It’s often said in business that you’re either growing or dying. And if you want to grow, you’d better be willing to try new things.
The imperative to grow and change applies to general contractors such as Dallas-Fort Worth-based Bob Moore Construction as it does any tech company or manufacturers. The company, founded in 1946, has long been an innovator in methods such as tilt-up concrete construction. Recently, it forged into a new line of business, adding multifamily to its traditional lines of industrial and commercial construction.
Bob Moore’s move into multifamily is a response to both a specific opportunity, and to the nature of the Dallas real estate development market, say officials at the company. “A longtime customer of ours came to us with a great project: A five-story podium style project in Dallas,” says Mark Duvall, vice president for pre-construction services at Bob Moore. “We saw this as an opportunity to apply our existing construction management skills to an exciting new sector.”
The Dallas real estate development market is one of the hottest in the nation, and experts expect that to continue even if the overall economy slows down.
“The rest of the economy may get the flu in the next couple years. We’re going to get a cold,” says Jesse Pruitt, owner of Somervell Commercial Realty and a veteran of the Metroplex real estate scene. But that doesn’t mean every sector of the real estate market is booming at the same time, all the time. For instance, Pruitt says, demand for industrial sites is high right now, and he expects that to continue.
“[For] the institutions and money funds, industrial is the big thing they want to buy,” Pruitt says.
But the market for commercial development, while still strong, is off from recent highs, a reflection of a national trend. The Dodge Construction Outlook for 2019 calls for commercial construction to decline nationally by about 3 percent, following a 2 percent rise in 2018. “Over the past three years, the expansion for the U.S. construction industry has shown deceleration in its rate of growth, a pattern that typically takes place as an expansion matures,” says Robert A. Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics, in a release.
Given the uneven nature of the construction market, it makes sense for a company like Bob Moore to push into new verticals. And the multifamily market appears to be a good bet. Dallas-Fort Worth was the second-most active multifamily investment market in 2018, behind New York, the Dallas Business Journal reports.
“The multifamily market was able to give us another market that is not always as volatile as some of the industrial work we perform,” says Larry Knox, executive vice president at Bob Moore Construction. “And it helps us be a more full-service contractor to our developer clients.”
Adding new expertise
But adding a new market to its services meant Bob Moore had to expand its pool of experts. That involved some serious relationship building.
“We were forced to find new people with experience in the multifamily sector,” says Knox. “We had to work hard to find and establish relationships with the subcontractors that specifically work in the multifamily arena. Most of our established subcontractor base did not or was not qualified to pursue multifamily work.”
Finding the right colleagues wasn’t easy, but it was worthwhile, says Duvall.
“There’s a great pool of subcontractors for this sector and we’ve gotten to know them over the last several years,” he says. “We need quality subcontractors to be successful, so building relationships with them has been critical.”
Contact Bob Moore Construction to discuss your multifamily construction needs.
Bob Moore Construction started in 1946 and is one of the largest commercial general contractors in Dallas, Fort Worth and all of Texas, It has delivered commercial construction projects in Texas and around the United States. The company is an industry leader in tilt-up construction.
Article originally published in the Dallas Business Journal