Durham’s business community is large and thriving, strongly supported by major corporate offices from a range of industries. Aside from being home to healthcare and pharmaceutical firms like GlaxoSmithKline and Bluecross & BlueShield Association, the city is also a hub for tech giants such as IBM and Cree. 

The construction industry providing these companies and others with modern, sustainable, and high-performance commercial spaces includes the best commercial contractors in Durham. The firms below are recognized for their role in shaping the region’s commercial landmarks. These builders have received multiple awards, and their projects are featured by the industry’s most prominent publications. Industry organizations have also recognized these companies for their delivery methods that cater to the most specific needs of the market.

Gilbane Building Company

150 Fayetteville St. Suite #1100, Raleigh, NC 27601

Gilbane Building Company is a nationally recognized construction firm that offers a diverse range of delivery methods. The firm, a ten-time Associated General Contractors (AGC) Award winner,  has over 45 offices in the U.S. and overseas. Since its inception more than 150 years ago, it has completed projects in more than 15 sectors. Its North Carolina location caters to education, healthcare, advanced technologies, mission-critical, corporate, and commercial markets. 

The firm’s projects are known for emphasizing sustainable, modern, and state-of-the-art design, construction, and development processes. Aside from its Lean method that provides a collaborative and safe environment during construction, the firm makes use of its signature  Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), a technology-based method. This allows the company to provide practical, tangible, and quantifiable data, especially for complex and architecturally challenging projects. Many of its projects are recognized by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Engineering News-Record (ENR).

CT Wilson Construction Company, Inc

150 Golden Dr. Suite #200, Durham, NC 27705

CT Wilson Construction Company is a multidisciplinary firm that provides a wide range of delivery methods that cater to the most specific needs of every market. Its Design-Build, Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR), and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) methods, among others, have helped developers and business owners transform their concepts into modern structures. 

Family-owned and operated, the company is currently in its third generation of leadership. It has served North Carolina for almost seven decades. Since its establishment, it has repeatedly received industry recognition, including the 2019 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for its Junction West + Cherokee HQ work. The same organization also honored the firm’s Transfer Co. Food Hall project with the same award. The firm was listed as one of the Fast 40 entries in 2019 by the Business North Carolina publication. 

Featured here is the award-winning Junction West. Located in the heart of Raleigh’s Warehouse District, it provides a spot for people to gather to celebrate and connect, whether it’s a wedding, a conference or an offsite networking event. CT Wilson Construction Company transformed a historic warehouse into a sprawling but intimate space, flooded with natural light and an easy flow to an outdoor courtyard. Exposed brick and original wooden beams—dating back to the 1930s—offer a nod to the building’s industrial past, while clean and chic interiors parallel the modern and growing city Raleigh is today.

J.D. Beam, Inc. 

1812 Tillery Pl. Suite #100, Raleigh, NC 27604 

J.D. Beam, Inc. in its nearly 42 years of practice has provided general contracting, design-build, construction management, and preconstruction services to a wide spectrum of clients. Through the years, the firm has established itself as a preferred professional for mid-range to high-value projects. More than 80 percent of the company’s business comes from repeat clients and referrals. The firm has also completed 25 percent of its projects using its design-build delivery method. 

The firm is licensed to operate in both Carolinas and in Virginia. Projects from these regions’ commercial sectors helped the firm earn several industry awards. These include several Sir Walter Raleigh Awards, the Blueridge Corridor Alliance Development Project of the Year awards in 2019, and the Space Awards in 2018. Leading the firm’s everyday practice is president Tom Antoine. Antoine recently received a Triangle Business Journal C-Suite Award and Triangle Business Journal  Fast 50 Awards that ranks the top fastest-growing companies in the triangle area.  

August Construction Solutions

707 North West St. Suite #101, Raleigh NC 27603

August Construction Solutions has a lengthy portfolio highlighting a long list of well-known retail and commercial brands. Adidas, Lacoste, Giorgio Armani, Reebok, Urban Outfitters, and Club Monaco are just a few of clients that have relied on the firm’s general contracting services. Its work for Patagonia’s New York location won the Grand Prize for Soft Line Specialty Store’s 2014 awards, in the 3,001 to 25,000 square feet category.

Since the firm was established seven years ago, it has regularly partnered with North Carolina’s industry developers. These projects are often highlighted in the industry’s local and regional publications. Triangle Business Journal, Alexandria Living Magazine, Nashville Post, News & Observer, Spectrum News, and virtual channel WTVD-TV have featured the firm’s milestones in recent years.

Harrod and Assoc. Constructors

6612 Fleetwood Dr., Raleigh, NC 27612

Specializing in design, construction, and construction management services, Harrod and Assoc. Constructors offers a comprehensive, full-service practice that has helped shape the region’s commercial sector. Since first launching its services over 27 years ago, it has produced modern structures for the education, automotive dealership, religious, government, corporate, and retail sectors. 

