Trophy Jobs Underway Despite Slow Market

Jan. 23, 2004
Although the commercial construction market isn’t expected to grow very much this year, some large construction projects are now underway or on the drawing boards in several major metropolitan markets.

Although the commercial construction market isn’t expected to grow very much this year, some large construction projects are now underway or on the drawing boards in several major metropolitan markets.

Atlanta. The action is in midtown Atlanta, where a 680,000-square-foot tower to be built by Hines Interests L.P. at the corner of Peachtree and 14th Streets already has a law firm signed on for 120,000 square feet of office space. Although there’s plenty of office space available in some of the area’s other large office towers, another building in the 500,000-square-foot class is planned for Atlantic Station.

Don’t expect the same construction activity in the suburbs, which have plenty of vacant space to fill before there’s any need for new construction.

Charlotte, N.C. According to an article in the Charlotte Business Chronicle, residential building in the Charlotte metropolitan area hasn’t skipped a beat, and will continue strong in the near future. The article said Crescent Resources is ready to develop the first phase of a huge residential development in a 6,200-acre tract called Catawba Ridge. Over the next 10 years, the development will offer a golf course, marina, town center and 1,400-acre industrial park. Eventually, it could have as many as 14,000 houses and 30,000 residents.

New York. Two large projects are underway — 7 World Trade Center, a 1.7-million-square-foot office building; and The Hearst Tower, an 856,000-square-foot office tower at 959 Eighth Ave.

The most recent report by IGDNYC Inc., New York, a real estate consulting firm, said several huge jobs are on the drawing boards, including Bank of America’s 2.1-million-square-foot building on 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue; a 52-story building with 1.54 million square feet of office space that will be the new headquarters for The New York Times; and a 2-million-square-foot skyscraper for Pfizer.

One of the highest profile trophy jobs ever built in the United States will be The Freedom Tower, expected to break ground later this year at the World Trade Center site. The building is expected to have 2.6 million square feet of commercial space and be completed in 2008.

San Antonio. Spring 2004 will bring the roar of bulldozers clearing a 2,000-acre site for the construction of a Toyota truck plant. Toyota is investing $800 million in the factory, which will produce 150,000 Toyota Tundra trucks and bring approximately 2,000 new jobs to the Alamo city. According to an article in the Houston Business Journal, general contractors for the project will be chosen by mid-2005.

San Francisco and the Bay Area. While the office construction market is expected to remain slow for at least another year, other construction may break ground soon. According to a San Francisco Business Times report, construction could begin this year at the Hunters Point Shipyard, the Oakland airport expansion and at several proposed museums.

Washington, D.C. The biggest project on the drawing boards in the D.C. metropolitan area is Potomac Yard, a 300-acre development that straddles Arlington, Va., and Alexandria, Va., in the Crystal City area. According to the Washington Business Journal, if a lead tenant signs on in 2004, Crescent Resources, owner of the site, will start a 654,000-square-foot office complex called One Potomac Yard. In all, the Potomac Yard project will include 4.7 million square feet of office space; 235,000 square feet of retail space, 40 acres of parks, public art displays, underground parking, and its own Metro stop.

The area north of Union Station, near the headquarters of the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives now under construction is also expected to be a hotbed of activity. With a new $90-million Red Line Metro station, the Department of Homeland Security and Public Broadcasting Service may build in the area. If Washington gets back a major league baseball team, the area is being mentioned as a site for the stadium.