2014 Construction Trends To Watch
There's a growing chance that new development in Atlanta wasn't entirely made where it stands. Some members of our construction panel during the 2nd Annual Atlanta Construction & Development forum this week say subcontractors have begun focusing on off-site construction as a way of dealing with a constrained labor market. As an example, Skanska USA's Bill Morrison says his firm is building a residential tower in Brooklyn, NY where parts are being built off-site and assembled on the property. (The Ikea model.)
Part of the current construction labor shortage has to do with caution, says Balfour Beatty Construction's Mike Macon. Six months ago in Atlanta, Mike says, numerous developers announced a slew of new projects. But many of those have yet to materialize. And that has kept subcontractors skeptical. “I think a lot of subcontractors are a little bit leery about ramping up,” he says. (Now you see the importance of learning a lesson from the boy who cried wolf.)
Mike also says Buckhead, Atlanta--the much-watched “bellwether” of Atlanta financial crisis--will “surprise” many in Atlanta at how quickly it will get done. He says OliverMcMillan will largely complete the development by year's end, and in fact, we will begin to see retailers move into storefronts by July. “The tenant work on the project is really starting to heat up,” Mike says.
While many panelists expect LEED standards to tighten further in the coming years, JLL's Tom Simpson (here chatting with Pursley Friese Torgrimson's partner Stephanie Friese, who moderated the panel) remains skeptical on the financial benefits of many of the LEED endeavors. “The payback is not necessarily there,” specifically addressing solar panels installed on buildings. “It's like LED lighting: It's really close to something you can use every day… but it's just not quite there yet.” And Tom says he questions whether tenants are willing to “pay up” for LEED buildings. “Anecdotally, I hear they won't.”