Case Studies

Zucaro Construction LLC & Zucaro House Lifters Inc.

Diverse construction services on Long Island

In 1978 Andrew Zucaro founded Zucaro Construction LLC (ZCL), a small general contracting company serving clients on Long Island and New York City. ZCL has always had a hand in commercial and residential construction, as the business started out building nightclubs in the area. Over the years, Andrew and his team have bulked up the company portfolio. ZCL has established broad capabilities and experience in the industry, attracting clients from schools, luxury car dealerships, hotels and restaurants, among others.

Andrew has always felt at home in the construction business. His father was a project manager, and as a child, Andrew would accompany him to job sites. “I had always liked it and eventually, as planned, became my career,” he explains. Andrew has experience in industrial, commercial and residential construction. Today, he spends a lot of time on jobsites, overseeing each aspect of a project from beginning to end.

ZCL takes a unique approach to the business and employs a simple philosophy that works. With 20 to 60 employees, ranging by season and how busy the company is, the business is small enough to stay hands-on with projects; however, large enough to take on larger and more complicated contracts.

Diverse capabilities

Andrew and his team work closely with clients to put together unique projects that meet the spatial and functional needs of end-users. ZCL does have an architect on staff, as some of the company’s work is design-build. “As the general contractor, we do the complete job from demolition through finishes,” Andrew explains. “When the project is complete, we are the ones handing over the keys to the owner.”

ZCL relies on a number of reliable subcontractors for many trades. Andrew has built a strong network of tradespeople and subcontractors who can meet the ZCL standard of quality. Working together with the in-house crew, these strategic partners help to turn around a project efficiently while exceeding the expectations of clients.

In addition to the general contractor business, Andrew has also recently opened a house lifting business, Zucaro House Lifters Inc. (ZHL). “The house lifting came about after Hurricane Sandy hit the region,” Andrew recalls. “There was no power anywhere on Long Island and all of the houses were damaged. We had our people out helping people fix their homes.” Andrew started to wonder, ‘What if they all flood again?’

Despite the hardships, Andrew knows he is where he is supposed to be. “Going into this business was a natural choice for me,” he continues. “I brought on a company out of California, consisting of third-generation house lifters. They were called Scott House Movers. I purchased the equipment and they all moved here. The team works full time with us now, training our people to put together the best house lifting business ever. We work from Brooklyn to Montauk. We also do concrete in-house and we work for homeowners, builders and architects. We are an approved contractor for New York Rising, a government agency that is distributing grants to help people get above another potential flood.”

Recent work

ZCL has a diverse portfolio. The crew has been endlessly busy in recent years, pulling together unique projects all over the region. The company’s recent work includes constructing a new restaurant for Miller’s Ale House, a Floridian chain of eateries. The project actually involved the demolition of a building Andrew and his team had built many years prior. “We put up a new 12,000-square-foot facility on two acres of land,” he elaborates. “We did all of the site work, the complete contracts as turnkey.”

Another recent project has been a total renovation of a local car dealership. “We worked for a local Bentley and Lambourghini dealer,” Andrew says. “Bentley of Long Island had an existing building and determined we could meet their needs with full gut and renovation, plus a very large extension. There is a large service area and we had to work closely with both auto manufacturers to meet their requirements for the dealership.”

ZCL also often works in hospitality. “We built the Viana Hotel and Spa in Westbury, N.Y.,” Andrew states. “That was an interesting project. We excavated down 40 feet and built seven levels altogether, including the sub-basement. This was another complete turnkey job where we started with a 20,000-square-foot bowling alley and demolished that to build a hotel. It was a tricky job.”

The Viana has 116 rooms, a full spa, a restaurant, a conference center and an underground parking garage. The site was only one and a quarter acre in size, making logistics tight. The space required the team to do a lot of shoring to hold back the Earth while excavating.

The company’s broad commercial capabilities also include building schools. The team recently constructed a second floor and another addition to a school for special needs children in Seaford, N.Y. “This was a large build, and even adding on the second floor, we were able to complete the project without students having to miss any school,” Andrew recalls. “The fact that we were able to build on top of the existing structure without causing any damage or having the kids lose time was pretty remarkable.”

One of the company’s more trying projects has been the total renovation of The Space at Westbury, an old theater built in 1927. “Our work consisted of removing the concrete roof and replacing it,” says Andrew. “We demolished the complete interior and excavated down 10 feet to create a basement. We added a 160-foot long extension.

Staying ahead

ZCL has been busy in recent years, and Andrew says his team recovered well from the recession. “We have a good name, we watched our money and we made it through,” he explains. “It was definitely hard but we learned from the last recession in the late ’80s and early ’90s. We were hurt much harder in that recession, but we learned a lot and it made us better prepared for this one.”

According to Andrew, the last few years have definitely not been easy for anyone. “Fortunately for us, we were coming off a large hotel job,” he details. “Our torture only lasted about a year and a half instead of the three or four other contractors experienced. We did not lay anyone off.”

Andrew prefers slow and steady growth to rapid expansion, part of a modest and carefully monitored business plan. “We’re happy where we are,” he explains. “We’d like to be more steady, but that never really happens in this business. I think we will see our house lifting business continue to grow. Other than that, we’re going wherever the market takes us. We love happy customers, so it has never been about the money for us. Money is just a report card.”

Of course, that report card helps him operate a strong business and maintain talented employees, whom he is very proud of.

Furthermore, the business is affiliated with a number of organizations, such as industry associations, National Association of Remodeling, U.S. Green Building Council and the Long Island Builders Institute. The company is also very involved with the community; Andrew’s team has donated funds to the Genesis School for Autistic Children and Hope House, an organization that helps troubled boys find their way. Additionally, Andrew sits on many boards, including U.S. Green Building Council of Long Island and Nassau University Medical Center.

Although growth has been gradual, ZCL has outgrown its current facility. “Right now we are working out of three locations and we’d like to get everything under one roof,” Andrew says. In addition to the construction company and the house lifting business, he also owns a classic car business, as well as a restaurant.

“The cars are more of a hobby,” he clarifies. “I’m into everything from the 1920s to the 1970s. I guess it’s a very serious hobby. Someday I’d like to make a calendar with different cars in front of our different job sites.” The company is looking at land to build a new, larger facility that could house the three businesses, excluding the restaurant.

Andrew remains satisfied with the size of the business. With extremely experienced and talented project supers, ZCL keeps its crew just the right size to build relationships with clients while still large enough to take on big contracts. With a few good years under his belt, Andrew is cautiously optimistic about the future of the business.

“Our goal is to make projects fun rather than an inconvenience,” Andrew explains. “Quite often, our clients become our dear friends. Attitude, dedication and experience are our secrets to success.” With a simple and straightforward philosophy, Zucaro Construction LLC and Zucaro House Lifters Inc. will continue to provide strong construction services to diverse clients across the region.

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Spring 2018



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