In Memory of Our Founder
Thomas B. Keller (1931-2015)
Thomas B. Keller was one of New York’s premier general contractors, construction managers, and real estate development consultants. Over the course of five decades, Mr. Keller became one of the foremost minority builders and construction managers in the Borough of Brooklyn and the City of New York. Beginning in 1967, Mr. Keller was employed by the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation- the nation’s first community development corporation created by the joint venture efforts of Senators Robert Kennedy and Jacob Javits. At Restoration Corporation, Mr. Keller quickly rose to the ranks of Vice President/General Manager of its for-profit subsidiary construction corporation and was responsible for the construction of Restoration’s 300,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters, shopping mall with national retail outlets, Pathmark Supermarket, The Billie Holiday Theater and 800 units of affordable housing. After Restoration Corporation, Mr. Keller launched his own general construction companies most recently serving as the Senior Advisor for Brisa Builders Corporation and partner of Brisa Builders Development Group LLC.
Mr. Keller was a true “community builder” for both faith-based and community- based organizations, he has served as an invaluable liaison between architects, lawyers, owners and other general contractors. Mr. Keller also distinguished himself as a human resource engine in the minority community, employing numerous sub-contractors and providing training in the construction industry. He was a facilitator who participated in writing proposals, responding to requests for qualifications, cost and feasibility analysis, contract negotiations, policy decision making, budget preparation, and all other aspects of project administration and management.
Mr. Keller made a deep commitment to working closely with various religious, not for profit and governmental organizations in the construction of churches, senior citizens and nursing homes, special needs housing, retail space and all other community facilities, all of which have greatly improved the aesthetics of local neighborhoods and provided decent and affordable housing for community residents of all socio- economic levels.
A small indication of his ability was the $500 million in combined budgets of completed projects for local sponsors including but not limited to:
- Association of Brooklyn Clergy for Community Development
- Malcolm Housing Development Fund Corporation
- Bethany Baptist Church, Bridge Street AWME Church
- Brookdale Hospital
- Brownsville Multi- Service Center
- Church of St. Mark- Episcopal
- Consortium for Central Harlem Development
- BEC New Communities
- Calvary Baptist Church
- Canaan Baptist Church
- First Baptist Church
- Janes United Methodist Church
- Episcopal Health Services
- Evening Star Baptist Church
- Harlem Congregation for Community Improvement
- House of the Lord Church
- Local Development Corporation of Crown Heights
- Mid- Bronx Senior Citizens Council
- Sinai Hospital
- Northeast Brooklyn Housing
- St Paul Community Baptist Church
Up to the 83rd year of his life – Mr. Keller had a substantive influence on the development of the communities of Brooklyn, New York and the five boroughs, working tirelessly to ensure housing and employment opportunities for the next generation. He will be remembered fondly as a champion for the community he loved.