Metal Builder: Taking care of the big toys

According to Marty Kostelny, owner of M & K Builders, a lot of people own a lot of “big toys” and need somewhere to store them. Kostelny has a comfortable business constructing the buildings to house big toys.

“I just finished a 3,000-square foot metal building for a long-time client of mine,” he says. “It’s for his old fishing boat, trailer and new boat.”
He regularly builds metal structures of 2500-4000 square feet to house vehicles like boats, motorcycles and old cars. Many of these buildings are produced by Web Steel.

Kostelny has been in the building business for more than 40 years. “I started as an apprentice in 1965,” he says. “I worked up as a builder throughout the west.”

His construction work has taken him throughout the west and southwestern parts of the country. “I worked on custom homes in the Sierras and coastal range of California, and off and on worked in commercial. I traveled to Hawaii to work, to Texas, Arizona and Nevada.”

He’s been based in Carson City, Nev., since 1978 and has been a general contractor in the state since 1986. He did take a few years to do some building in South Texas. After returning to Nevada, he made the decision to go strictly commercial. He is undergoing another change to his business. Several young men he has worked with over the years now want to join in his business rather than work for him. “I’ll primarily stay in the office and deal with clients and bankers, and they’ll be field superintendents and project managers,” he says. “We’re going to stay a small company. Million dollar projects or less.”

MB-Marty3.jpgThe main focus of Kostelny’s company is light industrial buildings, but he also does historical restoration and improvements on commercial buildings.
“We do a lot of design-build,” he says, “but it seems like we’re doing a lot of metal buildings now. And that seems to be the direction we’re moving in because of the growth in Nevada. We’re doing projects of anywhere between $200,000-$300,000 to a million dollars to get these people up and running with their new businesses.”

He also builds airplane hangars, which, in some cases, are similar to the “toy shops” he builds for those storing boats and dune buggies.
“I built airplane condos at the Carson City airport, four hangars in a building, 25,000-square feet apiece,” he says. “They had concrete mezzanines in the back. After I met the pilots, I started making them palaces on top of the mezzanines. It was a place to park their airplanes and entertain.”

The airplane hangars are one example of the way Kostelny is able to take advantage of the migration from California to Nevada. He went into commercial building to “simply my life,” he says, and “because light industrial was the best niche for growth with the migration from California. It’s a lot more economical to do business here than in California.”

The demand for buildings is way up, he added. “Case in point,” he says, “the building I’m working on now. The person who originally was doing this project moved his business to Dallas-Fort Worth. I had the building already designed for him. So I bought the project. The Web Steel building was ordered. When I was building it, I put it up for lease and I had no less than 10 individuals who wanted that building before it was done.”

He leased it to a company that makes tube-steel race carts. He has since begun a second project on the acre site, a 4,500-square foot building where his company headquarters are located. He’ll take 1,500-square feet, while renting out the rest. He then plans to purchase the lot next to his and begin building another building for his current tenants, who already need more space.

His association with Web Steel started as a fluke, he says. “A friend of mine ordered a Web Steel building, and he asked me to put it up. That was 2-1/2 years ago. Since then I’ve done 22 Web Steel buildings.”

Helping his friend led to more business. “He’s an antique tractor buff. Because of him, I put up buildings for other antique tractor buffs. And then I met another guy who wanted a building for his dune buggies.”

Kostelny has no employees. The two men joining the business, however, have between 15 and 25 employees, along with a support staff. He contracts out when necessary.

What he likes about metal buildings is they are affordable for his clients. “During the design phase, we can do the site work while the building is made in a plant and get it up faster,” he says. “We can also tell them exactly when the building will be ready.”

One of the few frustrations he has with the business is the location of the metal building companies in regards to Carson City. “I can’t get things as fast as I want,” he says.

“I love to build things for people,” he adds. “When people want a fancy building, I’ll take their concept, make a design, and build it for them.”

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