The construction industry remains on uneven footing heading into 2014. While sectors such as multifamily housing have rebounded, others, such as federal projects, are seeing spotty activity. The impact of the recession can still be felt as profit margins remain tight and work force attrition threatens labor shortages.
Still, there are definite bright spots as big-dollar developments forge ahead and government agencies develop new ways to deliver critical infrastructure, such as through expanded use of public-private partnerships.
There are a lot of trends that need tracking in today's market, which is why ENR MidAtlantic developed its Watch List for 2014.
Based on research, industry insights and our own news analysis, here is a look at some of the major projects, important issues and timely trends that are expected to shape the region's construction market in the coming year.
Capitol Crossing Moves Ahead
The $1.3-billion development takes shape on one of the largest sites in downtown D.C.
After years of planning, the long-anticipated $1.3-billion Capitol Crossing project in downtown Washington, D.C., appears ready to move forward. The more than 2-million-sq-ft development would be built on seven acres, mostly on platforms over I-395. It would be the largest new development in the central business district since construction of the 2.5-million-sq-ft CityCenterDC project. Sean Cahill, vice president of development at Property Group Partners, Washington, D.C., says the project is imminent. In early February, permits were being finalized with utility companies and the District's transportation agency. "We're hopeful to be in the field by late February," he says. Under the current schedule, platform construction would begin in July. Several portions of the project have been bid and are being awarded, he adds. The multiphase master-planned development is expected to be primarily office space with ground-level retail, underground parking and limited residential.
P3 Gains Traction
Maryland and Pennsylvania join Virginia in more public-private megaproject delivery
Virginia was an early adopter of using public-private partnerships, but other states in the region also are pushing ahead. Following the development of the I-495 HOT Lane project and the I-95 Express Lanes project using the approach, Virginia's Dept. of Transportation seeks input from the industry for a possible PPP solution to congestion on I-66, outside the Capital Beltway. The state is already invested in the $1.4-billion, 55-mile U.S. 460 from Suffolk to Petersburg, being delivered using a PPP approach. Maryland also is making a big push into PPP. Its transportation agency now is selecting a team to design, build, operate, maintain and finance the $2.2-billion light-rail Purple Line, north of the Capital Beltway. Pennsylvania's DOT is asking the private sector to submit statements of qualification for its Rapid Bridge Replacement Project. Under a public-private partnership delivery method, the plan calls for reconstruction of at least 500 structurally deficient bridges.