Construction starts picked up in 2017, thanks to large institutional and public works projects

Spending fell on residential, commercial developments

TRD New York /
Feb.February 05, 2018 11:00 AM

(clockwise from top l.) LaGuardia Airport, Moynihan Station and the Jacob Javits Center

Construction starts picked back up again last year, totaling $37.78 billion on the back of public works and institutional projects.

That was the second-highest total since 2010, according to information from Dodge Data & Analytics reported by the Commercial Observer.

Spending hit $41 billion in 2015, but then dropped to $31.93 billion the following year.

In 2017, spending on institutional projects like transportation terminals, convention centers and schools exploded by 166 percent to $13.94 billion, up from just $5.23 billion in 2016.

“The basic message is that construction activity in the New York City market is continuing at a healthy pace,” Robert Murray, Dodge’s chief economist and a vice president, told CO. “What is changing is whereas before the upward push came from commercial building and multifamily, now the upward push is coming from the institutional and public works side of the industry. And this is similar to the national level.”

Spending on institutional and public works projects made up roughly half of the total construction starts last year.

At LaGuardia Airport, the $4 billion redevelopment of Delta Air Lines’ Terminals C and D, along with the $3.6 billion redevelopment of the Central Terminal B Building accounted for a large part of the increase. The $1.2 billion worth of construction to expand the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and the $1.3 billion for the redevelopment of the James A. Farley Post Office helped pad the numbers.

Construction starts on residential buildings saw another year of declines, coming in at $10.75 billion last year. That was 3 percent below 2016’s total of $11.05 billion and 43 percent below 2015’s sum of $18.95 billion.

On the commercial properties side, construction starts totaled $7.84 billion, a 34-percent drop from $11.91 billion in 2016. [CO] – Rich Bockmann


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