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Business Leader Insights

Business Leader Insights - Buffalo

As we approach 2020, we continue to see a robust construction market in Western New York. That’s a key reason we recently moved to a larger office and why we continue to add new talent locally.

Our ongoing expansion, and the fact that we recently completed several large projects like 500 Pearl, means that we are entering the new year with capacity – not only to tackle the projects in our pipeline, but to take on new work and new clients as well.

One aspect of the LeChase business that will help us better serve our Western New York customers going forward is our ability to self-perform a range of activities including site work, demolition, masonry, concrete and carpentry.

On some projects, having these in-house capabilities provides an obvious benefit in maneuvering tight schedules and logistics. We find, however, that here’s a broader benefit – even on the many projects where we use subcontractors for this work.

Our self-perform experience gives us first-hand knowledge of the various trades. Understanding the challenges each trade may experience on a project allows us to better manage the construction process. It also provides us a unique perspective on local market conditions and keeps us current on labor and materials availability and pricing. In turn, that improves our ability to develop project budgets, create schedules and evaluate bids. It also allows us to make informed project decisions that lead to best-in-class safety and quality performance.

Across all LeChase regions, self-perform annually accounts for about 500,000 hours of work. 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. In fact, our self-perform crews have to bid on work from our project teams – competing with other subcontractors.

Self-perform capability is simply another 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

Built more than 150 years ago as a venue for concerts and public gatherings, Bent’s Opera House was vacant for almost a decade before renovation of the historic building began in 2018.

Today, the major structural work on the building is complete. This included installing 3.5 tons of steel on each of the building’s six timber trusses ­– basically creating new trusses around the existing ones. To accomplish this, crews had to shore up each truss at both ends of the building to carry the load while the steel was being installed.

The team encountered additional deficiencies in structural integrity during the selective demolition being done on the project. This required extensive redesign work and replacement of many structural elements throughout the building

Having solved those issues, the team is currently replacing the roof and restoring the original Medina sandstone façade. They’ve almost completed installation of historic replica replacement windows and are framing interior walls, beginning insulation and drywall and roughing in mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.

When finished, the updated facility will feature ten boutique hotel rooms and a farm-to-table restaurant with catering abilities. The restored stage and theater area will enable the Opera House to host large gatherings, concerts, weddings and corporate events.


  • LeChase role:
    Construction Manager
  • Scope of LeChase work:
    • Structural reinforcement
    • Interior and exterior renovation of historic building
  • Started: Summer 2018
  • Expected completion: Spring 2020
UB Tennis Courts

After completing the Murchie Family Fieldhouse at the University at Buffalo (UB), LeChase crews did not have to travel far for their next project on campus.  UB selected LeChase as general contractor for the installation of six new NCAA regulation tennis courts adjacent to the fieldhouse.

It wasn’t the biggest of projects, but it did require great attention to detail and timing. NCAA courts have to meet very tight tolerances for aspects like the slopes of the pavement. In addition, the courts and all related drainage and lighting had to be completed within a tight three-month window.

Being outdoors, the project also required close attention to the weather forecast. The cushion topping material on the courts requires time to dry, so installation had to occur during a string of rain-free days. The same was true for the paint that later went on top of the cushion material.

Working and planning toward the aggressive schedule, the project team delivered the courts on September 19 – less than three months after they began work. Now, UB now has its first NCAA-certified tennis courts on campus.


  • LeChase role:
    General Contractor
  • Scope of work:
    • Addition of six
      tennis courts
    • Installation of related drainage and lighting
  • Started: June 2019
  • Completed:
    September 2019