The growing Hutton Construction needs more room for its “world headquarters,” as CEO Ben Hutton laughingly calls it, but that’s not the chief reason the company is moving to Delano.
“Also it’s about being in a community that I feel is exciting and vibrant,” Hutton says.
He cites the city’s catalyst project, the new library, River Vista apartments and potential stadium and other redevelopment in the area as appealing attractions.
“There’s just a lot going on here, and so it’s exciting to be right in the middle of that. That’s fun for our current employees, and it’s also I think really going to be a big part of our ability to attract our future workforce as well. That’s as important as having more space to me.”
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Hutton plans a new 30,000-square foot office and additional two-level parking garage just behind a row of Douglas storefronts between Sycamore and Oak streets.
“We’re excited about this particular site because it sits between historic Delano and the new modern developments of the catalyst site and the library, and so we get to kind of be the transition, which is really interesting for us architecturally, and from a construction standpoint it’s fun,” Hutton says. “It gives us a lot of freedom to do things that recognize history and blend in with what’s here in Delano and kind of the fabric of the community … and also represent the future and where we’re going as a business in the modern side of the building as well.”
The current sort of conglomeration of buildings on the property, which Hutton will demolish, has an Oak Street address. The new building, the front of which will be visible from the Delano clock tower, will have a Sycamore address.
The parking structure will have “a more traditional look with some brick and stone that blends in with what you see up and down Douglas,” Hutton says. As the property transitions into offices, he says it will be more modern with “steel and concrete and some of the things that are more exciting to us and kind of represent where the building industry is going
“In between we see this opportunity for this really cool landscaped corridor that kind of softens the whole property and gives some great amenity to the office with lots of seating and outdoor areas.”
Hutton, who at 36 is on the cusp of being a millennial, says people in his generation work differently.
“They’re attracted to different environments,” he says. “It’s becoming more and more important that you can offer a whole package, not just a great job.”
The firm currently is in 15,000 square feet in a more industrial area at 2229 S. West St. where there aren’t a lot of restaurants.
“That’s actually part of the reason why we’re excited to move down here to Delano because there’s so many more options for lunch and after work and meeting people,” Hutton says.
Hutton Construction has 240 employees, about 65 of which will be in the Delano office.
“Most of our employees are scattered around Kansas and surrounding states,” Hutton says of the 25 to 30 job sites the company has at any given time.
The firm also has a separate yard facility that it will keep when it moves.
“We’ve moved a lot as a company as we’ve grown and always think we are building enough space for growth, and then we fill it up and have to expand or remodel,” Hutton says. “Hopefully this time we’ll get enough space built that we can stay for 20 years. That’s the goal.”
He says in addition to having extra room in the new headquarters, he also owns the former Crawley’s Office Furniture building at the northeast corner of Oak and Douglas. He’ll lease that space and any extra in his building.
Hutton expects construction to begin early next year.
“That’s when we have some people maybe available. Pretty busy right now.”
He says he’s not in a rush.
“When it makes sense to start, we’ll start. I’m anxious to start only because it’s exciting.”
Hutton’s father, Mark, started the company in 1992, and a 12-year Ben Hutton joined the following year sweeping floors. He eventually became a carpenter and laborer and went to work for a Colorado Springs company after graduating from K-State. Hutton returned to his family’s business full time in 2006 then became president in 2010 before becoming CEO in October.
In addition to looking forward to a space that can support Hutton Construction for the next couple of decades, Hutton says he likes the idea of being in an “old but becoming new part of our city.”
“It’s our hope that we can inspire some other businesses to move down here.”
Hutton says daytime activity is important for Delano, “which means businesses and jobs.”
“We’re excited to kind of play that part in this community.”