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Beyond the border: Crane Construction expands to new markets in Mexico.

IF REX CRANE STUDIED SPANish in high school or college, now would be a good time to brush up on those lessons.

The 41-year-old Crane, owner of Little Rock's Crane Construction Co., is on the threshold of a major expansion below the U.S.-Mexico border, thanks to a recently signed partnership with an established Mexican contractor.

Constructura Abitat-Crane's first project is a ceramic tile manufacturing plant already under way in Chihuahua, Mexico.

The 90,000-SF plant is being built for Internacional de Ceramica, North America's largest tile manufacturer, at a cost of $2.7 million.

Crane has two more Mexican projects in the works and is currently exploring other projects in Guatemala and Belize.

The Mexican expansion is not the first time Crane has taken a considerable financial risk.

The construction company that bears his name was formed in 1988 after Crane -- who had spent the previous 13 years with Kinco Inc., another Little Rock construction firm -- mortgaged his home and sold off many of his possessions to bankroll the venture.

Specializing in commercial real estate (restaurants, hotels, retail centers) with the majority of its clients in the southeastern and south central United States, Crane has watched its sales climb from $3 million its first year to $37 million last year, with sales expected to reach $65 million this year. It has some 20 projects in various stages of completion in 10 states, most of them retail projects.

"Rather than know a little bit about everything, we know a whole lot about a few small segments of the market," Mike Hill, Crane's vice president of marketing, said in a recent Arkansas Business article. "And it just so happens that retail is one of the fastest-growing construction markets out there."
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Title Annotation:Arkansas Business of the Year Awards 1992; Crane Construction Company Inc.'s building contracts
Author:Taylor, Tim
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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