Courtesy: Town Crier

“The Royal Palm Beach Village Council unanimously awarded a bid of $12,894,392 for the construction of a new village hall to Verdex Construction on Thursday, Aug. 19. Verdex was the lowest builder on the project. Final completion of the project is projected for December 2023.”

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In this interview with Invest: Palm Beach, Verdex President Rex Kirby discusses the company’s approach to the pandemic and how the commercial sector is shaping up.

What successful strategies did your company implement to manage the pandemic?

As an essential business, we were able to keep working. We put in a great deal of effort to make sure we were doing business the right way so we could stay open and operational. We learned how to distance people and keep them safe on job sites. Coming out of this pandemic, we’ve seen that there is plenty of money out there and people are looking to invest in real estate, both on the capital and the equity sides with banks offering low-interest loans. The challenge is getting supplies and materials in all areas. The price of wood skyrocketed, rising from an index of about $350 per thousand feet to close to $1,700. Also, all metals have been high and drywall costs 50% more per unit than it did a year ago just because of the cost of metal studs. We have some industrial work and we can’t even get bar joists in less than 10 months. There is only so much people will spend on rents so the project has to be financially feasible for developers. We’ve had to work around getting material and figure out ways to work with the client and do our best to reduce pricing so that projects can move forward.

What changes in demand have you perceived over the past year and a half?

The apartment sector is on fire with all the people moving into Florida right now. We can’t build apartments quick enough. We are also gaining traction on the public sector side.They had some challenges because their tax rolls were down but there is maintenance and buildings that need to be built, so they are still releasing projects. Industrial is strong, although one of the challenges is that Amazon is building so much throughout Florida that they have a lock on a lot of the material and they are willing to pay a premium for it so you have to get in line and wait. We’re thinking outside of the box, such as delaying the vertical parts of the job and starting the site piece so that we can get ahead and get the pipe out there. There is a PVC shortage as well, which is essential for all water and sewer installations. We’re trying to figure out ways to lock in our pricing of materials and balance how long it will be out there before we can actually get it in the ground or building. We’re storing material at times so that we can have it available.

What does the future of commercial real estate look like?

I’ve started to see more retail come back. We have a special projects group that does a lot of interior build outs, renovation and additions. We’re doing a lot of work for the landlord Related Group at Rosemary Square. Related is almost switching out its entire tenant base with all new restaurants and shops, so they are refreshing the whole complex to update it to today’s conditions.

The office market in West Palm Beach and all the way through Miami has been on fire, post pandemic. Primarily from hedge funds and financial groups that decided they could leave New York, so the floodgates opened. There are at least three more buildings planned to go up as office space. This is after people thought nobody would come back to work, but there is a lot of demand in this area.

What is the role of technology in your daily operations?

From a project management perspective, we’re dependent on everything being transmitted online. We use Procore but there are similar systems. As we have grown and are starting to get into bigger projects, we’re starting to use more BIM modeling for laying out our mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection up through corridors and buildings so that everyone knows where their spot is from an elevation standpoint. Our use of Procore has expanded over the last year and we’re training our people on how to use more of it. The ability to synchronize our forecasting with our accounting system has also improved between Procore and Sage for our accounting. It’s all about efficiency and having one program that people can get familiar with so that they are not bogged down by the computer but instead can manage and build their work.

On the other hand, everyone is looking at prefabrication. The labor force is getting increasingly strained. Therefore, we’re looking for ways to preassemble components in a shop so there is less to build in the field. Assembling off-site in a factory setting cuts down on the labor needed on the job site.

What is your outlook for your company and the construction sector in Palm Beach County?

We will grow a little more this year. Next year, we will have stronger growth. We’re picking up steam in other Florida markets as well as getting our share of work on the Southeast coast. We’re in our seventh year, we’re gaining traction with our clients with a lot of repeat work and expanding to other Florida markets. We’re building more in Tampa, targeting work in Orlando and we picked up a project for the University of Florida in Gainesville. Our future looks bright and, fortunately, we are having conversations on how big we really want to be because that sometimes changes the dynamics of a company. The main thing is to continue focusing on making sure we maintain a good brand in the industry and that we are doing a good job for our clients.

 

South Martin Industrial Park - News

Verdex Construction has started work on South Martin Industrial Park, a new warehouse facility at the intersection of SW Kanner Hwy. and Florida’s Turnpike in Martin County, FL.

The project includes nine warehouse buildings totaling 96,207 sq. ft. The site will also include a free-standing consumer self-storage facility. The developer is NNA Kansas West, and the project was designed by Jupiter-based Morel De Guiramond Architecture with planning by Cotleur and Hearing.

