Bechtel Corp. Opens Office in Downtown St. Louis

Article excerpt

Bechtel Corp., one of the world's largest engineering and construction companies, has opened an office in downtown St. Louis. It's small, but the company hopes to win contracts in the Midwest and expand the staff here.

Three professionals plus support staff have moved into 2,500 square feet in the Frisco Building, 906 Olive Street. They are part of a division called Bechtel Infrastructure Corp.

Walter Bell, the division's president, said his group will compete for design, construction and construction management of highways, bridges, airport expansions, mass transit, buildings and water and waste-water treatment facilities. Bechtel has worked on power plants and refineries in this area, but never has established a permanent office here to pursue more projects. Now the company is changing its marketing strategy. "We want to become more regionally focused," Bell said. "Over time, this enhances our ability to get business. With local offices, you're closer to the community, to potential clients." Completing big projects and then pulling up stakes "is not the way to do business anymore," he said. Bechtel plans to open two additional small offices this year in other parts of the country. It's based in San Francisco, privately held and managed by the fourth generation of the founding family. In 1994, the company completed $7.9 billion in work. Its main offices, aside from San Francisco, are in Houston, London and Hong Kong. Bell said about 60 percent of his division's work is international. The company has worked on airports from Atlanta to Hong Kong. It worked on the Channel Tunnel between France and Britain, helped create a new industrial city in Saudi Arabia and is busy now on a 30-mile extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in California. Another division has had an office in Berkeley since 1985. The staff there, ranging from 15 to 25 people, works exclusively on the cleanup of nuclear waste in Berkeley and Hazelwood. CIGAR DINNER NEWS: The spring cigar dinner season is in full swing: Wednesday, April 17, at Frank Papa's Ristorante, 2241 South Brentwood Boulevard. Papa's "Ultimate Smoker #2" celebrates the restaurant's second anniversary. At $225, the price is ultimate, but where else are you going to savor a pre-Castro Cuban? Papa said that properly stored quality cigars will last a long time, and to prove it, guests will enjoy a 1956 Wally Frank Magicos Corona. These are legal, having been imported before the embargo. The five-course dinner includes special vintages, dating back to 1983, of Italian wines. Call 961-3344 for reservations. Monday, April 29, at Crazy Fish, 15 North Meramec Avenue. This is Crazy Fish's first smoker, and the second produced by Toby's Stogies, the local cigar-of-the-month club. Toby's will provide a Jose Marti, a Partagas, an El Rey del Mundo and a Troya. Paramount Liquors supplies the wines for Toby's events, this time including a chardonnay and a cabernet from Freemark Abbey. …


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