Case Studies

Miller Architects & Builders

Five Generations of Turnkey Project Development

Miller Architects & Builders (MAB) has served as the Midwest’s single source for turnkey project development for more than 134 years. The Minnesota-based design-build contractor dates back to 1874 when the first generation started the family-owned and -operated business. In the early 1970s, fourth-generation owners purchased an architectural firm, adding additional in-house capabilities. From commercial development to design and construction, MAB is doing it all across the Midwest.

MAB took off over a century ago, when the great-great-great-grandfather of Dan Miller, current CEO and owner of MAB, established a small construction company in Nebraska. “We’re still family-owned,” shares Joe Seifert, president of MAB.

The company is now based in St. Cloud, Minn., serving clients as far as Indiana and North Dakota with a team of approximately 35 employees. “We’re centrally located in the state, which is an advantage, and I think we have one heck of a workforce that travels with us,” notes Joe.

It’s a strong local workforce that has helped MAB stay afloat during the recession. “We generally like to use as much local labor as possible, but when we go to areas like North Dakota, it’s nonexistent,” explains Joe. “Fortunately, we have a great team that will go with us. Our in-house architects, designers, project managers and superintendents control quality and safety, but we subcontract the rest of the work.”

It is evident that Joe is proud of his team. “I think we have some of the best subcontractors in the country,” continues Joe. “They’re willing to work and they know what we’re doing, something we’re particularly thankful for when we go to areas like North Dakota.”

The Single Source Shop

With quality, dedicated employees and a slew of in-house architects, development consultants, project managers and superintendents, MAB has established itself as the Midwest’s single source for design-build construction. “We’re first and foremost a commercial general contractor specializing in manufacturing/industrial, warehouse, office, retail, worship facilities, senior health care, health care, funeral homes, hotels, but we also do multifamily residential projects,” explains Joe. “All of our work is negotiated.”

As a full-service organization MAB provides turnkey project development; from strategic planning, site selection, architectural services, zoning and regulatory compliance to construction management, customers can rest easy leaving the details up to MAB. The company understands that no two clients and no two buildings are the same, so customization is important.

Starting with the client’s vision, MAB’s architects and designers craft custom solutions that match the client’s expectations, preference and budget. From full-service design to master planning and project administration, MAB streamlines the process while allowing ample opportunity for the client’s development, input and refinement.

“We’re currently finishing up a Home Stay Suites hotel in North Dakota,” reveals Joe. “It’s a 58,000-square-foot, 84-unit extended-stay hotel. We’re about two-thirds of the way done and expecting to finish in September 2013.”

The company also recently completed the 16,382-square-foot Lawn Funeral Home in the suburbs of Chicago. MAB has an impressive portfolio, including many funeral home projects. In Elmwood Park, Ill., MAB worked on The Elms Funeral Home, replacing an existing facility destroyed by a fire. The new 9,165-square-foot build took about nine months to complete.

With dramatic Victoria architecture, three turrets, an L-shaped lobby with two main entrances and a dividable chapel with seating for 200, MAB restored and revitalized the facility. Combining spacious design, high ceilings, natural light with transitional décor, the Elms Funeral Home is just one of MAB’s successful projects.

Longevity and Stability

Throughout the recession, Joe says MAB has remained busy, relying on a solid backlog of projects. “We’ve felt the downturn just like other companies, but since we’re in different niches we’re pretty diverse,” he notes. “We’ve also counted on our backlog. When the recession hit about four or five years ago we had work lined up for several years. We just started feeling the effects about a year ago, but we’re doing just fine.”

MAB’s stability is due to repeat business and a solid reputation that’s been forged for more than 134 years. “I base our success on our repeat clients; if they’re coming back, we know we’re doing a great job,” says Joe. “We’re also pretty proud of our employee’s longevity. People stick around here forever. I have superintendents who’ve been here for 40 years and project managers who’ve been around for 20 years. I think that speaks to our stability.”

After 20 years with MAB, Joe is confident the company can take on another century of success with the same poise. After five generations of family-run success, Miller Architects & Builders continues to be the single-source shop for turnkey project development in the Midwest.

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Spring 2018



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