Harris Construction Co. Inc.’s Lawrence office is now closed, with some of its employees and leaders partnering with a St. Louis-based company in Kansas City, Mo.
Harris closed its Lawrence office, at 730 N.H., this week and sent half of its six-employee staff to Kansas City, Mo., where Harris now is operating as Harris Wilson. Jobs for the other three were eliminated.
A separate-but-related Harris Construction Services company remains in Lawrence, as provider of property maintenance and management. That operation has returned to its previous location, at 720 E. Ninth St.
For Harris Construction — which builds and develops commercial buildings, and also handles renovations and historic-preservation jobs — the assumption of the Harris Wilson name reflects a “strategic partnership” with S.M. Wilson & Co., a company that did $515 million in construction last year and is considered strong in retail and medical-related projects, said Bo Harris, president and chief executive officer of Harris Construction.
While Harris Construction still exists, the two companies are working to formalize a relationship that builds on each one’s strengths, Harris said. That formal relationship, whatever form it takes, could come within the next month.
“It’s kind of like we’re dating right now, seeing how things work and seeing if we want to get married,” Harris said.
Harris Construction has been working on a $13 million renovation of an office building across the street from a new performing arts center in Kansas City, Mo., a job now being handled by Harris Wilson. The building’s first two floors will be used by the Kansas City Symphony.
While some Harris Construction employees remain with the company, most have been switched over to S.M. Wilson’s payroll, Harris said. Three employees in Harris Construction’s Kansas City office lost their jobs as part of the partnership.
None of this week’s changes affects Harris’ own personal commitment to renovate buildings along Pennsylvania Street in east Lawrence, he said.
“We’ll continue to pursue that,” Harris said.