Anderson Cos.

Anderson Cos.

Anderson Cos. at a glance

Revenue: $60 million (2014, projected); up from $37 million in 2013

Market: Industrial, retail and houses of worship, 20 percent each; multi-family and senior housing, 30 percent; medical office, 10 percent

Biggest project (budget): The $20 million, 108-unit Hamline Street Station apartment complex (under construction) along the LRT Green Line in St. Paul

2014 marked the 10th year of Anderson Cos. Charity Golf Tournament, which raises money for stroke awareness and prevention.

The company gets confused with building giant Kraus-Anderson “once in a while,” according to Anderson, but not often enough to make a difference.

In completing Water Gremlin’s new manufacturing facility in White Bear Township, Anderson’s project team worked around a nest of bald eagles, with help from a U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist; the building and feathered family co-exist happily.

With recession still lingering in the construction business, 2011 might not have been the most propitious time to start a new development company. But Kent Carlson and Greg Anderson thought they could build on the foundation of their lengthy industry experience by joining forces. And their hunch was right: Three years after its founding, Anderson Cos. expects revenue of $60 million in 2014, up from $37 million the year before.

“Our goal was to provide a large menu of services in both development and design/build,” says Anderson, the COO of the St. Louis Park-based development and construction firm. “We were able to do that by coming together with a good mix of talented folks.”

Anderson Cos.’ principals, all veterans in their field, have concentrated on sectors that bigger firms might see as a niche. For instance, houses of worship were their first significant projects; that market now makes up a fifth of Anderson Cos.’ portfolio.

Another reason for Anderson Cos.’ growth: It can put together ad hoc teams of designers, builders, brokers, lawyers and city officials to suit each project, rather than forcing owners to hire separate architecture and construction companies. Anderson then works with the client on site selection, city approval and acquisition, before the first shovel even strikes dirt.

“A lot of times, a traditional builder would wait until the owner has found the land and hired an architect, then bid according to what’s on the plans,” says CEO Carlson. “We help the customer long before paper and pen meet. Our project management staff guides the architect so the design meets the owner’s needs and budget.”

Anderson Cos. took root in 1999, when Anderson left Minnetonka-based Welsh Construction to start Anderson Builders. Twelve years later, Carlson joined the company from Minneapolis-based developer Ryan Cos. In 2013, the firm was renamed Anderson Cos. to reflect its diversity of services. The founders’ experience and connections made the timing of the merger a lot less painful than it would have been for a less seasoned builder.

That experience shows when managing projects with challenging conditions. The Byerly’s store Anderson recently completed at France and Hazelton in Edina could be considered a signature project. During the 14 months of phased construction, Anderson Cos. worked adjacent to the existing Byerly’s without ever closing the store. “That was challenging,” Carlson says, “considering we had to maintain parking and street access.”

More recently, Anderson Cos. has been constructing two buildings totaling 250,000 square feet in Brooklyn Park for owner/developer First Industrial Realty Trust, which has headquarters in Chicago. The buildings, which were scheduled to be finished in December, will be occupied predominantly by Goodwill Industries and Plymouth-based fiber connectivity firm Clearfield. Chris Willson, First Industrial’s Minneapolis senior regional director, says his company went with Anderson in part because it was a known quantity.

“I’ve known Kent for years—he was a competitor at Ryan,” Willson says. “Even with the challenging conditions that came with the wettest spring on record, they brought in everything on time and under budget.”

Anderson Cos. now has an eye on expansion. “As long as we can match up the right personalities and skill sets with our clients’ needs,” Carlson says, “we’ll be in good shape.”