Crawford Construction building $1.7 million headquarters

Work is underway on R.E. Crawford's new headquarters building at Lakewood Ranch.
Work is underway on R.E. Crawford's new headquarters building at Lakewood Ranch.

The company that constructed the Bradenton Community-Based Outpatient Clinic for veterans, the Social Security building on State Road 64, 10 stores in the Mall at UTC, car washes and more, is now building a new headquarters for itself.

R.E. Crawford Construction LLC, 6771 Professional Parkway, is building a $1.7 million headquarters just down the street from its current office space and within eyesight of Interstate 75.

The 11,000-square-foot building is expected to be completed by October, said Jeff Smith, who owns the business with his wife, Utahna Smith. The building will house two other tenants.

R.E. Crawford provides site development, ground-up, fit-out and addition/renovation services to a wide range of clients, said Susan Courter, Crawford’s director of business development.

“The majority of our work is in retail and restaurant construction, but we also perform hospitality, medical, office/administration, strip center and government projects,” Courter said. “Our scope of work can range from the thousands to multi-million-dollar projects.”

Crawford builds in 38 states, but much of its work is in Florida. The company has about 35 employees.

“We subcontract out the majority of our work and manage the projects. We work with many local subs,” Courter said.

The company was founded in 2005. Before making the move to Florida, Jeff Smith traveled around the country as a project superintendent, until receiving an ultimatum from Utahna.

“She said enough of this cold and you being on the road, and that she was moving to Florida,” Jeff Smith said in an email to the Herald.

Utahna Smith had an opportunity to build two supermarket projects in the Sarasota area. “And the rest is history,” Jeff Smith wrote.

Prior to entering the civilian world, Jeff Smith served as a U.S. Navy Seabee from 1984 to 1993, including tours in Spain, Guam and Japan.

“I was due to reenlist for another five years, and that would have taken me to 14 years or just six years from retirement. So I was at a crossroads of making a career or trying my hand at civilian life,” Smith said. “I had an opportunity to join back up with a company I helped start when I was 15 years old by going door-to-door asking for business and homeowners to hire my uncle, who was 19 at the time, for minor repairs and painting.”

Among R.E. Crawford’s local projects: Verizon Wireless on University Parkway, River Club Car Wash, site work for River Club Park of Commerce on State Road 70, Royal Palm Car Wash on Cortez Road, and Tire Choice of River Club.

Among the Mall at UTC stores that R.E. Crawford built: The Art of Shaving, PacSun, Bose, Godiva, Lovesac, and Fit2Run.

James A. Jones Jr.: 941-745-7053, @jajones1