A bad housing market is proving to be very good for Chicago builders, just as a game casino market is shaping up to be a good bet for Ohio builders, or so suggests a preliminary list of the largest projects to break ground in the Midwest in 2011.


Having seen the condominium market go bust as a result of the nation's housing crisis, Chicago developers are riding a boom of luxury apartments – albeit ones easily converted to condominiums should the occasion warrant. Three of the more prominent projects – The Coast at Lake Shore East, 500 Lake Shore Drive and the K2 Apartment Tower – currently are under construction at a combined value of more than $400 million.


That's a relatively meager sum compared to the combined costs of a trio of casino projects under way in Ohio. The Hollywood Casino in Columbus, and a pair of Horseshoe Casinos in Cleveland and Cincinnati collectively are valued at nearly $1.4 billion. Not coincidentally, Ohio voters approved gaming facilities in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo in November 2009, during the depths of the recession, when statewide unemployment climbed to 10.8 percent.


Project starts have been spottier in other Midwest states, though the U.S. General Services Administration broke ground on a $700 million, 1.5-million-sq-ft National Nuclear Security Administration facility in Kansas City, Mo., and the Indiana Department of Transportation has begun work on $600 million in upgrades to U.S. Rte. 31 in Hamilton County, Ind.


We'll be publishing a final list of the region's Top Starts for 2011 in the March 26th edition of ENR Midwest. To compile the list, we've not only referenced McGraw-Hill Construction's Dodge database, but our own ongoing coverage of projects in the region.


To ensure the list is as complete as possible, we invite you to submit notable regional projects that broke ground in 2011 to john_gregerson@mcgraw-hill.com In addition to the project's name, please indicate its location, construction start date (month/year), developer/owner and construction manager/general contractor.


The list thus far includes:

  • 3M Manufacturing Facility, Cordova, Ill.; Russell Construction

  • Archer Daniels Midland Carbon Capture and Sequestration Project, Decatur, Ill.; Schlumberger Construction Services

  • Cleveland Medical Mart and Convention Center, Cleveland, Ohio; Turner Construction Co. and URS

  • Coast at Lake Shore East, Chicago; McHugh Construction Co.

  • DePaul University Theatre School Building, Chicago; W.E. O'Neil

  • Domtar Inc. Pulp and Paper Mill Cogeneration Facility, Rothschild, Wis.; The Boldt. Co.

  • 500 N. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago ; Lend Lease

  • Ford Motor Stamping Plant and Paint Shop, Kansas City, Mo.; Walbridge Aldinger

  • GE Aviation R&D Center, Dayton, Ohio; J.H. Findorff & Son

  • Hollywood Casino, Columbus, Ohio, Smoot Construction

  • Horseshoe Casino, Cincinnati; Messer Construction Co.

  • Horseshoe Casino, Cleveland; Marcus Brothers

  • K2 Apartment Tower, Chicago; McHugh Construction Co.

  • Lambeau Field Expansion, Green Bay, Wis.; Miron Construction Co.

  • Marriott Milwaukee, Milwaukee; Smith Construction Inc.

  • The Moderne, Milwaukee; J.H.Findorff & Son Inc.

  • Mount Carmel St. Ann's Hospital Expansion, Westerville, Ohio; Messer Construction Co.

  • National Nuclear Security Administration Facility, Kansas City, Mo.; J.E. Dunn Construction

  • Promega Corp. Production Facility, Fitchburg, Wis.; Kraemer Brothers

  • St. John's Orthopedic Center, Springfield, Mo.; McCarthy

  • University of Chicago William Eckhardt Research Center, Chicago; W.E. O'Neil

  • University of Illinois Electrical and Computer Engineering Building, Urbana, Ill., W.E. O'Neil

  • U.S. 31 MAJOR MOVES Upgrade, Hamilton County, Ind.; Multiple Contractors, including Beaty Construction and Milestone Contractors

  • Wacker Drive--Phase 2, Chicago; Alfred Benesch & Co.

  • Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research, Madison, Wis.; Oscar J. Boldt Construction Co.


We'll be updating the list next week with projects you've submitted, so by all means join the conversation.