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VOL. 11 | NO. 10 | Saturday, March 10, 2018

RKA Construction Preps for New Home

By Michael Waddell

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For the past eight years, RKA Construction has made a name for itself in the high-end custom home arena, handling everything from small renovations and additions to large, new homes. To accommodate a need for more operational space, RKA recently purchased a 4,000-square-foot building at 81 Tillman St. to serve as its new office, and renovations are underway.

Following steady year-over-year growth since 2011, the company has a full backlog for most of 2018, according to owner Ryan Anderson.

“We entered the market when a lot of folks in our industry were exiting for obvious reasons,” he said. “So we were coming into the business with no baggage, and our focus was pretty simple really. We saw a void in the market.”

RKA Construction owner Ryan Anderson inside the company's new offices at 81 Tillman. RKA specializes in custom residential work, from small additions and renovations to large projects throughout the Mid-South. (Memphis News/Houston Cofield)

Since then, RKA has completed projects stretching from South Bluffs in Downtown Memphis to Somerville in Fayette County, along with work in Arkansas and Northern Mississippi.

“When we started, it was almost all remodels and additions,” Anderson said. “We’ve slowly worked in new construction as a large part of our business.”

One niche the company has gotten into is contemporary architecture.

“Some of the contemporary homes that we’ve done recently certainly have a lot of commercial elements to them,” said Anderson, whose began his career in commercial and civil construction before starting his own business. “That’s helped us build houses that have very nontraditional building practices. It’s been a good bonus for our business over the past 12 to 18 months.”

Constructing a high-quality product and doing so in an efficient, cost-effective way are focal points for the company, and RKA has grown a solid reputation in a short period of time.

“I very much enjoy working with Ryan and his team at RKA. I have found them to be a very professional and responsive organization that is always focused on the client's needs,” said Brad Shapiro, principal of Shapiro & Co. Architects. “Their passion to build beautiful homes or renovations of enduring value is highly commendable. Craftsmanship and execution is outstanding.”

RKA and its 21 team members currently occupy a 1,000-square-foot space at 714 S. Mendenhall Road, and its new, larger space will provide more meeting rooms for field staff and much-needed storage space.

Anderson, who graduated from Auburn University with a degree in building science, said the company has a site superintendent that strictly works in the field, while the office handles all the project management and estimating.

“So we run a very organized office that is supporting the field staff,” he added.

John Harrison Jones, an architect who has worked with RKA, praised Anderson’s business model.

“It’s a new business model that I haven’t seen in terms of a construction company, with a tiered structure that seems to be very efficient,” Jones said. “They’re young, aggressive and smart about what they’re doing.”

Architect Carlton Edwards designed the overhaul of the 1960s one-story steel building, and plans include a full-scale interior remodel and front facade improvements that will result in dramatic changes to the property’s curb appeal. RKA hopes to move to its new address by May.

“We’re builders, so buying an older building in an established Memphis neighborhood and restoring it really fits our brand,” Anderson said. “We love the idea of being a part of the continual revitalization of and reinvestment in Memphis real estate – both commercial and residential.”

The company carries a commercial license and does specialty commercial projects from time to time, but its focus for now remains on custom residential work.

“Our new location will give us more space and some options for future expansion. If changes occur in our market, it gives us some options to diversify our business a little bit,” he said.

That diversification could also include doing some future development projects.

“The quality and volume of the work that we’ve put out there is pretty tremendous up to this point, and I’m really proud of that,” Anderson said.

PROPERTY SALES 103 137 4,008
MORTGAGES 84 131 4,521
BUILDING PERMITS 178 368 9,636
BANKRUPTCIES 50 110 2,995