2015 in Review
The New York region construction market was on the upswing in 2015, anchored by a red-hot residential market in New York City.
According to New York Building Congress, construction spending in the five boroughs rose 10% last year from 2014, reaching $39 billion. Spending is expected to increase in 2016 , particularly in non-residential starts, up from this year’s $11.6 billion to $15 billion.
The Hudson Yards subway station, which opened in September and serves to extend the 7 line, was the first new subway station to open in New York City in more than twenty years. At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Mayor de Blasio said, “The 7 train extension is going to anchor new growth and opportunity on the West Side, and will improve the commutes of tens of thousands of New Yorkers.” Ten Hudson Yards, the first tower of the Hudson Yards development, is slated to open in March 2016. In Queens, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced a $4 billion plan to develop Laguardia Airport, expected to break ground in the first half of 2016.
In New Jersey, Bayonne’s “Raise the Roadway“ project to elevate the Bayonne Bridge roadway to allow post-Panamax size ships was delayed once again, pushing back completion by two years. Further north in Elizabeth, construction on the Goethals Bridge was halted after a girder fell 50 feet, causing minor damage to equipment below.
In New York City, building permits rose for the sixth year in a row. As residential construction rises, Mayor de Blasio put forth an affordable housing plan, “Next Generation NYCHA,” a proposal that aims to build 80,000 new affordable housing apartments in the next decade. But whether and how soon those units will appear may hinge on labor rate negotiations still ongoing at ENR press time between the Real Estate Board of New York and the NYC Building Trades Council. They face a Jan. 15 deadline to agree on a wage rate to allow developers to continue to get big tax breaks to build affordable housing as part of their market-rate construction under the 421-a program. If no agreement is made, the program would end.
Gov. Cuomo proposeda 50% clean power requirement by 2030 that includes nuclear power as well as renewable sources
The plan values fuel diversity and flexibility. “The alternative is the potential loss of nuclear power in New York due to currently low natural gas prices – a scenario that would be catastrophic for both ratepayers and the environment,” Gavin Donohue, president and CEO of the Independent Power Producers of New York, said. Nuclear power makes up about 30% of the generation in New York and two-thirds of its clean energy production and cannot be easily replaced, he said.
At ENR New York, we recognized some of the companies that make construction growth possible. ENR New York named SUNY Owner of the Year, and highlighted the 50-year-old State University Construction Fund as a vital part of SUNY’s continued growth. SUNY is currently working on the NYSUNY 2020 program, which includes projects on SUNY’s four university centers, Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook. In a joint venture with McKissack Group, ENR’s Contractor of the year Lend Lease is at the forefront of Columbia University’s Manhattanville project, the $6.3-billion campus that continues to take shape in Upper Manhattan since breaking ground in 2008. NYU’s school of engineering received a $100 million donation earlier this year, which will be used to add faculty and upgrade facilities.