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Construction picks up across South, metro Atlanta

Construction picks up across South, metro Atlanta

The beleaguered construction industry is bouncing back across the South.

The region, which stretches from Texas eastward through Georgia and the Carolinas, has a construction backlog of 9.3 months. It’s the longest backlog of any U.S. region — and the highest level in more than a year, according to first quarter data released today by the Associated Builders and Contractors.

The backlog gauges construction work that will be performed by commercial and industrial contractors in coming months.

In metro Atlanta, a new $1 billion stadium for the Falcons is a “construction leviathan” on the horizon that will create “thousands of jobs and buoy demand for materials,” according to real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.

Measured another way, the $1 billion project the equivalent of developing enough office space to fill out 15 Bank of America Plaza towers, the region’s tallest skyscraper, Jones Lang LaSalle Research said. Atlanta hasn’t seen a new office tower rise on its skyline since 2010. Atlanta is poised to eclipse the longest period without a new tower since the early 90s.

The stadium could ignite new development and highlight the overlooked “cultural center of Atlanta in downtown,” where CNN and The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) have a big presence, said Jones Lang LaSalle Market Director Mike Sivewright. Downtown features the Georgia Aquarium and Centennial Olympic Park, both part of the more than $2 billion in hospitality-related developments since 2005.

More broadly, Atlanta has seen construction demand pick up in the housing, retail and industrial sectors. Apartment projects still make up a large percentage of the construction pipeline, but demand for single-family housing is also spurring developers to consider building homes in some affluent Atlanta “micro-markets” including Buckhead.

Nationally, the Associated Builders and Contractors backlog indicator showed that commercial construction declined 1.1% during the first three months of the year.


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