ISER: Private spending unchanged in 2012
With the snow gone, dormant building projects are getting back under way. There are several good-sized projects, but according to the Institute of Social and Economic Research, there aren’t any new large-scale efforts starting this year.
Much of the construction work this summer involves completing projects started in prior seasons.
For this reason, ISER’s 2012 construction forecast states that private commercial spending will be around $120 million, the same as last year. Spending on residential building will also remain the same at $400 million.
Anyone driving around Anchorage will notice an abundance of structures being worked on, even if many are left over from last season. For example, an 85,000-square foot office center adjoining the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium is moving along again.
The $25 million building is expected to be completed this year.
Other bids for Anchorage projects valued greater than $1 million include those for the Roosevelt, Fire Station 6, Residences at Northwood, Aspen Hotel, the Harry J. McDonald Center, Providence Commons and Verizon among others.
The University of Alaska Anchorage has its own set of projects it’s working on, such as an $82 million sports arena, a new engineering building and an arts and learning center in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. These projects will not be completed for several years.
Anchorage permit manager supervisor Gretchen Stuller said two new retail structures of note are in store. These are a Sam’s Club in Tikahtnu and a new Wal-Mart in Muldoon that were just permitted.
A new $37 million Blood Bank of Alaska will also begin with an anticipated 2014 completion time.
One area that will not see any construction this year is the Port of Anchorage. Officials state there is need to examine the construction and cost difficulties that have surrounded the long-delayed project.
Fairbanks has a number of projects in the works as well. City building department official Clem Clooten said this building season looks to be an average one and that construction has been pretty steady over the last several years. Projects include Raven Landing, a senior citizen housing complex that has been ongoing. A recent $3.5 million state grant has helped work on a new 20-unit addition.
Clooten said other projects include a roof replacement at the Noel Wien Public Library, additional rooms for Barnette Elementary School and remodeling at Lathrop High School.
John MacKinnon, executive director of Associated General Contractors of Alaska, said a number of commercial construction project are actually supported through federal and state dollars instead of strictly private investments.
“For the last several years, construction in Alaska has been buoyed up by public funds, not private investment,” he said.
MacKinnon provided a representative list of building projects, both commercial and transportation-related. He said every one of the 59 items has at least some public money behind it.
Several of these projects related to small rural areas, such as $30.6 million for school renovations in Kipnuk and $23 million for school repairs in Kwigillingok.
There will also be a $9.2 million Wainwright seawall reconstruction.
Jonathan Grass can be reached at email@example.com.