Drahota

Drahota picDrahota’s success in the multifamily market and elsewhere stems from its strength in preconstruction services, it says.

By Chris Petersen

When Terry Drahota received his degree in finance from Colorado State University in the early 1970s, he realized he didn’t want to move to the East Coast and spend the rest of his life crunching numbers. Not wanting to leave the Rocky Mountains region he had grown up in, Drahota decided to stay in Colorado and took up carpentry to support himself.

Soon, Drahota began to build houses and founded the construction company that bears his name. Upon receiving a $1 million project to build at a ski resort in Breckenridge, Colo., the company had officially entered the big time.

Since 1973, Drahota has built hundreds of successful projects, many of them in the multifamily residential sector. Drahota says the company has between 800 and 1,000 apartment units under construction at any given time. In 2015, the company merged with Bryan Construction, and Drahota says the match made perfect sense because Bryan was looking to expand into multifamily and Drahota was looking to expand into Bryan’s area of expertise, commercial and government construction. Today, Drahota continues to uphold its reputation as one of Colorado’s most successful and sought-after multifamily contractors, but the added expertise of Bryan has allowed it to seek out projects on the commercial side, as well.

Drahota says the company’s work is about 95 percent negotiated, which speaks to the strong reputation and relationships the company has cultivated over the years. Many of the company’s clients are repeat customers, and Drahota says this speaks to the high level of quality the company delivers on each and every project. Although the recession put a damper on the construction market for several years, Drahota is nonetheless positioned to take full advantage of the resurgence in the Colorado market.

Planning for Success

No successful construction project begins without a solid plan in place, and Drahota says one of the biggest factors in his company’s success over the years has been its focus on proper planning at the start of a project. “I think it’s our preconstruction services – we do that really well,” Drahota says. Drahota box

This is especially important in the multifamily sector, as Drahota explains that HUD work can spend up to a year in the preconstruction phase. The company’s strength in preconstruction services means it has the ability to accurately predict the cost of a project well in advance.

Drahota credits the company’s people as the primary reason why it excels at preconstruction as well as every other phase of the construction process. “Our superintendents make a lot of difference for us,” he says.

Exemplary Projects

Examples of the company’s skill can be found in two of its most recent projects. In its work on the DELO Apartments in Louisville, Colo.; and 35th and Larimer in Denver – as in all of its work – Drahota is demonstrating the same attention to detail and penchant for tackling challenging work that have made the company successful.

The DELO Apartments project consists of a three-story building containing 130 high-end apartment units. Designed by leading multifamily architect Oz Architecture, DELO Apartments features a modern look and a 2,400-square-foot clubhouse.

Drahota says the company’s previous work with Oz Architecture allowed it to hit the ground running on the project. The DELO Apartments project consists of two contracts – one for three three-story buildings consisting of 130 high-end apartments, and another for a mixed-use structural steel building containing retail and office space.

Despite the challenging nature of the project, Drahota says, the company’s experience has allowed it to deliver a high-quality project so far. “It’ll be really special for Louisville,” he says.

Likewise, on the 35th and Larimer project, Drahota is delivering a 66-unit multifamily infill development in one of Denver’s fastest-growing and most up-and-coming areas. “It’s going to be a cool-looking job, too,” Drahota says.

Future Forecast

Looking to the future, Drahota says the biggest challenge for the company will continue to be finding qualified subcontractors as partners. With the labor pool in the construction market currently strained, Drahota says it can be difficult to find subcontractors the company can have confidence in. That’s why it spends much time prequalifying subcontractors before starting a new project, and Drahota says the company tries to work with subcontractors with whom it has a previous history.

Despite the challenges, Drahota says the company is excited about the possibilities for the future, especially in the multifamily sector. “We keep thinking the apartment market is going to stop, but we go to seminars and every time we go the economists’ projections are going to be good for another two to three years,” he says.

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