DPR Construction, the building contractor and construction manager that has built itself into a $2-billion-a-year business on high-tech construction and a push for innovation, appears to be trying something else relatively new—a big acquisition.

In its first major purchase, DPR announced Jan. 18 that it plans to buy Hardin Construction Co. LLC, the Atlanta-based general contractor that would further boost the Calfornia firm's national scope.

DPR, based in Redwood City, plans to buy 100% of Hardin shares from its manager-owners in a move that expedites regional growth.

DPR ranks at no. 24 on ENR's list of the Top 400 Contractors, with $2 billion in 2011 revenue. More than half is in general building, 33% in telecom and 16% in industrial/petrochemical markets.

Operating from 16 offices, DPR is known as a specialist in high-technology building.


Hardin, which ranks at No. 118 on that list with $479 million in 2011 revenue in general building, is a well-known name in the southeast.

Neither privately-held firm would release the purchase price or other terms of the transaction, which is set to close in March. FMI is the deal broker.

"The two companies intend to combine operations in the Southeast and Texas markets, where both have a strong local presence," says the DPR announcement.

In a statement, DPR President Doug Woods says the intended deal "marks an inflection point in our company history. We've grown organically for more than 20 years." Founded in 1990, the firm is employee-owned.

Hardin, which says it is 66 years old, has a portfolio of 1,400 projects, including those in aviation, higher education and hospitality markets.

Hardin operates primarily as a CM at-risk. Chairman Brantley Barrow told ENR that the acquisition by DPR allows Hardin’s staff to work from a bigger platform and get into data centers, pharmaceutical facilities and other markets currently served by DPR.


Eric Lamb, executive vice president of DPR, says this is his company’s second acquisition. Two years ago, it bought a smaller San Diego firm.

But DPR’s 10-year plan called for the company to expand in the southeast. “Hardin is involved in the Southeast and Florida and Texas and was perfect for how we were trying to grow,” says Lamb.

Hardin’s offices in Orlando and Tampa and DPR’s office in West Palm Beach all will remain open.


Hardin had to trim staff in the last two years as its office and hospitality work dropped, Barrow says. DPR has been growing the last three years and expects its 2012 revenue to total $2.4 billion.