General contractor John Moriarty & Associates sews up billions in high-profile SoFla buildings

'The number of new projects this year alone is staggering,' John Leete, the firm's Florida operations head, says

Jun.June 10, 2013 11:00 AM

In South Florida, behind every star architect is a star builder.

John Leete, the head of Florida operations for John Moriarty & Associates, a Winchester, Mass.-general contracting and construction company, has garnered billions from Miami’s current condo boom, according to an interview with the Miami Herald.

Leete’s company is responsible for the Pérez Art Museum Miami, the $220 million project whose construction is underway at Museum Park designed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, and, in a joint venture with Americaribe, Swire Properties’ $500 million BrickellCityCentre. Leete has worked on $2 billion in projects developed by Related Group, co-founded by the museum’s namesake, Jorge Pérez.

Asked whether South Florida is gaining momentum in construction, Leete said “it has been for the last 18 months and is continuing to pick up steam.”

“The number of new projects this year alone is staggering. The big question is if and when they all break ground. It will be like turning back the clock to 2006,” he said, adding that labor shortages and the cost of materials continue to be industry challenges.

PAMM, a LEED-certified building that incorporates South Florida’s natural landscape, posed particular construction challenges, Leete said.

“The [museum] has some key features such as the largest hurricane-rated glazing panels that also incorporate museum requirements for tinting and color rendering for the artwork. [There are] hanging-garden elements that mimic a Banyan tree; and also large column-free art galleries utilizing cutting-edge concrete-slab systems from Europe,” he said.

Leete predicted BrickellCityCentre will be “the catalyst” to Miami’s economic recovery from the recession. [Miami Herald]Emily Schmall

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