Case Studies

Doran Construction Company

Turning Vision into Reality

Robert Muir and Kelly Doran, now owner of Doran Construction Company (DCC), were Upper Midwest shopping center development partners in 2002. At that time, the duo found themselves questioning the quality of service among the region’s general contractors. Therefore, Muir and Doran took measures into their own hands, initially founding Muir-Doran Construction Company.

The partnership lasted five years, with Doran ultimately purchasing Muir’s share of the company. Doran continues to operate the Bloomington, Minn.-based general contracting business as its current designation today. “We’ve been in operation for 11 years now,” Doran explains. “We have become one of the fastest growing construction companies in the Midwest.”

In addition to performing management and execution on a range of retail projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska and the Dakotas, DCC has diversified its offerings to include multifamily housing construction, as well as medical and health care services buildings. The DCC team of 50 employees works diligently to build structures with the highest standard of excellence, but also to solidify lasting relationships that result in a strong record of repeat business.

The Team’s Latest

According to Doran, approximately 30 percent of DCC’s projects are for retail owners and developers, while approximately 60 percent are multifamily projects. “The rest is a mix of commercial and institutional projects, including medical offices and facilities, as well as student housing near college and university campuses,” details Doran. The DCC team’s work has garnered regional praise and, as Doran points out, customer loyalty. “Indeed, we have just completed our 19th store for Menards and we are very proud of that relationship,” he continues.

Doran details that the company has recently been involved in several residential endeavors. “We’re building 99 student housing units in Duluth for a third-party developer, and a 150-unit project in Bismarck for an institutional owner,” he says. “Other multifamily projects we are building around the Minneapolis urban area bring the total units being built to over 1,000.”

Doran goes on to detail that DCC broke ground on a student-housing project at the University of Minnesota in April 2013 “It’s one of our own developments and, because of its location between two bridges over the Mississippi River, we named it The Bridge,” he says proudly. “The 11-story building will have 211 units, and will be completed in August 2014.”

The DCC team has performed several student housing construction projects at the University of Minnesota. “The first was Sydney Hall in 2009,” notes Doran. “We were able to obtain financing for Sydney Hall at a time when there wasn’t a lot of commercial lending going on. Besides that, it was one of our most interesting projects as we had to deal with a very tight site, lots of existing buildings, a need for substantial shoring, and the project incorporated an adjacent historical structure.”

Perseverance Pays

Despite economic and physical challenges, Doran and the DCC team are dedicated to top performance and are proud to have never been late on a project. As a general contractor, DCC makes use of high-performing subcontractors and manages the projects with on-site superintendents, project managers and other team members from the company’s corporate office. “Clearly, the days of the self-performing general contractor are coming to an end,” Doran says. “It’s no longer a cost-effective way of doing business.”

According to Doran, from a management standpoint the industry shift makes it even more important to work with the right people. “We don’t always work with the same people, but we definitely have repeat subcontractors,” he says. “Our corporate philosophy is that the lowest bid gets the job, provided they are qualified to do the work. We want good work at a good price, and we work with union and nonunion subcontractors.”

Due to the recent circumstances, DCC made some adjustments to maintain growth. “We never saw much of a slowdown,” explains Doran. “We’ve continued to grow and regionally, it looks like things are getting better overall. In 2009, when real estate went into a serious depression, you would be fortunate to have one bank willing to finance a project, but now we routinely have five or six competing to finance multifamily projects. Clearly, as the economy improves, user-oriented stores like Kohl’s, Wal-Mart and Menards are more robust.”

According to Doran, clients return to DCC again and again, resulting in a well-deserved reputation. “We always deliver on time; that kind of record has caused other developers to hire us for their projects,” says Doran.

Doran goes on to note that the future of the company looks good. “My team is looking at more than 25 percent growth over the next few years,” he continues. “We continued to grow organically even during the downturn.”

The team at DCC is driven by success, with customer satisfaction, safety and attention to detail being the key components to the business’ continued growth. Indeed, the team’s attention to detail has earned several recognitions for DCC’s work, including the Minnesota Shopping Center Association’s STARR award for the Sydney Hall project in 2010.

It is that same attentiveness that will allow Doran and his team of project managers to continue to serve regional clients in a range of sectors. From high-end condos and apartments to chain retailers, Doran Construction Company continues to offer a full-service approach to management and execution of major building projects across the Midwest.

For more information about Doran Construction Company, please visit:

Published on: June 29, 2013


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