Friday, July 11, 2014

Lamar Construction Company closes its doors without notice

Lamar Construction Co. filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Friday, July 11, after a sudden and unexpected layoff off all of its 293 employees in Michigan, Kentucky, and Colorado. On Wednesday the Hudsonville-based company announced that it was closing its construction division, but said it intended to keep its structural steel engineering operation open. However, it appears that Lamar’s financial situation was more complex and precarious than even its management believed earlier in the week because on Friday all workers received email notice that the company was now defunct and they would not be paid for their work this week. Online, the Lamar website has been “removed indefinitely.”

Lamar’s services consisted of designing/building, general contracting, construction management, steel & precast erection, development services, facility management, custom cabinetry/millwork, and green/sustainable construction. The larger and custom projects they worked on were quite complex involving state-of-the-art construction engineering or advanced environmental technology. The Denver Business Journal highlighted several present and future construction projects that would have to be reorganized now that Lamar will no longer be acting as general contractor. These included a 172-apartment complex in Golden, Colorado, a 12,000 square-feet office building, an industrial project, and senior housing.

According to the bankruptcy petition Lamar Construction filed, the company has assets of between $10 to $50 million and liabilities within the same range. Company shareholder Carl Blaukamp, in an interview with Mlive said that Fifth Third Bank had declined to extend their line of credit after “some unexpected losses.” Lamar obliquely blamed the shutdown on “current economic conditions.”

Lamar Construction Company had been in business for 74 years and was named one of West Michigan’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For by the Michigan Business and Professional Association in 2013. In June Mlive photographed Lamar preparing the Fifth Third Ballpark for the Midwest League All-Star Classic.