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Real Estate - Commercial

Monteith Construction Showcasing Headquarters Downtown

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Aug 9, 2018
Monteith Construction Corp. is gearing up to showcase its headquarters Thursday, after renovating a historical building in downtown Wilmington.

In early June, the Wilmington-based construction firm moved into about 7,500 square feet of office space at 208 Princess St., said Bryan Thomas, COO of Monteith Construction. The company has additional offices in Raleigh, Myrtle Beach and Charleston, South Carolina.

Monteith’s more than $1.2 million renovations of the building took about four months, Thomas said.

“We were under the gun to renovate the place and get in,” he said. “We did about a four-month renovation and made it in with about a week to spare.”

The growing firm transitioned from its former downtown office location at 32 N. Front St. That 3,400-square-foot space was purchased for nearly $1 million in late 2017 by Tilia Fiduciary Partners Inc., which planned to occupy the entire building.

Monteith had held offices in that building for about 10 years.

Monteith is set to hold an open house Thursday at 6 p.m., with a guest list that includes clients, architects, engineers and designers to showcase the new space (right), Thomas said.

Thomas said that Monteith wanted a “unique space” for its employees, and the company found just that in the circa 1915 structure, built by the Fraternal order The Knights of Pythias.

Prior to Monteith's purchase of the building, it was previously being renovated for an events center and retail space, but eventually went back on the market, he said. Monteith bought it for a little over $1 million, according to New Hanover County tax records.

“We love downtown. We were expanding, and we wanted to stay here,” Thomas said. “The building was on sale at the right time.”

At first, the building was not the firm’s first choice, Thomas said. But in looking at the building again, the company saw its potential.

“As we came back around, we started to see what this building could be. It gave us enough separation but also gave us an open floor plan," he said. “We liked the idea of kind of an old structure that has all the modern amenities."

During construction, the company restored the building's original windows and refinished the original floors. But modern touches to the building also were added in its amenities.

What the firm ended up with was a three-story office space with an added rooftop deck, which has views of the historic courthouse in downtown Wilmington, the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge and Battleship North Carolina, he said.

The first floor of the building contains Monteith’s main office room, conference room, accounting department, as well as its 3-D virtual construction laboratory, with room to grow. 

The second floor of the building includes space for the company's project managers and project coordinators, conference rooms and break-out spaces. And the third floor has additional conference space as well as room for Monteith’s preconstruction, human resources and hard-bid estimating departments.

"We built room for approximately 50 employees that can work out of the office," Thomas said, adding that there is some room for overflow. 

The firm also found a piece of history during construction. While putting in a fire suppression system, crews drilled into a time capsule that had been put into place sometime around the early 1900s, Thomas said. 

Inside the soldered-shut time capsule, they found old newspapers (right), coins, an original blueprint of the building and postcards signed by Wilmington architect Henry Bonitz and his family, Thomas said. Some of the pieces were kept by the firm, but a lot of the items were donated to the Cape Fear Museum, he said.  

Overall it was the desire of the firm to have input from employees, who formed a small committee to get involved, Thomas said. 

“This [project] was really neat because we had a lot of input from people in the company," he said. "So it belongs to them, so to speak.”

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