The Office Construction Surge Is Coming
Kim Slowey | February 2, 2017
Office construction is on the rise across the U.S., and 2017 is expected to be another mega year for the sector. Indeed, 2017 is expected to surpass office construction starts from 2016 by 10 percent – or 10 million more square feet than in 2016, according to Dodge Date & Analytics’ 2017 Dodge Construction Outlook. Dodge forecasters are predicting that this year the office sector will post the largest surge in starts than any other segment of commercial construction. “The cycle seems to be pretty strong,” says Alex Carrick, ConstructConnect chief economist, who says the office market likely will be reminiscent of its 2007 and 2013 peaks. The uptick is mostly being fueled by an increase in office-based employment, which was up 1.5 percent last year. More office space is needed to accommodate job growth in professional business services, accounting and bookkeeping, architectural and engineering services, computer design services, telemarketing and customer service call centers, Carrick says. The key to constructing office buildings today is to be located in walkable areas with easy access to public transportation, developers are finding. "You won't see the same surge in other locations that don't have that," says John Dempsey, principal of CA Ventures’ CA Office division, a commercial development company. "With good transportation, [employers can] encourage a workforce from suburbia.” Office construction is not just being limited to urban areas, however. Suburban “life centers” are getting more focus as well. These tend to be near major metros and are “urban-like enclaves that mimic the village and community qualities” of more urban centers, ConstructionDive reports. Experts are predicting office construction to remain elevated at least into 2018.