CRE X Missouri

St. Louis' Tarlton acquires carpentry contractor

Waterhout Construction president and chief executive officer Renee Bell announced that she has approved a sale of the St. Louis-based carpentry contractor to Tarlton Corp., a construction company also based in St. Louis.

Under this next generation of leadership at Waterhout, Bell will carry on as a construction consultant to the company she helped her father, Robert Waterhout, build. Tarlton president and chief executive officer Tracy Hart also will serve as Waterhout president and CEO, with Jeff Bunge as Waterhout vice president and chief operating officer.

“Tarlton and Waterhout share a long working relationship, women ownership and an enduring commitment to the St. Louis region,” said Hart, in a written statement. “Each firm can continue to build on its strengths, and we can learn from each other.”

Waterhout will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary and will continue to work from the Waterhout offices at 8110 Dale Ave. in St. Louis. The sale was finalized on June 12. Specific terms were not disclosed.

Bell began working for Waterhout in 1972 and became president and chief executive officer in 1985 when she purchased the company from her father, Robert Waterhout, who launched the business in 1962. She was among the first women in St. Louis to lead a contracting company.

While leading the firm, Bell chaired several committees for the Home Builders Association and the Associated General Contractors of Missouri. From 1992 to 2018, she served as negotiating chairman for the carpentry contract on behalf of the AGC. She served for 28 years as a trustee and 20 years as chairman for the Pension, Health & Welfare and Vacation Trusts for the Carpenters Regional Council representing 20,000-plus members in 33 local chapters across Missouri, Southern Illinois and parts of Kansas. Bell also chaired the Carpenters Apprenticeship Training Trust for the entire region until 2018.

Waterhout and Tarlton have worked together on 90 projects in the last two decades alone. Several of these have been for iconic St. Louis institutions such as The Muny.

Serving as consultants on the Tarlton-Waterhout deal were Benjamin F. Edwards & Co.; Polsinelli; Spencer Fane LLP; and UHY LLP.