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Real Estate - Commercial

Builder For Several Public Projects Aims To Continue Local Growth

By Cece Nunn, posted Mar 18, 2016
Ben Warren (left), vice president of operations for Bordeaux Construction, and Wescott Butler, project manager for Bordeaux, stand Wednesday in front of the recently renovated W. Allen Cobb Judicial Annex in downtown Wilmington. (Photo by Cece Nunn)

As a construction company's workers are wrapping up or near completion on several public projects in the Wilmington area, the firm, which established an office downtown last year, hopes to expand its presence in the area even more, officials said this week.

Bordeaux Construction Company Inc., a company that has an office in Durham and opened a second location on North Front Street last summer, finished building Snipes Academy in Wilmington in 2010. In the past two and a half years, Bordeaux has gained rapid momentum in the area’s public construction arena, embarking on numerous New Hanover County government and school buildings efforts.

That more recent momentum started with the county’s new 30,000-square-foot ABC headquarters on Market Street, finished in 2014, said Ben Warren, vice president of operations for Bordeaux. From there, the company built the first structure for Cape Fear Community College’s Surf City campus, winning more local contracts after that.

“We’re just really excited to be plugged into Wilmington. It’s not something that’s going to go away. It’s something that may only be a few years young, but Bordeaux Construction is a permanent fixture in Wilmington,” Warren said Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, the company was given a notice of intent to award Bordeaux the renovation project for the George West building, 1307 Market St., at New Hanover High School. With a project cost estimated at more than $5 million, the high school building renovation will be one of two bond projects Bordeaux has been awarded that are part of the $160 million school bond voters approved in 2014. The other, currently under construction, is Porters Neck Elementary School.

In recent days, Bordeaux Construction has taken down scaffolding from the old New Hanover County courthouse annex that was built in the 1920s as well as the The W. Allen Cobb Judicial Annex that was originally constructed in 2002. The company restored the exterior of the older building at 316 Princess St., a project that involved replacing mortar.

Work on the newer building at 20 N. Third St. was an extensive effort to address water intrusion issues.

“We took the entire outside of the building, all the windows, everything, off and replaced them,” Warren said Wednesday.

He said Bordeaux workers will be putting the finishing touches on the Cobb annex in the next month.

“We’re trying to get everything buttoned up for the Azalea Festival. At this point it’s hardscape sidewalk repairs. The building’s largely finished,” he said.

Bordeaux has also completed work on the county’s recycling center on U.S. 421 and is in the midst of an overhaul of the county ABC building at 17th and Castle streets.

Wescott Butler, Bordeaux Construction's project manager for the Wilmington area, joined the company about six months ago. Based in the firm's office at 254 N. Front St., Butler is also part of Bordeaux’s mission to attract private commercial business.

“We’re definitely interested in stepping into that category,” with the ultimate goal of concurrently growing a public and private project portfolio, Butler said Wednesday.

Building relationships, something Warren and Butler credit with the company’s successes so far, will be key to that effort, they said.

“I think that’s where Wescott really comes in ... he lives on Carolina Beach; he went to East Carolina [University]; he’s from Elizabethtown,” Warren said. “It’s natural if you are a citizen where you’re working that you want to hopefully grow your business by your relationships and of course do work in your hometown to improve everything that’s around you.”

A part of the state’s general contracting industry since 1977, the company doesn’t distinguish between categories of projects in terms of high performance, Warren said.

“We do business the same way -- whether we’re selected by a private owner or we’re awarded a project based on price," he said.
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