New England Contractors See Major Work in Multiple Sectors
Based on the major projects breaking ground in New England these days, construction activity is not only robust, it's occurring in a wide variety of market sectors. Although multifamily residential has seen a strong resurgence in recent years, ENR New England's Top Starts list—which ranks projects that broke ground in the region in 2014 by dollar value—includes projects in the residential, energy, office, health care, entertainment, research, institutional, education and transportation sectors.
Boston remains the main hub of activity with 15 of the top 25 largest project starts of 2014 located in the greater metro area. Residential activity in the area is holding at a high level, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. Following a rise in residential starts from $2.2 billion in 2011 to $4 billion in 2013, total starts in the city eased slightly to $3.6 billion in 2014. Dodge Data & Analytics forecasts that Boston residential starts will tick up to $3.7 billion in 2015.
Fittingly, the $387.5-million Seaport Square Block B & C project—a mixed-use project that is primarily residential—tops this year's list. Other Boston-area residential projects that broke ground in 2014 include the $250-million Nashua Street Residences, the $125-million Watermark Seaport, the $117-million Barry's Corner, the $102-million 30 Dalton Street Residences and the $100-million 6 New Street developments.
Commercial office has also seen a strong resurgence. In Boston, total office starts rose from $793 million in 2013 to $1.2 billion in 2014. The $325-million Partners HealthCare headquarters project at Assembly Row in Somerville tops the list of commercial projects, followed by 100 Northern Avenue in Boston, the $92-million 201 Maple Street in Chelsea, the $90-million 275 Wyman Street in Waltham and the $90-million Six Ten at MIT Building 2 in Cambridge projects.
Although not as robust as past years, some contractors are finding major work in the higher education market. In May, Suffolk Construction started work on the $175-million Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Complex at Northeastern University in Boston. KBE Building Corp. broke ground in November on the $79-million STEM Residence Halls project for University of Connecticut at its Storrs campus.
A steady amount of health care work continues to flow in the region; the team of Brasfield & Gorrie and Cianbro started work on the $247-million Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor in January 2014.
In September, Suffolk broke ground on a $164-million addition and renovation project for Boston Medical Center in Boston.
Despite uncertainty about transportation funding, some significant highway and bridge projects are moving ahead. Cianbro started the $170-million Sarah Mildred Long Bridge project between Kittery, Maine, and Portsmouth, N.H., in October. In November, Barletta Engineering and Heavy Division began $137.6 million in work to add a lane along a section of Interstate 95 between Needham and Wellesley, Mass.
Click HERE to view this year's Top Starts list.