Finding Their Sweet Spot – How New York Based Sweet Construction Found Their Niche

The Sweet Construction Group

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With over 100 years of experience and a reputation for quality and service excellence, The Sweet Construction Group is a mainstay in the New York and Tri-State area as a construction management and general contracting firm of choice. Some could say the company has found a sweet spot in the market…
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The Sweet Construction Group was founded in 1912 as a family-owned and operated entity and since that time it has offered unmatched expertise, impeccable performance and quality, and a desire to build lasting relationships with its diverse client base, which includes some of the most prominent names and brands in the local, national and international markets.

Sotheby’s, Neiman Marcus, Chanel, Rolex, Disney, The Coca Cola Company, T-Mobile, AT&T, Bank of America, Chase Bank, General Electric, and Starbucks are just some of the names that have come to rely on The Sweet Construction Group’s hands-on approach to projects.

Through sound management, comprehensive project planning, and continuous improvement, in addition to training and employee development efforts, The Sweet Construction Group guarantees that projects are completed on time and on budget, doing so at competitive prices that meet and exceed expectations despite the ever-changing market.

When asked what has been the secret to The Sweet Construction Group’s longevity and continued growth over the past century, President Steven Alessio responded, “Since 1912, we’ve only had three owners of the company,” which has contributed greatly to the consistency and service offered to clients.

He also noted, “The principals have always been very actively involved in all of the projects that we do. We’re hands-on and all of our clients really appreciate the fact that when they pick up the phone, they can get senior level management on the phone to help them with any of their day-to-day issues.”

The Sweet Construction Group offers preconstruction, general contracting and construction management services including new construction, structural alterations, interior fit outs, and landmark restoration – a full suite of construction services. Projects include commercial, institutional, hospitality, multifamily, retail, and disaster recovery, all of which are supported by a well-trained, highly experienced team of professionals. The team at The Sweet Construction Group consists of engineering, architectural, project management, superintendents, and office personnel.

“We do bring on an array of project managers and superintendents with varied backgrounds. Some of our staff are registered architects or licensed engineers, and we bring many, many years of experience to the table in terms of core and shell, new construction, and interior fit outs,” said Alessio.

The firm’s capabilities include the latest in technology, such as computerized estimating, scheduling, and project management tools that simplify and streamline the construction process. This contributes to accurate and real-time reports that inform the decision-making process, advance the project, and provide peace of mind for the client.

Further to its exceptional resources, “We bring senior level management to every meeting so we’re not leaving any decisions to a junior project manager or a junior engineer. Every project has senior level management who has a minimum of 15 years’ experience to help our clients solve their problems,” Alessio explained.

The dedication of senior level management also extends to junior employees, who benefit greatly from mentorship activities that help them to learn the ropes. “On all of our projects the senior people are constantly teaching the junior people what we expect, what we require and what our clients require,” said Alessio.

The presence of a family-oriented work culture is a key part of The Sweet Construction Group’s longevity and growth. Its continued success is a source of pride for the company and a major factor that helps it not only attract, but retain some of the best talent in the market. “We act like more of a family company,” said Alessio. “We’re very tight-knit. Family comes first with us. We encourage all of our employees to make sure they’re on time for their little league games, their dance recitals and that they get home to see their children – and that speaks volumes.”

Amongst the ranks at The Sweet Construction Group there are long-tenured employees, including many who have been with the company for more than 20 years, as well as fourth-generation employees. This speaks to the level of experience and industry knowledge that clients have come to expect from the firm. Even when the market endured challenging times, The Sweet Construction Group kept its employees working, securing projects through its trusted relationships with clients while continuing to bolster both its reputation and its portfolio, going with its clients where needed.

“We do work all throughout the five boroughs and Long Island, and we’ll go as far north as Albany. We have an office in New Jersey that takes care of that market and we’ll work as far down south as Maryland for our repeat clients,” Alessio said.

