Energy, Public-Sector Projects Dominate Top Starts
This year’s roster includes fewer privately funded construction projects than there were on the 2015 list
The total value of the 25 contracts that make up this year’s ENR MidAtlantic Top Starts list—which includes projects that got underway in 2015—is down sharply, to $5.7 billion from $10.7 billion in last year’s ranking. The mix of projects has changed dramatically, with a steep decline in the volume of private-sector projects.
Power plants and infrastructure dominate this year’s Top Starts in the region, which includes Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. There are only three energy projects on the list, but they rank first, second and third. The largest is the $1-billion Hummel Station power plant in Shamokin Dam, Pa., which is being funded by Panda Power Funds and built by Bechtel. Next in line are two Maryland power contracts, including PSEG Inc.’s $850-million Keys Energy Center project, Brandywine, where SNC-Lavalin Constructors is leading construction. PCL Construction is building the No. 3-ranked project, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative’s $675-million Wildcat Point generation facility, in Rising Sun.
Public-sector contracts across the region form the backbone of this year’s Top Starts. The largest is DC Water’s $215-million tunnel-dewatering pump-station project, which is being built by a PC Construction-CDM joint venture. At Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, a Walsh-Gilbane Building Co. team is constructing a $206.4-million Public Health Command laboratory for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Baltimore District. Another Corps project, the $132.5-million East Branch Dam cutoff wall in Wilcox, Pa., ranks at No. 12.
The Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation contributed three projects to this year’s Top Starts. The largest is the $164-million CSVT River Bridge, Union City, where Trumbull Corp. of Pittsburgh is leading construction. In Philadelphia, PennDOT’s $112.2-million Interstate 95 Betsy Ross Bridge Improvements project, being built by R.E. Pierson Construction Co., got underway in February 2015. In Pittsburgh, the Joseph B. Fay Co. is performing a deck rehabilitation of the $85.4-million state Route 3069 bridge.
The largest building project on this year’s ranking is the $345-million Museum of the Bible, an eight-story, 430,000-sq-ft facility, located three blocks from the U.S. Capitol. Clark Construction Group is building the structure, which is designed by SmithGroup JJR.
The list that ENR MidAtlantic published last year noted the revival of private developer-backed projects, which accounted for $4 billion in contracts, or 37% of the Top Starts’ total $10.7 billion. By comparison, the cumulative value of privately funded projects on this year’s Top Starts ranking is down to about $1 billion.
Although there are fewer private-sector developments than a year ago, there are some large ones on the list. Ranked fifth this year is the $280-million Capital One Bank Office headquarters tower, in Fairfax, Va. It was designed by HKS Architecture. And in Philadelphia, Tutor Perini Building Corp. is building the $195.9-million W Hotel and Element project for Brooks Capital Group and Chestlen Development Co.
Much of the information included on the following Top Starts ranking was provided by Dodge Data & Analytics.