Breaking Ground For More Than 55 Years


Breaking Ground

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On an incredibly cold February morning in 1980, the first Maryland Trade Center building broke ground. The picture above was taken at that groundbreaking ceremony and includes Coakley & Williams Construction’s founders, future President, future CEO, and the father of a future Maryland Governor.

Coakley & Williams Construction developed, designed and constructed the 16-story, 208,000 sf office building, located at the intersection of the Capital Beltway and Baltimore-Washington Parkway. According to The Washington Post, it was “the tallest commercial office building in Prince George’s County” upon its delivery in 1981. In addition to general contracting services, we also provided interior construction services for all of the building’s tenants including lead tenants, OAO Corporation and Lockheed Aerospace. Our corporate office was also in this building at the time, before moving to Gaithersburg, and finally settling in downtown Bethesda, where we are headquartered today.


The project’s superintendent recalls that soon after this groundbreaking ceremony in 1980, “we dug the basement and started drilling 60 foot deep, 42 inch diameter caissons below the basement level to support the building. The building was steel framed and pioneered the use of superplasticizers in pumping lightweight concrete at elevation.”

As part of a Design/Build contract, Coakley & Williams Construction built the second structure at the Maryland Trade Center Park, a 208-key Holiday Inn hotel, and also managed and operated the hotel. In 1983, we owned and operated a number of hotels and about two million square feet of commercial and office space in the Washington area. Following the delivery of the first building and the hotel, the company went on to deliver Maryland Trade Center II (12-story, 150,000 sf) in 1985 and Maryland Trade Center III (12-story, 200,000 sf) in 1989, while also providing all interior construction services for the tenants of both buildings, including Maryland National Bank, Lockheed, Gould, ARGO Systems, NYMA, 2nd Trade Center Office Associates Partnership, and C&P Telephone.  The project received an Award of Excellence in 1990 from a leading commercial real estate industry association, NAIOP, which then stood for the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks.

Delivering Client Success

In June of 1990, the Vice President of MNC Financial, Inc., one of the office park’s tenants, wrote “…what a fine job your firm did recently at our Maryland Trade Center office. Eric Mills and Rick Spivey handled the demolition and rebuilding of our space in a most expedient manner. In order to meet our very tight schedule, their crews worked nights and weekends. I was also pleased with the quality of workmanship. It was evident that good attention was paid to detail, especially with all of the millwork. Coakley & Williams [Construction] has an excellent reputation in tenant construction and I can see why. I look forward to using your services in the future.”

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A dentist whose office was in Maryland Trade Center III complimented the project team on their coordination efforts to not only stay within budget, but to deliver his new space in less than 4 weeks. He thanked project team members Lynn Bennett and Rick Spivey for their above and beyond dedication.

Committed to Coakley

Coakley & Williams Construction’s Lynn Stith Bennett joined in 1987 as a Project Manager. With the company for more than 30 years, Lynn was recently promoted to Executive Vice President overseeing Risk Management, Corporate Services, and the Executive Committee. Eric Mills joined in 1975 as a Project Manager, then served as a Project Executive, before retiring as the Director of Field Operations for Interiors in 2018 after 43 years with the company. Rick Spivey, Superintendent, joined in 1981 and continues to deliver exceptional work for our interiors’ clients to this day.

The Throwback Photo


Depicted notably at the first building’s groundbreaking ceremony in 1980 are Coakley & Williams’ co-founders, Neil T. Coakley (3rd from left in the plaid pants) and Fred G. Williams (4th from right holding the shovel wearing the stylish hat).

The Project Manager, Terry Coakley (3rd from right), and Superintendent, Pat Caulfield (far right), would go on to become Coakley & Williams Construction’s Owners in 1987, with Pat serving as President and Terry as CEO.

Also pictured are the project’s Architect, Warren G. Sargent, AIA (5th from right) and Lawrence Hogan (5th from left, with shovel) who was the Prince George’s County Executive at the time, also a former Congressman, 5th Congressional District for Maryland, and father of the now twice-elected Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan.