Echelon Constructors

Schools Gaining in Popularity as Kids Learn Swimming Earlier


Echelon Constructors LLC plans to wrap construction in early 2023 on another facility in the St. Louis area for Foss Swim School and has plans to complete a fourth one by August.

Ryan Barr, co-founder and partner at Echelon, says the demand for these builds is based upon the fact that more and more children are learning how to swim well before the age that their parents and grandparents did.

“An increasing number of children are being taught how to swim – and interacting with water amenities such as pools, splash pads and more – at much younger ages than when we were kids,” Barr says. “It’s not uncommon for toddlers to begin learning.”

Echelon completed construction of a Foss Swim School at Zumbehl Commons in St. Charles, MO in early September. The builder is currently finishing up a similar facility at the Market at McKnight retail center in Rock Hill, MO. Barr says the availability of retail square footage, paired with the relatively basic construction requirements of a swim school make it a win-win.

“Spaces that are no longer occupied by mid-anchor retailers are ideal locations for this type of development,” said Barr. “We can drop into a 10,000-square-foot spot or take a 30,000-square-foot tenant, put in a demising wall and make that work. These youth training pools are shallow, so there aren’t underground utility-related and bedrock-related concerns that are present in more complex projects. We can generally build one of these swim schools in approximately five and a half months.”

Barr adds it’s not uncommon for these St. Louis-area swim schools to collectively educate at least 1,000 young students per week in classes of approximately 15 children apiece. “This is Class A, top-line instructional delivery,” he said. “The growth in facilities to accommodate freestanding and inline swim schools is tremendous.”

Echelon Constructors Completes $2 Million Flagship Store for Big Shark Bike in Richmond Heights


Big Shark Bike has opened a new store at 1155 S. Big Bend Blvd. in Richmond Heights on a site that had been vacant since 2011 following the demise of well-known music system/home theatre retailer, Hi-Fi-Fo-Fum.

Overseeing the $2 million project was Maryland Heights, Mo.-based Echelon Constructors. Echelon initially sourced the location for Big Shark, then collaborated with developer Hany Abounder of Third Man Development to demolish 65 percent of an existing 20,000-square-foot structure and re-work the site to create parking for 22 vehicles. Next, Echelon gut-rehabbed the remaining 7,000 square feet of space, completing interior finish and system installations within a fast-track 45-day schedule.

The interior of the shop exhibits an open architecture theme, with exposed ceiling beams and a wood deck. Project architect was Klitzing Welsch Associates.

The Big Bend store replaces a location in the Delmar Loop that Big Shark closed in January. The retailer also operates stores in Chesterfield and Downtown St. Louis.