On the health-care front, Gilbane is working on multiple renovation projects at NYU Medical Center in New York City. Weill Cornell Medical Center enlisted Bovis Lend Lease, New York, to upgrade the lobby, waiting areas, exam rooms and doctors offices at its Gastrointestinal Oncology unit on East 68th Street.
Private Sector Possibilities
Although private sector work is less abundant, owners and landlords with available funds are taking advantage of favorable market conditions to upgrade their properties, says Karl Anoushian, senior vice president, Structure Tone, New York. “Competition is fierce and prices are down,” he says. “Now there are 15 firms competing for the few larger projects as opposed to five.”
Anoushian says improvements focus on infrastructure upgrades and renovating facades, lobbies, plazas and corridors. “Owners and landlords are gearing up for large blocks of space they may have available or they are trying to retain or recruit new tenants,” he adds.
Structure Tone’s renovation of 575 5th Avenue in New York included a new lobby, atrium and retail facade and upgraded MEP and HVAC systems. Work at 1095 Avenue of the Americas encompassed a new plaza, expanded lobby and improved public spaces.
Jay Prybylski, senior vice president at Bovis Lend Lease, sees owners repositioning their buildings with renovations targeting the technologies and finishes demanded by tenants such as financial institutions and law firms. “When leases turn over they will be in a position to take advantage of the market turnaround and increase their rents and leasing possibilities.”
At 1140 Avenue of the Americas in New York, Bovis is installing a new glass curtain wall, upgrading building infrastructure and renovating the lobby.
Corporate interior projects are on the rise, particularly in the New York metro area, says Lawrence Petretti, president, interiors, at New York City-based Hunter Roberts Construction Group. The majority of the work is for the Fortune 500, with financial services, legal and insurance among the strongest sectors.
“The number of RFP requests has been steadily increasing since late summer, and a number of architectural and engineering firms have started hiring,” Petretti says. Interior fit-outs of greater than 100,000 sq ft, which were at a standstill, are picking up, he adds.
Hunter Roberts’ interior work includes Avon’s new 300,000-sq-ft corporate headquarters at 777 Third Avenue in New York and projects for Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Jones Day and the BBC.
Hope On The Horizon
Many expect the renovation market to grow, albeit slowly, in 2011. Contractors are optimistic that more private clients will begin to invest in their properties in the coming months, which could be critical given that public dollars are scarce.
“Financing is cheap and corporations are holding onto a lot of cash reserves,” Gilbane says. “Everyone predicts that the resurgence will be around these corporations that have sat on their cash.”
Hunter Roberts also is expecting a slow and steady increase in corporate interiors work across all market sectors. “I think we are going to have a good year,” Petretti says. “I do not think things are going to turn around to the pre-recession levels overnight, but I see the growth that we experienced over the last six months continuing through 2011.”