Work on military bases and other public projects has kept many Maryland contractors busy during the recession.
“Our area has always done better than others, but we are still on the downslope with government work,” says John Barotti, senior vice president of Skanska USA Building in Rockville, Md. “If you look at the forecast for the next year, I don’t see as many projects as in the past.”
Barotti adds that the Base Realignment and Closure and Army Transformation projects are winding down.
“There is still a lot of work associated with the BRAC realignment aftereffects,” adds David Birtwistle, vice president of Balfour Beatty Construction of Fairfax, Va., which is working on the $641.4-million, 725,000-sq-ft Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., a BRAC project, with Clark Construction Group of Bethesda. “There is a realignment of private-sector businesses that work with those military operations, so there will be residual impact to the overall community,”
However, he says that it will not have the immediate effect of BRAC because there are no deadlines associated with the private projects.
“County, state and federal governments are driving the boat,” adds George Kreis, senior vice president of Turner Construction Co. subsidiary Tompkins Builders in Washington, D.C. He reports a surge of jail and correctional projects.
Health-care construction is also an avenue of opportunity.
“We’ve had almost no falloff in health-care construction,” says Melanie Townshend, project executive in the Mid-Atlantic Region with Gilbane Building Co. of Laurel, Md.
Meritus Health in Hagerstown, Md., is preparing to develop an ambulatory services building, and St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown is renovating its existing building and adding a small medical office building as part of a long-range upgrade.
“In health care, people are reacting to all of the things going on in the regulatory arena,” Townshend adds. “Smaller providers are teaming up with bigger systems, and every time they do that, it causes a construction project.”
Townshend also reports a continuation of design and preconstruction on some higher-education projects, but universities do not have the money to build. Community colleges are moving forward with $12-million to $24-million projects.
Kreis says he expects the first pulse of life on the private side will be multifamily residential. He is anticipating that a couple of Silver Springs projects will start in 2011.
“The supply has completely dried up, and the D.C. area is still generating positive job growth,” he says. “And with every new job, there is a certain amount of new residential units needed. There haven’t been any new deliveries in the last couple of years.”
Tompkins-Turner Grunley/Kinsley, a joint venture among Tompkins Builders/Turner of Philadelphia; Grunley Construction of Rockville, Md.; and Kinsley Construction of Timonium, Md., is finishing up the $500-million Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance BRAC project at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen. Md.
Bradley Enterprises of Norristown, Pa., and Nason Construction of Wilmington, Del., continue working on the $22-million, 75,000-sq-ft, design-build Non-Medical Chemical Biological Facility at Aberdeen, a BRAC project scheduled for a 2011 finish.
Joint-venture partners Manhattan Construction Co. of Washington, D.C., and Torcon of Red Bank, N.J., are building the $511-million, 808,584-sq-ft, six-story Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md. The project is scheduled for completion in 2014.
Much activity is taking place at Fort George G. Meade.
Skanska is working on the $31.8-million, 151,590-sq-ft Adjudication Activities Co-Location Facility at the fort and planning completion in May.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District anticipates a June 2011 completion for the $369.6-million, 1-million-sq-ft Defense Information Systems Agency headquarters at Fort Meade. Hensel Phelps Construction Co. of Chantilly, Va., began the project in 2008 and turned over the first phase of buildings in October.
Hensel Phelps also received the $56-million contract for the 185,870-sq-ft Defense Media Activity center, a three-story media and administrative building with television and radio studios and control rooms.
The National Security Agency plans to establish U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade, which will bring thousands of additional soldiers and civilians to the base, and Skanska’s Barotti predicts that the build-out of the fort will affect commercial development around it.
In October, Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown announced nearly $4 million in funding for infrastructure projects outside of Fort Meade. About $1 million is slated for a MD 32 Cyber Command Regional Network Analysis and nearly $3 million will be used for preliminary engineering and design for MD 175.
The state plans to start work on the MD 175 at Rockenbach/Ridge Road and Disney/26th Street intersection in 2011. Fort Meade will provide an easement on garrison property for construction of the planned $330-million to $350-million MD 175 Corridor Project.
Work continues on three phases of the new six-lane, $2.5-billion Maryland 200 Intercounty Connector project, linking the Interstate 270/I-370 and I-95/US 1 corridors. Intercounty Constructors, a joint venture among Granite Construction Co. of Watsonville, Calif.; Corman Construction of Annapolis Junction, Md.; and G.A. & F.C. Wagman of York, Pa., began the $478.7-million Contract A in 2007.