(As printed in the July 28, 2006 edition of the Naples Daily News.)
A merger announced in Fort Myers on Thursday has created a $1 billion company, joining the state’s leading commercial construction and development company with Southwest Florida’s largest commercial realtor.
The new partners said their new firm, Gates, D’Alessandro & Woodyard, will keep all of both companies’ employees and hire more. They hope to build on joint 2006 business projections of $500 million each.
Todd Gates of Gates McVey, a Naples-based company, and Frank D’Alessandro and Tom Woodyard of Fort Myers based D’Alessandro & Woodyard, said the new company will be able to take commercial proposals virtually from the idea stage to product delivery.
“The key is offering clients the full menu of services,” D’Alessandro said. “That’s site selection, entitlements, construction, property management, sales, leasing.”
The merger is believed to be the largest of its kind in Southwest Florida history.
Both companies have deep business roots. Gates McVey’s projects include the North Naples Research and Technology Park, International College’s Fort Myers campus and the Naples Community Hospital Wellness Center expansion. D’Alessandro and Woodyard have more than 40 years of real estate experience between them.
The companies also have done a lot of business together over the years, they said.
“This is not a merger of two companies that have been going for two years,” said Gates. “These are two very mature companies in existence many years.”
Gates said a job candidate took a cab from Naples to the airport recently, and Gates McVey came up in conversation.
“The only ones with more signs (than Gates McVey) is that D’Alessandro & Woodyard,” the cabbie said.
The ubiquitous signs of both companies that dot commercial properties across Southwest Florida will be replaced by a new logo.
The new company will have offices in Fort Myers and Naples. The men said the 160 employees likely will be joined by 30 or 40 new ones to handle what they hope is an increased workload.
Woodyard said a recent softness in the residential building market won’t hit commercial business. The company has already begun to look more at infill sites, as well as more remote sites in Charlotte, Hendry and DeSoto counties.
“People have to conduct business no matter what the economy’s doing,” D’Alessandro said. “Things are going to happen even if they are delayed a little bit.”