For 10 years I have been involved, one way or another, in producting the ranking of the top project starts in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. Yet never before have I seen this relatively simple list of projects carry so much meaning, reflecting the hopes of an industry for the end to this recession.
Researching Top Projects has always been labor intensive, but straightforward. Using the McGraw-Hill Construction Network, interviews with project teams, internet searches and good old-fashioned detective work, we root out and profile the biggest and costliest buildings and infrastructure to break ground each year. Sometimes no amount of persuasion will get project participants talking, so we scour public records or drive by project sites to scrounge for first-hand observations and take photos through chain-link fences.
This year has been different. It seems like everyone is eager to share with us and you the readers the news about their latest mega-project. Where in the past some owners and developers were more guarded in releasing construction costs, sizes and other key project details, the current climate seems to be encouraging a more open information policy, perhaps to reassure investors and the public that their projects are healthy and on track.
Prior to starting my research, I had assumed this year’s crop of projects would be more modest in size, yet the 60 projects total $9 billion in construction activity, close to the $10 billion total of 2007’s largest project starts.
While A/E/C firms have always strived to serve their clients effectively and efficiently, there seems to be a renewed sense of purpose and pride among the designers and builders of this year’s projects. For some, it is make it or break it time, and these projects are making the difference, pulling them through these tough times.
Arizona’s largest project was the Transwestern Pipeline at nearly $1 billion. Also ranking high was the $420 million Phoenix Children’s Hospital New Patient Tower and the $400 million Talking Stick Resort. In fact, the Arizona Top 20 was dominated by private work, with the top three projects and six of the top 10 funded privately.
McCarran’s new Terminal 3 tops the Nevada list at $1.2 billion. In fact, five of Nevada’s top 20 projects are located at McCarran International Airport. There were only five privately funded projects in Nevada this year, a dramatic shift from previous years. The list is completely devoid of Las Vegas Strip projects for the first time in many years.
New Mexico’s largest project is the $216 million publicly funded Buckman Water Diversion project, but close behind is the $200 million Solar Products Manufacturing Complex.
For complete profiles and rankings of the 60 Top Projects of the Southwest please read the June issue of Southwest Contractor, coming soon in print or online at www.southwest.construction.com.
Top 5 Arizona
1. Transwestern Pipeline
2. Phoenix Children's Hospital Remodel, New Patient Tower, Garage and Central Plant
3. Talking Stick Resort
4. PHX Sky Train
5. ADOA 4,000 Public Prison Beds
Top 5 Nevada
1. McCarran International Airport - Terminal 3
2. Hard Rock Hotel Expansion
3. V.A. Medical Center (Phases II, III & IV)
4. North Las Vegas Water Reclamation Facility
5. I-15 Widening, U.S. 95 to Craig Rd. Interchange
1. Buckman Water Diversion Project
2. Solar Products Manufacturing Complex
3. N.M. Tri-Lab Building
4. Wingate High School and Dormitory
5. Airport Basin Site