ARCO Construction Inc.
In 1992 Jeff Cook and Dick Arnoldy established ARCO Construction Inc. (ARCO), a construction firm dedicated to turnkey design-build work. Over the years, ARCO has grown from a single office in St. Louis to nine locations across the country. The original founders remain involved with the business today, working with a large management team that includes Hank Bellina, principal and partner at ARCO’s St. Louis office.
Bellina has worked with ARCO since 1997 and leads team members in a wide range of complex construction and development projects. Furthermore, he holds a master’s degree in civil engineering, allowing him to plan and execute projects from the ground up.
“We have a really great company here,” Bellina notes. “We look at all of our associates as valued resources, which is critical to our success. We try to provide a great workplace and we have programs in place to take care of our associates, including scholarships for their children and a great sabbatical program for all associates with five years of service. We have been named the best place to work in St. Louis several times and we strive to live up to that title.”
A turnkey approach
“Our team includes, what we call, only the best and brightest project managers and engineers, who keep the gears turning on a day-to-day basis,” Bellina says proudly. The team of more than 400 people serves clients coast to coast.
ARCO’s target market is entrepreneurs and developers who understand the value of the ARCO’s ground-up approach to design and construction.
“We have the experience to help them find the right land for a project and develop it while following specific guidelines and regulations,” Bellina elaborates. “We work with customers who need the turnkey approach to a project, from land development to design and construction. Our firm stands out from competitors, because we pioneered the design-build market in St. Louis and then expanded it across the country as we have grown over the years.”
The company started performing multifamily and senior living construction projects in Florida in the early 2000s. Florida’s Backbay at Carillion was one of the team’s first big design-build multifamily projects.
“As the senior living market continued to accelerate in 2010, we saw a niche in the market leaning toward senior living,” Bellina states. “We have continued to grow in that market and work primarily with three developers: Provision Living, ClearPath Senior Living and The First Capital Group. We have been working with Provision Living, senior living owner/operator/developer, ever since we first partnered up with them in 2012. The business has become a big supporter of ARCO’s design-build model. We have more than $100 million worth of senior living projects planned for 2014 and 2015.”
Other recent work includes a project for Provision Living in Webster Groves, Mo., completed in 2012. The 80-unit senior housing facility was a design-build project involving the construction of an entire new complex. Currently, ARCO is taking the design-build model to Columbia, Mo., where the team will be building a $20 million, 114-bed senior living facility called Provision Living of Colombia.
Furthermore, the crew is coming up on a contract to construct three to four ClearPath senior living projects per year. The prototype includes 50-bed facilities with assisted-living and memory care centers throughout Missouri and Illinois.
“Missouri is a hot spot for senior living right now,” Bellina details. “It’s difficult to get state approval to build senior living facilities, but ARCO has been part of this process for a while. We have been through the process to get approvals in Missouri and Illinois and had a lot of success working hand in hand with our developer’s team.”
Putting together a team
As a design-build general contractor, ARCO takes care of design, scheduling and management for each project. “We generally don’t self-perform on our projects,” Bellina explains. “We put together a team of subcontractors for the trades on each project and consult with engineers in the design phase. Our subcontractors are involved from the very beginning, with input into the design of each project.”
The high front-end involvement of strategic partners helps ARCO troubleshoot project scopes before a problem emerges on-site, reducing change orders and keeping projects moving efficiently.
“All of our subcontractors are extensively qualified before starting each job,” Bellina adds. “We are always expanding our network of subcontractors that we are comfortable with. We need to know they can continue to take care of a project through maintenance after the initial contract is complete. Our subcontractors do great work for us and we strive to build lasting relationships with them. These partners enjoy working with us because we treat them fairly.”
In the coming years, ARCO and partners have a lot to look forward to. Growth in the senior housing market is opening up opportunities across the country. ARCO’s team is happy to fill that niche.
“We really enjoy working with our repeat developers, such as Provision Living, ClearPath Senior Living and The First Capital Group, because they share the same business model as ARCO,” Bellina states. “Together, we strive to do the right thing in all circumstances. Our relationships allow us to be very collaborative in the design and the finished product.”
Above all else, ARCO is proud of what the company is able to deliver. “Specifically working in senior living, we know these construction projects actually have a purpose to families across the country,” Bellina says. “We enjoy seeing the seniors being taken care of. As the nation gets older, we have the satisfaction in seeing the buildings go up and then have people thrive in the buildings we partner to create. We want our aging citizens to be able to do cool things in these communities, like working out in the gyms, enjoying themselves in the gardens and activity centers and eating in beautiful dining halls. It makes us happy to see this happening.”
As the market grows, ARCO is expanding. Working alongside longtime partners and clients, the company is able to help provide valuable services to people all over the country. According to Bellina, the company has the potential to open some new offices in the next few years, though he says managing growth is vital to the company’s sustainability. “ARCO’s goal for growing the business is directly related to servicing and going deep with our customer base,” Bellina says. “It’s never been about big volume or numbers with us, but has happened naturally as we continue to serve our clients.” ARCO Construction Inc. will continue to grow, moving in stride with the needs of clients and end-users.
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