Louis region on engineering issues in the eye of the public, announces that it will be presenting the annual “Engineers Week” from February 19-26, 2017. Every February, the Engineering Center of St. Louis celebrates National Engineers Week in an effort to bring attention to the crucial role that engineers bring to society through their contributions.

Activities for the week include booths at the St. Louis Science Center, a college career night, Discovery Fair, the Engineers Week Luncheon, and Center-sponsored Design-Build Challenges. The Engineering Center hopes to reach professionals and students of all ages and their families by actively engaging the public with activities that illustrate a simple principle of engineering.

A highlight this year will be the luncheon speaker featuring Dr. Marc A. Edwards, Professor at Virginia Tech, and the frontrunner of scientists that uncovered the Flint water crisis. Dr. Edwards will be speaking at the Engineers Week Luncheon on Thursday, February 23 at 12 pm. A MacArther grant recipient, he was named one of Fortune’s 2016 World’s Greatest Leaders for his efforts in Flint, Mi. Dr. Edwards is one of the nation’s top experts in water contamination and he and his team ultimately found that the water in Flint was poisoning its residents.

Additional activities for the week include:

  • Tuesday, February 21 (all day) – Engineers Give Back to STL, community service day- Join us as we forge River Des Peres and surrounding inlets in an effort to clean and place markings, in partnership with MSD.
  • Wednesday, February 22 (3:00-6:00 pm) – Discovery Fair hosted by the Engineering Center of St. Louis- High school students explore engineering with activities, demonstrations, and presentations at the Engineering Center of St. Louis.
  • Wednesday, February 22 (5:00-7:00 pm) – Washington University Mindlin Lecture focused on “Technology and Social Good”, featuring Ellen Zegura, Ph.D.  Dr. Zegura is a Professor and the Stephen Fleming Chair in Telecommunications at the School of Computer Science, College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  On the Washington University campus at Brauer Hall Room 12.  Reservations at
  • Thursday, February 23 (12:00-2:00 pm) – Annual Engineers Week Luncheon featuring the leader in the Flint, MI water crisis, Dr. Marc A. Edwards. Clayton Plaza Hotel Ballroom, tickets available at  Presented by Environmental and Water Resources Institute and Missouri University of Science and Technology, sponsored by Lion CSG, Missouri American Water, Reitz & Jens, and Civil Design, Inc.
  • Friday, February 24 (3:00-6:00 pm) – College Career Night at the Engineering Center of St. Louis-All college students and graduates will not want to miss this opportunity to meet with top St. Louis engineering firms.
  • Saturday, February 25 (9:30 am-4:30 pm) & Sunday, February 26 (11:00 am-4:30 pm) – Engineering Exposition hosted by Missouri Society of Professional Engineers. Come explore engineering throughout the St. Louis Science Center.

“At the Engineering Center, we are working to advance the engineering profession, raise awareness of current issues in the industry, and encourage the next generation to pursue a career in engineering by building interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math,” said Nicole Young, president of the Engineering Center of St. Louis. “Through our mission, the Engineering Center can engage on a regional level as the leader in engineering as well as create excitement for the industry in the community.”

The Engineering Center of St. Louis, located at 4359 Lindell Boulevard, is home to more than 34 professional affiliate societies. Representing more than 14,000 members, the Center serves as the central meeting place for the engineering community in St. Louis. 

MSD Bidding Raising Stink

in Associations/Companies/Homepage Primary/News

The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Missouri is expressing “grave concern” about Metropolitan Sewer District’s (MSD) bidding integrity for tunneling projects in the $4.7 billion Project Clear wastewater improvement plan. At issue is what appears to be an attempt by MSD trustees to steer a validly awarded $145 million contract for the Deer Creek tunneling project from the lowest bidder to another firm that has already been awarded the first two of the eight tunneling projects for Project Clear.  Jay Dee/Frontier-Kemper (JDFK) Joint Venture was awarded the contract on Sept. 29, 2016.  However no work has been done on the project after MSD trustees inexplicably refused to follow the recommendation of its professional engineering and executive staff and chose not to enter the contract with JD/FK during a Dec. 8, 2016 meeting.  Despite reworking its bid to accommodate a request to substitute a minority contractor on the project (a contractor that was fully vetted and validated by MSD’s staff) and being awarded the contract a second time on Jan. 5, 2017, the contract approval by MSD trustees remains in doubt.

The invalidation of the contract and delays are tied to at least four protests and appeals of the award from SAK Construction – all of which have been reviewed and denied by MSD’s professional staff of engineers, procurement specialists and diversity personnel and the executive director.  SAK’s bid was nearly $2.5 million higher than JDFK’s.  SAK has also been awarded the two previous tunneling projects let.

On Feb 9, 2017, the Deer Creek Project again comes up before the MSD trustees, who could again go against its own staff’s recommendation and award the contract to SAK.

Below is a more thorough recap of events to date and attached documentation.

The integrity of the bidding process on one of the largest publicly-funded infrastructure projects in St. Louis is generating majors concerns in the construction industry, including the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Missouri.  At issue is Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD)’s $4.7 billion Project Clear, a 23-year project “to plan, design and build system wide improvements to address water quality and alleviate many wastewater concerns in the St. Louis community.” Project Clear is anything but clear when you examine how MSD trustees have handled the bidding on the $145 million Deer Creek tunneling project.  In a series of inexplicable decisions, trustees have gone against the recommendations of its professional design and engineering staff and voided a valid project award to the lowest bidder – Jay Dee/Frontier-Kemper (JDFK) Joint Venture.  While the project remains stalled, the trustee’s maneuvers stand to benefit SAK Construction, winner of the first two tunnel bids on Project Clear.

