While the rest of the country percolated with construction activity before the recession hit, Upstate New York construction activity seemed to lag behind, but now technology companies have discovered its attributes and major state and federal projects dot the landscape.

Market Report: Upstate New York

“We’ve had in the last five or six years an increase in construction activity,” says Paul O. Cannon, principal and regional director for Cannon Design of Grand Island, N.Y. “I don’t think we are as susceptible to the ups and downs of the marketplace as other regions might be. We don’t see the big ups and, consequently, we haven’t seen the big downs.”

There are a number of projects under way in upstate New York that have been on the books and are continuing to move ahead, and we are thankful for that.”

Cannon Design is providing construction management services at the new $137-million, 265,000-sq-ft U.S. federal courthouse in downtown Buffalo, N.Y. Mascaro Construction Co. of Pittsburgh broke ground in fall 2007 on the 10-story, steel structure, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates of New York. The building is scheduled to be enclosed this fall and completed in October 2010.

Paul Cannon says university work is continuing, with many of those owners wanting LEED-certified projects. The company designed the $20-million, 86,000-sq-ft School of Pharmacy Facilities for D’Youville College, now under construction by Savarino Construction Corp. of Buffalo.

Jeff Zogg, CEO of Associated General Contractors of New York State in Albany, reports that his members are managing during the rough economic times, working off their backlogs and waiting for better financing conditions that will allow projects “on the shelf” to move forward.

“We’re optimistic some of the projects that have been jammed up are starting to break a little,” adds Kevin Schuler, vice president of government relations and public affairs for LPCiminelli in Buffalo, an AGC member. “Thankfully, the institutional work seems to be moving forward.”

Upstate goes high-tech Structure Tone of New York broke ground in August on a new data center in Lockport, N.Y., for computer giant, Yahoo!, of Sunnyvale, Calif. Although neither company released costs, a press release issued by Gov. David A. Paterson said Yahoo planned to invest tens of millions of dollars in the construction and outfitting of its new East Coast Regional data center.

“The reason they chose Buffalo is they are looking to take advantage of a colder climate,” says Terence Deneny, project executive for Structure Tone, which is building the data center. “Due to the cost of operating data centers today, anything you can do to take advantage of outside air and use free-air cooling is a definite plus.”

The first 115,000-sq-ft phase includes a 70,000-sq-ft computer area, and the balance is dedicated to administrative offices. Completion of the single-story, pre-engineered metal building is scheduled for 2010.

“It’s fast-track. They need capacity and want to get it done as quickly as possible,” Deneny says. “It’s a project that will make more use than anyone to date has made of free-air cooling.”

In a Yahoo! blog, David Filo, the company’s co-founder and CEO, called the building design the “Yahoo! Computing...