City Grill

Michael O'Brien

Michael O’Brien 
Senior VP-Business Unit Leader, Massachusetts
Gilbane Building Co.

Boston area colleges and universities—typically one of the hotter higher education markets—“rightly focused on student and faculty safety as well as managing incredible logistical challenges” over capital projects early in the pandemic, O’Brien says. “Lately, we have seen a real uptick in requests for proposals and opportunities in this market with a focus on enhancing student life while maximizing campus real estate.”

He also reports “tremendous growth in the life sciences market with a new trend of office to lab conversions. We are involved with several projects that require complex coordination or overall structural reinforcements to the existing building.” Such efforts “around loading these buildings with needed MEP and structural systems can be very complex given the tight footprints of downtown Boston.”

Moving into a post-pandemic world, Gilbane is focusing more on environmental, social and governance both internally and externally, O’Brien says. “To align with clients’ needs and goals, we’re asking about their perspectives on innovations and new discoveries that may have reset their priorities,” he says.