Building Atlanta’s Future

Shell McElroy Construction Company

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Under the leadership of company heads with over half a century of combined construction experience, Shell McElroy Construction Company, LLC is establishing a name for itself as one of the fastest-growing general construction and management firms in Georgia’s capital city of Atlanta.
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Company President Jeffrey Shell grew up in the business, along with Senior Vice President Billy McElroy, who has thirty-four years of building experience, and is taking on a range of new construction and renovation projects that respect the rich heritage of the Southern state while looking toward its future.

The business was initially founded in 2006, but Shell and McElroy acquired, reorganized and renamed it Shell McElroy Construction in May of 2014. It has since grown to a combined staff of twenty-eight salaried and hourly employees. The company has senior-level project management to entry-level positions, senior level superintendents, crane and equipment operators, laborers, carpenters, safety workers and cleanup crews as well as assistants and its own field engineering team on staff.

Shell McElroy is primarily a general contractor, providing clients with services including pre-construction and feasibility, building information modeling (BIM), general construction, construction management and building systems and life cycle analysis. The company continues to see an interest in LEED certification and zero energy facilities and is seeking opportunities in construction management.

Its customers are in markets such as corporate and office, student education and student housing, retail/mixed use, hospitality, religious institutions and places of worship, multi-family residential and historic restoration and redevelopment.

Projects range from renovations of $700,000 to the construction of massive facilities like the Encore Center which is budgeted at $43 million.

The Encore Center is Shell McElroy’s largest project to date. According to developer Greenstone Properties, the Class A office structure, “will be the first building delivered in Northwest Atlanta in over twelve years,” and will have executive parking, a fitness facility, sundry shop/café and other amenities when it opens in early 2018. Shell McElroy Construction’s principals have previously worked on several office buildings with privately-held Atlanta-based boutique real estate firm Greenstone Properties.

The LEED-certified building will meet green building certification standards. Nine of fourteen levels have currently been poured. Once completed, the building – which will be occupied solely by respected industrial distributor HD Supply, Inc. – will feature a six-level parking deck with an eight-level office building on top and measure approximately 600,000 square feet.

The building site is strategically located at the southwest corner of Cumberland Boulevard and I-75 south of the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. “It’s going to have terrific visibility as you are travelling on the interstate locally and a really great view of downtown,” says Shell of the project.

Planning initially commenced about a year before the earthworks, and these held unanticipated challenges. The site had never previously been developed, and the ground was laden with massive rock structures that had to be addressed prior to creating the foundation.

“We had incredible amounts of rock to contend with,” comments Shell. “The building is on the side of a hill, so we had to excavate a seventy-foot hole into the side of the hill, and the building will sit down in it. The excavation required [that the company] excavate down to where we could start deep foundations, so the single biggest obstacle was to get through the layers of rock. It was quite a challenge for our staff in the field and for the excavation crews.” Despite this obstacle, the company was able to maintain schedules as assigned by the client.

Although other companies talk about environmental and sustainability initiatives, Shell McElroy Construction truly practice what it preaches, starting from the top. Both company heads are LEED-accredited and other LEED professionals are on staff. Shell says his company’s role is providing top-notch construction projects and services while serving to protect the communities in which it works.

“We are constantly incorporating many of the strategies that we’ve learned with LEED processes into our projects, regardless of whether or not the project is to be a LEED-certified building,” says Shell. “It just makes good sense to recycle and use otherwise environmentally friendly practices which are not financial burdens on the project. The construction produces a significant amount of waste and we need to be constantly looking at ways we can reduce that impact on our environment.”

Fortunately, says Shell, others are increasingly coming onboard with ways to help the planet. Service providers, including waste haulers, have recycling efforts and are more aware of green initiatives, providing more ways to help.

Years ago, separate dumpsters were required for wood, metal, drywall and concrete; today, recycling companies are doing the sorting from one mixed dumpster and taking the responsibility from contractors.

“And incorporation recycled materials in your construction operations is a great strategy, whether it be recycled concrete in lieu of gravel or some other substrate for your project,” states Shell. “It’s not an economic issue; it’s just something you can do the makes good sense for the environment.”

The company makes every effort to find and use local providers, which benefits both the economy and the planet by having vehicles on the road less and reducing traffic congestion.

In recent years, the construction industry in Atlanta has been a busy one, with the opening of a new baseball stadium and a new football stadium nearing completion. This has made finding qualified subcontractors a challenge, but Shell McElroy Construction continues to find good people to work on the company’s projects.

Shell says the majority of the company’s work has been new construction, including the recent completion of a downtown student housing project which incorporated the restoration of some historic buildings into a new development. In future, this is an area in which the company wants to expand.

Shell McElroy is contemplating work in North Carolina and is keeping an eye out for the right projects, opportunities and customers. “We really want to establish ourselves locally and then expand regionally,” says Shell, “but we will certainly consider opportunities as they present themselves.”

The business remains committed to its staff, clients, partners and suppliers as it upholds the values of its founders. Both principals have had a strong work ethic, honesty and integrity instilled in them from a very early age and they want to continue that legacy.

“We are looking to build upon our past as we move forward,” comments Shell. “I think we are unique as an entity, because of the big project possibilities packaged within a smaller company. Billy and I are the decision-makers, and we are actively involved in all aspects of our projects. So you get the attention of the leaders of the company, and we bring with us large project experience coming from a top one hundred general contractor.”

Building the Next Generation

As thousands of experienced workers retire across North America every day, it is small wonder many industries are concerned about the future. It has been a decade since the oldest members of the baby boom generation started leaving their jobs, removing from the workplace decades of experience and skills that are tough to replace. The situation is so dire that, when younger workers are not available or knowledgeable enough to take over, retired staffers are often called back to work on a part-time basis.

November 18, 2019, 9:11 PM EST

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