Town Branch Park’s diversity focus spurs construction company collaboration

Published 5:41 pm Thursday, December 16, 2021

Lexington-based construction firms Deanbuilds and Elaine Allen could have considered each other competitors as successful construction companies in the same local market.

Instead, when the $31 million Town Branch Park request for proposal (RFP) was released, owners David Dean and Bishop Carter IV saw the opportunity to collaborate.

Town Branch Park is positioned between Oliver Lewis Way and the new Lexington Center and will bring a green oasis, active space and trail connections to the heart of downtown. From its inception, one of the most crucial elements of the privately funded project has been the focus on inclusion.

“The vision of the park is to be thoughtfully inclusive for everyone from its initial planning all the way through construction,” said David Dean, Winchester resident and president of Deanbuilds. “We knew partnering with Elaine Allen, which is minority-owned and operated, would create an extremely well­ rounded, experienced team with a deep appreciation for our community.”

Deanbuilds is a growing construction management firm based in Lexington and has worked on projects throughout the southeast United States. Several of the firm’s employees live in Winchester.

Elaine Allen is a certified minority-owned business also based in Lexington working on projects across a range of industries. The companies have worked around each other previously and decided to partner as construction managers on the Town Branch Park Project.

“Representation matters on every level of this project, which is why we were glad to team up with Deanbuilds to bring a diverse perspective and expertise into the construction phase of this development for Lexington,” said Bishop Carter IV, owner of Elaine Allen.

Both owners have a bigger vision for the impact they can have on smaller, minority-owned businesses in the construction industry.

“Many small companies have an adequate amount of business and are not motivated to compete for larger projects,” Carter said. “However, they are happy to grow as subcontractors with companies they trust. Over the years, I have become an aggregator of great minority talent as a result. Through our relationship with Deanbuilds, we are opening the door to larger projects for small companies that offer excellent services.”

“Many contractors have faced challenges in finding willing minority partners,” Dean said.

Like the other leaders in the industry, Dean was looking for a way to improve his outreach and to diversify his project teams.
“We are grateful that Bishop accepted our invitation to team with us. Not only did we win a large, local project that has special meaning to all of us, but we have also formed a professional and personal relationship that has been uplifting for both companies,” Dean said.

The construction phase of Town Branch Park will begin in 2022, but the Deanbuilds team has been immersed in the project from the start, participating in pre-construction services that include schematic and design development.

“We hope the public will stay tuned to this project to provide input,” Carter said. “We also invite woman and minority owned construction companies to watch for opportunities to join our team.”