As demand for multifamily housing rose at a record pace in recent years, few contractors were as well positioned to capitalize as Bozzuto Construction. Since the company’s founding in 1988, Bozzuto has established itself among the top multifamily residential builders in the region and currently ranks second in that sector on the 2023 ENR MidAtlantic Top Contractor survey. Overall, the firm saw its regional revenue rise by 56% between 2019 and 2022, placing the company No. 13 on the ENR MidAtlantic survey’s main ranking. Additionally, the Greenbelt, Md.-based company has broadened the range of project types it pursues and expanded its reach into Pennsylvania, Delaware and beyond.
Bozzuto Top MidAtlantic Projects Include:
Ember at Berwyn, Berwyn, Pa.
The $63-million multifamily development is constructed of a wood frame over a slab on grade. The community includes 250 luxury and market-rate apartment units.
Lake Anne Fellowship House, Reston, Va.
Project has 56 studios, 178 one-bedroom units and six two-bedroom apartments. Amenities include a fitness center, an arts and crafts room, a social hall, a sunroom, a game room, an outdoor terrace, a wellness clinic for visiting medical professionals and an onsite management and resident services offices.
The 501 at Mattison Estate, Ambler, Pa.
This 250-unit senior living community is made up of 156 independent living units, 62 assisted living units and 32 memory care units, with more than 63,000 sq ft of amenities and communal spaces, including multiple dining venues, indoor pool, fitness center, yoga studio, two theaters and outdoor courtyards.
The Lake Anne House in Reston, Va., has 56 studios, 178 one-bedroom units and six two-bedroom apartments.
Photo courtesy Bozzuto Construction
Surge in Sales
The company’s current surge of success comes under the leadership of Mark Weisner, who was named president of Bozzuto Construction four years ago. During his tenure, the company’s annual regional revenue rose to $637.54 million last year, from $407.3 million in 2019. Although that expansion happened under his watch, Weisner says the groundwork was laid in 2015, when Toby Bozzuto was named president and CEO of the parent company, The Bozzuto Group. “Toby took us to another level, really pushing the limits of what the company had done before,” Weisner recalls. “When you have a change in leadership, it gives you an opportunity to reimagine the way you do business, reimagine your practices and look at where we can improve and where we need to double down.”
Bozzuto staff members “seem to have a terrific culture and that comes through in the way they work with each other.”
—Rebecca Warntz, Vice President, Enterprise Community Development
That fresh perspective led to the company pursuing more Class A market-rate residential projects, more senior living developments and more student housing. The company also dug deeper into its emerging geographic markets. “You look at a market like Pennsylvania, where we were routinely doing two or three deals at a time,” he says. “Now we’re doing four to five consistently.”
In 2022, the company completed 10 projects, with a combined 2,213 units and broke ground on eight new projects totaling 1,524 units. Bozzuto Construction also continued work in 2022 on 16 ongoing projects, with 4,529 units.
Bozzuto Construction is one of four companies within The Bozzuto Group, along with Bozzuto Management, Bozzuto Development and Bozzuto Homes. Although Bozzuto Construction typically builds projects for its development arm, much of the company’s growth has been for other owners and developers. Weisner says that when he joined the company in 2005, roughly half of its work was for Bozzuto projects. Today, Bozzuto projects represent only 12% of its total pipeline.
Notable current developer projects include Guardian House in Baltimore, a historic renovation of three existing housing structures into 66 new apartments. Guardian House is the first collaboration between Bozzuto Construction and Landmark Partners, a Baltimore-based development company focused on workforce housing, community development and boutique office spaces. Designed by SM+P Architects, the project is scheduled to be completed in spring 2024.
In the spring of this year, Bozzuto completed its first project in Delaware—Compass at the Grove in Newark. Built for developer Cornerstone Tracy and Fusco Management, the project includes two new four-story, wood-framed slab-on-grade buildings with a total of 306 market-rate apartment units.
Rebecca Warntz, vice president of design and construction at Enterprise Community Development, has been working with Bozzuto on projects since 2008, when she was a construction manager for Enterprise. Since then, Bozzuto has been contracted on six Enterprise affordable housing projects, including two still in the planning stages. Warntz says that Bozzuto is “thoughtful in terms of their execution.” She adds, “They’re thorough in their estimating and the quality of their work is exceptional.”
