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Gulfport-based AnderCorp seeks to be a...

Gulfport-based AnderCorp seeks to be a part of Mississippi’s growth

By: Phil Hardwick - February 23, 2024

  • Business columnist Phil Hardwick visits with Roy Anderson, IV, Executive Vice President of AnderCorp, about his vision for AnderCorp, the contracting industry, and more.

A Gulfport-based construction firm was recently selected by The Cordish Companies as the general contractor for a major entertainment project in Bossier City, Louisiana.

AnderCorp will build a 47,000-square-foot land-based casino, an upscale 550-room hotel, resort-style pool, and fitness center. The nationally acclaimed concepts Sports & Social and PBR Cowboy Bar are among the 30,000 square feet of top-tier dining and entertainment venues that AnderCorp is constructing. Additionally, the development features a 25,000-square-foot versatile entertainment and event center. The development will be known as Live! Casino & Hotel Louisiana.

Over the past year, AnderCorp has provided preconstruction services, design review, and managed early-stage demolition, laying the groundwork for this transformative project. With the recent groundbreaking, construction is in full swing, and the regional destination resort is scheduled to open in 2025. This is more than a new entertainment hub, as it represents an investment of over $270 million, marking a significant milestone for economic development in the State of Louisiana, according to a company press release.

We recently had a wide-ranging Q&A style interview with Roy Anderson, IV, Executive Vice President of AnderCorp, about his vision for AnderCorp, the contracting industry, and a few other subjects. 

Is this AnderCorp’s biggest project in company history?

AnderCorp was founded in 2019 so this is the first project of this magnitude for our company, but not for our CEO and our team members’ project experience. Our team members have extensive experience on high-profile, large-scale construction in the hospitality and gaming industry and other construction markets. The Live! Casino & Hotel Louisiana and working with The Cordish Companies is a testament to our growth and capabilities, we are honored to be the General Contractor.

When my father and I founded AnderCorp, we envisioned tackling projects that will contribute significantly to the regions we work in. This project is a realization of that vision.

You are now the third-generation Anderson to lead a Mississippi-based construction firm. What made you decide to work in the construction industry and start a family-owned business rather than seeking another career? 

Growing up, I witnessed the prior family business’s impact on communities and the sense of fulfillment it brought to my father, grandfather, and everyone involved. Legacy and values are important to me. The opportunity to innovate in this industry and work alongside my father while honoring the foundation and path my grandfather formed was a unique proposition I’m blessed to have had.

But the decision to start AnderCorp wasn’t just about continuing a legacy, it’s also about being part of something meaningful. I enjoy the process of seeing an owner’s vision and being part of the journey of making the project a reality. It’s an awarding process for everyone involved and contributes to the growth and success of the community well beyond the completion of the project. I spent the first nine years of my career in project management working throughout the southeast and in Manhattan.

Every place and city operate in their own way and it’s a unique experience to see it through the construction. 

Although the AnderCorp team and your family have built many casinos over the years, AnderCorp is involved in many other regional projects. What has been the impact of AnderCorp on the State of Mississippi?

When AnderCorp was founded, we made it our priority to build a company that is a community-first, people-focused organization. We are fully invested in our communities. In the Jackson metro area for example, our Jackson regional office team has shown exceptional commitment to the area and is involved in many important community development projects.

No matter the growth of AnderCorp, we will always make it a priority to not only live here, but to actively pursue and build projects within the communities we live, work, and serve. We are currently working in four states throughout the southeast and Midwest, but we cover the entire state of Mississippi, from the Gulf Coast, to Jackson, to Starkville, Mississippi right now. I believe our projects reflect our team’s passion to build within our community. From a boutique bowling alley and movie theatre in Fondren to the multi-million-dollar Germantown High School expansion, the Ocean Aero headquarters, to the future home of the Mississippi State University Jim & Thomas Duff Center and Mississippi Department of Public Safety Headquarters in Rankin County; we’re here to be the Mississippi construction firm of choice.

If the project means something to our community, we are interested. If it is relationship-based, there’s no value too small or too large for us. We’re not just constructing buildings; we’re helping shape infrastructures, supporting local economies, and being a part of Mississippi’s growth narrative.

Several years ago, the company decided that the company headquarters would be in downtown Gulfport to help with revitalization. What’s the status of downtown Gulfport and the Gulf Coast in general?

It is an exciting time for Gulfport and the Gulf Coast, generally. I live in Gulfport, but the mentality here is “One Coast”. When we opened our office, the Mississippi Aquarium was nearing completion of construction. Since completion, the aquarium is thriving with new amenities added in 2023, which AnderCorp did the construction. The new Gulfport tramway bridge just opened in January, connecting the transit center, the aquarium, Jones Park, and Gulfport Harbor with an electric tram, pedestrian walkway, and bicycle path. This is a great addition to tie everything together.

Just last week, we saw another announcement for a $75 million expansion at the Port of Gulfport. AnderCorp recently finished construction on the Ocean Aero Headquarters at the port, an autonomous underwater vehicle manufacturer that relocated from California, injecting new maritime, engineering, and technology jobs to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Blue Initiative is stationed in downtown Gulfport now and located in Gulf & Ship Island Building. The historic Markham hotel is currently going through a transformation, and there’s a boutique hotel and restaurant under construction just across the street from our office so there’s a lot of things to be excited about for downtown Gulfport and the Gulf Coast. 

As I have said, we are a community-first, people-focused company. Our commitment to our AnderCorp family and community goes beyond the success of a project. Start with listening to your team and their community interests. Understand the community’s needs and aspirations. Involvement isn’t just about financial investment; it’s about building and supporting relationships, being present, and contributing positively.

What is the biggest challenge facing the construction industry?

One of the most significant challenges to the construction industry is adapting to new technology and sustainability, grappling with rising costs, labor challenges, interest rates, and extended material lead times. We are built on innovative and adaptive principles. When challenges arise, we solve them.

At AnderCorp, we offer more than general construction; we have a strong background in construction management and program management professional services. We have multiple construction management projects under construction throughout Mississippi and Florida. We’re in a time when staying agile and innovative is vital, not just in how we build, but in managing our workforce and financial health. We believe we are a valued team member for each project, providing a true partnership with our ownership team and clients. 

What is the biggest challenge facing AnderCorp?

As we take on larger and more complex projects, we must ensure that our core values and standards are upheld. Our company and team are expanding at a rapid pace as we have essentially doubled in revenue and size every year since inception. It’s critical we stay disciplined in our principles and selective in our hiring process.

To continue our rapid growth, we must be able to attract and retain the most talented workforce, but more importantly, they need to be the right fit for our culture. Recruiting can be a challenge in Mississippi with the booming out-of-state markets like Texas and South Florida. Challenges are just opportunities to improve.

So far, we have been successful in acquiring very talented team members who not only have significant project experience but fit in nicely and contribute to strengthening the AnderCorp culture. 

About the Author(s)
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Phil Hardwick

Phil Hardwick is an award-winning business columnist and semi-retired economic developer. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at the Millsaps College Else School of Management for many years. He has taught over 1,000 students, written over 800 columns, written 11 books and assisted over 100 communities and organizations with strategic planning. In February 2016 he was inducted as a Lifetime Member of the Mississippi Economic Development Council.