The MSD trustee’s muddling of the bid process inhibits the St. Louis area’s ability to attract highly qualified contractors to bid on projects, limiting competition and raising construction costs.  Livonia, Mich.-based Jay Dee Contractors, Inc. (www.jaydee.ushas more than 50-years of experience in proficiently delivering heavy underground tunneling work.  Its JV partner Evansville, Ind.-based Frontier-Kemper Constructors, Inc. (www.frontierkemper.comtraces its roots to 1907 and is equally proficient in national infrastructure projects.

The JDFK joint venture was among 11 contractors that invested countless hours to be pre-qualified for the Deer Creek project last spring (see attached May 24, 2016 pre-qualification approval letter).  JDFK then presented 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.  It was also the lowest bid – nearly $2.5 million lower than the bid SAK submitted.  JDFK’s proposal was thoroughly evaluated by MSD’s professional staff and it was awarded the contract on Sept. 29, 2016 (see attached notification of award letter).  From there, MSD trustees inexplicably began degrading the integrity of the bid process.  Consider the following:

  • In Sept and October 2016, SAK Construction sent protest letters to MSD questioning the validity of the contract awarded to JDFK and qualifications of JDFK’s minority contractors (including a minority contractor that SAK itself had used on previous projects).
  • On Oct. 13, 2016, MSD’s professional staff advised the MSD trustees to enter a contract with JDFK for the Deer Creek work based on its thorough vetting of its lowest bid proposal (see Oct. 13, 2016 Board Meeting Journal). The trustees wanted more information on minority contractors before contract was finalized.
  • On Nov. 8, 2016, MSD denied SAK’s protest of the contract award to JDFK (see attached Nov. 8, 2016 MSD SAK protest response).  JDFK submitted a follow up letter to MSD reinforcing that the sewer district followed all its policies and procedures in awarding the contract to JDFK, including a detailed timeline of its process (see Nov. 10, 2016 JDFK Protest Objection Letter).
  • On Nov 29, 2016, MSD reaffirmed its decision in denying a SAKs appeal of the sewer district’s Nov. 8, 2016 affirmation of JDFK’s contract award (see Nov. 29, 2016 MSD Protest Response).
  • On Dec. 8, 2016, MSD trustees inexplicably voted down the contract with JDFK by a 5-1 margin going against its professional staff’s recommendation, including its denial of SAK’s appeals (see Dec. 8, 2016 Board Meeting Journal). 
  • On December 9, 2016, the AGC of Missouri sent a letter to MSD expressing grave concerns over the integrity of MSD’s bidding process and its decision to deny the contract to JDFK.  That same day MSD sent two letters to JDFK.  One notifying JDFK that MSD was rescinding its contract award.  The other notifying JDFK that MSD objected to the use of minority contractor A.L.L. Construction and that it needed to find a substitute contractor.  JDFK responded on Dec. 23, 2016 that A.L.L. was fully qualified and that MSD was not following its procedures in rescinding the contract award.  JDFK followed the contract requirements and substituted A.L.L. and the resulting outcome was to increase its contract amount to minority contractors by $230,000 without increasing its overall bid.
  • On Jan. 5, 2017, MSD notified JDFK that it accepted its substitution and awarded it the Deer Creek contract.
  • On Jan. 10, 2017, SAK filed yet another protest of the contract award to JDFK.
  • On Jan. 17. 2017, MSD again denied SAK’s protest. That same day JDFK sent a letter to MSD stating the obvious:  SAK’s continuously invalidated protests are a ploy to get the Deer Creek project “by any means.”
  • On Jan 26, 2017 SAK filed another appeal of the denial of its protest.  MSD responded the next day denying the appeal

The project remains stalled for unknown reasons.  As of Jan 31, 2017, the MSD trustees refused to  approve a thoroughly vetted and validated lowest bid proposal from the eminently qualified joint venture team of JDFK.

It is unclear where MSD is headed, but it appears the trustees are contemplating an award the contract to SAK or rebidding the project.  Its next board meeting is Feb. 9, 2017 where it may decide the fate of the $145 million project without the full board of trustees present.  A list of MSD trustees can be found at

The JDFK joint venture team would be happy to discuss the trials and tribulations of MSD’s muddled bid process as would the AGC of Missouri.  Please contact them if you have any questions.

Despite Economic Uncertainties, Healthy Outlook For The Nonresidential Construction Market

in Associations/News

2018 forecast shows continued growth in all sectors, led by institutional building.

With construction spending continuing on an upward trajectory, 2016 can be considered a successful year for the nonresidential building sector.  For the coming year, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast is projecting growth in overall nonresidential building spending of almost 6%, just below the pace of growth for 2016. The commercial construction sectors – retail, office, and hotel – will continue to lead the building recovery, while industrial construction is projected to see almost no increase this year. For 2018, the institutional construction sectors will generate much of the growth, particularly the large education structures market.

“Though most conditions look favorable, virtually every segment of the design and construction market is reporting that recruiting and retaining qualified staff is a growing issue,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Many workers left the industry during the downturn, and others left the workforce entirely, and rebuilding a competent and productive workforce is a challenge, particularly when the national unemployment rate is below five percent.”

You can learn more about the Consensus Construction Forecast here:

The AIA Consensus Construction Forecast Panel is conducted twice a year with the leading nonresidential construction forecasters in the United States including, Dodge Data & Analytics, Wells Fargo Securities, IHS-Global Insight, Moody’s, CMD Group, Associated Builders & Contractors and FMI.  The purpose of the Consensus Construction Forecast Panel is to project business conditions in the construction industry over the coming 12 to 18 months.  The Consensus Construction Forecast Panel has been conducted for 18 years.

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