Shell McElroy Construction Co. LLC

Shell McElroy PICShell McElroy takes big steps with two new projects in Atlanta.

By Chris Kelsch

Though Shell McElroy was formed only a little more than three years ago, the company is long on construction experience – and relationships. President Jeff Shell and Senior Vice President Billy McElroy have known each other for years, having met at a top-100 Atlanta-area contractor in the 1990s.

When they decided to join forces in 2014, both brought a lot to the table with experience in the Atlanta area as well as relationships nurtured over the years. The tagline of the company is “Building A New Legacy,” and the pair has wasted no time in doing so. Their latest project is Encore Center, the new corporate headquarters of HD Supply in Atlanta. “This is our largest project so far,” Shell says. “We have received tremendous support from within the industry. From both the owners/developers side as well as the design side.”

High Profile

Shell McElroy is performing the core and shell work on the $43 million project, which broke ground in May 2016 and is set for completion in January 2018. The 14-story building will be 550,00-square-feet, with six levels of parking and eight levels of office space. It is slated to be LEED certified.

The Encore Center is being developed by Greenstone Properties, with which Shell and McElroy have both worked extensively. The new building is located at I-75 and Cumberland Boulevard, and should give HD Supply, a giant distributor of electrical wiring and other building supplies, more visibility over the interstate. Shell McElroy box

“HD Supply is obviously very well known in Atlanta,” Shell explains. “The new office space will be a hub for their corporate leadership as well as research and development.” To be attached to such a high-profile name represents a huge step for Shell McElroy. “For us as a new company, this is a tremendous accomplishment,” Shell notes. “To attach our name to a high-profile project becomes that much more of an opportunity to showcase our capability.”

Interestingly enough, HD Supply was both a client and a supplier on the project. Its White Cap division is a major tool and specialty materials supplier to concrete contractors. And though the project has gone smoothly, it has not been without its challenges.

The Cumberland section of Atlanta where the structure is being built is extremely hilly. Further, the structure backs up to the Chattahoochee River protected zone, making it accessible from only one side. “One of the biggest challenges was the logistics of the project,” Shell explains. “That and the fact we had to dig 60 feet into the side of a hill.”

Shell also notes that the site work was by far the most difficult part because over  30,000 yards of rock had to be removed during excavation. “Yes, we did have to blast rock,” Shell explains. “We had to use heavy excavators, and there is just no quick way to do it.” Despite the obstacles the building will be topped out at the end of August.

Putting On The Ritz

As the HD Supply project wraps up, Shell McElroy has begun work on the modernization of the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead, located in a retail district in a fairly upscale part of Atlanta. The $5.5 million project includes the renovation of the restaurant/bar area, as well as meeting spaces and other public areas.

And though not necessarily large in scope, the project marks a huge step for Shell McElroy as its first foray into the hospitality sector. Again, relationships formed in Shell and McElroy’s past have played a role in landing the project. “With our prior employer, we were one of the largest general contractors for hospitality,” Shell explains. “Hospitality is a market [where] we have a lot to offer. We have a unique understanding from both [the developer and contractor] sides of the equation.”

That expertise has come in handy with the Ritz-Carlton modernization, which began in February and is set to finish in late September. Guests of Ritz-Carlton have high expectations, and an active construction site can make things difficult for everyone. “We really had to be mindful of the guests,” Shell notes. “The project did require some late nights and early mornings. Fortunately, we have had very few complaints, and we should be able to open on schedule.”

Hotlanta Market

Though no specifics are official yet, Shell McElroy has already begun to bid on some other hospitality projects in Atlanta. In its brief tenure, Shell McElroy has already completed a number of impressive projects within Atlanta that include a $33 million student housing project across from Georgia State University.

Shell notes the company is starting to look at projects in nearby states as well, though it is in no hurry to expand geographically. “We have seen some opportunities out of state,” Shell says. “But we would really like to solidify ourselves locally before expanding across state lines.”

It’s hard to argue with that logic because the Atlanta market remains one of the most active since the downturn in 2007. There are many technology firms in the area, and Atlanta remains a diverse, vibrant city that keeps expanding, though that can cause construction labor shortages at times. “The market is incredibly busy right now,” Shell says. “You just have to be really strong at planning.”

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