Companies - Page 159

MSD Bidding Raising Stink


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.


Ameren Illinois Announces Projects to Build Smarter Energy Infrastructure in Belleville


New substation, outage detection technology among enhancements to improve service reliability and reduce customer costs.

Ameren Illinois announced today that it has begun constructing a new state-of-the-art substation and installing smart technology to support commercial and residential growth in Belleville’s west end.

The substation – to be known as North Shrine – is being built near Lamask Drive and Briar Hill Road on the north side of Illinois Route 15, across the highway from the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.   When in service, by the end  of Spring, the North Shrine substation will meet the energy needs of the new Hofbräuhaus Brewery, currently under construction, and a hotel and conference center planned for the site.  It will contain advanced equipment capable of better serving electric load increases expected from these new commercial developments while boosting reliability for more than 2,000 residential and commercial customers in the area. The substation footprint will be large enough to add an additional transformer if needed.

Five outage detection devices, known as IntelliRupters, will be installed onto circuits that feed out of and tie to the new substation.  These smart devices sense faults in the flow of electricity and identify circuits from which power can be re-routed to reduce the number of customers affected by an outage.

“These projects are a key step in our long-range plans to construct a smarter electric grid to meet our customers growing needs,” said Raymond Riddle, director of Division Operations for Ameren Illinois serving St. Clair County. “We’re excited to bring these innovative enhancements to our customers in the region.”

The work is part of a multi-year initiative to modernize the energy delivery system. Since 2012, Ameren Illinois has implemented hundreds of projects, adding new technology and strengthening poles, wires and distribution equipment.  As a result, reliability has improved by an average of 17 percent.

Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 816,000 natural gas customers throughout central and southern Illinois.

Photo Above: A J.F. Electric lineman, working on behalf of Ameren Illinois, works to position a new IntelliRupter into place on a power pole in Signal Hill.  As part of its Modernization Action Plan, Ameren Illinois is building a smarter energy infrastructure in Belleville.  The IntelliRupter will team with two other smart switches in the neighborhood. These smart devices sense faults in the flow of electricity and identify circuits from which power can be re-routed to reduce the number of customers affected by an outage.


Mcgrath Completes Construction On $1.25 Million Montgomery Bank Branch Renovation With AT&T Retail Store


McGrath & Associates has completed a $1.25 million renovation of Montgomery Bank in Bridgeton, Missouri, including a complete redesign of the branch and the addition of an AT&T retail store. The design-build project highlights a new trend in the banking industry to reduce branch size while incorporating a retail tenant into the original building footprint. Verve Design Studio was the architect.

“With the popularity of online banking, fewer customers are visiting brick-and-mortar branches, yet banks need a physical location to provide personal, local service and advice,” said Kenneth Witbrodt Jr., CEO of Montgomery Bank. “This is a win-win design solution that helps both the bank and our tenant attract each other’s customers.”

McGrath’s renovation of the 5,100-square-foot facility included exterior finishes and ACM panels, modern interior finishes, drive-thru lanes and canopy, new HVAC air handlers and utility services. McGrath completed the project on time and within budget in a short, six-month schedule, from design to construction completion.

McGrath & Associates is a 100 percent employee-owned general contractor and construction management firm specializing in commercial, health care, industrial, institutional and pharmaceutical construction projects since 1983.


Tech Electronics Acquires Fire Detection Systems, LLC


Technology Services Provider starts 2017 with expansion into new region

United by a common business culture, Tech Electronics, has acquired Fire Detection Systems, LLC. Both companies are privately-owned manufacture-certified installers of Notifier fire alarm systems with strong presences in the construction industry.

Tech Electronics, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is a leading provider of life safety and communication technology solutions now with seven locations throughout the United States. The company’s strategic growth goals include achieving 100 million in revenue by the year 2022 through continued geographic expansion, innovation and expanded service offerings. The purchase of Fire Detection Systems LLC, based in Denver Colorado, extends Tech Electronics’ service coverage and contributes to the goal of becoming a super-regional technology services organization.

“We are excited about the new business venture and the expansion of Tech Electronics solutions and services into a new region,” said Kurt Canova, President of Tech Electronics. “Fire Detection Systems’ reputation as a life safety technology provider and strong company culture seamlessly align with our mission and strategy for growth.”

Founded in 2003, Fire Detection Systems, LLC is a $6.5 million dollar company with 28 employees, making it Tech Electronics’ largest acquisition to date. Fire Detection Systems, LLC will continue to operate under the same leadership and provide the same services as Tech Electronics of Colorado.