“Despite the current challenges of acquiring construction materials, we went to extreme lengths to lock in pricing and inventory to assure the client would meet their budget,” said Verdex President Rex Kirby. “In this environment, it’s imperative to go the extra mile for our clients. This is what we mean when we say we’re ‘Building Something Better’ at Verdex.”

The nine warehouses consist of three tilt-wall and six concrete block buildings with 40 total bays on an 11-acre site. Construction started on June 1 and estimated completion is April 2022.

Verdex Construction’s recent projects throughout South Florida include the Canopy by Hilton West Palm Beach Downtown1000 North, an upscale restaurant/club on the Loxahatchee River in Jupiter; and Town Lantana Apartments in Lantana.

In just over five years, Verdex has earned numerous awards and prestigious industry recognition, including being selected as a finalist for 2020 Business of the Year by the South Florida Business Journal, finalist for 2020 Business of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, and being selected as a GrowFL “Company to Watch”.

About Verdex Construction

Verdex Construction is a privately held building contractor based in West Palm Beach, FL, led by founder and President Rex Kirby, a 35-year veteran in the construction business.  Verdex provides general contracting services to clients including preconstruction, construction management, and design-build.  Verdex is committed to “Building Something Better” through exceptional service, a fundamental focus on safety and quality, and value to owners, customers and the community.  For more information, visit www.verdex.com

Chris Taraba Young Professional Award

The Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce named Verdex Construction project manager Chris Taraba as its Young Professional of the Year for 2021.

Chris has over nine years of construction project management experience on multifamily, commercial, office, senior living, education and municipal projects. In his five years with Verdex Construction, he has risen rapidly from Assistant Project Manager to Senior Project Manager.

He has developed strong leadership and management skills and shares his talent as the Chair of the Verdex Internship and Young Professionals committee. He has also been asked to participate in the company’s annual strategic planning for the past three years.

In addition to an intense workload with multiple deadlines, Chris makes time to volunteer and has been recognized for his leadership talents. He is the Past Chair of the Palm Beach North Chamber Young Professionals Steering Council (2018-2020), as well as a graduate of the North Palm Leadership Class of 2018. He currently is part of the Urban Land Institute Leadership Institute Class of 2021. He is also active in the Economic Council of Palm Beach County as an Emerging Leader and with the Construction Association of South Florida as a Future Leader, representing the voice of the millennial generation.

Chris graduated with a B.S. Purdue University. He was a Chancellor Medallion Recipient as an Outstanding Student and was inducted into the Tau Alpha Pi National Honor Society.

About Verdex Construction

Verdex Construction is a privately held building contractor based in West Palm Beach, FL, led by founder and President Rex Kirby, a 35-year veteran in the construction business.  Verdex provides general contracting services to clients including preconstruction, construction management, and design-build.  Verdex is committed to “Building Something Better” through exceptional service, a fundamental focus on safety and quality, and value to owners, customers and the community.  For more information, visit www.verdex.com

Verdex Construction has broken ground on the Pompano Beach Senior Activity Center located at 2005 NW 9th St., Pompano Beach. This project for the City of Pompano Beach consists of a one-story, 8,500 sq. ft. facility with indoor and outdoor amenities. The architect is Bermello Ajamil & Partners of Miami. Verdex hired more than 40-percent of its subcontractors and vendors from Pompano Beach, fulfilling a promise to the City that a significant portion of the work would be executed by local firms.

The interior will include multiple activity rooms, a fitness center, a spacious lobby and lounge area, a prep kitchen for catered events and office space with special anti-microbial HVAC coatings for top air quality and cleanliness. There will also be an outdoor activity area. Construction is expected to be complete in approximately 10 months.

“This community has asked for a senior activity center for many years so we look forward to providing them with a modern, long-lasting gathering space to enjoy,” said Verdex Construction president Rex Kirby. “We are also proud to have achieved a 40-plus-percent local subcontractor participation for this project which ensures a good portion of the work remains with Pompano Beach based businesses.”

Verdex Construction’s recent projects throughout South Florida include the Canopy by Hilton West Palm Beach Downtown; 1000 North, an upscale restaurant/club on the Loxahatchee River in Jupiter; and Town Lantana Apartments in Lantana. Verdex also has projects underway in both Tampa and Gainesville.

In just over six years, Verdex has earned numerous awards and prestigious industry recognition, including being selected as a finalist for 2020 Business of the Year by the South Florida Business Journal, finalist for 2020 Business of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, Builder of the Year by the AIA Palm Beach, and being selected as a GrowFL “Company to Watch”.

