After a frenzied 2018, when five projects valued between $300 million and $860 million broke ground, construction starts over $300 million across the Southwest slowed in 2019, with just two projects above that level. The top 25 of the 55 ranked projects in the region represent $3.09 billion in work, down significantly from the previous year’s $5.3 billion.

Each year, ENR Southwest lists the largest projects to break ground in the prior year, ranked by construction cost, in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. Projects for which owners declined to disclose their costs were not included.

Casino and entertainment projects were again a regional staple, led by the $453-million Circa Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. McCarthy Building Cos. is leading construction on the project, which was designed by Steelman Partners. It consists of a six-story multi-use casino, including two levels of gaming, several restaurants and bars, and a rooftop deck with eight pools and spas. Also included is a 35-story, 600,000-sq-ft, cast-in-place tower with more than 700 hotel rooms and a sky bar and restaurant on the top floor.

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ENR Southwest 2019 Top Starts

In Phoenix, the $230-million Talking Stick Resort Arena project involves 1 million sq ft of renovation and new construction, led by Okland Construction Co. and architect HOK. Work includes a ground-up commissary addition on the east side, along with interior demolition and renovations to locker rooms, concessions, concourses, ticket offices, suites and lounges.

Health care projects were plentiful throughout the region as well. Three of the top 10 starts were hospital jobs, the largest being Valleywise Health’s Roosevelt Campus medical center in Phoenix. The $380-million project includes a turn-key replacement of the 30,000-sq-ft central utility plant; relocations of underground utilities; a 771,000-sq-ft acute-care hospital; and a 90,000-sq-ft behavioral health clinic. General contractor Kitchell, construction manager Vanir Construction Management and the design team of Cunningham Group + EYP are on schedule to complete the CMAR project by Nov. 2023.

Other hospital work includes the $138-million Dignity Health Chandler Regional Medical Center in Chandler, Ariz., led by McCarthy Building Cos. and Devenney Group Architects. Work includes a 220,000-sq-ft, five-story tower addition and expansion that will add 96 beds. It’s the fourth patient tower on Dignity’s Chandler campus, bringing the bed count to 429. In Sun City, Ariz., Banner Health’s $106-million Boswell Medical Center is underway, also led by McCarthy, working with HMC Architects. The project includes a 48,000-sq-ft emergency department and six-story tower that will serve as the new main entrance.

Six of the ranked projects are tied to Arizona State University. The largest of those is the $93.2-million Creative Futures Lab and the Plaza at Mesa City Center in Mesa, Ariz., being built by DPR Construction. The first phase includes a 100,000- to 125,000-sq-ft building, site improvements and a new urban plaza.

Three projects at the Novus Innovation Corridor in Tempe, Ariz., fell within the top starts, including the $68-million Novus Parcel 3B, the $39-million 777 Tower and the $41-million Tempe Novus Parking Structure. The development is a unique partnership between ASU and Catellus Development Corp. Because of Novus’ extensive scope, ENR has selected the team of ASU and Catellus as the Southwest Owner/Developer of the Year (see related story, p. 14).

Meanwhile, highway projects across the region represented nine of the top project starts. The Arizona Dept. of Transportation led the way with five projects, the largest of which was the $185-million Loop 101 (Pima Freeway) Improvement Project: Interstate 17 to Pima Road. A Coffman-Ames joint venture is widening and improving the Pima Freeway from Interstate 17 in Phoenix east to Pima Road in Scottsdale.

The Nevada Dept. of Transportation’s largest new project in 2019 was the $73-million Centennial Bowl, or U.S. Highway 95 Northwest Corridor Improvement Project Phase 3C in Las Vegas (see related story, p. 24).

In New Mexico, the $36-million I-25/University Interchange project in Las Cruces includes roadway reconstruction, bridge replacement, drainage structures, traffic signals, roadway lighting and landscaping. La Calerita Construction is completing the project for the New Mexico Dept. of Transportation.