Top 50 Contractors 2014 – #35

BY: BUSINESS OBSERVER

March 21, 2014

PrintDuring an economic forecast for a gathering of CEOs at the beginning of the year, economic consultant Anirban Basu of the Sage Policy Group gave the group some simple advice to determine the economy’s health: follow the money. But not just any money — private investment, in particular.

Basu said if you are wondering what may happen with a particular industry, look at what the private sector is doing. If it’s spending, it’s probably in good shape. Follow the money.

To that point, the Business Observer’s annual list of the top contractors from Pasco to Collier counties has always been a window into the health of the construction industry. The list ranks the top 50 contractors in those counties, by 2013 revenue. Although the numbers on the following pages are reported by the contractors themselves, the section provides an interesting snapshot of construction on the Gulf Coast.

Since the recession, we’ve seen a change in the firms that have made the list as well as their ranking. Many firms shifted their strategies to pursue public dollars during the downturn — practically the only money flowing at the time. Those that weren’t that agile didn’t survive, and a new crop of companies rose to take their place at the top.

These days, the top players in the industry have remained fairly stable. The top contractors this year are all familiar names from last year’s list. Power Design, J. Kokolakis Contracting, Prince Contracting and DeAngelis Diamond Construction were the top four firms last year, too, albeit the order has shuffled slightly.

Although the top contractors look the same, the projects are starting to look different. If there’s a theme for this year’s section, it would be this: private projects are making a comeback.

On this year’s list, you’ll find that many of the contractors listed a private development as their largest project started in 2013. Sure, many are still government projects, covering everything from road expansions to improved military, school and health care facilities, but there are also some eye-catching private dollars being spent. For example, the $315 million Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota, broke ground in 2013 and has created lots of work to keep contractors busy. In addition to the 880,000-square-foot retail project, sizable hotel, multifamily and condominium developments are popping up on the list.

And it’s the start of more to come. Promising projects ready to begin or recently underway include the 1 million-square-foot distribution center for Amazon in Ruskin; Feld Entertainment’s new headquarters in Palmetto, PGT Industries’ new facility in Venice, and IMG Academy’s $40 million renovations of its facilities in Bradenton.

The go-go times still shadow the recent progress, but the resurgence of business investment is a positive sign. If Basu is right, it means private companies believe in Florida, and more growth is on the way. They’re betting on it.
— Kat Hughes

 

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