Top 25 Starts Inject $10.4 Billion Into Southwest Economy
This sentiment is echoed by ADOT. "Due to declining fuel and vehicle license taxes, ADOT will be spending a larger percentage on preservation of the existing system in the near future instead of expanding the highway system," says Dustin Krugel, ADOT spokesman. The lack of a long-term transportation bill from Congress is complicating ADOT's ability to provide long-term forecasts for project funding, Krugel adds.
At Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, joint venture partners McCarthy/Kiewit, Phoenix, are constructing the $120-million construction manager at-risk SkyTrain expansion from Terminal 3 to Terminal 4, adding 3,000 ft of dual-lane elevated and below-grade guideway, along with taxiway bridge extensions and a passenger terminal station.
Sequencing has been key in building within one of the 10 busiest airports in the U.S., says Dennis Tucker, vice president of McCarthy's Southwest division. "The closure of a taxiway or any interruption to airport operations requires a higher level of communication beyond just scheduling the work; it must also be integrated with on-going airside operations."
One of the few large-scale commercial/retail starts in 2011 was the $50-million Urban Outfitters West Coast E-Commerce Internet Fulfillment Center in Reno, Nev. Targeting LEED-Silver, Reno-based general contractor United Construction first had to fill a pond on the jobsite with 300,000 cu yd of fill mined elsewhere.
The 462,720-sq-ft building follows an industrial, less-is-more design philosophy that features unpainted exterior doors and large snap-tie recesses at concrete tilt-up wall panels, says Michael D. Russell, United's chief operating officer.
Another Nevada retail project to start in 2011 was the $100-million Harmon Corner, a 110,184-sq-ft structural steel-framed building straddling a busy Las Vegas Strip intersection. Designed for 18 tenant spaces and anchored by Walgreens, the building's exterior is clad with EIFS, basalt stone and a curtain wall system, while the interior features a large skylight atrium. Due to the amount of pedestrian and vehicular traffic along the Strip, Las Vegas-based general contractor PENTA Building Group created a thorough site logistical analysis and provided constant updates to adjacent building owners and other stakeholders, says Matt Woodmansee, senior project manager.
Most building contractors are looking ahead to improving market conditions. "The past few months have been very encouraging in terms of the quality and quantity of viable projects that are surfacing in our core market areas," says Jeff Ehret, PENTA's president.
United Construction's Russell says he expects to see a small annual incremental growth through 2013, especially in the e-commerce, warehouse/distribution, health care, data center and food sectors, despite uncertainty caused by overregulation and rising health care costs. "We believe government can create stability by keeping taxes low, controlling government spending and reining in burdensome regulations," he adds.