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Builder Steen speaks on new advisor role

Builder Marvin Steen, circa 2015, at an Ocean Pines Board meeting.

By Josh Davis, Associate Editor

(April 11, 2019) Local builder Marvin Steen on Monday weighed in on what his role would be in advising Ocean Pines on three major upcoming construction projects.

The board of directors on Saturday approved spending $3.185 million to expand the police headquarters inside the administration building, rebuild the country club, and build a new cart barn.

Director Frank Daly at the time announced that Steen would serve as an advisor on the projects.

“My role is basically as a volunteer – no money!” Steen said. “I’m going to be working with them as the construction starts and they build the buildings … I’ll be inspecting for Ocean Pines – not for Steen Associates – and helping them in the ideas and things that they need.”

Steen said his livelihood is building and inspections, and his Ocean Parkway office is close to all three sites, making it easy for him to pitch in.

During a preconstruction meeting about two months ago, he said the consensus was that ideally one company would take on all three projects.

He indicated bidding came down to Whayland Construction and Gillis Gilkerson, with Whayland eventually winning all three projects.

“What they did is they came in for the best price for Ocean Pines,” he said, adding having one company tackle all three projects “is the perfect way to do it.”

“They’ll have [one] superintendent here full time,” he said, as opposed to having multiple people working on multiple projects. “They saved a lot of money by doing that.”

He also said doing all three projects simultaneously would save money.

“They’re going to be doing all three buildings, I’ll guarantee you, at the same time,” Steen said. “Their equipment is here instead of taking it back and forth to different places. They’ll be here, the manpower’s going to be here, and they should be able to do it and do it quick for all three buildings.”

He compared the project to building several homes in a development at one time, versus building scattered homes across a city in a staggered fashion.

“It’s not a small savings – it’s a lot of money,” Steen said.

Steen also agreed with assessments made during a board meeting last Saturday that Ocean Pines had a somewhat damaged reputation with local contractors.

“They’ve got so many regulations to go by … because they’re using the homeowner’s association’s money to do these buildings, and a lot of times they’ll put [bids] out and they won’t build the building,” he said.

Five years ago, Steen said, 10 bidders might have submitted to repair or replace the country club, as an example.

“Nothing happens. Then, three years from then, the same thing. How many of those guys are going to rebid? At best, half of them,” he said. “Then, all of the sudden it comes down to two years – the hell with it, I’m not going to bid!

“That’s been [going on] for a long time,” Steen added.

Steen said it was his understanding construction on three projects could start next month. If that happens, he said, Ocean Pines could have a new country club and golf cart barn, and an expanded, modern police station by October.

“Whayland’s a good company. They’re got good people. They’ve got good equipment – I know that because, hell, I grew up in Sussex County and that’s where they are,” he said.

“If they decided to do the country club, I’d say it might take six months. But I think by doing all three, they’ll all three be done in six months,” he continued. “I’m just glad to see it happening!”