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Stalled Projects Are Back on the Boards

You might think construction projects are stalling left and right in Houston. Not so, according to panelists at yesterday morning’s Bisnow New Construction & Development event.


Arch-Con CEO Michael Scheurich (right, pictured with McGriff Seibels & Williams’ Marc Boots) says a number of developments were put on pause at the end of last year/early this year. But now people are breathing again, and most are back on. Moreover, many of them are even expedited. To his amazement, even office developments are all systems go again. He says the only projects he’s had pause and not return are multifamily.


Ziegler Cooper senior principal Kurt Hull (right, pictured with moderator Thompson & Knight partner Bruce Merwin) has a slightly different experience but the same general sense. He hasn’t seen any multifamily developments stall because of oil. He has had office projects go on hold in Uptown and The Woodlands, but then he also recently received some new pure office assignments. (Those single-use buildings will become increasingly rare this cycle, he says—already, almost every project Ziegler Cooper’s working on has some mix of uses.) Kurt says developers are back to being aggressive because they’re looking at multiple years of design and construction lead time, and because no one’s making new land—if you’re going to take advantage of the best sites, you need to do it now.


Wood technology is changing, says WoodWorks senior national director Scott Lockyear (second from right). A few years ago, it was rare to go above five stories but now five and six stories are common, especially in multifamily. Norway’s even going to 14 with new timber technology.  While the US building codes, including Houston’s, generally do not allow wood frame buildings over five stories in height design, professionals around the country are looking at Alternate Means and Methods to exceed building code height limitations using new timber technologies. 

Check in tomorrow for coverage of our second panel, featuring major Houston developers.