Despite a June report from Dodge Data & Analytics that shows construction starts in Colorado down 4% from a year ago—and some sectors, such as nonbuilding, off as much as 58% from June 2017—contractors say they can barely keep up with the work that’s coming their way.
“The Denver and Front Range markets continue to be very strong but somewhat out of balance,” says Michael Leccese, executive director of ULI Colorado, referring to the varying performance of market sectors. However, with the start of megaprojects such as the renovation of I-70 through central Denver and extensive work at Denver International Airport, those market differences may even out.
In Utah, steady in-migration and large infrastructure projects such as the terminal replacement at Salt Lake Airport and a new $550-million state prison are lifting the state’s contractors into record territory for volume and revenue. “It’s a good time to be a contractor in Utah. Most of them are coming off record years,” says Rich Thorn, AGC of Utah president.
With the start of a new hotel, two apartment complexes and high-end condos in downtown Boise as well as a large materials center at Boise State University, “the outlook across Idaho remains strong,” says Wayne L. Hammon, CEO, Idaho AGC.
Even some of the more energy-dependent states in the region that have struggled over the past few years are seeing an upswing. “Laramie County School District No. 1 has a new Carey Junior High School in Cheyenne that will be in the neighborhood of $43.5 million and a major development in southeast Cheyenne with the Sweetgrass Annexation will likely be ongoing for decades to come,” says Joe Spiering, who works in communications and government affairs at the Wyoming Contractors Association.
An increase in oil-tax revenue has provided funds for infrastructure improvements in North Dakota.
“The Fargo area has a couple of significant projects. Most notably, ND DOT’s $41-million reconstruction project 55 on 32nd Street North,” says Russ Hanson, executive director, AGC of North Dakota.
But they all add, “If only we could find enough people to get the work done.”