About Verdex Construction

Verdex Construction is a privately held building contractor based in West Palm Beach, FL, led by founder and President Rex Kirby, a 35-year veteran in the construction business.  Verdex provides general contracting services to clients including preconstruction, construction management, and design-build.  Verdex is committed to “Building Something Better” through exceptional service, a fundamental focus on safety and quality, and value to owners, customers and the community.  For more information, visit www.verdex.com

More than 100 people, including West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James, joined Verdex Construction on Thursday, May 13 for the grand opening celebration of The District Flats. The 178-unit development from Palm Beach Garden’s-based Eastwind Development is located at 1050 Blanche St. Guests included West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James and City Commissioner Christina Lambert.

The District Flats features a modern-industrial, four-story building surrounding a central courtyard, swimming pool and deck area; a three-story building surrounding a garden amphitheater; and a three-level, 250-space parking garage enhanced by a large mural at the entry. A kinetic sculpture from local artist Beju also greets visitors as it waves in the wind.

The pet-friendly community also includes a dog park and the and commercial space that will eventually be home to a stylish cafe. There are 26 studio apartments; 86 one-bedroom, one-bath units; and 48 two-bedroom, two-bath apartments, along with a 3,000 sq. ft. clubhouse.

Designed by MSA Architects, with Verdex Construction as the general contractor, The District Flats is located south of the trendy Grandview Public Market food hall and other nearby retail and entertainment outlets like Steel Tie Distillery, Steam Horse Brewing Company and Gypsy Life Surf Shop.

All units will feature nine-foot ceilings, keyless door entries, programmable thermostats, tile & wood plank flooring, stainless steel appliances including a built-in wine fridge, granite countertops, pendant light fixtures, bedroom ceiling fans and energy and water conservation features designed to lower monthly resident utility bills.

Twenty percent of the apartments (36 units) in The District Flats are allocated as workforce housing and discounted for households with an annual income equal to or less than 140-percent of the annual median income for Palm Beach County. The project is just blocks from both the Tri-Rail station and Palm Tran, providing the critical mass transportation component that is essential for working families.

Verdex Construction has appointed Ryan Ackner as Director of Special Projects. He will be based in the company’s West Palm Beach headquarters.

Ackner has been managing partner at two South Florida real estate development and construction firms. As Director of Special Projects at Verdex, he will manage interior renovations and buildouts, as well as smaller or specialized new construction. He will work closely with owners and design teams to establish best-in-class products and pricing along with safe logistics for work in occupied buildings.

Ackner worked on construction projects in occupied buildings while in high school, allowing him to gain practical experience before attending the School of Architecture at both the University of South Florida and Florida Atlantic University.

“With so many new companies relocating to South Florida, we anticipate significant growth in the number of companies that want to create their own spaces,” said Verdex President Rex Kirby. “Ryan has the experience to complete these projects with a focus on value for our clients.”

Verdex Construction’s recent projects throughout South Florida include the Canopy by Hilton West Palm Beach Downtown1000 North, an upscale restaurant/club on the Loxahatchee River in Jupiter; and Town Lantana Apartments in Lantana. Verdex also has projects underway in both Tampa and Gainesville.

In just over five years, Verdex has earned numerous awards and prestigious industry recognition, including being selected as a finalist for 2020 Business of the Year by the South Florida Business Journal, finalist for 2020 Business of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, Builder of the Year by the AIA Palm Beach, and being selected as a GrowFL “Company to Watch”.

About Verdex Construction

Verdex Construction is a privately held building contractor based in West Palm Beach, FL, led by founder and President Rex Kirby, a 35-year veteran in the construction business.  Verdex provides general contracting services to clients including preconstruction, construction management, and design-build.  Verdex is committed to “Building Something Better” through exceptional service, a fundamental focus on safety and quality, and value to owners, customers and the community.  For more information, visit www.verdex.com

Palm Beach County non-profit, HomeSafe celebrated the ribbon-cutting for the opening of its brand-new campus in West Palm Beach. The innovative Sylvester Family West Campus will provide a welcoming and safe environment for young victims of child abuse to heal from their trauma and find confidence in their future.

The ribbon-cutting event also included a special announcement from Verdex Construction, the general contractor for the project. Verdex President Rex Kirby announced the company is donating $125,000 to HomeSafe to support its mission.

“As a past president and current member of the HomeSafe Board of Directors, I wanted to do everything we could to let the agency direct its budget to helping these children and not on construction costs,” said Kirby.

“This is truly a transformative time for the agency,” said Matthew Ladika, CEO of HomeSafe. “We are one of only five agencies in the state of Florida that provides a unique level of care in specialized therapeutic group homes for severely traumatized child abuse victims. This new campus, along with future construction projects, will help us continue our mission of creating safer, more productive lives for infants, children, young adults and families.”

