By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE
The joint venture team of Rockhill, MO-based McCarthy Building Companies and Falls Church, VA-based HITT Contracting has been tabbed as the builder of the largest federal investment project – $711.7 million – in St. Louis history.
Trades union leaders attest that their people are ready to report to work and begin building it.
That massive project, ready to dominate north St. Louis City over the next four to five years, is the nearly $1 billion National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s future western headquarters.
Additional Next NGA West joint venture partners include Overland Park, KS-based Black & Veatch, San Francisco-based Gensler and Akima LLC.
St. Louis – Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Al Bond reacted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Kansas City District project award announcement, made on March 19, saying St. Louis is ready get to work on the mega-project.
“What’s good for St. Louis is good for Missouri,” said Bond, whose organization includes more than 20,000 members with 34 local unions in Missouri, Kansas and Southern Illinois. “All three joint venture teams invested millions of dollars and years of work competing for the opportunity to build this project. All three general contractor teams that have been immersed in the bidding process are friends with the Carpenters. All three are deeply invested in building in Missouri. From a St. Louis point of view, we’re excited that a St. Louis-based contractor was selected. But from a regional perspective, the other teams (the joint venture team of St. Louis-based Alberici Constructors and Mortenson Construction and the joint venture of Kansas City, MO-based JE Dunn Construction, St. Louis-based HOK and Clark Construction) would have been welcome as well.”
Part of the enormous construction project includes a permanent building that will be erected early on at the site to accommodate the joint venture team members and other project delivery professionals, Bond said. The project site spans 97.2 acres in North St. Louis at the north corner of Jefferson and Cass Avenues.
In addition to the main construction scope, the Corps is preparing to announce five small business set-aside construction contracts including the on-site program office, a remote inspection facility, the surface parking lot, access control points and landscaping. Five additional set-aside projects related to NGA
According to projections from the Corps, at its peak in 2022 the effort could require up to 1,300 workers per day at the site and create an anticipated 5,000 construction jobs to complete. According to the Corps, Next NGA West Dept. of Labor affirmative action goals for the project are 6.9 percent female participation by trade and 14.7 percent minority participation by trade.
Bond said the Carpenters is confident it can meet the workforce needs that this gigantic construction project demands.
“This project is bigger than the magnitude of the job itself,” Bond said. “It’s going to create some great construction industry opportunities and man-hours for all the trades, the local subcontractors and for the St. Louis economy overall. Speaking for the Carpenters, we’re ready. We’ve got a ready workforce with the capacity to build this job. That’s not a concern of ours. But our doors are wide open to welcome additional minorities and women looking to get into the trades to join us. It’s entirely possible for individuals seeking a career in the construction trades to apply for our (four-year) apprenticeship program now and gain the experience of working on the NGA project in St. Louis. Although we’re confident we can fulfill the workforce requirements for this job, we’re keenly interested in continuing to bring young people, minorities and women into (all of) the union trades.”
Associated General Contractors of Missouri President Len Toenjes said McCarthy Building Companies’ St. Louis roots and its innovative safety programming translates into a win for the NGA, for St. Louis and for the region.
“We just awarded McCarthy our top honor, a Safety Excellence Award, for its new safety mentoring initiative that pairs experienced professionals with those who are new to the construction field,” Toenjes said. “This is but one example of how McCarthy works to build safely. The beauty of the Next NGA West project stretches beyond the project itself,” Toenjes added. “It signifies a measurable, positive impact on the economy of the entire St. Louis region.”
Individuals interested in learning more about applying for the Carpenters’ apprenticeship program can gain more information at http://www.carpdc.org/careers.