EXCALI-BURST: Local company to expand

SHERIDAN — A local company began a significant expansion process this week that could result in larger headquarters, work in several other states and an additional 80 jobs over the next two years.

Excalibur Construction, Inc., a business specializing in home design and building, broke ground Wednesday on an addition to its headquarters on Dry Ranch Road in southeast Sheridan. The headquarters will expand to about 51,000 square feet, much larger than the current building of 4,000 square feet. It will cost about $9.3 million to construct over the next two years.

In addition, Excalibur President Andrew J. McFaul said the company plans to gradually add 80 employees to the Sheridan offices over the next two years. The business currently employs 37 people.

The expansion aims to shift Excalibur from a local company to a regional one. McFaul said the company plans to expand to Billings, Montana, in January or February of next year. After Billings, the company will take on projects in Gillette, Casper and Cheyenne, then hopefully Denver within the next 18 months. McFaul also said the business hopes to go national within the next 10 years with its headquarters in Sheridan.

When the company expands into Billings, McFaul said it will do so with two construction superintendents working remotely and 12 to 14 support staff in Sheridan taking care of project management, marketing, finance and purchasing.

The Sheridan expansion consists of two large additions on either side of the company’s current offices. The south side will be a warehouse for construction supplies. The north side will feature a four-story facade with three interior floors. The first two floors will hold offices and the third floor will feature an apartment in which McFaul will reside.

On July 19, the Sheridan County Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-0 to recommend the residential conditional use permit be brought to the Sheridan County Commissioners for final approval.

Dave Wills, a member of the Sheridan County Planning and Zoning Commission, said he was not surprised by Excalibur’s proposed expansion. Wills said the proposal fits into the area nicely and nearby businesses or residents did not voice any opposition to the commission about the expansion.

The county commissioners unanimously approved the permit Tuesday morning.

County commissioner Terry Cram said it surprised him when he heard the expansion plans, but he is cautiously optimistic.

“That’s a bunch of employees for a construction company,” Cram said. “It sounds like a good deal to me. We’re always looking for businesses that are going to add employees, and those are the kinds of jobs that pay pretty well.”

Sheridan County planner Mark Reid said the residential conditional use permit process took about three months from start to finish.

Reid also said the expansion is one of the larger projects the county has worked on in recent years.

McFaul said he started the company as a home remodeling business as a high-schooler in Appleton, Wisconsin, because he loved working with his hands.

“I met an old master craftsman that taught me the trade when I was about 16,” McFaul said. “After school, every weekend, I worked with this guy and I just loved it.”

McFaul said it was time to expand because the business was beginning to outgrow its current offices and projects.

Excalibur will continue to focus on designing and building residential homes, which McFaul said make up about 98 percent of the business. Nearly all of Excalibur’s current projects take place in Sheridan County.

The expansion process began in August 2016 and took a bit more time and money than McFaul anticipated, but he said there have been no major surprises.

McFaul said his company’s expansion, in addition to recent openings by Ramaco and Weatherby, is a positive sign for Sheridan.

“It’s good to see Sheridan having some good, controlled growth,” McFaul said.

McFaul anticipates the new employees living in Sheridan, though it may be challenging to find real estate.

“As land gets more difficult to find and more expensive to develop, it just drives up the price and it makes affordable housing really tough,” McFaul said.

McFaul mentioned the Aspen Grove subdivision near Big Horn Avenue where Excalibur is constructing houses that cost between $300,000 and $400,000.

“I hate to say that’s affordable, but it seems to be,” McFaul said.

Indeed, Wyoming has seen an increase in real estate construction and prices.

According to the Wyoming Community Development Authority, from 2010 to 2015, the total estimate of Wyoming’s housing units increased by 2.9 percent to an all-time high of 269,469 units.

Moreover, the median home sales price in Sheridan County significantly went up from $212,800 in 2015 to $232,950 in 2016, an increase of 9.5 percent.

McFaul said he worries about potential market fluctuations and downturns, especially because the expansion is such a significant financial commitment.

Despite the potential negatives for the company, McFaul believes the expansion is a risk worth taking.

By |Aug. 8, 2018   Source of original article