Warntz says that over the years, she has cultivated relationships with several Bozzuto staff members and credits much of the company’s success to its work environment. “From a customer’s perspective, they seem to have a terrific culture, and that comes through in the way they work with each other,” she says. “The quality, their responsiveness and their attention to the customer is all quite good, and my sense is that it stems from their culture.”
Since Weisner was promoted to president of Bozzuto Construction four years ago, the company has seen its regional revenue rise by 56%.
Photo courtesy of Bozzuto Construction
Culture of Caring
Bozzuto’s culture was an important factor in Weisner’s decision to join the company 18 years ago. Previously a project manager at Clark Construction, Weisner says he welcomed the chance to work for a smaller company, where he felt he could have more autonomy and opportunities for growth. When it comes to advancement, Weisner says the company values tenure in its employees and promotes from within, especially in its senior ranks. The current average tenure of its executive team is 15 years, with the longest tenure at 25 years and the shortest at 12 years. “We believe that by executing and doing our jobs, the reward is growth,” he says. “And when you get that growth, the people who helped you get there share in that reward as well, which could be a promotion.”
Henry Jackson, a senior superintendent at Bozzuto Construction, started at the firm 20 years ago. Initially, he began his career at the property management group, but he saw an opportunity for advancement in the construction company. “You can go anywhere you want in the company, whether it’s construction or management or development,” he says. “It all depends on your aspirations.” Still, Jackson says the reason he has stayed with Bozzuto is the culture. “A lot of companies just push work, work, work,” he says. “We have created a culture of family here. We develop real relationships with each other. We know we have each other’s back, and people are always there for each other.”
“I think we have the opportunity to continue building on the strong foundation that we have.”
— Mark Weisner, President, Bozzuto Construction
For Maddy Wolff, Bozzuto represents actual family. While studying civil engineering at Catholic University, Wolff got an internship at Bozzuto, where her older sister was already employed. While her sister helped serve as a mentor, Wolff says she felt supported by the entire staff. “Even though I was one of the younger people, I felt like they really took the time to make sure that I was learning and I was getting involved,” she says. “I wasn’t just an intern to them—I was someone who they saw potential in and they’ve really helped me grow over the past few years.”
Since joining the company six years ago, Wolff has risen from project engineer to assistant project manager to project manager. “I’ve been working with people who want to see me succeed,” she says. “My first project manager on my first job said to me, ‘I want you to leave here with the new title.’ It was nice to have someone put faith in you and say they’ll make sure you get there.”
Bozzuto also shows a commitment to serving its communities. Last year, the company supported 104 charitable causes, including the Baltimore Station and its mission to empower homeless men through evidence-based programming, counseling and therapy. Other charities include Suited for Change—which equips women on their path to financial independence by providing them with professional attire, coaching and skills training—and So Others Might Eat, which provides care, support and holistic services to individuals, families, senior citizens, veterans and those affected by physical or mental illness.
Scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2024, the Guardian House in Baltimore is a historic renovation of three existing housing structures on a tight site in the city’s downtown.
Photo by Carolyn Andros, courtesy of Bozzuto Construction
Contraction and Expansion
Weisner says the company is eyeing opportunities for future growth while remaining realistic about current challenges. With the rise in interest rates, Bozzuto foresees contraction by some developers in the near term. Still, the company had success in the first half of 2023, gaining six new projects.
In the long term, Weisner says he expects to broaden the company’s capabilities and expand into new market sectors.“We are not against the idea of mergers and acquisitions to find that person doing industrial work and turning that into part of our business.”
The company is also considering adding self-perform capabilities. “That’s absolutely something we’re discussing—having the opportunity to perform work that you know at times is very difficult to achieve through a subcontractor,” he says.
Although Weisner says he expects some continued growth in the Washington, D.C., metro area, the larger opportunities are elsewhere. The company currently has achieved footholds in Massachusetts and Florida and hopes to see those markets flourish. “I don’t want to say the growth opportunities are boundless, but I think we have the opportunity to continue building on the strong foundation that we have.”