Archive for June, 2010

Kraft Construction earns National Building Award for Naples Botanical Garden

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

NAPLES, Fla.– One of Kraft Construction’s recently completed projects, Naples Botanical Garden, has been selected as a National Building of America Award project from hundreds of nominees.

The Naples Botanical Garden will be a featured Gold Medal Winner on the Building of America website (, which brings industry leaders and decision makers together with consultants, financial resources, architectural firms, program and project managers and others from within the construction and design industry. The Building of America Network showcases the most innovative, unique and challenging new projects that are particularly noteworthy or give back to their respective communities.

Naples-based Kraft Construction was the general contractor for Naples Botanical Garden, the second largest developed botanical garden in the state, with 60 of the 160 total acres developed. Kraft completed Phase I last October and the first three gardens – the Children’s Garden, the Brazilian Garden and the Caribbean Garden – were opened to the public in November 2009.

According to Kraft’s Project Manager Steven DeLong, one of the unique features of the Naples Botanical Garden is that the company used the site’s actual land to construct the project; Kraft excavated and constructed two new lakes and utilized the fill from those lakes in the specialty gardens. Trees that were cleared were converted to mulch and utilized throughout the project. The irrigation system is fed from an existing lake on the property to provide water for the specialty gardens and common area landscaping. The lake is replenished by a recharge well and site and storm drainage.

Kraft worked with well-known architects, using conceptual drawings to create the garden’s design while keeping the project’s schedule and budget intact. “We were able to bring the architects’ vision from Brazil and the Caribbean to the site,” said DeLong. “For instance, the architect’s vision for the concrete in the Brazilian Garden was that it appeared to be ‘taken over and eaten by the jungle.’ We sandblasted the concrete walls and walks to give it that old world feeling.”

Within the Botanical Garden, Kraft also constructed the Children’s Garden specifically for kids only. The garden provides children the ability to see how the environment operates around us. The garden is interactive, allowing children to splash and play in water, observe and learn about butterflies, climb a rope bridge to a treehouse and climb up in a fire tower to view a sea of saw grass.

DeLong says Kraft has begun construction of the second phase, which is expected to be completed in November 2010 and will include a water lily pond, Asian Garden and Florida Garden.

Brian Holley, executive director of Naples Botanical Garden, said the Asian Garden will be divided into various botanical zones: commercial crops, ornamentals, bamboos, water plants and outdoor “rooms” of cultural diversity. A Northern Thailand riverside scene, an ancient Japanese terraced sanctuary, a Balinese temple water garden, an East Indonesia megalithic court and a new Asian sculpture garden will all be featured.

The Florida Garden will display the essence of the state’s landscape. The central feature of the garden will be the “great circle,” a circular area reminiscent of the numerous pot lakes one sees when flying over Southwest Florida. A circular planting of sabal palms underplanted with bougainvillea and silver palmetto will form the great circle. Smaller, residential-scale gardens will demonstrate how homeowners can integrate natives into their own properties.

“This project is such a great addition to Collier County culture, and Kraft is proud to be a part of it,” said DeLong. “Not only do the gardens provide the community with an education into plants from around the world, but they also show ways to conserve and give back to the environment by utilizing existing conditions. Plus, the gardens will provide wildlife a place to live for many years to come.”

DeLong credits the projects subcontractors, without whom the project could not have been constructed. “We decided to make this project a community effort by utilizing multiple trades in the same scope of work,” he explained. The company used three major landscape subcontractors, utilized three different aluminum specialty contractors, two concrete paver companies, two fountain subcontractors and two carpentry subcontractors, all of whom worked well together as a team.

Other consultants involved in the Naples Botanical Garden project include landscape architects Goetz + Stropes Landscape Architects, Inc., Herb Schaal, FASLA; EDAW, Raymond Jungles, Inc., Robert E.Truskowski, Inc. and P. T. Wijaya Tribwana International, as well as architectural firm Lake|Flato Architects Inc. and RhodesDhal, owner’s representative and management services.

Kraft Construction Company Inc., founded in 1968, is a statewide general contractor and construction management firm specializing in commercial, government, educational, medical, hospitality and mixed-use construction. Kraft is part of the Manhattan Construction Group of companies. For more information, visit

Manhattan honored by Oklahoma Department of Labor for safety success

Monday, June 14th, 2010

TULSA, Okla. – The Oklahoma Department of Labor has selected Manhattan Construction Co. as the winner of the 2010 Award of Excellence in the Large Employer category in recognition of the company’s safety program success. The award was presented to Manhattan by Labor Commissioner Lloyd Fields and Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins at the Oklahoma Safety Council’s (OSC), 2010 Safety and Health Conference held in Tulsa, Okla. Friday, June 11th at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

“With over two and a half million work hours without a single lost work day incident Manhattan’s program serves as an excellent example of why safety pays,” said Fields. “It is my personal pleasure to be able to share Manhattan’s safety success with other business industries in Oklahoma.”

Oklahoma companies from all industries, not just construction, are eligible to participate in the awards program. This is the second time Manhattan has been honored by the Oklahoma Department of Labor. In 2007, Manhattan received the organization’s Award of Excellence and became the first General Contractor in the history of the program to be presented the honor.

“What makes Manhattan’s safety program successful is that we don’t allow ourselves to relax because of yesterday’s safety success,” said Scott Marsh, safety manager at Manhattan Construction Co. “Safety is a constant alertness and no excuses thing for us. We stress its importance every day and we don’t let up.”

Houston Airport System honors Manhattan for commitment to Small, Minority & Disadvantaged Businesses

Friday, June 11th, 2010

HOUSTON, Texas – The Houston Airport System (HAS) recently presented Manhattan Construction Co. with the HAS 2010 S/MDBE Advocate Prime Contractor Award.  This award recognizes Manhattan for its commitment to Small, Minority, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (S/MDBE) participation on its Houston Airport System Projects. 

Manhattan is working on three major projects at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Two projects under construction are the Phase 3 Automated People Mover and the Terminal C Garage Renovation projects, both of which have exceeded S/MDBE participation goals.  The Phase 3 Automated People Mover Project has achieved 26% participation versus an original goal of 25%, while the Terminal C Garage Renovation Project has achieved 42% participation versus an original goal of 23% participation. The Terminal D Renovation project is in the pre-construction phase.

The award was presented to Manhattan during the Houston Airport System’s annual “Runway To Business Opportunities” Networking Fair, which was held May 13th, 2010.

Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital breaks ground on $104 million expansion

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

On May 19, Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate its East Tower Expansion. Memorial Hermann has selected Manhattan Construction Co. to build the project.  Phase one of the new 240,000-square-foot tower will add eight state-of-the-art surgical suites and surgical support services, including pre-operation and recovery rooms, waiting areas and sterile processing. Additionally, a patient care unit with 36 beds and a parking garage will be added. This will bring the hospital’s total bed count to 288. Three shelled floors will accommodate future growth and could include additional patient beds, an expanded Emergency Center, and clinical support services. The cost of the project is roughly $104 million.