Mountco Construction and Development Corp.

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Mountco Construction and Development Corp. builds high-quality affordable housing to make the overall community more sustainable.

By Stephanie Crets

Founded by President Joel B. Mounty in 1988 in his childhood home, Mountco Construction and Development Corp. grew from humble beginnings into a respected construction and development firm in Scarsdale, N.Y. Mounty has been in the construction business most of his life, beginning as a laborer and working his way through general contracting and real estate development positions.

Mounty says he always wanted to be in the construction industry and found a way to develop a reputation for success. “After several years, I thought I could make a mark on the industry,” he says.

With Mountco, Mounty is making that mark, focusing on projects that have long-term sustainability that will serve the community and provide high-quality, affordable housing. He oversees the overall operation of the company, including business development, construction activities, financial performance and strategic growth.

“Although we are general contractors, we are real estate developers, too,” Mounty says. “As we did more and more contracting work, we became developers and that’s now the majority of our work.”

Mounty chose to keep the business local, as he was born and bred in the area, and serves communities from New York City to the Hudson Valley. Mountco is currently building more than 600 units of affordable housing and has constructed an excess of 3,000 units, so far. The company specializes in multifamily residential and commercial projects for the public and private sectors and focuses on community-driven initiatives that benefit the good of the neighborhood at large.

“The benefit of constructing affordable housing is that it is a community-minded kind of development and it feels good,” Mounty says. “For every project, we want to have the right group, right enjoyment, right satisfaction for everyone involved. That makes us different. We care about the entire situation, including dynamics and satisfaction. When building for others, being a developer helps us understand their needs. We treat every general contracting project as our own.”

Overcoming Challenges

Mountco has worked closely on several buildings as general contractor for the nonprofit developer, Breaking Ground, a leading affordable housing provider in New York City. Mountco recently partnered with Breaking Ground for a large affordable family housing project, Park House, in the Bronx. This development is 247,000 square feet, consisting of 248 apartments.

Mountco just completed the Boston Road project, also located in the Bronx, for Breaking Ground. This 13-story building has 155 apartments with 30x30 multicolored aluminum panels installed throughout the façade, architected by Alexander Gorlin Architects.

Additional buildings Mountco has constructed for Breaking Ground include: the Hegeman Residence in Brooklyn, a five-story, 80,000-square-foot residential building with 161 affordable units and the Brook in the Bronx, a six-story, 91,670-square-foot Brook Avenue Residence offering 190 units and ground floor retail space.

Both residential buildings incorporate many environmentally friendly elements throughout, including environmentally responsible materials and technology to reduce operating and maintenance costs for long-term sustainability.

Building in a busy city can prove challenging. The Boston Road project was an infill site situated between two existing residential buildings making crane operations difficult. Substantial rock excavation was also required. 

Additionally, site conditions for all the buildings presented several design and construction challenges, which Mountco coordinated to keep construction on budget and on schedule. In several cases, soil contamination resulting from previous site uses necessitated the installation of gravel and piping subsurface depressurization systems to dissipate any potential accumulation of fumes from the subsurface under the building.

Mounty says that there are many scheduling and delivery challenges during the construction process, especially in New York City. A major problem is getting utilities to the site on a timely basis. The local utility works on its own schedule, which usually isn’t the construction schedule.

“Recently, we didn’t have enough power to complete the elevators on time, which delayed the completion of the entire building,” Mounty explains. “In the future, I’d like to have more consideration in the schedule for items outside of our control, particularly the utilities.” 

Regardless of the challenges, affordable housing provides relief for residents and people with specific needs. Typically, one would not find upscale amenities in affordable housing, but Mounty says that high-quality housing is important for the community. These amenities may include a 24/7-attended lobby, computer room, exercise room, rooftop gardens, substantial glass and windows, providing natural light throughout, according to Mounty.

“I’m proud that we’ve constructed a substantial amount of affordable housing,” Mounty says. “It’s been a wonderful and satisfying experience and life journey.”

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