Signs of Hope in Construction Market

Nov. 18, 2011
While economists see a flat year for nonresidential construction in 2012, some notable projects are in the works that will pump up electrical sales. Over

While economists see a flat year for nonresidential construction in 2012, some notable projects are in the works that will pump up electrical sales. Over the past two weeks, news hit the street of several massive projects in the downtown redevelopment, public works and utility and markets. Here's a quick look at what's cooking.

The $15 billion Hudson Yards project on Manhattan's West Side

Toronto's Globe and Mail recently reported that Oxford Properties, a Canadian developer, is moving ahead with its plans for a $15 billion redevelopment project on Manhattan's West Side at the Hudson Yards railroad yard. With its spectacular river views and proximity to midtown Manhattan, the area has attracted prospective developers for years, but none had been able to successfully hurdle regulatory and environmental challenges.

Oxford said the development, which would cover an entire city block and eventually include three office towers, nine residential buildings, dozens of stores, a school, cultural center and 12 acres of open park space, could start as early as next year. The article said, “Five thousand apartments will sprout from the newly-built artificial land mass, along with a million square feet of retail space and six million square feet of office space — the same amount that can be found in all of Saskatchewan.”

$1.5 billion FPL power plant to break ground in January

A report in the Palm Beach Post said construction of FPL's $1.3 billion natural gas-powered plant is expected to begin in January and take up to 2.5 years to complete. The article also said the construction project will employ 650 workers and that hiring has already begun.

$520 million Gotham West project on Manhattan's West Side

Contractors have been working on this “smaller” West Side project since July. Located between 10th Ave. and 11th Ave. and 44th St. and 45th St., Gotham West will include 1,238 residential units; 15,000 square feet of street-level retail in four mid-rise buildings; and a 200-space below-grade parking garage.

Quanta's $300 million transmission line

Quanta Services Inc., Houston, ranked by Engineering-News Record as the largest electrical contractor in the United States, recently inked a deal to rebuild or replace more than 900 miles of transmission infrastructure, including structures, conductor and shield wire for American Electric Power's Ohio Transmission Co. and AEP's Oklahoma Transmission Co. Quanta's PAR Electrical Contractors operating unit also nailed a big long-distance transmission project this month — a 153-mile, 500kV project for Southern California Edison in California that includes a new 111-mile transmission line between SCE's Devers substation near Palm Springs and the new Colorado River Substation, near Blythe, Calif., and a new 42-mile, 500 kV transmission line between Devers Substation and SCE's Valley Substation in Menifee, Calif.

Cleveland may rock with 90-acre downtown waterfront project

Cleveland's Plain Dealer reported on a plan for more than 2 million square feet of construction, including a hotel, restaurants, shops and offices that could be gradually be built with private money on the shores of Lake Erie. One city official familiar with plans for the project said in the article that over the next 25 years investment could top $2 billion. Along with this commercial development, the plans would also include 75 acres of maritime development along the docks through the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

Light-rail lines in Houston

Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority will be the happy beneficiary of two federal grants totaling $900 million to build the MTA's North and Southeast light-rail lines now under construction. Federal officials will visit Houston for the official grant signing ceremony on Nov. 28.