Any number of projects in The Sweet Construction Group’s portfolio could be highlighted to demonstrate the caliber of work it performs, but Alessio cited a series of projects that he feels exemplify the work of the firm. “Some of our recent clients are Rolex, Nieman Marcus, and the City of New York in their hurricane Sandy recovery efforts (called Build It Back). We’re doing an infrastructure project for Cove Properties at 2 Rector Street with its partner Blue Sky out of Australia, work on the historic Falchi Building (former distribution facility for Gimbels), and the historic Samuel J. Friedman Theatre,” he added.

The Empire Diner is a New York landmark and The Sweet Construction Group was selected to do the interior fit out for that project as well. Fit outs are an area of strength for the firm, as Marketing Manager Chloe Chase noted. “We’re big in fit outs of office spaces (think Twitter/WeWork) and high rise residential buildings like 101 West 78th Street, which is a residential landmarked building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, just across from the American Museum of Natural History.”

Perhaps one of the most exciting projects the company has completed in the last year is the work done on 95 Evergreen Avenue in Brooklyn’s emerging neighborhood, Bushwick. 95 Evergreen was recently named the winner of 2017 Building Brooklyn Awards in the Neighborhood Catalyst Category. This project entailed the adaptive reuse of industrial space for retail and office use. The building is actually the old Schlitz Brewery building, which was closed almost four decades ago. The developer on the project was Savanna Fund and the architect was Fogarty Finger Architecture PLLC. As the builder, The Sweet Construction Group completed the core and shell work.

As a mid-sized firm that continues to grow, Alessio discussed The Sweet Construction Group’s efforts to uphold both safety and quality on each of the project it undertakes. “The company is extremely safety conscious,” he said. “We want to make sure every one of our employees goes home every night the way they came to work in the morning.”

He continued, “It’s very important that nobody gets hurt and we create a safe work atmosphere not only for our employees but all the subcontractors, the architects, the engineers that work for us, as well as the owners who come to visit the site.”

He went on to highlight that training is a continuous effort at The Sweet Construction Group, with all employees having completed OSHA 10 or 30-hour training. In fact, the day after speaking with Alessio, the entire team would be attending a construction safety summit, which is an annual initiative to reinforce safety across its operations. The same level of attention is paid to quality.

“As far as quality, anybody who works for us knows the quality I require. I’m a registered architect by trade with a keen eye for detail and all of our employees know that if something is not done right at the site, if it’s not straight or it’s not done clean, I make them take it apart and re-do it.” Alessio sounds tough, but his strive for perfection has garnered him respect within his own company and with clients – there’s a reason The Sweet Construction Group has earned its reputation.

The company has become a full-service general contractor and construction management firm of choice because of its ability to produce exceptional results. In order to continue along this successful path in the future, a major focus of Alessio remains the attraction of talented professionals that can support the next era of growth and success for the firm.

“It’s a very difficult profession. It’s very time consuming, it’s very competitive, and you have to find folks who love what they’re doing, have blood running through their veins, and want to be part of the whole Sweet Construction experience,” said Alessio. “And, of course, we have to make sure the company remains profitable for the next generation.”

To this end, continuous efforts are taken to secure young talent that is willing to learn from the best and contribute to the overall growth and success of the company. By getting ahead of the industry shortfall of skilled labor, The Sweet Construction Group is primed to continue to lead the New York and Tri-State construction market.

The Sweet Construction Group’s motto is, “Big enough to do the job, small enough to care,” and as it has grown, it has done a great job of maintaining the personalized, hands-on approach that its clients have come to rely upon.

Empowered and supported by its experience, strong team, and exceptional leadership, the firm continues to play a vital role in the market. By putting its personalized touch on marquis projects of various sizes and complexities, while always delivering unmatched quality and safety, The Sweet Construction Group is sure to continue building upon its 100-plus years in the business.

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, 9:08 PM EST

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