Photo: Lee Meier
Mark Cerrone, Inc. A civil firm excels at earth-moving At a Glance Location: Niagara Falls, NY Founded: 1999 Employees: 35 permanent, 90 seasonal Specialty: General contractors and remodels
Above: Workers finish the first phase of construction on Old Falls Street by removing the final pieces of the Winter Garden. The Seneca Niagara Casino can be seen just beyond.
In the northwest corner of New York State, Niagara Falls isn’t the only force that moves and shakes the earth. Since 1999, Mark Cerrone, Inc, a family-owned firm of heavy contractors, has specialized in demolitions, roads and paving, railroad services, site remediation, site utilities, trucking and hauling, etc. According to vice president George Churakos, “We do a number of different earth-moving projects. We’re a complete turnkey company, and we can take a job from start to finish. We can demolish the existing site and landscape it on our way out.” Mark Cerrone completes 80-100 projects each year ranging from $10,000 to $7 million. Some of their clients include the State of New York; the cities of Niagara Falls, Buffalo, and Tonawanda; construction firms LP Ciminelli and Scrufari Construction; and Occidental Chemical, Dupont, and Goodyear. Revenue in 2009 was $17.8 million, and Churakos states that the company is expecting an even stronger return for 2010. The firm is also a certified New York WBE (Woman-owned, Business Enterprise). The firm excels at challenging projects and has a wellmaintained fleet of equipment and field-service vehicles, and it has a full truck-and-heavy-equipment repair shop in Niagara Falls. Over 90 percent of the company’s projects are municipal or government work with the remaining percentage
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coming from local industries. The rail division of Mark Cerrone Inc is currently working on a $650,000 project for Olin Chemical to rebuild and upgrade its Niagara rail yard. Mark Cerrone recently completed the restoration of Old Falls Street in Niagara Falls. The $6.7 million project involved reopening the street that had been turned into a pedestrian way during urban renewal in the 1970s. The pedestrian mall never captured the business, and it became increasingly more difficult for traffic to navigate around the Niagara Winter Garden, which was a fixture on the pedestrian way. According to George Lodick, safety manager at the firm, the Winter Garden had to first be demolished before work on restoring the street could be completed. This steel-and-glass structure erected in the 1970s housed a year-round greenhouse for public use, but it fell into disuse and became an abandoned structure. Unfortunately, the Winter Garden provided the exterior walls for two adjacent structures—The Rainbow Centre, a shopping mall/parking structure, and a Quality Inn. The project included restoring their exterior walls. Lodick continues, “Though the building was basically only steel and glass, taking it down was a bit of a challenge because each glass panel required abatement, and the shared walls made mechanical excavation more difficult. As we completed the removals, the four-story hotel