DPR Construction, the California-based 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, is making moves to expand its footprint. And the company’s first step in that direction is starting in the Southeast.

Photo: NY Focus Photography
DPR Construction built the Max Planck Florida Institute project, located in Jupiter, Fla.

In its first major purchase, DPR announced last month that it plans to buy Hardin Construction Co. LLC, the Atlanta-based general contractor. DPR, based in Redwood City, plans to buy 100% of Hardin shares from its manager-owners in a move that expedites regional growth. The companies plan to combine operations in the Southeast and Texas.

Eric Lamb, executive vice president of DPR, says his company’s 10-year plan called for a southeast expansion. “Hardin is involved in the Southeast and Florida and Texas and was perfect for how we were trying to grow,” he says. DPR has been active in the Southeast for roughly the past 10 years, Lamb adds.

In an email response to questions from ENR Southeast, Brantley Barrow, chairman for Hardin, said, “We anticipate consolidating office locations in Atlanta, Austin and Raleigh and combining DPR and Hardin talent, expertise and resources in those cities.”

Officials with both companies said the acquisition is the result of a long-term relationship. In an email response to questions, Lamb said, “We have known and worked with the Hardin folks and management for about 15 years.”

According to Barrow, the Atlanta-based company had been eyeing a geographic and market sector expansion for several years, and DPR emerged quickly as a possible “strategic partner” that could facilitate such growth.

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. Company officials also foresee new opportunities in the health-care and non-residential higher-education markets.

“Through this acquisition and with our combined resources, we have the opportunity to tap into new markets and become an even more competitive company, nationally and across the Southeast,” Barrow added.

DPR ranked no. 24 on ENR's latest list of the Top 400 Contractors, with $2 billion in 2011 revenue. Additionally, the firm expects its 2012 revenue to total $2.4 billion. Of that 2012 figure, said Lamb, an estimated $224 million came from the Southeast region.

Hardin came in at No. 118 on ENR’s most recent Top 400 Contractors list, with $479 million in 2011 revenue. According to ENR Southeast’s most recent Top Southeast Contractors ranking, the company ranked at No. 21, with just over $278 million in regional revenue for 2011.

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.

An earlier version of this story first appeared on ENR.com, and can be found here.