“The expertise, products, and services that come with Tech Electronics will not only be beneficial for our customers but our employees as well,” says Rich Vance, Owner of Fire Detection Systems, LLC. “We are choosing to grow with a company that has the future of our industry and employees in mind.”

Fire Detection Systems, LLC is the seventh location and fourth acquisition for Tech Electronics in the past six years. The family-owned company, whose fiscal ends in March, is expecting to close out the year at over $60 million and with this is acquisition 2017 projected revenues is $67 million.

Tech Electronics is a technology services organization headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri with a network of regional offices in Columbia & Springfield, MO, Bloomington & Chicago, IL and Indianapolis, IN. 


Holland Construction Services Breaks Ground on New Apartment Complex in Maplewood, Missouri


Holland Construction Services, Inc. (Holland) recently began work on Sunnen Station Apartments in Maplewood, Missouri. This new $31.5 million apartment complex, being developed by the Sunnen Family, in conjunction with Cozad Commercial Real Estate, will be the first new apartment construction in the city of Maplewood in several years.

The new four-story complex will contain 174 units comprised of studios, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom apartments, featuring a variety of floor plans.  The 186,402 square-foot facility will also feature a swimming pool, sun deck, barbeque patio, a sport court, and a gated parking lot.

Forum Studio out of St. Louis, Missouri, is the architect on the project.  Work on the new complex is scheduled to be complete December 2017.

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


Guarantee Electrical Company Completes New State-of-the-Art Recreation Center in O’Fallon, IL


Student Athletes at McKendree University, Southern Illinois IceHawks youth hockey organization and the general public now have a new recreation center to call home in O’Fallon, IL.  The McKendree Metro Rec Plex recently opened to the McKendree University men’s & women’s hockey teams, giving them a new facility to call “home ice”. 

Soon the school’s swimming, diving, and water polo teams will likewise be calling the recreation center home in their Olympic and NCAA Championship caliber natatorium.  In total, the 160,000 square foot facility features two NHL-sized ice rinks, an aquatic center fit with a 10 lane championship swimming pool, a separate recreational pool, a contemporary fitness area including a half court gym, elevated walking track, free weights, cardio equipment, and many other amenities such as party room and conference facilities.  With more than two years of planning and design for the facility, the McKendree Metro Rec Plex will anchor the larger development on the 45 acre site known as The Four Points Center consisting of retail, hospitality, and professional office space.

Guarantee Electrical Company was instrumental in value engineering and identifying cost saving opportunities on the original electrical design.  This allowed the developer to recognize substantial savings towards the overall cost of the project.  For its part, GECO was the turnkey electrical contractor on the project providing all site civil electrical work, including rough-in for Ameren’s underground utility distribution and site lighting throughout the development; the electrical construction contractor on the building responsible for installing new switchgear, both normal and emergency power, providing a combined 5000 amp 480 volt service to the building through two incoming services; and the systems electrical contractor providing all fire alarm and control wiring for the Cimco ice equipment.  The entire facility comprises energy efficient LED lighting and lighting controls throughout.    


This project is very important to not only O’Fallon, IL but the surrounding communities and region for several reasons.  In addition to providing a new home for both youth and collegiate organizations, the public ice rink fills a void left from the indefinite closing of a Fairview Heights Ice Rink in 2012 and also provides a new fitness center for the general public including personal trainers, daycare and much more.


McCarthy Completes Construction of Delbert Day Cancer Institute at Phelps County Regional Medical Center


Use of Lean construction techniques helped the team improve efficiencies
and minimize campus disruption

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. has completed construction of the Delbert Day Cancer Institute, a comprehensive cancer care facility on the campus of Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla, Mo. The 37,000-square-foot facility occupies the first two levels of the new, four-story, 100,470-square-foot building constructed by McCarthy.

Located at the north side of the main hospital campus, the $31.3 million building is connected to an adjacent medical office building via a pedestrian bridge. The new facility includes more than 63,000 square feet of shelled medical office space to accommodate future tenants.

Equipped with the latest cancer treatment technologies and amenities for patients and families, the Delbert Day Cancer Institute houses radiation therapies, PET C/T, nuclear medicine, infusion therapy, medical oncology, and supporting lab and pharmacy ancillary services. The first floor, which opens to an exterior healing garden, includes a lobby and registration area, retail space, a health café, education space and a community center. On the second floor, infusion services and a medical oncology clinic offer scenic views of the building’s green roof.

