After several years of lackluster activity, Atlanta's construction market appears to be headed for a comeback. And with the owner of the Atlanta Falcons, Arthur Blank, talking about how excited he is to soon get started designing the team's new, $1-billion stadium with one of five finalists, the metro appears poised for a revival.
Since January, Atlanta's construction numbers have turned decidedly positive. According to McGraw-Hill Construction—publisher of ENR Southeast—the metro area's volume of new construction contracts has increased dramatically, for instance. Through February—the latest month for which figures are currently available—McGraw-Hill estimates that Atlanta's residential sector has generated nearly $550.2 million in new contracts, or 59% better than 2012's early pace. The nonresidential building market's numbers are similarly impressive: $501.8 million in new contracts through February, or 71% better than a year ago.
In March, representatives of Balfour Beatty Construction and Charlotte, N.C.-based developer Faison celebrated the start of construction of 131 Ponce Midtown, a $31.5-million apartment project in Midtown Atlanta. (Photo courtesy Balfour Beatty Construction)
Let's compare these numbers to those of Miami, the Southeast's other giant construction market—which, readers will know, is ticking along fairly well right now.
Atlanta v. Miami (through February 2013)
Atlanta $550.2 million $501.8 million
Miami $327.4 million $436.2 million
Source: McGraw-Hill Construction
That's only two months of contracts, sure, and certainly the volume of new projects will change over the rest of the year. But with that proposed $1-billion stadium looking more and more like an eventual reality, the Atlanta construction industry's vibe is picking up, too.
Michael Dunham, CEO of Associated General Contractors of Georgia, for instance, estimates that about three-quarters of member contractors are confident that 2013 will prove to be better than 2012.
Dunham says AGC members are feeling this way despite last July's resounding defeat of a penny tax proposal to fund construction, partly as a result of continuing good fortune with corporate relocations to Georgia, and some glimmers of a housing resurgence. Additionally, he says investments related to growth at the Port of Savannah should have a ripple effect for the state's economy as a whole.
Moreover, he adds, more firms appear to be preparing for an expected uptick by getting ready to hire workers.
In short, the signs are becoming increasingly positive. Whether Atlanta's construction industry scores a successful comeback, only time will tell. But we'll certainly be watching.
What do you think? Does your firm work in Atlanta? What are you seeing in terms of new business opportunities and construction starts? We'd love to hear your thoughts!
Finally, here's a video from Youtube, posted by Immovable Media, of an ongoing Atlanta construction project, 100 6th Street.