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Natural Gas Boom Helps Fuel Region's Major Projects

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Image courtesy of University of Maryland
The University of Maryland Health Sciences Research Facility Phase III in Baltimore is being built by Whiting-Turner Contracting. Completion is scheduled for August 2016.
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Major projects moved ahead throughout the mid-Atlantic states in 2013, thanks in large part to significant investment in heavy civil, power and industrial projects. The 20 Top Starts in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia, ranked by total project value, tallied a combined $8.44 billion in work. Notably, projects related to natural gas led the way. With natural gas production expanding in the region, due to extraction from the Marcellus shale formation, energy companies are pushing ahead with significant projects. Dominion Virginia Power tops this year's list with the $1.2-billion Brunswick County Power Station in Brunswick County, Va. The 1,358-MW, natural gas fueled power station is being built under an EPC contract by Fluor, with completion scheduled for summer 2016.

In the next two spots are two 829-MW natural gas combined-cycle plants owned by Panda Power Funds: Panda Liberty Generation Plant in Bradford County, Pa., and Panda Patriot Generation Plant in Lycoming County, Pa. A joint venture of Gemma Power Systems and Lane Construction Corp. are performing the EPC contracts on both projects.

Also high on this year's list is the Garrison Energy Center, a 309-MW natural gas combined cycle plant owned by Calpine Corp. Kvaerner North American Construction is the EPC contractor on the project, which is scheduled for completion in summer 2015.

Awash In Work

At a time when significant upgrades are under way at wastewater treatment plants in the region due to Chesapeake Bay Watershed-related regulations, several projects in that sector are on the list. DC Water, which was named ENR MidAtlantic's Owner of the Year, has three projects among the top 20 in the region, including the $254-million Anacostia River Tunnel, the $251-million Tunnel Dewatering Pump Station and Enhanced Clarification Facility and the $158-million First Street Tunnel, all in Washington, D.C.

Building projects in a variety of market sectors also made this year's list. Significant health care and research projects continue to move ahead throughout the region, including the $354-million Reading Hospital, 7th Avenue Building in West Reading, Pa., the $305-million University of Maryland Health Sciences Research Facility Phase III in Baltimore and the New Sibley Memorial Hospital replacement project in Washington, D.C.

Expanded licensing for gaming in Maryland led to development of the $400-million Baltimore Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore. Owned by Caesars Entertainment, the project is being built by Baltimore-based Whiting-Turner Contracting on a fast-track schedule. The project broke ground in May 2013 and is expected to open in fall 2014.

The $341-million FMC Tower at Cira Centre South in Philadelphia, developed by Brandywine Realty Trust, shows an improved outlook among developers for major commercial projects.

Demand for major multifamily residential developments remains strong, as evidenced by the $160-million Metropolitan Park 4/5, a 700-unit apartment complex under way in Arlington, Va. The Vornado project, which is being built by Balfour Beatty Construction, is scheduled for completion in August 2016.


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