Russell expands to Kansas City region with acquisition 

Russell Construction & Development is expanding its footprint to the Kansas City region with its acquisition of Merit General Contractors, Inc.

Merit, based in Olathe, Kansas, now will be known as Russell Merit, the Davenport-based Russell announced in a news release.

Don Crabtree

“We are extremely excited to join the Russell team,” said Merit’s founder and CEO Don Crabtree, who will stay on as Russell Merit’s new executive vice president. “This is not only great news for Merit team members but for our clients as well.”

The acquisition, announced Tuesday, Jan. 25, is the latest new market expansion for the family-owned Russell. 

Russell offers an expanded skill set to the Kansas City market, including real estate development, efficient project management and use of advanced Virtual Design & Construction technologies. The two companies both value building great people, relationships and community and have worked on similar construction project types, including manufacturing, industrial and office, the news release said.

“We look forward to continuing to serve the Kansas City region and beyond with our deep bench of talented construction professionals and their commitment to technology and innovation in the construction process,” Mr. Crabtree said. 

Merit brings long-standing local relationships, which complement the presence Russell has been already building in the St. Louis area. In November 2020, Russell expanded its reach to the St. Louis, Missouri, region when it merged with the 100-year-old firm of HBD Contracting based out of St. Louis. That office, which employs 40, now is known as Russell HBD.

“We are thrilled by this new opportunity with Merit to continue to build off their established legacy and to develop stronger relationships with customers and subcontractors in the Kansas

City region,” said Sam Russell, the newly named director of Kansas City at Russell. Mr. Russell is the son of Russell’s CEO James Russell, who founded the company in 1983. 

Russell has evolved into a regional and national provider of construction and development services. The company, now led by President Caitlin Russell, a second generation leader, has delivered more than $3 billion in projects across 33 states. 

The new Russell Merit currently resides in Merit’s existing office space at 16400 118th Terrace in Olathe. The company, founded in 1991, has completed more than 500 projects resulting in close to $1 billion in total revenues.

“As a family-owned company, community is of the utmost importance to us,” Sam Russell said. “Having Don Crabtree on our team allows us to continue to leverage his knowledge and experience of the market to continue to serve clients.” 

Russell Merit already is working together for a significant project for Cargo Largo in Independence, Missouri. The $42 million construction project includes a new 558,600-square-foot warehouse and retail center, including 92,600 square feet of mezzanine space on about 43 acres. The new facility will consolidate all of Cargo Largo’s activities under one roof, including 51 docks, storage, shipping, sorting, auction areas, and retail center. Officially kicked off this month, the project is scheduled for completion in May 2023.

To learn more about Merit General Contractors, visit For more information on Russell, visit

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