Crown Farm Development
- Written by: Crown Farm Development
- Produced by: Crown Farm Development
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
The community of Gaithersburg, Md., is anxiously awaiting the completion of the 180-acre Crown Farm development, the newest master-planned community in Montgomery County. Crown Farm development is located on Fields Road at Sam Eig Highway, which is just off from I-270 and the Inter County Connector. The development’s main retail portion is dubbed Downtown Crown and includes 260,000 square feet of national and regional retail, a Harris Teeter grocery store, as well as an LA Fitness center serving the surrounding multifamily units. The development of Crown Farm has been a priority since 2006; however, the project was put on hold when the original developers went into bankruptcy in 2010.
By 2012 the site was purchased by private developers, and the wheels finally began to turn again. In cooperation with JBGR, the lead retail developer, Foulger-Pratt Contracting (Foulger-Pratt) won the bid to tackle the retail and parking garage aspects of Downtown Crown as the head general contractor.
“We broke ground on the $20 million project in July 2012,” shares Seth Bolte, senior project manager for Foulger-Pratt. “Right now we’re in the first phase of construction, which includes an 8,000-square-foot retail building featuring a coffee shop, cleaners, as well as a beer and wine store. In addition, a 74,000-square-foot retail building which includes a fitness facility, large restaurant, bank and other tenants, as well as a precast concrete parking garage to support these buildings. By year’s end, we are on schedule to open two additional standalone retail buildings that are each 5,000 square feet.”
According to Bolte, the retail section of the development will serve the adjacent residential building within the development, including 337 townhomes, 60 single-family detached homes, 1,149 multifamily units and more than 257,400 square feet of commercial space.
The Best for the Job
Bolte, who’s been in the construction industry for more than 19 years, has been with Foulger-Pratt for about a decade. “Our company is celebrating our 50-year anniversary,” Bolte details. “From our project managers on-site to our superintendents, we’re a close knit company, even though we are ranked in Engineering News Record’s Top 400 contractors in the U.S. We go out of our way to treat our customers fairly, with integrity and respect.”
Foulger-Pratt was founded in 1963 and has been working with private developers in the commercial, retail and multifamily sectors for the 50 years since. The company’s experience spans from an ambitious $185 million downtown Silver Spring retail development to numerous successful retail, office and multifamily projects throughout the region. Foulger-Pratt’s multiple teams are proficient in the detailing of custom finishes and corporate branding required in retail tenant build-outs, as well as extensive site requirements involved with construction, including parking, utilities and streetscape work.
“We have been based in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area for many years,” adds Bolte. “The entire Foulger-Pratt organization has almost 300 employees who are highly trained, experienced and motivated individuals.”
Developing Downtown Crown
As the primary retail general contractor for Downtown Crown, Foulger-Pratt is responsible for managing and scheduling a large crew of subcontractors to complete the development successfully. “Our project managers are also schedulers,” reveals Bolte. “We’re very schedule-oriented, so we prefer to do it in-house. We hold our subcontractors accountable for the commitments we’ve made.”
For the on-site labor, Bolte indicates the company subcontracts about 95 percent of the work out. “We have the capability to do some self-perform work; however, we generally subcontract everything out,” Bolte shares. “Low price isn’t the only factor we look for. Our goal is to establish long-term relationships, and although we may not use the exact set of subcontractors from job to job, we prefer to select subcontractors with a reputation for performance, integrity and similar core values.”
Bolte reveals Foulger-Pratt has worked with a few new subcontractors on-site at Downtown Crown, and he has been really pleased because the company took the time to sit down face-to-face with each team. “We don’t just hire the lowest priced subcontractor that we’ve never heard of before, there’s a lot of due diligence that goes into finding the right subcontractors,” he explains. Aside from finding qualified subcontractors, Bolte and his team had to coordinate building schedules and plans with JBGR while completing the infrastructure.
The team at Foulger-Pratt approached the situation with an open mind and cooperative spirit. “We understand the challenges a developer faces, because we a developer ourselves,” remarks Bolte. “We really focus on doing what was asked of us and rolling with the inevitable changes to help JBGR keep its promises to its tenants. At the end of the day, we’re all working toward the same goal, so Foulger-Pratt prefers to work with the client to solve challenges.”
Bolte explains that Foulger-Pratt’s work at Downtown Crown is a reflection of the company’s strong core values to treat people the way we’d like to be treated. “The people at Foulger-Pratt are some of the best I’ve ever worked with,” Bolte details. Through a collaborative effort with JBGR, the Foulger-Pratt Contracting team is working to bring new economic life to Maryland’s Gaithersburg community with the birth of the Crown Farm development and all it entails.
For more information about the Foulger-Pratt Contracting, please visit: http://www.foulgerpratt.com/index.php.
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