Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Construction Expected to Grow to $712 Billion in 2016

Economists at Dodge Analytics forecast that total U.S. construction starts for 2016 will rise 6% to $712 billion, following gains of 9% in 2014 and an estimated 13% in 2015. “The expansion for the construction industry has been underway for several years now, with varying contributions from each of the major sectors,” said Robert Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics, in a press release./

“Total construction activity, as measured by the construction starts data, is on track this year to record the strongest annual gain so far in the current expansion, advancing 13%.

Much of this year’s lift has come from non-building construction, reflecting the start of several massive liquefied natural gas terminals in the Gulf Coast region, as well as renewed growth for new power plant starts."

“Residential building, up 18% this year, has witnessed continued strength for multifamily housing while single family housing seems to have re-established an upward trend after its 2014 plateau.

At the same time, nonresidential building has decelerated this year after surging 24% back in 2014, and is now predicted to be flat to slightly down given a sharp pullback for new manufacturing plant starts and some loss of momentum by its commercial and institutional building segments.”

For 2016, the economic environment should support further growth for the overall level of construction starts.

While short-term interest rates will be going up in 2016, given the expected rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, the increases in long-term interest rates should stay gradual. On the plus side, the U.S. economy continues to register moderate job growth, lending standards are still easing, market fundamentals for commercial real estate continue to improve, and more funding support is coming from state and local construction bond measures.

Total construction starts in 2016 are forecast to advance 6% to $712 billion, with gains for residential building, up 16%; and nonresidential building, up 9%; while the non-building construction sector retreats 14%. If the volatile electric power and gas plant category within non-building construction is excluded, total construction starts for 2016 would be up 10%, after a corresponding 8% gain in 2015.

The 2016 pattern by more specific sectors is the following:

• Single family housing will rise 20% in dollars, corresponding to a 17% increase in units to 805,000. Access to home mortgage loans is improving, and some of the caution exercised by potential home buyers will ease with continued employment growth.

• Multifamily housing will increase 7% in dollars and 5% in units to 480,000, slower than the gains in 2015 but still growth. Low vacancies, rising rents, and the demand for apartments from Millennials will encourage more development.

• Commercial building will increase 11%, up from the 4% gain estimated for 2015. Office construction will resume its leading role in the commercial building upturn, aided by more private development as well as construction activity related to technology and finance firms.

• Institutional building will advance 9%, picking up the pace after the 6% rise in 2015. The educational facilities category is seeing an increasing amount of K-12 school construction, supported by the passage of recent school construction bond measures.

• Manufacturing plant construction will recede an additional 1% in dollar terms, following the steep 28% plunge for 2015 that reflected the pullback by large petrochemical plant starts.

• Public works will be flat with its 2015 amount, as a modest reduction for highways and bridges is balanced by some improvement for the environmental public works categories. A new multiyear federal transportation bill is being considered by Congress, and is expected to achieve passage in late 2015 or during the first half of 2016. The benefits of that bill will show up at the construction site later in 2016 and into 2017.

• Electric utilities and gas plants will fall 43% after a sharp 159% jump in 2015. The lift coming from new starts for liquefied natural gas export terminals will be substantially less, and new power plant starts will recede moderately.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Top 10 Construction Projects Getting Underway in Atlanta

Amidst the hustle and bustle of city life, the pace of construction in Midtown Atlanta has been astonishing over the past 15 years.

From tall skyscrapers in Midtown to massive apartment complexes, exposed steel and large cranes are buzzing with activity everywhere.

While many of the city’s largest projects are still on the drawing board waiting to get underway, here’s our list of the Top 10 construction projects which have recently broken ground in Midtown Atlanta:

Modera Midtown

90 Peachtree Place
Atlanta, GA 30309

450 residential units / 13,000sf retail

Developer: Mill Creek Residential
Status: Broken Ground
End Date: 2017

Post Midtown

33 11th St
Atlanta, GA 30309

327 residential units

Developer: Post Properties
Status: Broken Ground
End Date: Projected Summer 2017

Azure on the Park

Piedmont Ave and 11th St
Atlanta, GA 30309

327 residential units / 3,200sf retail

Developer: Atlantic Realty Partners
Status: Broken Ground
End Date: Projected Fall 2016

Broadstone Terraces

811 Juniper
Atlanta, GA 30308

218 residential units

Developer: Alliance Residential
Status: Broken Ground
End Date: Projected Fall 2016

1010 West Peachtree Street

Atlanta, GA 30309

328 residential units / 13,000sf retail

Developer: The Hanover Company
Status: Broken Ground
End Date: Projected Fall 2016

Yoo on the Park

207 13th St
Atlanta, GA 30309

245 residential units / 1,100sf retail

Developer: Trillist
Status: Broken Ground
End Date: Projected Summer 2016

Atlantic House

1163 West Peachtree St
Atlanta, GA 30309

400 residential units / 11,500sf retail

Developer: Novare Group
Status: Broken Ground
End Date: Projected Summer 2016

60 Eleventh Street

Atlanta, GA 30309

319 residential units / 14,000sf retail

Developer: Daniel Corp. & Selig Enterprises
Status: Under Construction
Start Date: Spring 2015
End Date: Projected Winter 2016

Emory Proton Treatment Center

615 Peachtree St
Atlanta, GA 30308

State of the art, high tech cancer treatment center

Developer: Advanced Particle Therapy and Signet Enterprises
Status: Under Construction
Start Date: Winter 2014
End Date: Projected Winter 2016

One Museum Place

1301 Peachtree St
Atlanta, GA 30309

48 residential units

Developer: John Wieland
Status: Broken Ground
End Date: Projected Summer 2016

Thursday, March 10, 2016

NCR Building $300M World Headquarters in Atlanta

NCR, the high-tech company that specializes in consumer transactions, broke ground last week for its new world headquarters in Midtown Atlanta. The $300 million project will be a state-of-the-art campus designed to attract top talent, showcase NCR’s technology solutions and serve as an iconic landmark for the City of Atlanta. 

The 22-story tower — which will sit on top of five decks of parking — will offer NCR greater visibility than the company has at its current suburban headquarters in Duluth, Ga.

One feature of the new tower is its sloping panes of glass that, as sunlight hits the building, will give it a sense of movement.

The new tower will be located at the corner of 8th and Spring streets in the heart of Midtown Atlanta’s Technology Square.

The 485,000-square-foot headquarters “is a critical first step in a larger goal to create a ‘Silicon Valley of the East’ right here in Atlanta,” said NCR Chairman Bill Nuti.

The NCR campus will also feature a four-level transparent glass building where employees, Georgia Tech students and professors can gather and collaborate.

The Fortune 500 company plans to house about 3,600 employees at it's new world headquarters.

“NCR wants to take the intellectual capacity of Tech Square, and of Georgia Tech students and professors, and create an active, collaborative environment,” said John McColl, an executive vice president with Cousins Properties Inc., which is developing the $250 million first phase of the NCR project.

"It will be like an urban living room, where the company plans to invite everyone in Tech Square to come and be part of what it is doing."

In addition to the 22-story Midtown headquarters building, the NCR campus will also feature a four-level transparent glass building where employees, Georgia Tech students and professors can gather and collaborate.

Known as the Spring Street Building, it's intended as the heart of the project, a place to build connections in Technology Square, one of the nation’s fastest-growing innovation districts where Georgia Tech is the biggest catalyst for investment and development.

The Spring Street Building's glass is designed to be transparent on every floor so people passing by can see the activity inside — and want to be part of it.

Duda Paine Architects, designer of the Terminus office towers in Buckhead, which the project shares a resemblance, will be the building architect. Gensler, a global design firm, will design the project’s interiors.

NCR also plans to maintain a significant presence at a second campus in the northern suburbs. These locations will enable the company to continue to attract talent from the entire metro Atlanta area to support its hardware-enabled, software-driven business.

The new world headquarters will be located at Centergy North at Technology Square on Spring Street, and will provide NCR with a state-of-the-art presence close to Atlanta’s rich innovation centers and leading academic institutions.

In addition to helping the company consolidate a number of disparate facilities into unified and contemporary work environments, improved access to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will make it easier for financial services, retail and hospitality customers from all over the world to visit Atlanta and experience NCR’s innovative technology solutions first hand.

NCR is best known for making ATMs and cash registers, but the company is changing into more of a software business, and the new facility is part of NCR’s plan to tap into talent at Georgia Tech.

“Creating a state-of-the-art campus in midtown Atlanta near Georgia Tech marks an important step in NCR’s reinvention as an exciting and important, global technology company,” said NCR Chairman and CEO Bill Nuti.

“You can count on your hand the number of successful technology company reinventions that have been executed over the last hundred years – and NCR is amongst them. NCR runs global commerce and we make the everyday easier as consumers connect, interact and transact with business. We are extremely proud of the important innovations we create and the valuable work done on behalf of our customers around the world right here in metro Atlanta.”

“Georgia has proven to be the top choice for leading companies to locate their headquarters,” said Governor Deal. “NCR chose Georgia a few years ago, and we are thrilled that this global leader will now expand its presence in our state. Our No. 1 business climate, which includes a skilled workforce, a solid network of companies, access to innovative R&D and a critical mass of fiber accessibility and total bandwidth, creates the ideal environment for Fortune 500 companies such as NCR to grow and remain competitive.”

“Technology is a critical sector for our local economy and we are honored to have NCR locate its global headquarters in Atlanta,” said Mayor Kasim Reed.  “Every day, businesses are voting with their feet and choosing the City of Atlanta as the place to bring their dreams and build their businesses. The best companies in the world are building their brands here, strengthening our economy and confirming Atlanta’s place as a leading city for business.”

The new NCR headquarters in midtown will be ready in early in 2018, and join the ranks of other iconic Atlanta buildings, such as Bank of America Plaza, SunTrust Plaza, and One Atlantic Center. While a location for the campus in the northern suburbs is yet being finalized, it is expected to open during a similar time frame.

Although the groundbreaking ceremony was held last week, actual construction will begin on Jan 4th.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

New $144M Ballpark of The Palm Beaches for Astros, Nationals

A whole lot of baseball will soon be coming to West Palm Beach, Florida. Construction of a new 160 acre spring training facility for the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros began this week with a major league celebration for the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

The new $144 million complex will be located at 45th Street between Military Trail and Haverhill Road in West Palm Beach.

The new stadium, which will hold 6,400 people, is expected to be ready for the 2017 baseball season and will be shared by both Major League teams.

Major League Baseball officials and Palm Beach County leaders celebrated the groundbreaking for the $144 million stadium slated to bring the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals to West Palm Beach for spring training beginning in 2017.

“I think these are two really appealing teams; they’ll draw well and be great competition to the existing teams in the area," Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.

The ceremonial ground breaking diamond was packed with clay from the county's existing spring training stadium in Jupiter, where the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals play.

The doubling the number of local spring training teams, and the tourism boost that could bring, was hailed by local business leaders and other baseball backers as the chief selling point for building a second stadium.

The project calls for the county to pay about half of the stadium's cost, with the state and the teams paying the rest. Estimated construction costs are already expected to go beyond the $144 million forecast, with the teams required to cover the difference. Also, borrowing money to pay for construction could end up elevating the cost to about $233 million.

Of that, the county is projected to pay $116 million, with at least $67 million coming from the teams and $50 million from the state.

In addition to the stadium to be shared by the teams, plans include building separate training facilities for the Astros and Nationals along with a new city park that includes community sports fields that would double as spill-over parking during Spring Training.

The early work involves cleaning up the old yard waste dump site, which is expected to cost about $15 million.

Washington Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner the stadium construction would be "ensuring strong economic growth on this property," expected to benefit the surrounding community.

Along with getting state funding for the stadium deal, officials had to persuade the Florida Legislature to ease restrictions on the proposed building site. That involved lawmakers agreeing to shrink a protective zone on the southern portion of the property bordering a canal that helps supply city drinking water.

"I look forward to watching a game there soon," Gov. Rick Scott said in a video shown at the groundbreaking.

The county's share of the stadium cost is to be paid with taxes currently levied on hotel stays and dedicated to spending on tourism-related efforts.

Adding two new Major League Baseball teams will boost tourism and make it easier to keep the Marlins and Cardinals from leaving for other spring training destinations.