This year’s ranking of the largest projects that broke ground across the Mountain States in 2017 highlights  the balanced public- and private-sector portfolios of many firms working in the region. Health care, gaming, commercial, mixed-use, higher education and office projects dominated the list.

Missing this time around were the large infrastructure projects and public-private ventures that have led the list for the past several years. In fact, only one major highway project from all the transportation agencies in the seven states within the region (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and the Dakotas) made the list: a $140-million Utah Dept. of Transportation project to build four new interchanges along the Bangerter Highway in the greater Salt Lake City area.

“We just didn’t have many big projects that got underway last year,” one official from the Colorado Dept. of Transportation told ENR. “But we will have some megaprojects starting in 2018 and beyond.” Topping CDOT’s list for this year will be the launch of the $1-billion-plus Central 70 rebuild in Denver as well as major work on C-470 and Interstate 25.

Denver International Airport is preparing to launch a billion-dollar-plus renovation of its terminal this year, and work is ongoing with a terminal replacement project at Salt Lake International Airport.

ENR Mountain States 2017 Top Starts

Institutional Work

Health care projects, including new hospitals and clinics, are keeping contractors busy, including a half-dozen projects underway for UCHealth, a Colorado-based nonprofit health care provider chosen by ENR editors as this year’s Colorado Owner of the Year. Included in UCHealth’s portfolio is the region’s largest start from 2017, the group’s $229-million Highlands Ranch Hospital, being built south of Denver by Mortenson. UCHealth also has large projects under construction in Greeley, Colorado Springs and central Denver.

The University of Utah is building a $131-million ambulatory care complex and a $74-million rehabilitation hospital in Salt Lake City, part of its growing health care portfolio, which includes the award-winning Farmington Health Care Clinic in Farmington, Utah. The university is pursuing an aggressive building plan, aiming to spend $424 million to upgrade its medical campus facilities. The growing portfolio of work has earned the university recognition as this year’s Intermountain Owner of the Year.

Robin Burr, the university’s chief design and construction officer, told ENR that it’s also time to review the campus master plan, put in place in 2008.

“We’ve had 10 years of overlays and changes,” Burr says. “It is typical to have a plan done every 10 years, so we are due for one, and we’re preparing for that now. Our feeling is the 2008 plan was very strong, and I don’t foresee major directional changes—probably more fine tuning.”

Other notable institutional projects that started in 2017 include Layton Construction’s $48-million Performing Arts Complex project at Utah Valley University in Orem; Utah State University’s $34-million Life Sciences Building in Logan, led by Jacobsen Construction; and Big-D’s renovation of the Lindquist Hall Social Science Building at Weber State University in Ogden.

Two museums made the list, including a $100-million renovation of the north building at the Denver Art Museum. The complex project, led by Saunders Construction, will create a new welcome center and 50,000 sq ft of event space, including an expansion of the museum’s Kemper Courtyard, Level 7 galleries and a rooftop addition of nearly 8,000 sq ft.

The 60,000-sq-ft U.S. Olympic Museum in Colorado Springs will feature a 20,000-sq-ft exhibition hall, broadcast studio, outdoor gathering place and amphitheater and more flexible space for special events and Olympic gatherings. GE Johnson is the contractor.

Commercial Work

Mixed-use developments, offices and multifamily projects continue to thrive in key metro areas throughout the region despite a higher saturation of for-rent residential units in the marketplace.

Big-D is underway with $150 million in phased construction of the 9.5-acre Park Avenue development in Salt Lake City’s Sugar House community, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. The development will be anchored by the five-story 80 Park, a 170,000-sq-ft health center for the University of Utah Health network. An office building called 60 Park will include an onsite fitness center and many sustainable elements.

Hensel Phelps is the design-build team leader for Gateway Center in Littleton, Colo., a 266,000-sq-ft building for Lockheed Martin Space that will house assembly and testing processes for satellite development. Jacobsen is working on a phased expansion of doTERRA’s worldwide corporate campus in Pleasant Grove, Utah, with the first two phases already complete. The Hub is a $60-million office and retail complex in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood, a design-build project led by Mortenson. In addition, Okland Construction’s work on the $70-million Young Living Global Headquarters in Lehi, Utah, will be complete next May.

Among the larger mixed-use developments underway: the 16-story, 860,498-sq-ft Speer & Bannock Apartments in Denver, which include 301 residential units being built by Milender White, and GH Phipps’ Lakehouse on 17th, a 12-story mixed-use building with for-sale residential units that overlook Sloan Lake in west Denver. Ascent Construction’s work on the 341-unit Sugarmont Apartments in Salt Lake City is scheduled for completion next March, and the $57-million Mountain View Village is being built by Layton in Riverton, Utah.