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June 2, 2011

Current Building and Construction Trends

Hi Folks,

   Another week in the books, and a hot/humid one it was, at least here in New York.

   On the topic of Building and Construction Trends, the market has changed for sure! Jim Rasche, owner of a Contracting/Construction Management Company, says that for over 43 years, he has seen it all, and in terms of the housing/building/construction market, he reflects on just a few years back when, "the money was flowing", and, "the market for all types of construction investment knew no bounds". As we all know, that has ended. Melanie Taylor of Melanie Taylor Architecture, says that Condo conversions have halted - places converted in 2007 are still on the market. So, with the "Good Old Days" behinds us, today we'll be looking at some of the latest building and construction trends.

   Lydia Player of Virginia Cook Realtors, says that the homes that are, "successfully being built and sold are smaller. No one wants a home over 6,000 square feet." Player says that she sees this trend as, "a function of downsizing and simplifying."

   Rasche adds that the money for new projects was "dried up" for several years, but he says that there are signs of loosening up, "as evidenced by the sporadic requests for proposals I am getting from private entities." He says, however, that these projects are primarily, "renovations and restorations of existing as commercial building owners attempt to update their facilities without incurring long term permit processes and expensive ground up development."

   Jeanette Chasworth, A Certified Interior Designer, says that people doing more remodeling, and she says that one of the key areas is, "Aging in Place". Homes that are being built are more, "accessibility oriented" and many of the new retirement communities are using this as a key feature in their designs. Chasworth says that many homeowners are making their current homes, "more accessible so that they can stay in them longer and avoid the high cost of assisted living."

   Rasche concurs, and says that there are more and more owners making do with what they have and updating facilities (both commercial and retail) to, "maintain user interest in their facilities". He says that the public sector, however, "is going strong as new projects for heavy and highway and buildings are going out for proposals daily. The ARRA has funded many of these projects and they are now becoming reality." Rasche points to a very interesting morsel of information: "In 2006, there were at least 60 tower cranes on the skyline of downtown Miami. Today you would be hard pressed to find just one! Construction unemployment is listed as being around 20% but I know for a fact that the unemployment among construction management staff is at least 40 to 50% in this area."

   In line with some of the trends discussed above, Cas Mollien CIO of Foram Group, says that you need to, "differentiate from competitors and bring something new and exciting to the market place.", and he provides the example of one of his properties that they redesigned. As Mollien describes it, "We decided to design the new property in a way that we would like real estate to be constructed for current day businesses, with full business continuity in mind. The conclusion of our ideas is a building with unsurpassed business as well as environmental benefits."

   Mollien hit upon a very important trend; Environmentally Conscious, or, "Green". Kevin Costenaro of The Augusta Group, says that the, "most glaring trend we are seeing is that of going "green.". He says that nearly every one of his clients for the past 2-3 years has at least, "inquired about the use of alternative heating & electrical systems, if not actually had them installed.", and that, "We have installed a combination of geothermal systems, wind power systems, solar PV systems, and/or solar thermal systems on 50% of our projects." Interestingly, Costenaro says he, "does not see any evidence that these trends are due to economic reasons but rather a feeling of wanting to be better stewards of the environment."

   One other feature that Cas Mollien mentioned is that they decided to, "approach network connectivity as a fourth utility", by offering, "massive amounts of scalable and redundant bandwidth directly to one of the nation's largest Internet Exchange Points (IXP's).", which, he says, "provides an unsurpassed experience to our tenants, allowing them to use the latest in Cloud and mobile technologies, as well as an unrivalled choice in carriers, service providers and connectivity options." This sounds like a trend that could possibly build up more steam over time.

   What are your thoughts? What kind of trends are you seeing?

Have a Great Weekend, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com

TAGS: #Construction #CommercialBuilding #RealEstate #Green

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