Manhattan Kraft Construction

Manhattan Kraft Construction has the know-how and experience to deliver complex structures such as the Sarasota Police Department Headquarters. For a company that has as much experience as Manhattan Kraft Construction Inc., the Sarasota, Fla., Police Department headquarters hardly offers a challenge.

These high-profile jobs merely serve to reaffirm the contractor’s tried-and-true methods behind delivering structures on time and within budget — often saving time and money for its clients. “It confirms our desire to work as a team with all subcontractors, owners and consultants,” says Tom Cockerell, project manager who oversaw construction of the Sarasota Police Department who since has retired. “It was all about teams. We were able to be proactive rather than reactive, which is something Manhattan Kraft has done as long as I’ve been here.”

Manhattan Kraft Construction served as the construction manager at-risk for the 190,000-square-foot structure. About 90,000 square feet of the building is dedicated to offices, laboratories and evidence storage facilities, with the rest accounting for a parking structure that can house 204 vehicles. After breaking ground on the project in October 2008, the company delivered the complete project in July 2010. Although Manhattan Kraft originally had 19 months to deliver the project, owner’s changes merited an extension. Nevertheless, the project was completed for $34 million, about $3 million less than the guaranteed maximum price.

Tight Urban Setting

The most challenging aspect of the structure was the downtown location. The site was bound by three streets, so Manhattan Kraft and the construction team shut down an adjacent alley for about half the duration of the project. This provided enough off-site space for the subcontractors’ onsite operations and parking for all team members, as well.“Building curb to curb made it unique from a logistics standpoint,” says Tom Empric, executive vice president and Bay Area manager.

With a post-tension concrete structure, and an upper steel frame with and a topped roof, the most challenging construction aspect of the job was the complex exterior wall system. It required seven different materials, which proved to be a bad fit for the region’s climate. “They discussed it during the design phase, then we had independent waterproofing consultants that came aboard six months after that when we got into doing the mock-up,” Cockerell says. “It was originally a combination of curtain wall and a wall system, but the connection between those two materials was judged to be prone to leaks and required a lot of maintenance. It was decided that the wall system should not be used in conjunction with the curtain wall, and that the curtain wall alone offered a better overall long-term maintenance cost. It provides continual weatherproofing and sealing, and was ultimately required in delivering the curtain wall system that was integral.”

Recession Pricing

Manhattan Kraft eliminated a considerable amount of money from the cost of the project because of the economic crash in 2008. With funding so limited and countless vendors and subcontractors looking for work, pricing was as competitive as ever.“At this time in the construction market, we were able to get some good competitive bidding,” Cockerell says. “We had the ability to select the right subcontractors to work with, as well.”This also made achieving LEED certification more affordable. Along with various materials and processes, the project earned the majority of its LEED points through recycling. The project recycled 90 to 95 percent of the construction waste materials.

Power in Numbers

Manhattan Construction Group is the parent company of Manhattan Kraft Construction Inc. The group acquired Kraft Construction Co. in 2008 and under its new ownership it has expanded into the solar construction market and expanded its green building portfolio. The company was relaunched as Manhattan Kraft Construction Co. in November 2010.

The rest of the group consists of Manhattan Construction Co., Manhattan Road & Bridge and Cantera Concrete Co. Manhattan Construction is a commercial contractor founded in 1896 and operating in the southwest, southeast and mid-Atlantic states, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.Manhattan Road & Bridge is a bridge and heavy construction company serving the Midsouth and Southwest. Cantera Concrete operates as a concrete installation company with operations in Oklahoma and Arkansas. “The foundation of excellence across all of our operations is based on earning [clients’] trust by delivering on our promises and supporting the communities in which we build, the company says. “With us, [customers] can expect excellence in delivery of all our services.” Manhattan opened an international division in 1998 to serve the growing international markets in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. “Since then, Manhattan has grown to be one of the top contractors working abroad,” the company says. “As our service and reputation have grown, our international capabilities and relationships also have expanded.”

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