Each year, ENR Southeast’s Top Starts ranking provides a snapshot of the region’s construction market, and that’s certainly true this year. But for the first time, the list includes ENR Southeast’s expanded geographic coverage area—which now includes Alabama, Tennessee and Puerto Rico.

The impact of the expansion is certainly evident at the top of the current list, which ranks the region’s largest contracts to start construction during the previous calendar year, based on total project cost. The National Nuclear Security Administration’s $6.5-billion non-nuclear reactor uranium process facility project in Oak Ridge, Tenn., was by far the largest project to break ground in 2016. Also, the construction boomtown of Nashville makes numerous contributions to the ranking, with a massive mixed-use project, hospital expansion and a state museum facility all making the list.

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ENR Southeast 2016 Top Starts

This year’s ranking also shows how major high-rise residential and mixed-use contracts reflect those sectors’ continuing impact on construction activity. Health care and transportation contracts are likewise notable, with each sector collectively contributing roughly $1.8 billion in projects.

Presently, Southeast metropolitan areas are continuing to generate significant business opportunities for contractors. Orlando’s multifamily, hospitality and mixed-use building markets remain robust, says Roger Kennedy, president of Roger B. Kennedy Construction.

 Economics may start to cause some markets to slow. In Nashville, for instance, “Land costs are escalating at a pretty alarming rate right now, and that’s putting pressure on pro formas,” says Sean Buck, vice president with JE Dunn Construction.

A primary source for the Top Starts ranking is Dodge Data & Analytics. Additionally, ENR Southeast asked regional contractors to provide information about their largest contracts to start construction during 2016. In all, this year’s Top Starts list ranks 50 projects from across the region, collectively reflecting more than $16 billion in contracts. We invite you to read on to see all of the projects influencing the Southeast construction economy.