China Makes Its First Investment In Leading U.S. Construction Management Firm

China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) has acquired Plaza Construction for an undisclosed amount through China Construction America, its US subsidiary. This significant Chinese investment in the US construction firm, which improves its financial strength and bonding capabilities, represents definite growth opportunity for Manhattan-based Plaza Construction.

Richard Wood, CEO of Plaza Construction, said that the firm has been practicing a ‘hands-on’ approach to working with its clients and managing its construction projects for almost 30 years. The acquisition by CSCEC puts the firm in a position to grow faster, thanks to improved resources, bonding, and procurement capability.

Plaza Construction is one of the country’s foremost construction management and contracting companies. Its construction portfolio includes universities, museums, commercial properties, residential properties, corporate headquarters, and retail locations. Since its 1986 incorporation, it has expanded from a regional company to a national presence, with headquarters in New York City and regional offices throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Southwest regions of the US.

Wood says, “Plaza’s most valued assets are its people, who will have the added fuel to drive the company’s growth.”

Under the terms of the acquisition, Plaza Construction will continue to operate independently under its present name, offering upgraded products and services to its existing customers. It will also pursue new market opportunities and make more careers within the firm available. The present Plaza management team with remain in place.

China State Construction Engineering Corporation began in 1957 as a state company. At that time, China was a focal point of the building industry in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. CSCEC entered the US market in 1985 by opening an office in Atlanta, breaking out of its original regionally limited work schematic. Its US subsidiary began building housing developments with joint venture partners before commencing its own project in 1987 in Jacksonville, Florida: the $27 million Latana Lakes complex consisting of 42 homes.

China State Construction Engineering Corporation has built many of the best-known public works in China, such as the Water Cube, as the national swimming center in Beijing is called, and the missile testing centre of the Shenzhou Space Center, which placed first in a competition for projects that represented national scientific and technical innovation in China.

CSCEC’s North American projects were initially an expansion of Chinese government or corporate interests, but the company quickly expanded to include regional projects such as the Alexander Hamilton Bridge renovation and the new Metro-North platform at Yankee Stadium. In 2011 it opened the Baha Mar Resorts, a $3.4 billion resort and casino that represented the biggest construction project handled by a Chinese company outside of China.

With the support of the Chinese government and financial backing from the Export-Import Bank of China, CSCEC continues to grow as a building company and investor in worldwide projects.

Chinese companies have been encouraged by the Chinese government to expand into foreign markets in order to expand the country’s foreign-exchange reserves (presently worth $3.4 trillion) and limit its dependence on the US dollar.