Provost Construction has grown since its inception in 2009. The company was founded by Jonathan Provost while he was still an engineering student at Old Dominion University (ODU). These days, Provost Construction has ongoing projects across much of the Eastern United States. Locally, his mark can be seen in a big way in downtown Newport News.
Among the newest and most exciting of Provost’s projects is the renovation and repurposing of a section of old warehouses along 23rd Street in Newport News. The first of these buildings that Provost purchased is the warehouse at 206 23rd Street. At that time, he was working with Coastal Fermentory, which was looking to Provost to develop a location for its brewery. Provost purchased the warehouse and used the space not only to build a beautiful and convenient location for Coastal’s brewery and tap room, but also to establish a unique and interesting office space for his own company.
Not long after that initial renovation, Provost started looking to expand in the immediate area. “I told the Newport News city folks that I wanted to continue to develop this entire block,” he says. “I thought the building next door at 208 23rd Street was really unique and I wanted to put apartments in there. I started reaching out to friends who had done historic tax credit renovation.” Those friends that he reached out to convinced Provost that he should take on the project himself, having already amassed the requisite experience to match his drive.
Provost is currently considering the purchase of a number of other properties, mainly in the downtown Newport News area. “My focus is to help redevelop the area of downtown Newport News that has been called the Yard District. I enjoy being part of it. I feel like I have a chance to make my own playground and write my own story down here.”
Provost’s Downtown Development Initiative is for the most part privately funded, but the company has been able to make use of some grants provided by the City of Newport News. Provost says, “I’m able to navigate the programs that are on the city websites, and discussions with the Newport News Economic Development Authority led me in the direction of how to be awarded in these programs.” He goes on to say, “It has been very rewarding to work with a city that wants to provide assistance to somebody like me, knowing that I could really help to change the landscape and overlay of this downtown area. I have a lot of support for what it has done and what it has encouraged me to do.”
Provost, who was born and raised in Richmond, first moved to Hampton Roads to attend ODU in the early 2000s. While in school, he supported himself working in construction, and by the age of 22, he had achieved his Class-A contractor’s license and had begun his own company.
He started the company in 2009, during a recession in which many would have advised against such an endeavor. In fact, Provost says that his family warned him against his plan to strike out on his own. “My father and my grandmother told me that I was probably not going to succeed because of the crash of 2008,” says Provost. “I like to prove people wrong.” And prove them wrong he did. Despite his family’s pessimism, Provost’s company made more than $300,000 in its first year, and by 2018, the company had hit $10 million in sales. That’s when he began focusing on Newport News.
“In 2018, we were mostly a traveling contractor in about 20 states across the country, building for Dominos, McDonalds, KFC and Taco Bell,” says Provost. Until he put the office in Newport News in 2018, about 75 percent of Provost Construction’s work was out of state. Today, that number is closer to 50 percent.
Provost lives in Chesapeake with his wife and their three-year-old and ten-month-old twins. Being a father to twins is what Provost describes as a fun experience as a parent. “You get to watch how they are totally different in their growth. It’s a very rewarding opportunity to watch them grow up side by side.” These days, in the free time that he gets to spend with family, Provost and his wife enjoy trips to the mountains and visiting breweries.
Work-life balance is very important to Provost. No matter how many proverbial irons his company has in the fire, Provost does his best to avoid getting caught in an endless amount of work. “I come home every day around 5:30 or 6:00. My three-year-old is my best friend.” When asked how his hobbies and interests have changed since he had children, Provost simply states, “I bought a boat, but I sold it when we had twins.”
TO THE POINT:
Address: 206 23rd St., Newport News, VA
Contact: Audrey Hassell, business development