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If you can get the financing (yes, a big ?if?), now is the time to start construction, according to McGraw-Hill Construction's Bob Murray. He spoke yesterday  at the the company's Outlook 2010 Executive Conference at the Mid-America Club in the Aonn Center.
McGraw-Hill Construction's Bob Murray.

Low construction material prices and available tax incentives are key to this timing, and Bob foresees sustained job growth in the industry by mid-2010. He says construction starts had fallen below where they were at the start of the '91 recession, but he expects housing to kick back into full gear by mid-year and institutional projects to provide a buffer. Lenders are less frigid, with just 34% of surveyed lenders saying they were tightening (vs. 91% last year). While healthcare buoyed construction in 2008, he adds, the market for new hospitals is mostly saturated.

McGraw's Kim Kennedy

Locally, housing starts were down significantly in 2009, from 51,500 in '05 to just 7,400 in '09, according to McGraw's Kim Kennedy. The sector is expected to grow by 38% in the coming year, but that won't nearly bring it back to original levels. She says losing the Olympics and a recent loss of conventions at McCormick has brought down hotel development as well.

Legat Architects' Alan Bombick and Bradley Paulsen
Those lack of construction starts haven't sidelined Legat Architects'Alan Bombick and Wight's  Bradley Paulsen. Alan is working on a new student center for Joliet JUCO; Bradley is working on renovating Naperville Central High, as well as schools in the Des Plaines.