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Top 12 U.S. Crane Cities Have Nearly 300, Providence Has One

Friday, July 14, 2017

 

Cranes - the best indictor of economic growth?

A recent report from one of the largest construction consulting groups in the world unveiled that the twelve cities with the most construction cranes combine for nearly 300.

The cities range from the top crane city — Seattle, Washington, which has 58 active major crane projects, followed by Los Angeles with 36 and Denver with 35.  One big surprise is that Portland, Oregon, a city much closer in size to Providence than Seattle or LA, has 32 cranes.

Providence Lags Behind

Providence has one active crane project presently -- the Commons at Providence Station, a construction project located at the foot of Smith Steet.

“In nearly every city in our Index, residential developments continue to drive construction across North America at about 50% of total activity,” stated Julian Anderson, president of Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) in North America. “Mixed-use projects account for nearly 30% of the overall activity and commercial projects for about 15%. Major projects across the U.S. and Canada – from new starts to projects on the boards – indicate that construction activity is steady and shows no signs of slowing down in 2016.”

Seattle has seen a 43% increase in crane counts since this time last year, led by the commercial, mixed-use, and residential sectors combined. Over 9,000 residential units were added to the Seattle market in the last three years. RLB expects that activity has not yet peaked and will continue to climb in all sectors.

And if Seattle’s data is not depressing enough for Rhode Island, RLB's report from Toronto, Canada is cataclysmic.

“Although RLB anticipates a slowdown of activity in Toronto over the next six months, the city is slated to add over 260 high-rise projects to its future market. Residential projects account for over 80% of the crane count year-to-date," stated RLB.

Fane has received a cool reception from RI officials

Many Rhode Island Projects Stalled

In Rhode Island, RI Commerce has approved over $83 million in Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credits, but many of those projects are stalled or yet to break ground. Others, such as The Procaccianti Group's proposed hotel across from the Convention Center on the site of the now demolished Fogarty building, are now asking for millions more in state subsidies.

According to Commerce, the program is designed to support construction programs and fill gap financing issues.

“If a real estate project cannot raise sufficient funding, or is at risk of locating in another state, Rebuild Rhode Island can fill the financing gap with redeemable tax credits covering up to 20% – and, in some cases, 30% – of projects costs,” said Commerce. 

“Commercial office, industrial, residential, mixed use development, ground-up construction and historic rehab can qualify. A minimum project cost of $5 million and certain square footage/project size minimums may apply. Approved projects can also be exempted from sales tax on construction materials, furnishings and equipment,” said the agency.

Other big crane projects like the three tower project proposed by New York developer Jason Fane received a cool reception by many Rhode Island leaders and he has since announced he was intending to downsize the project just to one tower to start.  According to sources, that project is now in limbo doe to the lack of state and city support.

 

3 Towers Proposal for 195

 

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