Nonresidential Building

Nonresidential building in May fell 28 percent to $208.1 billion (annual rate), pulling back after surging 58 percent in April. The manufacturing building category in April had provided a sizeable boost, rising 513 percent as the result of an $8.1 billion petrochemical plant in Louisiana being entered as a construction start.

While May did include the start of a $208 million HVAC manufacturing plant in Texas, the manufacturing building category plunged 94 percent in May relative to its exceptional April amount. If the manufacturing building category is excluded, nonresidential building in April would have advanced a more modest 9 percent, followed by a 12 percent increase in May.

The commercial categories as a group increased 16 percent in May. Warehouse construction registered a substantial 95 percent hike, supported by the start of a $207 million warehouse in Texas and a $90 million warehouse in South Carolina. Hotel construction in May climbed 90 percent after a weak April, and featured groundbreaking for such projects as the $342 million Resorts World & Casino (initial phase) in Las Vegas and the $196 million Westin hotel tower in Philadelphia.

Store construction in May improved 7 percent, supported by the start of a $210 million shopping mall in Kapolei, Hawaii, and a $105 million shopping center in the Allentown, Pa., area.

Office construction in May retreated 30 percent following an April that included $1.0 billion for the office portion of a high-rise at the Hudson Yards development in New York. May did include the start of several large office interior renovation projects, such as $150 million for work at the 10 Hudson Yards building in New York and $60 million for work at the Fan Pier site in Boston.

The institutional building categories as a group increased 10 percent in May. Educational facilities, the largest nonresidential building category by dollar volume, grew 8 percent. Major educational facility projects that reached the construction start stage in May included a $140 million life science and engineering building at Boston University in Boston; a $90 million engineering building at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md.; an $88 million engineering building at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La.; and $70 million for three building additions at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Mass.

The healthcare facilities category in May registered a strong 34 percent gain, aided by the start of the $750 million Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and a $200 million hospital in Oxford, Miss. The public buildings category in May rose 33 percent, helped by the start of a $95 million courthouse expansion in Waukegan, Ill., and a $66 million detention facility in Bismarck, N.D.

On the negative side, the amusement category in May retreated 4 percent after a strong April, although May did include the start of the $149 million American Dream Water and Amusement Park in East Rutherford, N.J. Decreased activity was also reported for church construction, down 6 percent; and transportation terminal work, down 25 percent. The transportation terminal decline followed a strong April that featured several large projects, and May did include $400 million for the start of two terminal upgrades at Los Angeles International Airport.

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