Economic Development

Builders Association Embarks on $1.5M Building of Its Own

VIENNA, Ohio – Site preparation is underway along state Route 193 for a new $1.5 million home for The Builders Association of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.

It’s just one of the projects underway in the region that uses local union contractors who are members of The Builders, said Kevin Reilly, the organization’s executive vice president.

“Typically, this is the time of year when you would think projects would be winding up,” Reilly said after The Builders concluded its quarterly meeting Wednesday. “Instead, there are new projects going on that normally you wouldn’t see starting.”

Reilly said that the new, 4,500-square-foot building would house offices for his organization, which represents more than 150 building contractors in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties in Ohio, and Mercer and Lawrence counties in Pennsylvania. These contractors employ workers in all 15 of the local skilled trades.

“This building will really showcase commercial construction and what our builders can do,” he said.

The new offices will stand closer to Route 193, Reilly said, in order to deliver a full-eye catching display of design and craftsmanship. The Builders’ current offices are located farther back from the road on 30 acres in Vienna Township. “It will be a showpiece,” he said of the new headquarters.

Construction should take between eight and nine months, Reilly said. The building would be equipped with technological upgrades, a large conference room, a smaller conference space and offices.

“There’s a lot of training that we do here,” Reilly said.

DeSalvo Construction is serving as the general contractor on the project, Reilly said, but noted that members of The Builders have also pledged to donate time, labor and materials to the effort, or provide these services at a reduced cost.

“We’re all excited,” said Jerry Zreliak, the organization’s building and grounds committee chairman. “Dirt is now being moved and we’re in the process of getting this under roof.”

He said a groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Oct. 31 at 11 a.m.

Reilly observed that the amount of work for local contractors is significant at the moment. “Just in the Liberty Township area alone – we have our project that’s just getting started and the Shepherd of the Valley project on Tibbetts-Wick Road is underway,” he said. “This should keep contractors busy throughout the winter.”

Several church construction projects are also slated to begin soon, which should add to even more work during the colder months, Reilly said.

Despite this surge in construction activity, Reilly said volumes among local contractors are remain behind the levels the region experienced in the years before the Great Recession. “We still haven’t gotten back to those high numbers of 2007-2008,” he said.

One factor impeding the construction industry is the lack of manpower, Reilly said. “It’s tough getting young people into the trades – it doesn’t matter what trade it is,” he said. “We have unemployment rates that are low, and for whatever reasons, there aren’t enough coming into the construction industry.”

Reilly added that most don’t understand that a career in the building trades is very rewarding and one could earn a good living and raise a family. “These are really viable opportunities,” he said.

Rocky DiGennaro, president of the Western Reserve Building and Construction Trades Council, said that every union hall in his membership is saddled with work. “Everyone I know is over-the-top busy,” he says.

“We’re working hard to get everybody as much work as they can and trying to get as many apprentices in – bringing some in from outside the area so we can supply you with the right people.”

Pictured: Kevin Reilly, executive vice president of The Builders Association of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.