Real Estate - Commercial

National Design-build Firm ARCO Grows Into Wilmington With New Office

By Emma Dill, posted Apr 11, 2024
A design-build firm with a nationwide presence is growing into the Cape Fear region by opening its newest office in Wilmington.

ARCO Design/Build announced last month that the firm is putting down roots in Wilmington where ARCO aims to tap into the area’s ongoing growth in both the industrial and multifamily sectors. 

The company already has offices in Raleigh and Charlotte, so expanding to Wilmington seemed like a “no-brainer,” said Matt Hohorst, a vice president with ARCO Design/Build. The Raleigh office has seen an uptick in interest in Wilmington-area development, Hohorst said.

“We’re starting to really see this trend of developers saying, ‘Hey, what’s going on in Wilmington?’” he said. “That kind of threw the lightbulb on.”

Matt Falvey will lead the Wilmington office as its director. Falvey said he’s been vacationing in the Wilmington area since he was in second grade and knows the area.

“It's my home away from home and I’m really passionate about serving this community and bringing our much-needed value to this region,” said Falvey (shown below).

The Wilmington team will initially include five to six people, Falvey said, including himself, two of company vice presidents, a design-build manager and an engineer. He expects the Wilmington staff to grow with the number of local projects.

The firm isn’t totally new to the Wilmington area. They worked on the cold storage facility at the Port of Wilmington and completed two beverage facilities – one for Adams Beverages in Leland and another for Coastal Beverage Company in Wilmington.

ARCO Design/Build was founded more than 30 years ago in St. Louis, Hohorst said, by two design/build “evangelists.” “They thought it was a better way to build,” he said.

The company started out with a focus on the industrial sector, adding on projects in other sectors over the years. ARCO Design/Build has worked on data centers, life sciences facilities, manufacturing, cold storage, self-storage and senior housing, among other project types. 

ARCO has even served as the national design/build contractor for most of the Topgolf facilities in the United States, Hohorst said. Today, the company has 42 offices nationwide and more than 2,000 employees.

“The way that we do design can really be applied to all different things,” Hohorst said. “So we’ve evolved into (different) areas.”

In the Wilmington market, ARCO is eyeing ongoing growth at the Port of Wilmington.

“When you start to see the level of investment and excitement around the port, we’re very bullish that this is going to be a real growth area for eastern North Carolina we would want to be part of that,” Hohurst said.

Another draw is the area’s growing multifamily sector, Falvey said. ARCO Design/Build’s Wilmington office will act as the ARCO's “hub for multifamily for Eastern Carolina and, quite frankly, the greater Southeast region,” he said.

Even though rapidly rising interest rates have slowed commercial projects across the board, the company is starting to see movement in some sectors like data centers and advanced manufacturing, Hohorst said.

The firm is planting its flag at downtown Wilmington’s Common Desk – a choice intentionally made to embed in the downtown area as quickly as possible, Falvey said.

Hohorst said ARCO Design/Build has a few prospective projects in the pipeline and remains “bullish” on the area’s continued growth.

“There are quite a [few] projects that we’re looking at in that area right now. Some that are announced, some that are not, but we’re actively trying to be able to get more here,” Hohorst said. “We feel like this is a great time for us to really plant some seeds and grow some roots down there to try to wrangle in the things that we have kind of right in front of us.”

Correction: This version has been updated to state that ARCO has 42 offices nationwide.
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