Business spotlight: At a small site on Eustis Street, big buildings get their start

By Anne Holzman

Tucked into a space between Highway 280 and Eustis Street south of Larpenteur Avenue, the Corval manufacturing company welds heavy pipes and broad metal sheets, customizing parts for large buildings.

Semis and flatbed trucks bring enormous pipes into the multi-level shop to be shaped and fitted for facilities including oil refineries, entertainment venues and food processing plants.

The Corval Group also has its administrative headquarters at 1633 Eustis St. There, they run design workshops, project estimations and other business activities of the privately held company whose worth tops an estimated $125 million.

The Corval Group descended from Axel Newman Heating and Plumbing, which dates back to 1921 at the corner of Snelling and Como avenues next to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Long-time residents may recall the building topped by a cartoonish “tin man” apparently shoving a van across the roof.

The company grew from residential services to commercial to industrial, and its name was changed to NewMech in 1978. At that time, the company consolidated operations to 1633 Eustis St. which had previously been occupied by the University of Minnesota and a copy machine company.

Current owners, brothers Peter and Paul Jordan, took over from their father Larry Jordan and his partners, and renamed the company Corval in 2009.

“We take a lot of pride in being privately held,” Paul Jordan said during a recent tour of the facility. “It allows us to not have outside stockholders.”

The brothers also take pride in their own trade backgrounds, and that about 90 percent of their workers are union members.

“At least one of the owners has always been a former union tradesperson,” Jordan said.

Across the U.S., the company has offices in Houston; Bismarck, North Dakota; and Farmington, Arizona, along with numerous project sites. Depending on the number of active projects, Corval’s workforce ranges from 400 to 850 employees nationwide, including 100 to 150 working at its Lauderdale location.

Local Corval clients include the Flint Hills oil and gas refinery in Rosemount, General Mills headquarters in Golden Valley and the University of Minnesota.

Corval has installed fire protection systems at Target Field and the Xcel Energy Center and mechanical systems at the Mall of America. The company has also done smaller projects such as an addition at Totino Grace High School.

Some of Corval’s services are ongoing; others involve new construction. It has a storage site near Rice Street in St. Paul, valued by the county at a little more than $1 million, where cranes and other large equipment are stored. Most of the company’s manufacturing occurs at 1633 and 1631 Eustis St. 

Anne Holzman is a Twin Cities freelance writer and a regular contributor to the Bugle.

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