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LeFrois forecasts growth with local, Florida projects

Rochester Business Journal
August 22, 2014


LeFrois is slated to begin construction this fall on a $13.7 million building on Methodist Hill Drive that will house Pictometry International Corp. (Rendering courtesy of LeFrois Builders and Developers)

LeFrois Builders and Developers expects a sales increase of roughly 10 percent this year because of major projects that include the Midtown redevelopment and a partnership with developer Laurence Glazer to build in Florida.

The Henrietta-based business, which employs some 80 people, forecasts sales of $75 million to $80 million in 2014.

“The industry is good now,” said John LeFrois. “There are opportunities for growth.”

LeFrois is the area’s fourth-largest real estate developer with 2.6 million square feet of local, non-residential space, according to the Rochester Business Journal’s most recent list.

The firm also owns the area’s largest Class A office park, Calkins Road Business Park in Henrietta. The 900,000-square-foot park is 95 percent occupied, with firms such as Paychex Inc. and Verizon Wireless Inc. located there.

Originally a local homebuilding business started by Russell LeFrois in the 1940s, LeFrois now provides general contracting and real estate development with specialties in commercial and industrial projects. The firm works on projects that range from automotive dealerships to office parks and serves customers in New York and Florida.

The firm consists of two entities: Russell P. LeFrois Builder Inc. and LeFrois Development LLC. The business is led by Russell’s son, Richard LeFrois, 64, who serves as president and CEO. He has been with the business since the 1970s and led the transition from residential to commercial work.

Richard’s son, John LeFrois, 29, has been chosen to take over the business when his father is ready to retire. A time frame for that has not been established yet. Richard LeFrois’ daughter, Maiya Greenfield, handles marketing and advertising duties.

The firm’s largest current project is serving as construction manager for the $59 million Midtown Tower redevelopment project.

Plans call for 179 residential rental units on upper floors and 160,000 square feet of commercial space on the first three to five floors of the 17-story tower and the former plaza area. The project—expected to be finished by the end of 2015—is a joint venture of Buckingham Properties LLC and Morgan Management LLC.

LeFrois has worked with Glazer, CEO and managing partner of Buckingham Properties, on projects for more than a decade. Glazer described Richard LeFrois as a smart, hard-working, straightforward businessman.

“He’s a man of his word and a great partner,” Glazer said.

Six years ago, they bought 400 acres in Lakeland, Fla.—between Orlando and Tampa—with a focus on developing the site with retail, office and warehouse space. Two buildings there have been constructed, and a third is in the works.

The Florida location was chosen because it is seen as a strong growth market, Richard LeFrois said.

Locally, LeFrois also is wrapping up its role as construction manager on the $13 million I-Square project in Irondequoit, consisting of retail, residential and office space on 2.5 acres.

Other projects this year include construction of a 70,000-square-foot building in Henrietta for the Outdoor Group LLC, as well as new headquarters for Retrotech Inc., which is moving from Ontario to Monroe County.

LeFrois will begin construction this fall of a $13.7 million, 72,000-square-foot building on Methodist Hill Drive that will house Pictometry International Corp.

John LeFrois said the commercial office and automotive sectors are strong for the business right now and manufacturing work is starting to pick up.

“The Rochester market has been good to us,” Richard LeFrois added.

The family-operated business has received honors from various organizations over the years.

Richard LeFrois was selected by the Henrietta Chamber of Commerce as its 2014 businessperson of the year. The Webster Chamber of Commerce honored the firm recently for more than 60 years in business, and the Greece Chamber of Commerce gave LeFrois its award for best commercial construction this year for its Stoney Creek development.

A challenge remains finding skilled workers. LeFrois looks to hire qualified workers, but jobs in the construction trade are not stressed at the high-school level, so many young people do not seek careers in the field.

The employees have been the key to LeFrois’ success, Richard LeFrois said.

“The business thrives on our good employees,” he said.

8/22/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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