Caterpillar compiles short list of GC’s for new Winston-Salem plant

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The Winston-Salem Journal reports Caterpillar Inc. has compiled a short list of companies that are in the running to be chosen as the general contractor for its planned $426 million manufacturing plant in Forsyth County.

Caterpillar declined to identify any of the companies or say how many are on the list, but several companies have confirmed that they are in contention.

“We have selected a limited number of finalists,” said Lyle Fricke, a project team leader for Caterpillar. The general contractor for the Caterpillar plant would be responsible for designing and building the 850,000-square-foot plant, which is expected to create about 500 jobs in the area. Only specifically invited companies are eligible to bid.

The BE&K Building Group of Charlotte, Gray Construction of Lexington, Ky., and Walbridge of Detroit, Mich., have confirmed that they are competing for the general contractor position.

Others said to be competing include Chicago-based Graycor Construction Co., Rhode Island-based Gilbane Building Co., Mississippi-based JESCO Inc., and a joint venture of Michigan-based Barton Malow and Greensboro-based Samet Corp.

Although many of these companies have North Carolina offices, none is in Forsyth County.

“I’m disappointed that none of our local general contractors seem to have been invited to bid,” said Bob Leak, the president of Winston-Salem Business Inc.

Although Caterpillar has not disclosed much about its plans, it’s clear that the company is moving quickly.

Caterpillar wants companies to submit plans by Aug. 30, said Steve Helms, the general manager of Walbridge Southeast in Charlotte. Construction is expected to begin in November.

City and county officials had encouraged Caterpillar to consider local contractors for the project, especially in light of the $23.5 million in incentives that they are offering the company. When Dell built its plant, it chose Baltimore-based Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., which disappointed many.

Local companies, however, will still be considered for subcontractor work on the Caterpillar plant, including grading, utilities, electrical work, masonry, heating and ventilation. For these smaller positions, factors such as transportation costs are more important, and Leak said it was likely that many of these positions would go to Triad companies.

Click Here for complete Winston-Salem Journal article.

Walbridge held an informational session Thursday at the Marriott Hotel in Winston-Salem for companies interested in bidding for subcontractor positions. About 100 people, most representing local companies, attended.

Walbridge World Headquarters is located in Detroit, MI. Walbridge has been recognized on a national basis for the quality and effectiveness of its safety efforts. The company was awarded first place in the Associated General Contractors of America’s 2009 Construction Safety and Excellence Awards competition. Walbridge’s safety performance was ranked best in the nation in the Building Division (1 million – 4 million hours worked category.) For Walbridge contact information visit www.walbridge.com or call 313-963-8000

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