Gale-Rew Construction building big red barn for new headquarters
Richland remodeling company’s new offices will be complete by July
A big, red barn will be the new headquarters of Gale-Rew Construction in Richland, providing a permanent home base for the home builder and remodeling company that completes hundreds of projects each year.
Since merging Rew Construction with Gale Developments in 2008, owner and president Brad Rew calls his company “one of the largest remodeling companies in North America.”
Completing 200 remodeling projects annually, the company also builds a small number of custom and spec homes each year. But it’s been lacking a permanent address since leaving its former location earlier this year and moving to a temporary storefront on Terminal Drive, a stone’s throw from the Richland Airport.
Its new location at 1616 Terminal Drive is further south, at the corner of Van Giesen Street and the bypass highway.
“We get to design a space that’s going to help us better handle our remodels, our additions and our custom homes. We’ve just kind of gone into spaces and haven’t been able to really design something that really will work for us and our clients,” Rew said.
Excavation and foundation of the big, red barn started recently and is targeted to be finished by July.
A building permit filed with the city of Richland shows the project is valued at $869,605.
The land was previously owned by Columbia Basin Racquet Club, which had intended it for future parking needs. Rew was able to work out a parking plan with the club to buy the lot.
The new headquarters will incorporate the popular farmhouse décor style that’s a mainstay on HGTV and made “shiplap” a household word. For those who don’t watch home improvement shows, shiplap is a type of wooden board used as siding.
“Our style is very coastal, bungalow and farmhouse. We do a ton of that style. So this is really encompassing that,” Rew said.
The building will be about 7,600 square feet, which will include offices, conference rooms, a showroom and a children’s playroom for employees’ families and the children of customers visiting the barn. A space for lease also will be available.
Gale-Rew maintains a storage site on Wellsian Way for its construction materials and will continue to use that space.
Gale-Rew Construction employs just under two dozen people, with another handful of part-time workers who subcontract for the company. To complete 200 remodels a year, Gale-Rew project managers have their own team of workers and subcontractors who focus on 10 to 18 projects at any one time.
Rew said the company has 60 open projects currently and may call on up to 340 subcontractors as needed.
Remodeling has been continually lucrative for the company, despite being founded while the country was in the throes of a national recession.
The demand has only increased as of late. “The housing market has a lot to do with what we see happening,” Rew said. “Right now there’s hardly any land available. There’s hardly any homes to buy. So remodeling goes up.”
His company is tapped for more cosmetic makeovers, ranging between $25,000 to $30,000 versus larger expansions or overhauls that could require $150,000 to complete. Rew said he believes clients are biding their time with the makeovers until they can get the home they want when there’s more housing inventory available in the Tri-Cities.
“We get calls all the time from people who say, ‘We’ve given up on the housing thing. We’ve given up on the land thing. We’re going to remodel,’” Rew said.
Gale-Rew Construction visits 1,600 to 1,800 homes each year, with most clients deciding between one of three choices: remodel, buy or build. These are challenging decisions paired with a huge investment, and few people have that decision in place before meeting with Rew’s team. He says 70 percent of consulting visits are to help clients make an educated decision on those options, and he offers the ability to bid a remodel of their current home, bid a remodel of a home they’d like to buy, or to build a custom home.
But the bread-and-butter of remodeling tends to be “lots of kitchens and lots of additions.”
Rew said kitchens are the most common remodeling project since homeowners often get the greatest return on resale value for their investment in a kitchen. Projects revamping bathrooms or a home’s exterior also are a common request.
Rew also has worked to grow his business with the creation of an in-house publication called Tri-City Builders Showcase, published bi-annually to coincide with the Regional Home & Garden Show and the Parade of Homes. The magazine features Gale-Rew projects and clients, as well as suppliers who advertise to offset printing costs. The builder publishes 60,000 copies to be distributed across 100 locations in the Tri-Cities, including restaurants and medical offices.
One of the main highlights of the magazine is to promote Blue Designs, a design company started by Gale-Rew in 2011.
The key feature offered is the ability to estimate cost during the design process. This allows a client to redesign, using 3-D imaging, to get an understanding of how a space will be laid out, all while knowing the likely cost.
This prevents the risk of wasted time and money by creating a plan that’s over budget, with the need to incur additional costs to re-draw a plan in hopes of aligning with the planned expense. The business model for Blue Designs has the interior designer, estimator and designer all working together.
“That’s a big deal because if you go out into the marketplace, you have to go get three individually, and this is all one,” Rew said. “So if you you’re going to spend $1.50 a square foot with an architect, with us you can spend the same $1.50 a foot and get the interior designer, the designer and the estimator all in one price.”
The Blue Designs service can be used whether a client is building with Gale-Rew or not. The only guarantee on price would be with having Gale-Rew complete the project, whereas by using another builder it can serve as an estimate, but not a guarantee.
As a Tri-City native, family and community are a priority for those with Gale-Rew Construction.
Brad Rew’s father, Howard Rew, handles the company’s financials and serves as a board member, and his wife, Thera Rew, is responsible for all pricing on new construction. A team of three sisters, unrelated to Brad Rew, make up the office manager, designer for Blue Designs and a designer for the magazine layout. There are other groups of family members within their subcontracting teams.
Brad Rew said he enjoys giving back to the community, having recently donated an outdoor gazebo to Jason Lee Elementary which can be used for a variety of purposes. His company has also been involved with designing a structure for the grassroots effort to provide energy-efficient playhouses to schoolyards throughout the Tri-Cities.
Gale-Rew Construction has also served as a sponsor, and Thera Rew as a coach, for the nonprofit, Girls on the Run, which empowers elementary school students while training them to run a 5K.
“We feel like we’re not just building relationships or building structures, we’re building a community,” Rew said.
The business’ current office is at 1881 Terminal Drive in Richland. Information: 509-943-5171; galerew.com.