The Sylvester Family West Campus consists of two buildings, the Residential Cottage and the Enrichment Center, totaling 15,356 sq. ft. The Residential Cottage offers 12 suites where each child will have their own private room and bathroom. The Cottage also has a large kitchen, living and dining areas, therapy wing and gaming area to create a comfortable home environment. The new Enrichment Center offers music and workout rooms, a multimedia lab, and educational wing and has a strategically designed layout so that staff will have even better supervision of the children. The 3.2 acre site also includes a nature trail, basketball court and gazebo which will provide for many outdoor activities.

About Verdex Construction

Verdex Construction is a privately held building contractor based in West Palm Beach, FL, led by founder and President Rex Kirby, a 35-year veteran in the construction business.  Verdex provides general contracting services to clients including preconstruction, construction management, and design-build.  Verdex is committed to “Building Something Better” through exceptional service, a fundamental focus on safety and quality, and value to owners, customers and the community.  For more information, visit www.verdex.com

Verdex Construction has appointed Alex Smith, a construction industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience to its senior leadership team as Vice President of Operations. He will be based in the company’s West Palm Beach headquarters.

Smith has extensive management experience with some with the largest contractors in South Florida. He will manage operational oversight, establish high-quality training programs for staff, and extend efforts toward operational consistency, among other duties.

“Alex brings extensive experience and very valuable leadership skills to Verdex which is expanding its footprint across Florida,” said Verdex President, Rex Kirby. “His deep experience will bring many layers of added value to our clients around the state.”

Smith started his career as a carpenter and then project engineer while earning his Bachelor of Science Degree in Building Construction at the University of Florida. He is a member of the Construction Executive Association and a prior board member of the Construction Association of South Florida.

Verdex Construction’s recent projects throughout South Florida include the Canopy by Hilton West Palm Beach Downtown1000 North, an upscale restaurant/club on the Loxahatchee River in Jupiter; and Town Lantana Apartments in Lantana. Verdex also has projects underway in both Tampa and Gainesville.

In just over five years, Verdex has earned numerous awards and prestigious industry recognition, including being selected as a finalist for 2020 Business of the Year by the South Florida Business Journal, finalist for 2020 Business of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, Builder of the Year by the AIA Palm Beach, and being selected as a GrowFL “Company to Watch”.

About Verdex Construction

Verdex Construction is a privately held building contractor based in West Palm Beach, FL, led by founder and President Rex Kirby, a 35-year veteran in the construction business.  Verdex provides general contracting services to clients including preconstruction, construction management, and design-build.  Verdex is committed to “Building Something Better” through exceptional service, a fundamental focus on safety and quality, and value to owners, customers and the community.  For more information, visit www.verdex.com

Verdex Construction has broken ground on Deer Creek Senior Housing, an age-restricted affordable housing project in Gainesville to be built by Deer Creek Senior Housing LLLP, a partnership of Neighborhood Housing and Development Corporation of Gainesville and Rural Neighborhoods of Florida City. The project was designed by Hoffman & Facundo Architects of LaBelle, FL and Fetner Engineering of Hawthorne, FL. Completion is expected in spring 2022.

Located at 2166 NW 55th St., Deer Creek consists of five stories with 62 units totaling 67,000 sq. ft. Amenities include a multipurpose entertainment room, game and craft room, fitness center, meeting rooms, computer room and an outside picnic area.

“This is our first project in the Gainesville area following the 2020 launch of our North Florida office, headed by construction industry veteran Joey Mandese,” said Verdex President Rex Kirby. “We look forward to meeting the needs of the growing North Florida economy.”

The project will be built using cast-in-place concrete with precast hollowcore slabs, CMU and metal stud interior partitions, a modern stucco exterior style with exposed structure and rooftop solar panels on a three-acre site. There will also be a walkway path to the neighboring Gainesville Senior Recreation Center.

Verdex Construction’s recent projects throughout Florida include the Canopy by Hilton West Palm Beach DowntownThe Pointe on West Shore Apartments in Tampa, 1000 North, an upscale restaurant/club on the Loxahatchee River in Jupiter; and Town Lantana Apartments in Lantana.

In just over five years, Verdex has earned numerous awards and prestigious industry recognition, including being a 2020 Gator 100 Honoree (fastest growing University of Florida Gator graduate-led companies in the world), being selected as a finalist for 2020 Business of the Year by the South Florida Business Journal, finalist for 2020 Business of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, Builder of the Year by the AIA Palm Beach, and being selected as a GrowFL “Company to Watch”.

About Verdex Construction

Verdex Construction is a privately held building contractor based in West Palm Beach, FL, led by founder and President Rex Kirby, a 35-year veteran in the construction business.  Verdex provides general contracting services to clients including preconstruction, construction management, and design-build.  Verdex is committed to “Building Something Better” through exceptional service, a fundamental focus on safety and quality, and value to owners, customers and the community.  For more information, visit www.verdex.com