Among the company’s most exciting projects are its parks and recreation work. The firm’s work for this market has been commended for its use of pre-engineered buildings, steel construction, and energy-efficient architecture. Many of these projects were designed and built according to USGBC’s LEED standards. The company also includes cost analysis, planning, committee presentations, and management services from start to finish.

Riggs-Harrod Builders, Inc.

1117 E Geer St., Durham, NC 27704

Riggs-Harrod Builders, Inc.’s prestigious portfolio spans 35 years and showcases projects for medical, industrial, education, religious, retail, corporate, and commercial clients. These projects can be found across the Triangle Community and include additions, renovations, restorations, up-fits, and new construction services. 

An example of one of the company’s landmark projects is the historic Durham Distillery, the city’s first legal distillery location. The work features a uniform palette of cool white with hints of gray, a façade of exposed brick elements, and full glass walls. Since the project’s completion, it has become a local favorite.

Riley-Lewis General Contractors, Inc.

236 S Boylan Ave. #101, Raleigh, NC 27603

As a general contractor in a wide array of sectors, Riley-Lewis General Contractors, Inc. specializes in renovation and up-fitting services for corporate offices, medical and dental centers, fitness and wellness centers, restaurants, sports arenas, and retail and food service spaces. 

Since the company’s founding in 1997, it has worked with a long list of local business owners. In Raleigh, the firm was tasked with the completion of A Place at the Table’s 1,800-square-foot up-fit project, providing the furnishings, fixtures, and equipment for the local pay-what-you-can cafe. Another commercial client, Cream at Alexander Square, hired the firm for the same service for its 1,500-square-foot coffee shop. The company also completed a complete renovation of the Champions Club’s Raleigh store.

Davidson and Jones Construction Company

1207 Front St. Suite #200, Raleigh, NC 27609

Since Davidson and Jones Construction Company opened its doors over 100 years ago, it has delivered an extensive list of projects for a wide spectrum of markets. One of the most established firms in the region, its comprehensive practice provides preconstruction, estimation, construction management, design-build, and general contracting services to some of the best-known brands in the country.

The supermarket chain Lowes Foods is one of the firm’s notable clients. It commissioned the company to construct its Lowes Food Store and Shopping Plaza location. Aside from featuring the client’s signature colors and branding details, the project provided a modern building that put emphasis on an energy-efficient, pedestrian-friendly, and customer-focused shopping experience. Floor-to-ceiling walls let in natural daylight while the open interiors facilitate navigation and traffic circulation during peak hours.

Carolina Design & Construction 

507 W Peace St., Raleigh, NC 27603

Carolina Design & Construction was established a decade ago. Since its inception, it has provided the commercial sectors of Glenwood Ave. South, Durham, and downtown Raleigh with the services of a full-scale, concept-to-completion construction company. This extensive practice provides an initial project meeting, planning and recommendations, and on-time, within-budget delivery.

The company’s signature delivery method was demonstrated in its work on The Davie. The commercial space is a two-story pub that features a bar, indoor seating, and an outdoor patio. The interiors feature a warm palette, enhanced by stained wood and leather throughout the space. Connecting the indoors to the outdoors are multi-paneled, floor-to-ceiling glass walls that let patrons enjoy the view of the vibrant street scene.

Ashland Construction Company

4601 Atlantic Ave., Raleigh, NC 27604

Ashland Construction Company’s design-build focus allows it to stay with its clients from concept to completion. This approach to development has been appreciated by the commercial market since the firm’s founding over four decades ago. Aside from its extensive architecture and construction experience, the firm’s practice highlights sustainability. This is evident in its portfolio of projects that have achieved LEED accreditation from the US Green Building Council (USGBC).

In North Carolina, the firm has delivered some of the most prominent landmarks in the region. The Market at Riverwood, Harris Teeter at North Hills, the Gateway Commons at Wake Forest, and the Food Lion at Beaver Brook Plaza are a few examples of the company’s contribution to the retail, restaurant, and commercial sectors.

Gateway Building Company

618 Ramseur St. Suite #102, Durham, NC 27701

Since Gateway Building Company was founded eight years ago, its work has focused on commercial, healthcare, and corporate office projects. The firm’s capability as a builder is represented by projects that put emphasis on its comprehensive, out-of-the-box approach to construction. 

The company’s Grub Restaurant project embodies these qualities. The firm delivered a commercial structure with indoor and outdoor seating. The interiors follow the layout of a traditional diner but details, such as the addition of exposed wood throughout the room, produce a warm, welcoming space. Similar wood elements are also present in the structure’s outdoor dining spaces. Exposed wood beams, frames, and a wooden stairway leading to the open dining on the second level allow the restaurant to connect seamlessly with its surrounding, tree-lined landscape.