When Naples-based Kraft Construction needed a new main office, company executives talked about moving to a place more central between Naples and Tampa, the areas it serves.
Locating farther north would have been cheaper, but the company stayed in Collier County, where it was founded.
“This is our home and where we want to expand our operation,” said Fred Pezeshkan, president and chief executive of Kraft.
Pezeshkan and other company officials broke ground at a ceremony Wednesday for Kraft’s new headquarters off Pine Ridge Road between Livingston Road and Interstate 75 in North Naples.
Kraft, which is privately held by Pezeshkan and his business partner, Robert Carsello, is one of the largest construction companies in Collier and the state. It had $450 million in revenues in 2005 and is projecting $550 million in revenues for 2006.
The company’s 200 employees in Collier currently are crammed into four separate buildings on Horseshoe Drive in East Naples where file cabinets and boxes line the hallways. They’ll only fill half the 100,000 square feet of the new offices when they move in, anticipated to be at year’s end.
The new headquarters will be housed in two side-by-side symmetrical buildings that are connected by a bridge on the second floor. The offices will have three floors, a 200-seat training center and a gym complete with a locker room.
Construction for the new building is a year behind schedule due to delays in obtaining site approvals and permits.
The new headquarters will be on one of Naples’ busiest roads, but it is closer to where the employees live. Many live east of I-75 and north of Collier County, Pezeshkan said.
Collier County Commissioner Tom Henning, whose district will include the new Kraft offices, said the move will help with traffic issues.
“If they move to where the workforce is, it solves part of our problems,” he said at the ground-breaking ceremony.
Pezeshkan said the new location’s proximity to I-75 will shave off a half hour of driving time to Kraft’s other offices in Fort Myers and Sarasota.
The 17-acre campus will have two more 40,000-square-foot
Antaramian Development Corp. will take up the top floor of one of those buildings, and Spectrum Contracting Inc., a company owned in part by Pezeshkan and Carsello, will be located in another.
Colonial Bank and another bank that is yet to be announced also will be located on the property.
Kraft was founded in 1968 by George F. Kraft, who recruited Carsello in 1970 to help him on a project for Naples Community Hospital. When Kraft died in 1974, Carsello bought the business.
Pezeshkan became a partner in 1979, and together the men are responsible for constructing more than two dozen schools, government buildings and institutional buildings.
Some of its current projects are North Collier Hospital, a $42-million, six-story tower scheduled to open in October; and North Naples Regional Park, a $53 million project near Immokalee and Livingston roads that includes a water park, eight lighted soccer fields and five lighted softball fields.
Kraft also is helping build Ave Maria University and the surrounding town in eastern Collier County.