NorthBridge Blog

Pat DuganIf it seems to you like there are more cranes dotting the skyline, more condos and apartment complexes under development than you can keep track of, you’re absolutely right. There’s a nation-leading construction boom underway across Chicago and its surrounding suburbs that represents a powerful turnaround. Building Boom

In December alone, according to figures from research firm Dodge Data & Analytics, Chicagoland saw more than $452 million in total residential construction spending. Taken year-to-date, the total was $7.230 billion, a 46% jump that was the best VTD growth of any metro area in the U.S.A.

One great thing about a construction boom is the host of spinoff benefits that are involved. Lumber, concrete and metal fabrication companies obviously benefit during builds, as do lighting, plumbing and HVAC makers and installers.

But the condo that goes up also will need ongoing services, from the concierge at the front desk to the janitorial and security service providers on the scene. Building Boom

Booms like this create the issue of finding enough skilled tradespeople to fill this sudden burst of new projects and jobs, in fact. It’s not the worst problem to have, though. But it’s a fine line to walk: hiring and training efforts have to also take into account the fact that upswings like this can’t last forever.

There may already be signs the boom will tail off, or at least decelerate as the downtown residential market gets saturated, or as downtown job growth slackens. In 2015, employment in the city grew by almost 80,000 jobs, but in 2016 that slowed to 59,167 new jobs.

Still, if companies like McDonald’s continue to re-locate to downtown, who knows what the future really holds?

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