Burns & McDonnell is jumping into the commercial construction field with a contract to renovate 50 Midwestern Hy-Vee supermarkets to introduce a restaurant format that includes cocktail service.
The venture into upgrading the stores for a casual dining option called Market Cafe and Market Grille is a marked departure for an engineering firm that’s better known for engineering huge power plants and other large public works endeavors.
Burns & Mac is the 20th-largest engineering company in the United States, according to Engineering News-Record, a trade publication. Greg Graves, chairman and chief executive, said that his firm has developed a large architectural practice and that moving into commercial construction helps utilize that expertise.
“Part of the basic strategy of our firm is to be diverse about the services we provide,” said Graves. “When you think about commercial architecture, it’s a mega-business nationally.
“As long as we can take on enough projects to design-build, it could be a huge part of our business.”
The move into commercial construction is being led by Greg Carlson, who joined Burns & McDonnell in June after 20 years with the Weitz construction company, where he ultimately became executive vice president. His new title at Burns & Mac is director of global facilities.
The $20 million contract with Des Moines-based Hy-Vee calls for renovating about one-fourth of the company’s stores in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota and South Dakota. Construction is scheduled to begin next month.
Store operations will not be disrupted during the construction of the approximately 40 Market Cafe concepts and 10 Market Grilles. The new dining concept will include a full-service menu and cocktails. Earlier this year, a Hy-Vee store in Overland Park was the first in the Kansas City area to introduce the restaurant option.
Carlson said the commercial construction venture is a continuation of Burns & Mac’s capability of providing full service to its clients, from design work through construction.
Other projects being done by Burns & Mac’s new commercial construction operation include interior renovation for the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry; tenant improvement work for Ferrellgas; and a bourbon-tasting center in suburban Cincinnati for Missouri Grain Processing.