“Building on an active hospital campus is always challenging, and the McCarthy team worked closely with our staff to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and staff was always top-of-mind. We are thankful to have them as our building partner,” says Bill Leaders, administrative director of facility and support services for Phelps County Regional Medical Center.

To optimize efficiency, the project team employed Lean construction techniques, including the construction of prefabricated mechanical, engineering and plumbing (MEP) systems directly from the BIM model to reduce site waste.

McCarthy also leveraged advanced construction technologies, including a semi-automated robotic mason to enhance the efficiency of bricklaying. To generate the unique geometry of the prefabricated curtain-wall system and prefabricated MEP systems, the team used a robotic layout.

The building also was the first in the Midwest region to use the Peri Maximo formwork system, designed to increase productivity on continuous pours for self-performed concrete.

“This project is a testament to the power of teamwork, efficiency and innovation,” says Justin Decker, project manager of McCarthy. “We are proud to help bring this important facility to the Rolla community.”

BSA LifeStructures designed the building.

The Delbert Day Cancer Institute began treating patients in January 2017.

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. has been setting the industry standard in healthcare construction for over a century. Consistently ranked as a top healthcare builder by Modern Healthcare and Engineering News-Review, McCarthy has constructed more than 800 significant healthcare facilities and renovated thousands more.

Photo courtesy of  Sam Fentress, McCarthy Building Companies and BSA LifeStructures.


IMPACT Strategies Completes Peoria Retail Center with Flagship Schnucks Store


Construction-management firm IMPACT Strategies today announced it has finalized construction of the Knoxville Crossing Retail Center in Peoria, Illinois. The center is anchored by a 70,000-square-foot Schnucks store featuring a new flagship format that includes an in-store dining option and newly updated exterior and interior designs.

Schnucks Knoxville Crossing, located at 10405 N. Centerway Drive, is the grocer’s first store in Peoria to offer in-store dining. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner, and sells beer and wine by the drink. It is one of only two Schnucks restaurant locations in Peoria.

IMPACT Strategies collaborated with BRR Architecture, Inc., in Merriam, Kansas on the project. The store was constructed of a contemporary mix of concrete, brick, and glass while maintaining the legendary brand for the Schnucks family of stores – with many amenities for convenience and service to its growing customer base.

Mark Hinrichs, president of IMPACT Strategies, said, “We have had a very positive and long-standing relationship with Schnucks, and we were pleased to have helped them with this milestone project.”

IMPACT Strategies, Inc. specializes in Retail, Commercial, Medical, Senior Housing and Education construction and offers comprehensive construction services including design-build, general contracting, construction management and pre-construction management


Rahill Capital to Close on $40 Million of Commercial ‘Pace’ Construction Funding in St. Louis as Popularity of Clean Energy Financing Tool Grows

Anne Murphy Hill, Pres.
RAHILL Capital

Leads Missouri with 23 Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Funded Transaction Engagements

St. Louis-based RAHILL Capital is poised to close by the end of March 2017 on more than $40 million of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) funded commercial real estate construction and renovation projects across the St. Louis area as the popularity of this public/private energy efficiency financing package grows among real estate developers and property owners here and across the country.  Started in July, RAHILL Capital is already the leading developer and funder of PACE deals in St. Louis, Kansas City and outstate Missouri that partners with PACE capital providers to deliver property assessed energy improvement financing via the owner’s property tax bill at no upfront cost to the owner and with no personal guarantees.  RAHILL Capital has already been engaged by the owners or developers of 23 PACE funded transactions and has closed on four of those deals worth more than $16 million with plans to close on another $30 million in the next five months.

St. Louis area PACE deals closed to date by RAHILL Capital include The Lafayette Lofts in Soulard, 4534 Olive LLC in midtown, and Cambridge Engineering’s headquarters in Chesterfield.

PACE legislation in Missouri allows for building improvements that result in utility savings to be funded by private capital and repaid via a long-term tax assessment.  PACE can be used to fund a wide variety of energy improvements, from HVACR and controls, lighting and electrical systems to building envelopes, plumbing, tuckpointing, drywall, insulation and more.  State legislation has no cap on the amount of PACE funding, and most capital providers are comfortable with a 20-25 percent loan to value.

“PACE financing is proving to be an extremely viable option for commercial real estate developers and building owners,” sad Anne Murphy Hill, President of RAHILL Capital.  “PACE is long term, low cost financing that can partner with mortgage debt and other incentives to close the gap in the capital stack.  We can take a customer’s original construction design and determine what aspects of the current design can qualify for PACE in order to maximize the qualified PACE funding. The possibilities go well beyond typical energy improvements.”

