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Business Leader Insights

Fred Thompson

Welcome to this first edition of our Regional Connections e-newsletter for the Southern Tier.

As many of you know, our local construction, engineering and development industry is a fairly tight-knit group. Many contractors and clients have long histories, and a familiarity with each other’s needs and capabilities.

That’s certainly the case for LeChase. About 90% of our business in the region is from repeat clients. We place great value on building partnerships with our clients and understanding how we, as a contractor, can enhance their projects.

One aspect of our business that some local clients find valuable is our ability to self-perform a range of activities from site, demolition, millwright and rigging to masonry, concrete, flatwork and carpentry.

What’s the advantage? At times, having in-house control can help maneuver through tight schedules and logistics for a project. In this region, for example, a number of industrial projects benefit from our ability to handle rigging and placement of equipment during construction.

In our project spotlight section, you will also read about our work on the YO1 Wellness Center. Our team’s ability to handle the extensive concrete work on that facility kept the project on schedule despite some challenging winter conditions.

Across all LeChase regions, self-perform accounts for about 500,000 hours of work annually. While that’s a substantial amount, it certainly doesn’t mean we curtail relationships with the many talented vendors and tradespeople in our region. We always look for the best resource for any job and, in fact, our crews have to bid on work from our project teams – competing with other subcontractors.

Interestingly, we find that having our own resources for masonry, carpentry and other skilled trades provides an advantage even on the many projects where we use subcontractors for those tasks. Our in depth understanding of each trade allow us to better understand and plan for the challenges our subcontractors experience.

The self-perform side of our business also provides us a unique perspective regarding local market conditions. It keeps us current on labor and materials availability and pricing, which improves our ability to develop project budgets, create schedules and evaluate bids. Having these strong connections to our communities’ resources also allows us to make informed project decisions that lead to best in class safety and quality performance.

Self-perform capability is just one aspect of our business that we feel helps LeChase stand out from the competition… and another way we aim to be the best construction partner for both new and long-term clients.

Project Highlights

YO1 Wellness Center

Owner Veria Lifestyle, Inc., envisioned the YO1 Wellness Center in Monticello, N.Y. as a modern, relaxing and rejuvenating environment to attract guests from the metropolitan New York City area and beyond.  Turning that vision into reality required an extraordinary level of innovation and coordination by the project team. For example:

  • By creating a 3D computer model of the facility, they were able to spot potential issues with placement of the many structural components. Due to this up-front work, they were able to avoid many challenges posed by the extensive number of plumbing fixtures needed in the building, as well as dehumidification, heating and cooling systems that required more than 7.3 miles of pipes.
  • By self-performing certain site preparation and the extensive concrete work needed for slabs and foundations, they were able to work around seasonal weather conditions and avoid delays.
  • Using prefabricated components – such as exterior wall panels and bathroom pods for guestrooms – they were able to condense the overall project schedule and reduce logistics of on-site work.
  • Through creative problem-solving, they were able to keep work moving on various parts of the project when contracts, materials or decisions were delayed on other areas.

Now open, the 295,000-SF center offers a unique blend of Eastern and Western wellness therapies, yoga, fitness activities and nutrition services as well as luxurious accommodations. It’s a fitting next chapter for the property where Kutsher Country Club – the last of a different era of Catskill resorts – once stood.


  • LeChase’s role: CM-at-Risk
  • Recipient: Jeffrey J. Zogg Build NY Award (May, 2019)
  • Scope of work:
    • Construction of six-story wellness resort with 131 suite-style hotel rooms
    • Extensive concrete work for structural slabs and foundation
  • Approximate size: 295,000 SF
  • Started: November 2015
  • Completed: October 2017
St. James Mercy Hospital

With rapid technology changes and growing demand for both inpatient and outpatient services, small community hospitals have to evolve to keep pace. In Hornell, N.Y., that has led to construction – now underway – of a new full-service hospital.

The first two floors of the new St. James Mercy Hospital will include a an emergency department, full imaging department, blood lab, surgery department, pharmacy, 15 inpatient beds, infusion and food services facilities and other support services. A third-floor area will house mechanical infrastructure such as air handlers and hot water boilers.


  • LeChase’s role: CM-at-Risk
  • Scope: Construction of a new high-tech, energy-efficient three-story hospital to replace an existing community hospital
  • Approximate size: 87,000 SF
  • Start: November 2017
  • Expected completion: March 2020
Delaware Academy Central School District

Having done more than $3 billion of work on over 100 K-12 and college/university campuses, LeChase understands the up-front planning and scheduling needed to deliver successful projects for its education clients. It’s one reason repeat clients like the Delaware Academy Central School District trust LeChase with their capital projects.  Currently, the company is acting as Agency CM for $8.97 million in planned renovations in the District. The scope of work includes paving, kitchen and café renovations, toilet renovations and roof and window replacement.

Drawing on its experience, the LeChase team is ready to engage immediately once the project receives State Education Department (SED) approval. The team will start by providing schematic design and design development estimates and support the bidding phase to engage a broad range of subcontractors.

If all goes as planned, the job will be out for bid in December with construction starting in spring 2020.


  • LeChase’s role: Agency CM
  • Scope of work:
    • Paving
    • Kitchen and café renovations
    • Toilet renovations
    • Roof and window replacement
  • Preconstruction underway
  • Expected start of construction: Spring 2020
  • Expected completion: Fall 2020