August 31, 2012—Tucson retail center rebuild brings 200 jobs, $4 million

INSIDE TUCSON BUSINESS
BY: Roger Yohem
August 31, 2012

With W.E. O’Neil Construction Company as the general contractor, more than 70 percent of the subcontractors working on the retail renovation of the northeast corner of East Broadway and Craycroft Road are local. That is a welcome economic boost to a construction industry that is still struggling to recover 12,000 jobs in the Tucson region lost during the Great Recession.

Of 36 subcontractors working on the 7.4-acre Benenson Broadway-Craycroft Retail Center Project, 26 are local, according to Tommy Roof, vice president of O’Neil Construction, 710 S. Campbell Ave. Among the non-local firms, three are from Phoenix and “most of the rest are owner-specified vendors. They come with the project and mesh with our contractors,” Roof said.

“We always try to use local contractors,” he said. “Every job in construction is important right now, we have so much unemployment here. In our industry, we had a depression, not a recession. These jobs feed local families.”

The retail center project is renovating an 81,000 square-foot former Mervyn’s store into a building that will be split between two tenants: SteinMart and Hobby Lobby. The project also includes construction of a new 14,500 square-foot building on site for Mattress Firm, the Vitamin Shoppe, and space for two future tenants.

The entire site is owned by Benenson Capital Partners, New York.

SteinMart “is the big push” and plans to open for the holiday season. “In mid-October, they want to start moving in,” Roof said. Hobby Lobby, Mattress Firm and the Vitamin Shoppe plan to open next year.

Roof estimated the $4.2 million redevelopment project is employing about 200 local trades workers. It will require some 84,000 hours of labor and only $300,000 to $350,000 will go to outside companies.

“So just under $4 million stays here,” he said.

In mid-2006, construction in Pima County peaked at 28,700 workers. The economic downturn eliminated 11,900 of those jobs through July, according to state employment data.

Local businesses working on the renovation project include: AAA Landscaping, Action Scaffolding, Allan Fire Protection Systems, Applied Rite Doors & Docks, Armour Shield Roofing, BW Plumbing, Babby-Henkel Building Specialties, Catclaw Contractors, Cornerstone Electrical Contractors, D&J Air Conditioning, and Dar-Hill Corporation.

Other companies include: Eagle Roofing, Glass Unlimited, Grids, Herschman Architects, Liner Drywall, Meridian Surveying & Development, Mirage Plastering, Northwest Exterminating, Sierra Woodworks Blue Sierra, Southwest Hazard Control, Steel Management, Stonart, Sweetwater Group, Tom White Carpentry and W.G. Valenzuela Drywall.