Summit Contracting Group founder and President Marc Padgett expects demand for apartment construction could make 2022 a $1 billion year for his company.
“I’d like to see the pricing flatten out first of all so we can get away from all of these spikes in costs. Those are the surprises our clients get when things go through the roof,” Padgett said.
“But we are expecting growth next year. I still think next year will be a good year.”
Business growth has been steady for Jacksonville-based Summit Contracting, which specializes in building multifamily projects.
Last year the company grossed $642.3 million and Padgett expects to reach $800 million this year.
Padgett said the growth comes without advertising and rarely seeking bids. Projects come to his company.
“We turn away as much work as we do. We have a good reputation. Most of our clients are repeat clients,” he said.
Padgett said that since its formation in 2007, the company’s steady growth, even during economic downturns, has relied on a foundation of building relationships and delivering quality service.
Summit is a Jacksonville company with national impact. The National Multifamily Housing Council has ranked Summit Contracting as the top multifamily builder in the nation by number of units.
The company started 9,159 multifamily units in 2020 and expects that to exceed 10,000 by year-end.
Summit has 11 projects under construction in Northeast Florida, with the largest being the 844-unit Grand Cypress in St. Johns County. Others include The Southerly, Novo Kendall Town, The Avery at River City Marketplace and The Station at Fleming Island.
Besides Florida, Summit Contracting has projects under construction in Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Kentucky.
The scope of projects ranges from market-rate apartments to student housing, senior housing and tax credit dwellings.
Padgett, 53, has been a worker all of his life. Before graduating from Lake Mary High School he was attending classes in the morning and working in the afternoon.
“We were a middle-class family and I was going to an upper class high school,” he said of his motivation to work.
He had to earn the money to upgrade his wardrobe from the offerings sold at Kmart, he said.
Upon graduation in 1986, he began working for a plumbing and sprinkler company and later cleaned carpets working as a subcontractor. That gave him a taste of being a business owner.
Besides cleaning carpets, the job involved pressure-washing driveways and home exteriors. By 21, he had started Aal Kleen Pressure Cleaning.
“You have to remember this was back in the days when the Yellow Pages was a thing. I wanted to be listed first,” he said.
He quickly reached his goal of making $100 a day and that goal rose in $100 increments. He took on subcontractors of his own, having learned from the carpet cleaning experience. By the late 1990s the company was making $40,000 a month.
However, owning a small business was a lot of work. He found himself filling in for ill or absent workers.
He recalled working more than 24 hours straight handling the business as well as doing the manual labor.
Padgett sold the business in 1998 and went into contracting working for Summit Contractors Inc., not to be confused with his current company. He quickly became an assistant superintendent, superintendent and later an estimator and then a project manager.
In 2007, he formed Summit Contracting Group. He was completing his last two open projects when the economic crash of 2008 hit.
“By 2009 there was almost no work at all. I was not sure what we were going to do next. I thought I might have to close the doors,” he said.
Good fortune came when a company had two apartment projects under construction in Nashville and needed them completed when the original contractor lost bonding.
Those projects supported Padgett’s company through the recession and business began to pick up in 2010.
Summit Contracting Group employs 260. It is family-run.
Padgett is married to Chief Administrative Officer Nicole Padgett. Together they have five children.
Despite having offices next to one another in the company’s Baymeadows building, they seldom see each other in the office.
Padgett Premiere Property I LLC bought the two-story, 49,338-square-foot Oak Grove Plaza building in Deerwood Center in June 2019.
“It’s never been a problem. We may live and work together but at the office we do our own separate things,” Nicole Padgett said.