Rock Products

JUN 2019

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60 • ROCKproducts • June 2019 ECONOMICS harbor development, up 62%; and water supply construction, up 4%; but a decline for sewer construction, which was down 7%. Nonresidential Building Nonresidential building in March advanced 24% to $303.3 billion (annual rate), as widespread growth by project type enabled this sector to reach its highest amount since last October. The manufacturing plant category jumped 108%, mainly lifted by the start of the $1.6 billion Toyota-Mazda automotive manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Ala. The next two largest projects were a $200 million rocket engine plant in Huntsville, Ala., and a $100 million poul- try processing plant in Humboldt, Tenn. The commercial categories as a group increased 20% in March, registering the third gain in a row after very weak activity back in December. Hotel con- struction climbed 60%, led by the $850 million hotel portion of a $1.1 billion hotel and theater redevelopment proj- ect located in Times Square New York City. Additional large hotel projects that reached groundbreaking in March were the $233 million hotel portion of the $950 million Grand Avenue mixed- use high-rise complex in Los Angeles and a $187 million beach resort hotel in Oceanside, Calif. Office construction increased 45% in March, with seven projects valued at $100 million or more. These included two large data centers – a $750 million Facebook data center in Sandston, Va., and a $300 million CloudHQ data center in Ashburn, Va. Also reaching the construction start stage in March were two large office projects in Atlanta – the $550 million Norfolk Southern headquarters build- ing and the $314 million office portion of a $470 million mixed-use develop- ment. Store construction in March grew 11%, helped by the $150 million retail portion of the $1.1 billion hotel and the- ater redevelopment in Times Square. Commercial garage construction in March edged up 2%, but warehouse construction retreated 29% after its elevated February amount. The institutional side of nonresidential building grew 17% in March, picking up the pace after basically flat activ- ity during the previous three months. Amusement-related construction starts jumped 90%, reflecting the $850 mil- lion renovation of the KeyArena in Seattle that will be home to an NHL team and potentially an NBA team. The $150 million theater portion of the $1.1 billion hotel and theater redevel- opment project in Times Square also lifted the amusement-related category in March. Educational facilities, the largest institutional category, grew 6% in March. Large projects that boosted the educational facility category were a $500 million research laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy in Idaho Falls, Idaho, a $173 million high school in Worcester, Mass., and a $129 million science building at San Jose State Uni- versity in San Jose, Calif. Healthcare facilities edged up 2% in March, helped by the start of a $310 million hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pitts- burgh. The other institutional project types showed mixed behavior – public buildings, up 48% after a weak Feb- ruary; religious buildings, up 7%; and transportation terminals, down 22%. Residential Building Residential building in March dropped 3% to $291.2 billion (annual rate), retreating for the second month in a row. Multifamily housing fell 12% in March, with the level of activity coming in 20% below the average monthly pace reported during 2018. The largest multifamily project entered as a March construction start was the $511 million multifamily portion of the $950 million Grand Avenue mixed-use high-rise complex in Los Angeles. There were five other projects valued at $100 million or more, including the $165 mil- lion One Boerum Place condominium high-rise in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the $145 million multifamily portion of a $300 million mixed-use high-rise complex in West Palm Beach, Fla. Year-to-Date During the first three months of 2019, total construction starts on an unadjusted basis were $164.5 billion, down 10% from the same period a year ago. On a 12-month moving total basis, total construction starts for the 12 months ending March 2019 essentially matched the cor- responding amount for the 12 months ending March 2018. The 10% decline for total construction starts on an unad- justed basis during this year's January-March period was due to decreased activity for all three main sectors com- pared to last year. • Residential building fell 15% year-to-date, with single family housing, down 12%; and multifamily housing, down 23%. • Nonbuilding construction dropped 6% year-to-date, as a 23% slide for public works was partially offset by a 161% hike for electric utilities/gas plants. • Nonresidential building retreated 5% year-to-date, with respective declines of 30% and 10% for manufacturing plants and institutional building while commercial build- ing was able to register a 6% gain. By major region, total construction starts for the first three months of 2019 showed this performance versus last year – the Midwest, down 24%; the South Atlantic and the West, each down 12%; the Northeast, down 6%; and the South Central, up 2%. By major sector over the past 12 months, nonresidential building increased 2%, with manufacturing building, up 9%; commercial building, up 7%; and institutional building, down 3%. Residential building grew 1%, with single family housing up 1% while multifamily housing was unchanged. Nonbuilding construction dropped 4%, with public works, down 5%; and electric utilities/gas plants, down 1%.

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