North Texas and Oklahoma have not escaped the economic downturn, with designers and contractors finding fewer construction starts than a couple of years ago.
“North Texas, Dallas and Texas as a whole are still fairing well as compared to the rest of the country,” says Matthew Papenfus, vice president and general manager of Turner Construction Co.’s Texas operations in Dallas. “We ended the year on a solid note. Despite the number of projects being put on hold or canceled, we were able to backfill and diversify our work to meet our goals and objectives for the year.”
Papenfus adds that work began to pick up late in the third quarter of 2009, but he still anticipates 2010 will remain slower than what the country experienced in the boom years.
Brigitte Preston, design principal at the architecture firm lauckgroup in Dallas, also saw projects start to move forward toward the end of 2009. She says that being a small, minority-owned company has helped the company branch into university and government work in collaboration with other firms.
“Partnering is on the forefront because competition has become so stiff,” Preston says.
The lauckgroup designed a renovation for Caris Diagnostics of Irving; a one-floor interior plan for the law firm McGuire Craddock and Strother at Saint Ann Court in Dallas; and a 170,000-sq-ft, LEED-gold designed renovation at Energy Future Holdings Corporate Headquarters in Dallas. Scott + Reid General Contractors of Dallas completed the Energy Future Holdings build-out.
“Scott + Reid has been fortunate to have larger projects come in at the most opportune time, making 2009 the most profitable year in company history,” says Brad Reid, the firm’s founder and president. He says his company tapped into a demand for large corporate interior build-outs that do not require external financing.
Scott + Reid has begun a 300,000-sq-ft project for Dean Foods Corporate Headquarters in Dallas. The $15-million-plus project entails renovating 10 floors of the 42-story CityPlace building. The company also is working on a $12-million interiors project for NEWCO, a Baylor Health Care System entity, converting the form-er 170,000-sq-ft Texas Instruments plant in Lewisville into a pathology office and clinical laboratories global head-quarters.
“We’re seeing activity with institutional work—higher education, K-12 and health care,” adds Travis Noble, vice president of JE Dunn Construction in Dallas. “But it’s competitive.”
JE Dunn is about to start construction on a $30-million, 108-unit independent-living facility for the C.C. Young retirement community in Dallas.
Raleigh Roussell, president and CEO of TEXO, an AGC/ABC member association in Dallas, expects the construction market will remain fairly flat in 2010, with the exception of some major projects, such as the Parkland replacement hospital and a couple of airport renovations.
“The segment with strength is the public market,” Roussell says. “There are big jobs that will commence [this] year.”
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