November 4, 2011
Overlooking Forest Park from one of the future galleries of the Saint Louis Art Museum, The Associated General Contractors of St. Louis (AGC) observed "Build St. Louis Day - 2011" with a special ceremony Tuesday, November 1 at the construction site of the Saint Louis Art Museum Expansion Project.
Mayor Francis Slay and County Executive Charlie Dooley, who both attended the event, issued proclamations declaring October 31 - November 1, 2011 "Build St. Louis Week - 2011" in the city and county. The annual event recognizes the contributions of St. Louis construction workers to our region's economy and quality of life.
The $130.5 million Art Museum Expansion Project, a signature addition to the original Cass Gilbert-designed building, will add more than 200,000 square feet of new and improved space for galleries, public amenities, as well as a three-level, 300-space, below-grade parking garage. The Cass Gilbert building is the only structure left from the 1904 World's Fair.
Museum Director Brent Benjamin said the expansion will have an economic impact of $250 million and employ a total of 1500 trade workers on various parts of the project.
Tarlton/Pepper/KAI, through a joint venture, is the general contractor for the Art Museum's Expansion Project. St. Louis-based Tarlton Corporation is one of the largest privately held firms in St. Louis. KAI Design & Build is based in St. Louis, as well. Pepper Construction Group is based in Chicago.
Michael Perry, chairman of the AGC and president of H.B.D. Contracting, Inc. noted that with project starts up seven percent over 2010, "the industry is adjusting to a new market reality."
Leonard Toenjes, AGC president, said that for many companies that adjustment has meant looking for more work outside of St. Louis. Nationally, he said, the value of construction starts for the first 10 months of the year rose 6.9 percent for commercial projects in 2011, 100 percent for industrial projects, 11.5 percent for institutional projects, and 30 percent for medical projects. Missouri, he added, is one of 26 states to add construction jobs in the last 12 months.
The Art Museum project, he said, demonstrates the collaboration that is necessary to bring more work to St. Louis.