Founded in 1926, C & A Seneca Construction (C & A Seneca) is a family-owned and operated business specializing in hospitality construction projects around the Manhattan area. Currently in its fourth generation, the company’s decades of experience uphold an industry standard of building excellence across the hospitality construction market.
The business strongly believes in the concept that today’s work is tomorrow’s legacy. It is dedicated to constructing both lasting structures and enduring relationships, which has established a positive reputation for high-quality client services and superior building quality. Project Manager, Ab Jabban, joins us to discuss C & A Seneca’s family history, its latest projects, and plans for expansion in the future.
“We specialize in fast-track, design-build projects in Manhattan, providing clients with huge savings on monthly leased spaces,” begins Ab. “We work with world-renowned architects, designers, and engineers, adapting to the client’s needs to be the most suitable candidate for their project, providing them with a full turnkey project.
“However, after a long history in the industry, we have established ourselves as a one-stop-shop destination with our own workforce, architects, expeditors, and our own garbage removal division,” he continues. “We know the hospitality market inside-out and although we are a construction company, there are parallels between construction and hospitality; both are about serving clients in the best way possible.”
In terms of its foundation, Italian migrant, Anthony Seneca, set up a made-to-order kitchen cabinet and carpentry business in 1926, before passing it on to his son, Carlo. Carlo changed the company name to incorporate his own and his father’s initials, hence, the C & A Seneca of today. He went on to transform the business into one of the most prominent custom home builders on Staten Island, in New York City (NYC).
In its third generation, Anthony Seneca (the second) grew the company, with new ventures in commercial builds and real-estate developments. “It was in this phase that the business began working with prominent clients and completed high-profile office buildings and malls,” Ab explains. “We also began an amazing, long-standing relationship with the City Agency for Child Services, and built a huge number of daycare centers for them over the following five years.”
After receiving a degree in Civil Engineering, the fourth and current generation, Carlo, took over the company’s operations around 20 years ago, and has shaped the business into the modern, innovative hospitality construction giant it is today. His love for nightclubs fueled the construction and opening of the company’s first of many, Quo Nightclub in the heart of NYC, which is an impressive 10,000 square feet.
“Carlo has never looked back and is building the hottest hotels and hospitality projects for some of the biggest operators, developers, and designers in the world,” Ab states. “Carlo is already thinking ahead; his proudest achievement is his children, who will be the fifth generation of the company, and the first generation to have both an Anthony and a Carlo in the business at the same time, making up the ‘C’ and ‘A’ of its name.
“Personally, I started with the company in September 2017 as an Assistant Project Manager,” Ab reflects. “My first task was the completion of Moxy Chelsea in NYC, a 35-story hotel with five key areas; four dining and drinking areas for Feroce and The Fleur Room, which is a glass-enclosed rooftop lounge at the top of the hotel, providing panoramic, 360-degree views.
“Then, I was promoted to Project Manager and was assigned to manage the Gansevoort Hotel project, which consisted of 198 guest room renovations, as well as constructing a new lobby and café,” he continues. “Located in the heart of NYC’s Meatpacking District, the hotel provides stunning views of the city and boasts a handful of luxury amenities: an American bistro, The Chester; a rooftop bar and lounge; gym; conference room; sushi restaurant; and a year-round heated pool with exclusive guest access.
“However, the Gansevoort Hotel renovation was complicated by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ab recalls. “We started work there just before the pandemic, so we spent a lot of time working out how we could continue the renovation in line with regulations and safety protocols. With no paying customers, the hotel owner allocated the third and fourth floors to us and allowed our staff to stay on-site to minimize the risk of spreading the virus. In the end, we completed the project in eight months, way ahead of the original 12-month build schedule.”
Commitment and accountability
C & A Seneca has some exciting projects in the pipeline for 2023. “Today, I manage three-to-five projects a year, often overseeing multiple builds at any given time,” Ab details. “We currently have two venues at the Gansevoort Hotel under construction. The first is a cellar lounge and the second is a new Mediterranean restaurant. The latter requires extensive renovation; the allocated space at the back of the hotel, which was formerly a nightclub, will become a relaxing and luxurious restaurant.
“We have also recently completed the construction of the new flagship store for watch manufacturers, F. P. Journe, located in Soho, NYC,” he adds. “Finally, we have just started work at Neuehouse Madison Square, renovating the cellar in preparation for a new screening room designed by Rockwell Group.”
As a family business, there is “a greater sense of commitment and accountability at our core, which enhances the company’s overall stability,” Ab proposes. “The equal desire for both the family and the business to remain strong fosters additional benefits; strong customer relationships, more effective marketing, and a greater understanding of the industry, its demands, and the organization itself.
“I see C & A Seneca as my family, and I would be honored to be part of the company’s growth in the coming years, perhaps growing to a Senior Project Manager or Project Executive role,” Ab concludes. “Looking to the future, C & A Seneca is continually working towards becoming one of the largest contractors in NYC, and, more importantly, the go-to name associated with construction in the hospitality industry.