Case Studies

Neighbors Construction Co. Inc.

A Local Partner in the Mixed-use, Multifamily Market

In 1951 Roger “Pat” D. Neighbors founded his namesake company, Neighbors Construction Co. Inc. (Neighbors), shortly after returning from World War II. “My father was a self-made kind of guy; he didn’t graduate from high school, but he had great skill as a carpenter and tradesmen,” recalls Roger Neighbors, second-generation owner and current president of Neighbors. “He started as a framing subcontractor for HUD housing and things began to grow from there.”

The Upper Hand in Supply

As the Kansas-based company began to grow from a rough framing subcontractor into a general contractor, Pat established a lumber company to support his operations. Century Building Solutions (Century) was founded in 1961 and remains one of Neighbors’ biggest assets today.

“Century was eventually moved to Lawrence, Kan., where the company still resides,” notes Roger. “Other general contractors don’t have this capability. I can sell materials to myself as cheap as I want and that allows us to offer highly competitive prices and gives us the advantage on all kinds of jobs. We’re known for building tougher, bigger projects because nobody has the supply connection we do.”

Century supports Neighbors with everything from windows and doors to rough lumber and interior trim. “Century also sells to homebuilders and other outlets, but we’re its biggest customer,” reveals Roger.

This strategic in-house supply chain has allowed Neighbors to climb to the top of the multifamily market in Lenexa, Kan., and the greater Kansas City., Mo., area. “Our strong attention to detail is known around town and we’re the go-to multifamily contractor for apartments, mixed-use, townhomes, condominiums; anything on a large scale,” says Roger.

Large-scale, Mixed-use Projects

Neighbors offers vast experience in preconstruction, design-build and construction management of a wide range of facilities, from apartments and student housing to senior and assisted-living facilities, hotels, motels, retail centers and mixed-use facilities. The company’s depth of experience in building codes, subcontractor relationships, design-assist service and collaboration with architects, engineers, government authorities and utility companies is second to none.

“Our niche is in multifamily facilities,” shares Roger. “The majority of our projects are on a large scale. We do duplexes, but we do 70 of them at a time. We currently have more than 1,000 units under contract and $138 million worth of contracts. I expect about the same amount of volume for 2014.”

Neighbors works closely with developers and owners alike. “We generally collaborate with two or three developers in town on the bandwagon of building apartments and their investors, because we have a lot of repeat buildings and customers,” notes Roger. “Recently, we have delivered custom buildings on top of garage podium decks; that’s a growing trend.”

The company is staying on top of the growing mixed-use trend, recently finishing a $24 million development at Mission Farms West in Overland Park, Kan. “This mixed-use, wrapped structure consisted of 212 units around a five-level parking garage with retail in one portion of the building and apartments in the other,” recounts Roger. “The logistics and tight site made this project a challenge, but it’s been one of our largest since the recession and it’s helped really give us the jumpstart we needed.”

Along with strength in an in-house supply chain, Roger adds that Neighbors’ varied specialties also help the contractor land sizable, complex jobs in a tough economy. “We’re known for our wood framing as we always have been, but lately we have coupled that with competitive low-rise concrete structures,” he reveals. “That’s hard to beat in this market and we’re capitalizing on it.”

Neighbors has incorporated its structural concrete capabilities into the Park Place Residence development in Leewood, Kan. “We broke ground on this job in February 2013,” details Roger. “While Park Place Residence is a smaller job – two buildings; one with 76 units and one with 74 units – there were lots of structural concrete components involved and a substantial parking garage.”

According to Roger, the wide building situated on a tight site made for some logistical challenges; however, the team was able to tackle the challenge. “We used a crane, which is out of the usual, and had to keep in mind all of the details of material delivery and storage without disrupting existing tenants,” he details.

A Much Needed Jumpstart

After several slow years, Roger says Neighbors is finally in a good position again with eight current projects in the works. “We’re trying to ride this wave and capitalize on the mixed-use market potential,” he explains. “The recession hurt us pretty bad. It was no fun, but we survived. I asked everyone, including myself, to take a 20 percent pay cut, because for about three years we only had one job.”

Fortunately, Roger says the multifamily, mixed-use market seems to be in an upswing. “It feels good around here,” he adds. “There’s an influx of midtown projects as people try to live closer to work and more garage-centered buildings.”

After more than 60 years in business, Roger is happy to note the family-owned company has come full circle since 1951. “I have twin, 35-year-old sons, Aaron and Ryan, who graduated from Colorado State in 2000 and have now been here for 13 years, so the company is in good hands,” he assures. “Our reputation is what we fall back on, because it’s outstanding and we’ve worked very hard for it.”

Neighbors Construction Co. Inc. continues to support mixed-used, multifamily development, leveraging an in-house supply chain and a long line of family ownership to its advantage.

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