Building for Giants

To complete the TIMEX Performance Center, Joseph A. Natoli Construction relied on good subcontractors such as Smith Glass & Metal. PHOTO: BARRY HALKIN

Joseph A. Natoli Construction’s focus on subcontractors has helped the firm win prestigious work, including the training facility for the winners of Super Bowl XLVI

At a Glance

Location
Pine Brook, NJ

Founded
1975

Employees
50

Specialties
General contracting and construction management

Annual Projects
5—10

For Paul Natoli, President and CEO of Joseph A. Natoli Construction Corp., May 18, 2009, was a very good day. It was the date the New Jersey general contracting firm completed work on the $75 million TIMEX Performance Center, the new headquarters and training facility for the New York Giants. The construction project was daunting and not without obstacles, but Joseph A. Natoli Construction tackled it the same way it does all its work—with versatile capabilities and a focus on its relationships with subcontractors.

“Working for NFL organizations can be very difficult because they have a precise window of time each season wherein the project must be completed,” Natoli says. “Typically, there can’t be any interruptions due to construction from the time of the draft until the end of football season.”

That hasn’t been a problem for Joseph A. Natoli Construction, a firm that continues to win bids from the New York Giants both for its impressive capabilities and its established history with the renowned sports organization. “From 1976 until 2009, the New York Giants’ offices were located inside Giants stadium,” Natoli says. “We had already done a number of successful renovation projects inside the old stadium, and every project we’d done for them came in on time. As a result of that, and a competitive bid, when Giants stadium was demolished to make room for the new MetLife Stadium and the Giants team needed a home, we were awarded the project.” The firm won the bid for the nearby TIMEX Performance Center in much the same way.

The New York Giants’ TIMEX Performance Center includes an indoor practice facility with a 90-foot roof. PHOTO: BARRY HALKIN

Joseph A. Natoli Construction began work on the new training facility in September 2007. Included in the project, sited just west of the new stadium on the Meadowlands campus, were weight-training, medical, and dining facilities; locker and shower rooms; a full theatre; a 105,000-square-foot indoor practice facility with a 90-foot ceiling and state-of-the-art synthetic turf; a 5,000-square-foot maintenance building that now houses the team’s equipment; and a 100,000-square-foot headquarters building that houses administrative and marketing offices. Natoli’s firm also constructed three full-size grass fields and one 60-yard synthetic-turf field outside. “The Giants like to practice on grass, obviously,” Natoli says.

The project, completed in 16 months (longer than usual for an NFL project since it could be built without impacting operations), was an immediate success. “When you walk through the facility, you can clearly see the quality of the work,” Natoli says. “The level of detail is far greater than that you would find in a typical office or sports facility.”

That, in part, is the result of good subcontractors, such as Smith Glass & Metal, which provided all the aluminum, glass, and glazing used on the windows and entrances of the training facility. “Over the past 37 years, we’ve worked with many subcontractors, so we have a good sense of which ones meet the qualifications for each specific job, and we use different subcontractors for different jobs depending on the location, size, and complexity of the project,” Natoli says. “We also treat them fairly and pay our bills [on] time—and in exchange expect them to perform the way our clients expect us to perform.”

The Giants’ administrative and marketing offices are housed in the center’s 100,000-square-foot headquarters. PHOTO: BARRY HALKIN

Natoli didn’t have long to rest on his laurels after completing the headquarters and training facility. Joseph A. Natoli Construction—which Natoli’s father founded in 1975—is one of the New York metropolitan area’s largest and most reputable contractors, and Natoli had more work on the books, including the construction of a $20 million dining facility on the Livingston campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey. Completed in June 2011, the 64,000-square-foot facility includes two commercial kitchens—with $5 million of equipmen—and two dining areas, one for students and one for faculty and administrators.

Less than a year later, in March 2012, Joseph A. Natoli Construction completed a more prominent project: the $5.5 million restoration of the immigration building on Ellis Island. Completed for the National

Park Service, the work involved modernizing the 1930s building while maintaining its historic fabric. “We added new roofing and did an exterior restoration, including windows and doors,” Natoli says. “[We] constructed an entirely new interior, but we salvaged a lot of existing materials, such as old millwork, to maintain the historic appeal of the building.”

On nearby Liberty Island, the firm is still completing a $27.2 million restoration of the Statue of Liberty, another job for the National Park Service. The project, scheduled for completion in the fall of 2012, involves work inside the 150-foot-tall granite pedestal on which the statue rests. “We’re gutting the core of the pedestal, removing all elevators and existing stairwells that lead to the top of the pedestal, and replacing them with two new wider stairwells and a series of three new elevators that can take visitors to the shoulder of the statue,” Natoli says. “We’re also building two new stairwells outside the statue on the terraplain—or, plaza—which surrounds the statue.” All of this work is being performed while Liberty Island remains open to the public.

According to Natoli, a number of factors allow his firm to successfully bid on projects of this scale and visibility. First, he says, the company is versatile. “We work in the public and private sectors, which is rare,” Natoli says. “It means we have to be competitive enough to compete for public projects while maintaining the outstanding reputation for on-time and quality performance that will enable us to succeed in the private sector. But in times like these, when work is sparse, that’s helped us survive.”

Additionally, Joseph A. Natoli Construction’s focus on the New York metropolitan area has allowed it to build relationships with subcontractors and a reputation with clients. “A lot of general contractors compete all over the country while we’ve been specific to our geographic location for almost four decades,” Natoli says. “As a result, we have a proven track record for performance and honorable dealings among subcontractors and clients, and that has allowed us to be competitive, particularly in the private sector, where people want to know they’re going to get a quality job, constructed safely, on time and on budget. Our proven track record is our best marketing tool.”

Finally, the company’s owner and executive management are actively involved in every project. “It is beneficial to our clients when our upper management is included in the decision-making process,” Natoli says. “That allows us to fast-track projects and has been the foundation of our success.” ABQ

Update: Joseph A. Natoli Construction has substantially completed its work on the Statue of Liberty, and the monument was reopened to the public on October 28, 2012, in commemoration of its 126th birthday. Prior to the formal reopening, National Geographic spent significant time at the site, filming for a documentary that will be shown this fall as part of the World Heritage Series. Additionally, many national TV and print media outlets made visits of their own.

Outside of that project, which is expected to be fully completed by the end of 2012, the company is working at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, building a state-of-the-art dance studio, choral hall, and recording studio. The firm also recently received a multimillion-dollar award to construct a new Troop D State Police Barracks building, which will be located on the New Jersey Garden State Parkway.

In addition to the expansive locker room, the TIMEX Performance Center contains weight-training, medical, and dining facilities. PHOTO: BARRY HALKIN