Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The building boom has begun

One of Center City's latest residential high-rises | 2116 Chestnut

At least, in the City of Brotherly Love, it has begun.

It's been a long-time-coming, but the real estate market has finally started to pick up steam once again. Both residential and commercial projects (big and small) are popping up left and right, and in varying areas; underway and on-the-books. Center City, University City, The Navy Yard, as well as within many of Philadelphia's different neighborhoods spread throughout the city.

In other words, it's healthy growth.

The only issue that seems to be popping up is labor. When things were pumping back in the early 2000s, the construction industry was seeing record gains in both employment numbers as well as in profits.

When The Great Recession hit, the US lost 2 million construction jobs. Since that time, many of those workers retired, left the industry altogether, or got into another line of work. This is creating a shortage of specialized labor in Philadelphia, which in turn is causing prices to go up. High demand and low supply, prices go up.

So enough with the negative, as you all know that's not my bag. Here's a section from the article that caught my attention:

"A construction boom underscores a bigger trend at work," said Stephen Mullin of Econsult Solutions. "It’s in response to a city embracing demographic shifts in people, including immigrants, wanting to live in urban areas. It’s an adjustment in people’s behavior on where they want to live, relax, and shop. Philadelphia is an attractive place to live, and the vibe and vitality of the city is infectious and generating a ton of infrastructure and capital investment to the tune of billions of dollars. We are nowhere near the end of that.”

Good stuff, Mullin. And right on point, if I do say so myself.

So, now that Mr. Mullin has named a few of the reasons why things are changing for the better in Philadelphia, here is a list of the larger, upcoming projects that are sure to keep that momentum going ("20-To-Watch," as Natalie Kostelni from PBJ has coined it):

10 Big Projects - Under Way

- 38 Chestnut: 38th St & Chestnut St, $110M
- New College House on Hill Field: Bounded by 33rd, 34th, Walnut, & Chestnut Sts, $127M
- Southstar Lofts: 521-31 S Broad St, $32M
- 3601 Market St: 36th St & Market St, $110M
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Temple: 1601 Vine St, $70M
- Philadelphia Family Court: 15th St & Arch St, $160M
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Buerger Center: CHOP’s Main Campus, $425M
- EVO at Cira Centre South: 2930 Chestnut St, $160M
- Drexel University, Mixed-Use Project: Lancaster Ave & 34th St, $160M
- Wistar Institute: 3601 Spruce St, $100M
- Total, In-Progress = $1.454B

10 Big Projects - For The Future

- Comcast Innovation + Technology Center: 18th St & Arch St, $1.2B
- FMC Tower at Cira Centre South: 30th St & Walnut St, $340M
- 1919 Market St, Mixed-Use Project: $100M
- W Hotel: 1441 Chestnut St, $280M
- SugarHouse Casino, Expansion: 1001 N Delaware Ave, $155M
- Lincoln Financial Field, Expansion: 1 Lincoln Financial Field Way, $125M
- University of Pennsylvania, Neural Behavior Sciences Building: Between Leidy Labs at 3740 Hamilton Walk & Carolyn Lynch Labs at 433 S University Ave, $78.5M
- Temple University Library: N 13th St, $150M
- Rodin Square: 21st St & Hamilton St, $140M
- Total, On-The-Books = $2.568B

Wow, that's an impressive list!

But in reality, it's just the list showing major projects. This does not include smaller, infill development in neighborhoods like Northern Liberties, Francisville, Pennsport, Chestnut Hill, and even in my own 'hood of Manayunk/Roxborough.

All of this activity will make the next few years in Philadelphia very exciting, as we start to see these projects come to life.

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