NYC saw 31 percent construction decline in 2011

In 2011, $13.8 billion worth of construction projects began, a decline of 31 percent from 2010, when $20 billion in projects began, according to numbers released from the New York Building Congress today.

The reason for the decline was a 39 percent drop, to $8.4 billion, in work on non-residential buildings such as offices, hotels, schools, hospitals, transit stations, power plants and other institutional buildings, the report says. This was a marked departure from the numbers in 2010, when construction on such buildings grew by 41 percent, to $13.7 billion.

A notable decline in government projects, which has been a trend since 2008, also contributed to the overall decline. Construction projects in that area declined 35 percent, to $2.6 billion in 2011 from $4 billion in 2010. In 2008, $5.4 billion in government construction began in New York City. The only large government projects that began construction in 2011 were the work on Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy Airport , a $1.2 billion project, and work on the extension of the Number 7 subway line, a $514 million project.

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While construction projects overall were down 51 percent in 2011, the rise in residential building signals that at least that sector has bottomed out, according to the report.

“Given that 2010 was the year of the big-ticket construction project – with the World Trade Center, Madison Square Garden and Barclays Arena accounting for $6 billion in construction starts alone – it is not all that surprising to see a dip in 2011,” said New York Building Congress President Richard Anderson. “Still, the 31 percent decline in New York City is very troubling.” — Guelda Voien