Providence Business News recently spoke with Chris Maury, Shawmut’s Senior Director of Rhode Island, as part of their 5 Questions series—covering the recently completed Aloft Providence Downtown, Brown University’s highly-anticipated Performing Arts Center, as well as an overview of the state of the market in Rhode Island.
As senior director for Rhode Island at Shawmut Design and Construction, Chris Maury helped lead the team that made the seven-story Aloft Providence Downtown hotel a reality amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with construction starting in early 2020 at 191 Dorrance St., completing the 162,000-square-foot building with 175 guest rooms late last year.
Shawmut completed the project with partners CV Properties LLC and Elkus Manfredi Architects. Maury said recently that it was an honor for Shawmut, as a firm with roots in Rhode Island, to be part of “another transformative project” with the I-195 Redevelopment District.
What are your thoughts about the outcome of the Aloft Providence Downtown, and what was it like to complete the project amid a pandemic? When we started construction in February 2020, we projected a completion date at the end of August 2021. Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic beginning at the same time, we were successful in completing the project safely, on time and on budget – an achievement that we are extremely proud [of]. This is a testament to our team and enhanced safety protocols that we deployed across all job sites, including Shawmut Vitals, a custom technology platform that enables team members to self-certify daily health screenings.
What is the biggest project currently underway or on the horizon for Shawmut Design and Construction in Rhode Island? We are currently building Brown University’s new, state-of-the-art performing arts center. Scheduled to open in 2023, the 94,000-square-foot complex, designed by architecture firm REX, is set to anchor a future campus arts district and offer an unparalleled approach to experimental, collaborative and engaged performance work.
We’re utilizing integrated project delivery – a highly collaborative approach to the preconstruction, design and building process – and tapping into decades of experience building complex higher education projects to complete the technologically sophisticated, highly flexible structure.
What is the business climate in Rhode Island like right now for construction companies such as Shawmut Design and Construction? Is it more competitive than usual? Having a local office and team in Rhode Island for more than 20 years has certainly informed us of just how competitive the construction industry in the state has always been – and it certainly has become even more so as of late. Especially with the state’s current and proposed investment in public school construction, which is attracting many out-of-state general contractors.
What kind of impact, if any, have inflation and supply chain issues been having on the local construction industry? These are extraordinary times in terms of cost escalation, which has forced some owners to put their projects on hold or scale back design to maintain affordability. Supply chain issues are certainly a concern, but we have been able to successfully mitigate most impacts through detailed preplanning, diligent follow-up and alternative sourcing when necessary.