The California construction market remains a powerful force. Billions of dollars’ worth of projects are underway, demand for skilled labor is high and the workforce is increasing. This year’s Top Starts list, which includes the 40 largest projects to break ground in 2018 in California, totaled almost $14 billion of work. Topping the list is the $1.5-billion Manchester Pacific Gateway project in San Diego. The redevelopment features seven buildings totaling 3 million sq ft, including a 17-story Class A office building for the U.S. Navy headquarters.

Three transportation projects ranked in the top five: the $1.37-billion Westside Purple Line Extension Section 2 project in Los Angeles; the $1.1-billion 405 Improvement in Orange County; and the $673-million I-10 Corridor project. Other ranked projects include the $520-million P Street office project in Sacramento; the $400-million Lucas Museum of Narrative Art; and the Four Seasons Residences at 706 Mission project in San Francisco.

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ENR California 2018 Top Starts

“Overall it’s a healthy market,” says Tom Soohoo, vice president of Webcor, which is building the Four Seasons Residences. “There is all this prosperity with enormous amounts of wealth and development; however, there are huge constraints with labor shortages and construction costs.”

Another major renovation is the $270-million upgrade to the Los Angeles Coliseum. Led by the Hathaway Dinwiddie and AECOM Hunt joint venture, work on the 93,607-seat Coliseum will restore the structure’s signature style and protect its landmark status. Work is about 80 percent complete and should wrap in time for the 2019 football season.

“The California construction market has seen more megaprojects over the last two years than anytime in its recent history,” says Arthur Kozinski, senior vice president for Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Co. He says P3s and other streamlined project delivery methods “have opened up new options to delivering major public and private facilities.”

Other projects on the list include the Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project Phase II in Kern County, a $241-million upgrade to one of the nation’s most at-risk dams, and the Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech in Pasadena, a three-story, 150,000-sq-ft building to house labs, offices and a lecture hall.