2012 Merit Award of Excellence – Interior Fitout up to $500,000 – The Corner Stable
In September of 2011, Merritt Construction Services was selected to renovate the former Michael’s Pub restaurant in Columbia to make way for The Corner Stable restaurant. This is the first additional location for the iconic and homegrown restaurant since they began their operation in 1972. Located in the Kings Contrivance Shopping Center in Columbia, the project included a complete interior renovation of the 6,250-square-foot space, with all new flooring, ceilings, lighting and restrooms. The project also included an upgraded bar and kitchen. Completed in November 2011, it offers indoor and outdoor seating for 180 patrons.
“After several meetings with Merritt Construction Services, The Corner Stable knew that they were the perfect fit,” said Charles “Chip” Reed, owner of The Corner Stable. “Merritt was well prepared, organized, enthusiastic and, most importantly, conscious of our desire to build a beautiful restaurant while being aware of our budget and time restraints.”
This project had a very aggressive two-month schedule in order to be fully operational in time for the fall. Merritt completed the job in just 51 days due to the close collaboration with the sub-contractors and by self-performing many of the tasks.
Along the way, however, several other challenges were faced. For example, the lighting supplier did not have the lights they wanted in stock and could not have them in the time frame needed. Fortunately, Merritt’s superintendent found similar lights at a local Home Depot. However, that Home Depot only had five of the lights, and the job required forty. Merritt’s team quickly checked availability at surrounding stores and traveled to five different Home Depots from Westminster, Harford County, Howard County and Baltimore County to obtain the quantity of lights needed.
In addition, most of the kitchen and bathroom framing had completely rotted and needed to be repaired or replaced. New panels and some walls also had to be installed or replaced in the kitchen and bars, which was not originally stated in the contract and added four additional days of labor. Furthermore, forty feet of an underground grease line was found to be rotted and had to be excavated and replaced, adding another two days to the schedule. Merritt also had to modify the wall finishes to portland base because the original wall was in a condition that was not repairable with standard patching. Because these challenges added to the budget, Merritt looked for cost-saving options, such as the superintendent bought commercial grade degreaser/cleaner and cleaned the kitchen tile himself instead of replacing all of them.
The challenges continued as the original kitchen shelves were also deemed unusable, and it then took two days of labor to install all new shelving. Near the end of construction, the flooring contractor informed Merritt that they could not guarantee the specified flooring would work due to the existing floor conditions. Although this was not discovered until the last week of September, new flooring was found and installed in time, though it required additional hours in the evenings and on the weekends to do so. Finally, two new hand sinks had to be installed at the last minute in accordance with the health inspection.
Despite the challenges mentioned and the aggressive schedule, the project was completed on-time for The Corner Stable to open its new location in Columbia. The restaurant has remained successful and they continue to receive rave reviews for their award winning ribs and crab cakes.