History

The city of Houston is a community that prides itself on stalwart ties to history and family, with a strong emphasis on maintaining quality and solid, long-lasting relationships. Fretz Construction Company has built its business on these same philosophies. Edmond A. Fretz founded the Standard Construction Company in 1923 after serving as the City of Houston Engineer from 1913 through 1923. In 1932, he changed the name of the firm to Fretz Construction Company, and today the company remains under the management of the Fretz family.

The early years of the company focused on establishing the reputation that it still maintains today: building buildings and relationships that stand the test of time. Starting in the 1920s, Fretz Construction Company grew with Houston, working for the prominent developers and architects of the time, including Jesse Jones, John F. Staub, Maurice J. Sullivan and A.C. Finn. The work was varied, from building Houston’s first shopping center, River Oaks Shopping Center, to the Tower Theater, to the Heights Senior High School, now known as John H. Reagan High School. Fretz Construction Company’s work was not limited to buildings: it completed the cast-in-place concrete bridge across the San Jacinto River adjacent to the Eastex Freeway in Kingwood. Governor Ross Sterling dedicated this bridge in May 1932.

Fretz Construction Company has compiled an unparalleled list of religious projects throughout its history. Starting in the early 1930s with Holy Rosary Church, Fretz Construction Company has completed more religious construction than any other firm in the Texas Gulf Coast area. Its churches are the cornerstone of the company’s reputation. Not only are the church buildings built by Fretz in the 1930s and 1940s still standing, but the same relationships are still in place. As an example, in 1930 Fretz Construction Company built the school at St. Anne’s Catholic Church with architect Maurice J. Sullivan. In 1939, the same team built the landmark church for St. Anne’s. In 1998, Fretz Construction completed the Parish Activity Center and in 2008 the company completed an extensive Parish Expansion. Eight decades of building for the same client. Other prominent religious structures include Temple Emanu El (1949 and 2009), Saint Vincent de Paul Church (1950 and 2000), the Woodlands United Methodist Church (2001 and 2006) and the First Colony Church of Christ (2002 and 2009).

Medical and research facilities also comprise a large portion of Fretz’s client base. Fretz has proven to be able to complete highly technical construction for clients such as Diagnostic Hospital and Clinic for the Arnold brothers (1960s and 1970s) and the GeneMedicine headquarters (1996). In 2002, the company completed their second phase of building for Lexicon Genetics in The Woodlands which was the company’s largest single project in it’s history, involving new offices, administration, vivarium, laboratory and power facilities for the client. The Huntsman Chemical Company selected Fretz Construction Company to build their office and research facilities in the Woodlands in 2005.

As in their beginning, Fretz Construction remains dedicated to the building of education structures. Durability and cost efficiency are central to Fretz’s approach to building these facilities, which often times must be highly durable, easily accessible and withstand the daily wear and tear of students – all within a limited budget. Beginning in the design stage, Fretz principals take a hands-on approach, working diligently to meet the institution’s schedule while creating a structure that will serve generations to come.

Fretz has built the last three major expansions at Saint Agnes Academy, the first three buildings for the Honor Roll School in First Colony, the first two phases of John Paul II Catholic School and the first phase of the new Pope John XXIII High School in Katy. These structures join the list of completed education facilities that include the historic Jack Williams Systems Administration Building at the east entrance to Texas A&M University, built by Fretz in 1932.

Fretz Construction has made immeasurable contribution to the Houston area and has helped build many of the Bayou City’s significant landmarks. The company believes in preserving such structures, and provides restoration and preservation construction services through highly specialized artisans and craftspeople. This service is a personal passion of Bob Fretz, Jr., who previously served as a board member of the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance.

The quality and excellence of Fretz Construction’s projects have been recognized not only by buildings’ owners, but also by organizations throughout the Houston area.

In 1994, the Houston Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America presented Fretz Construction with an Award for Project Excellence for the “Best Church Construction Project” for the St. Thomas Aquinas Church building.  Similar awards were received in 1998, 2002, 2006 and in 2008.   In addition, the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance awarded Good Brick awards to Fretz Construction for the restoration of Trinity Episcopal Church (2004), Byrd’s Lofts (2006), Holy Rosary Catholic Church (2007) and St. Anne's Catholic Church (2008).  These projects demonstrate Fretz Construction’s commitment to preserving and enhancing Houston’s architectural and cultural heritage. Throughout the years Fretz has received countless accolades and honors, but few compare to the respect and trust they garner from their clients.

Fretz today remains a family business. The company’s third president, Bob Fretz, Jr. is grandson of the founder. His father, Bob Fretz, Sr. celebrated his 60-year anniversary with the company in 2009 and served as president of the company from 1967 through 1998 and as Chairman of the Board from 1998 until his death in 2010. The company employs many second and third generation employees who know and respect the reputation of the firm and continue to provide their clients with the finest in skill and quality.