Lucas Heights Apartments – HBD Construction Inc.
Multifamily residential construction seems to be on the rise in St. Louis, Mo., so it’s no surprise that 90-year-old HBD Construction Inc. (HBD) is well-positioned to play a major role in the city’s rejuvenation. HBD has played a major role in shaping St. Louis’ skyline, relying on a talented team of individuals and an approach that puts the client’s needs front and center. HBD’s client-oriented philosophy has secured a loyal client base for repeat business. HBD’s commitment to teamwork, safety and getting the job done correctly continues to drive growth today.
“We want customers for a lifetime, so we’re always working with the long-term in mind,” explains Brian C. Kowert, vice president and partner at HBD. The Missouri-based company employs roughly 100 personnel, some of whom are third generation. HBD has the impressive capability to perform as a general contractor, a design-build general contractor or a construction manager in nine states.
HBD’s experience is more than just a legacy of completed projects, though, and the company stays ahead of the competition by continually improving its construction capabilities to suit its project mix. A project manager is assigned to each HBD project and ensures the client’s best interests are continually advocated at every stage in the construction process.
An Ingrained Team Work Ethic
“It’s the people that set HBD apart, no question,” asserts Kowert. “We have a team of incredibly talented and capable people who take pride in our company.” Kowert joined HBD himself in 2002, following in the footsteps of his father, Brian M. Kowert, current COO of HBD who has been with the company for over 40 years. Kowert can remember many afternoons spent doing homework at HBD’s headquarters, as well as working as a summer laborer and after college before starting full time.
“No one pushed me into this industry, it just kind of hit me one day that this was something I really enjoyed,” admits Kowert. Since joining HBD, Kowert has made his mark by specializing in projects that revitalize underused sites and turning them into anchors of the local community. Most recently Kowert’s expertise was summoned for the $9.6 million rehabilitation of Lucas Heights Apartments.
The Lucas Heights Apartment complex consists of 192 apartments in 12 buildings in the heart of St. Louis’ midtown neighborhood. The midtown neighborhood has seen a recent wave of renewal putting rental apartments in high demand. After 30 years, these apartments were in need of extensive interior and exterior upgrades, including new MEP systems and complete interior renovation. HBD was tapped as general contractor for the renovation. “We basically stripped the buildings down to the drywall and studs,” expands Kowert.
The team at HBD replaced everything from building systems to lighting and plumbing fixtures, shower enclosures and flooring. Crews also completed a total exterior facelift, replacing old siding, exterior stairs, windows and installing all new high-efficiency mechanical equipment as well.
Building a Better Tomorrow
“We worked hand-in-hand with the project owners to coordinate and phase the renovation with as little disruption to the tenants as possible,” adds Kowert. HBD coordinated renovations, allowing tenants to be temporarily relocated to other units and swiftly moved back after renovations wrapped up. All the while, crews were also completing renovations to the complex’s community building, business center, laundry facility and maintenance buildings.
“We committed to our completion date early on, not just because there were damages charged for every day we ran over, but because this was a critically important development for the owner and community,” opines Kowert. The project is part of the Missouri Housing & Development Commission’s (MHDC) portfolio of income-restricted apartments serving many of St. Louis’ deprived. The apartments vary between one-bedroom garden apartments and two-bedroom townhomes, ensuring a perfect fit for everyone.
To note, HBD met its 25-percent MBE and five-percent WBE participation goals. “We had a good mix of familiar subcontractors and some newcomers for whom this was their largest project ever,” says Kowert. “It worked out really well. We are committed to working with the MBE/WBE community, and this project was no exception.”
The next few years hold significant growth opportunities for HBD, as the company has seen an increase in senior living, multifamily living and assisted care facilities. Kowert is proud to note that HBD is celebrating 90 years of client-focused construction in 2012, to boot. Wherever the company directs its focus, HBD Construction Inc.’s talented team will ensure every project is built toward a lifelong client relationship.
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