In The Lafayette Lofts project, developer Advantes Group utilized construction financing and a bridge loan from Peoples Bank to convert a historic school building on Ann Street in Soulard into 36 loft residential units.  RAHILL’S management team helped secure $600,000 of PACE funding to reduce the owner’s equity investment and fund a retrofit of the 110-year-old building with energy efficient systems, water conservation systems and related professional services.  RAHILL obtained consent from the project’s mortgage lender to the PACE assessment, worked with the PACE Program Administrator (Set The Pace St. Louis), negotiated with the PACE capital provider, conducted engineering reports and worked with the contractor to identify eligible energy efficiency measures and expenses.

In St. Louis County, RAHILL’S management team helped Cambridge Engineering to significantly lower energy costs, increase property value and create a more attractive workplace for its employees at its headquarters building by coordinating the entire process in securing more than $600,000 in PACE funding for the project.

“Because PACE functions as an assessment on the property, similar to a property tax, the program is a true public-private funding partnership which allows building owners to pay off energy improvements on their property assessments over a 20 year period at competitive interest rates,” Hill added.

Dozens of states and hundreds of municipalities have passed legislation  encouraging PACE financing because it allows building owners the luxury of time to pay. With funding from private capital, the PACE program is modeled after other funding methods used to fund public benefits and infrastructure.

How PACE Works

The process of securing PACE funding takes approximately two months and requires the following analysis and approvals:

Mortgage Lender Consent – The senior lender on the property is required to sign a consent form agreeing to placement of an additional assessment on the property.

Energy Engineering Report – This report is required by the district and the PACE lender. The key components of the report are the Savings to Investment Ratio (SIR) and the weighted average useful life of the PACE funded measures. The weighted average useful life must be greater than or equal to the term of the assessment, and the savings generated by those measures over that term must be greater than the upfront investment.

District Approval –Each municipality selects a third party PACE administrator. The administrator must review each application to ensure they meet the intent of the PACE legislation and oversee the process of placing the assessment placed on the property tax bill, collecting and remitting payments to the PACE lender.

Financial Underwriting & Term Sheet Negotiation – The underwriting process for PACE is different than that of a mortgage. There are no personal guarantees, the primary focus on loan to value ratios (less emphasis on DSCR and the annual assessment amount as a percentage of property value). PACE terms typically include annual payments, the ability to capitalize 1-­‐2 years of payments, and a fixed rate fully amortized payment. Because PACE lenders are focused on long term deals, pre-­‐payment penalties are normal.

Founded in July, 2016 by Anne Murphy Hill and Robert J. W. Hill, RAHILL Capital works with Property Owners and Developers looking for a cost effective, streamlined process of securing PACE funding.


Drilling Service Company Expands Efficiency & Capacity


Acquires Assets of Deep Foundations LLC:  Second Acquisition in Two-Year Period

Drilling Service Company, a St. Louis-based drilled shaft and deep foundations contractor for commercial, industrial, and utility clients, has acquired the equipment assets of Deep Foundations, LLC, headquartered in Pacific, MO.

“The acquisition of Deep Foundations equipment assets will allow us to improve project efficiency and delivery capacity for our customers,” Jeffrey Murphy, Drilling Service Company executive vice president said.

The equipment assets of Deep Foundations will be incorporated into the extensive inventory of equipment and tools based at Drilling Service Company’s headquarters, warehouse and 21-acre yard facility in St. Louis, MO.

“We are excited about this opportunity to augment our capabilities for existing customers, and to service new customers,” Murphy said.

After a brief transition period, Deep Foundations will be legally dissolved. Deep Foundations is not pursuing new work. All Deep Foundations contracts currently in place will be completed by Drilling Service Company.

“We look forward to providing the same level of service to Deep Foundations’ clients that our clients have enjoyed for over six decades,” Murphy said.

This is Drilling Service Company’s second acquisition of a drilled shaft and deep foundations firm in the past two years. In 2015 Drilling Service Company began the acquisition of Taylor Ridge Drilled Foundations, Inc. of Taylor Ridge, IL.

Drilling Service Company, a second-generation family enterprise owned by brothers Mark Murphy, Bruce Murphy and Jeffrey Murphy, has been in business for 61 years. Deep Foundations, LLC was founded in 2012.  Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

For further information contact:  Jeffrey Murphy (314) 291-1111

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