In 1991, Paul Littmann, Jr., decided that affordable housing developers needed quality construction services and he could provide it. Littmann founded Southway Builders, Inc. on that vision. More than 25 years later, the construction management firm built on integrity continues to serve the affordable housing market, with multifamily construction still making up more than half of the firm’s revenue stream.
In every year of the firm’s existence, Southway has been named on development applications to the State of Maryland for low-income housing tax credit funding. With a staff of 68 full-time professionals, Southway, headquartered in Baltimore’s Locust Point neighborhood, currently has more than $100 million of work in progress and another $125 million plus in backlog. Recent completed multifamily and mixed-use construction includes Remington Row, Wyman House, and City Arts II.
In addition to affordable housing projects, Southway has grown its market-rate portfolio to include several mixed-use projects. Commercial construction projects make up the other half of Southway’s revenue stream. While Southway’s geographic reach is the greater Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, the firm’s expertise focuses on urban-centered redevelopment efforts, a majority of which involve rehabilitation of historic buildings. Recent commercial construction and historic renovation projects include Planit headquarters, Mission BBQ, Green Street Academy, Chesapeake Shakespeare Theater and Centre at 10 E. North Ave.
Southway’s commitment to urban renewal extends to its community service efforts. The construction firm has a “giving committee” that meets several times a year. Each year the team comes up with a relevant theme. Based on that theme, the team researches, recommends, and selects two charities to support. One is purely a monetary donation while the other is a “sweat equity” event where team members are able to participate and help serve a need. Additionally, because many of Southway’s clients are non-profit, the firm supports a variety of client-driven endeavors ranging from sponsorships to food/supplies drives to community events.
Southway team members also serve on a vast array of boards, including industry-specific professional associations as well as those that strike a personal cord with the individual. For industry associations, Southway has representation on ABC Baltimore, ULI Baltimore, Baltimore Heritage, and University of Baltimore Real Estate and Economic Development.
While Southway has grown in size and expertise, its corporate culture of quality, dependability and integrity has remained steadfast and is integrated into employee hiring and training. QDI awards—which stands for quality, dependability, and integrity—are handed out during the firm’s annual holiday party. Southway’s executive leadership team continues to provide hands-on involvement at every step in the project. Littmann stepped down as president at the start of 2016, however, he continues to work several days a week as a strategic advisor to the firm, assisting with conceptual estimating and client relations. Willy Moore, Littmann’s first employee, now heads the firm. Southway is celebrating their silver anniversary with a recently updated brand image, a new website, and they will wrap up a series of celebrations with an anniversary party this spring at the recently renovated Parkway Theatre.