Manhattan Kraft has its headquarters at Trafalgar Boulevard in Poinciana -- a road that the firm constructed. (Photo by Michael Freeman).
POINCIANA – So much of the growth in Poinciana has been in the field of residential home construction, that it may be easy to forget that this fast-growing community also has some large employers, including the Kissimmee Gatorade plant and retailers like Lowe’s and Wal-Mart.
Poinciana is also home to a firm that happens to be ranked the 22nd largest construction company in the United States, according to EngineeringNews.com
. And that firm, Manhattan Craft Construction Inc., also hopes to get even bigger next year as Poinciana embarks on what’s expected to be a series of major construction projects right in their back yard.
“We made $650 million in revenues last year,” said Nick Murdock, who works for Manhattan Kraft as a consultant, and is helping the firm line up projects with Walt Disney World.
“I’m glad to be working with them doing consulting,” Murdock said. “We’ve qualified at Disney and we’re hopefully going to be doing some major projects for Disney. They hired me to do work with Disney and other hospitality groups in the county.”
Manhattan Kraft is more than 100 years old, and the firm’s Florida headquarters has traditionally been in Naples. But two years ago, they came to Osceola County and found an office at 2511 Trafalgar Boulevard in Poinciana, right off Poinciana Boulevard. The firm even built the road that leads into this new residential and commercial subdivision.
“I call them the gem of Poinciana because they’re one of the largest companies in their field,” Murdock said. “The Poinciana office is their Central Florida headquarters.”
Manhatten Kraft has a track record that include construction work on the Dallas Cowboy stadium, a museum at the Capitol Building in Washington, and some facilities for the Boston Red Sox.
“They built the majority of the new Florida Gulf Coast University, a starter school,” said Murdock, who lives in Solivita on the Polk County side of Poinciana.
Now the firm is hoping to do a lot of work in Poinciana as well. There are, as Murdock noted, a variety of construction projects being planned here that have the potential to create more than 4,000 new construction jobs. They include the new hospital and medical arts building that Osceola Regional Medical Center of Kissimmee is building across the street from Solivita, and the new SunRail commuter train station that will be built off Orange Blossom Trail in Poinciana — the final stop on that 61-mile route — and the Southport Shopping Plaza at the corner of Southport and Poinciana boulevards.
Right across the street from the Solivita active adults development is a vacant field that will become the home to a new Poinciana Medical Arts Building -- one of several major construction projects being planned in the community. (Photo by Michael Freeman).
“We need these jobs for people here in Poinciana,” Murdock said.
Ray Atkinson is the business developer for Manhattan Kraft, moved his family from Naples to Poinciana to work at the new office. Atkinson is hoping that Poinciana residents start taking steps now to qualify for those jobs, including creating a resume and upgrading their job skills before these construction projects get underway.
“That’s one thing that counts in construction, is safety,” Atkinson said. “Even when times are good, it’s getting qualified guys who know how to do the job that’s important.”
“I have people coming into my office all the time looking for a job,” said Letha Vanderhei, the firm’s administrative assistant. “We sub-contract our work out and depend on contractors who know what they’re doing – that’s their expertise.”
She added that the firm constructs a wide variety of projects, and expects to find a lot of construction work in Poinciana in the near future.
“People think we just build roads, and we do not just build roads,” she said.
Murdock said Manhattan Krafts recognized that this region would continue to grow as the economy improves, and they see a bright future here.
“They wanted to do work in Osceola and Polk counties,” he said.
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