Phoenix ranks No. 3 in the nation  for construction industry job growth, according to a recent report in the Phoenix Business Journal. Between the months of June 2012 and June 2013, over 9,600 jobs were added to the workforce.

This is satisfying news for the Arizona construction industry, especially following a prolonged state of stagnation brought on by the recession just two years earlier.

As the industry recovers and construction spending picks up, it’s worth taking a look at some of the more substantial construction projects throughout the greater metropolitan area and analyzing some of the economic benefits these projects will surely bring to the valley.

 

Chicago Cubs Spring Training Facility

8th St and Dobson Rd, Mesa 85211

Total Project Budget: $99M

A new spring training facility for the Chicago Cubs is the talk of the town in Tempe and west Mesa. Funding and cunstruction was approved by voters of the City of Mesa in November, 2010 for the facility, which will be used for the MLB’s Cactus League spring training games.

The City has an $84 million limit for the construction of the stadium and related facilities that was established through the public election in 2010. Additionally, $15 million will be used to construct public infrastructure. The project is in its third phase of construction as steel infrastructure is installed. Two additional phases will be completed before

The Chicago Cubs baseball club has agreed to lease the city-owned site for its spring training games beginning in spring 2014. Utilization of the site is set to last for 30 years with available contract extension options to reach beyond that limit.

The new facility will replace the old Riverview Golf Course, a 9-hole fairway and driving range that sat at the nexus of the 101 and 202 freeways, just west of the Mesa Riverview shopping center.

Although the Riverview Golf Course was a popular destination for locals, the new Cubs training facility is sure to be an enticing attraction and economic kickstarter for the area. We’ve already seen interest from businesses like Chicago-based gourmet hot dog restaurant Portillo’s, who’s looking to capitalize on the new Cubs’ facility.

With Mesa Riverview next door and the Tempe Marketplace shopping center just across the freeway, Rio Salado Parkway is set to get a whole lot busier in early 2014.

 

Vee Quiva Casino and Hotel

15091 S Komatke Lane, Laveen 85339

Total Project Budget: $135M

The Vee Quiva Casion and Hotel facility is now open to the public following a year-long, $135 million construction project that wrapped up in early July.

The Tutor Perinin Building Corp. completed the expansion project for the Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino, located off 51st Ave. in Komatke, Arizona, 4 miles south of Baseline Rd.

The scope of the project included a 70,000 square foot casino, 6,000 square feet of banquet space, and a customer parking expansion of 2,800 spaces. Shutdown and demolition of the old casino will occur upon completion of the new facility to make way for additional customer parking.

The facility generated over 600 local jobs for the construction of the facility and will employ an additional 300 people for permanent and part-time jobs upon completion.

Vee Quiva will feature a variety of amenities including a hotel and casino, food court, fitness center, outdoor pool, and 24/7 dining options. Consumers can expect to see a Dunkin’ Donuts, Panda Express, and a signature restaurant called Ditka’s, owned by famed Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka.

Vee Quiva is open for business, offering visitors access to over 950 slot machines; 36 table games, 16 table poker rooms; a 550 seat bingo hall; a 3-story, 90 room hotel; fitness center, pool, and; 6 restaurants, 4 bars, and a Premium Players Club Lounge.

 

Metro Light Rail Transit Northwest Extension

19th Ave between Bethany Home Rd and Dunlap Ave, Phoenix

Total Project Budget: $158M

The most lucrative ongoing construction project in the valley right now is an ambitious extension to the Metro Light Rail. The light rail is a public transit system that spans 20 miles and runs throughout the city, serving more than 50,000 daily riders.

Originally scheduled to be ready by late 2012, Valley Metro had to push back the extension to 2023 due to a lack of funding, the result of a poor economy.

However, in an interview with PBS in February 2012, the CEO of Valley Metro,Steve Banta, said that an appeal was scheduled with the Phoenix City Council to talk about continuing the project with local funding, since design is essentially already finished.

Since the appeal, the council has approved the alternative funding opportunity, significantly pushing the Northwest extension forward. The 3.1 mile extension is now scheduled to be operational by late 2015.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton had this to say about the project:

“I have consistently said we can only be a great city if we have a great transit system, and the backbone of that system is the light rail. The Northwest Extension Project is a significant milestone for our city and our region — it will create jobs, further connect our community with sustainable transportation options, and create new economic development opportunities. Light Rail’s community support and growing ridership have created the momentum to connect more of our city’s neighborhoods to our transit system and we’ve got to continue that growth.”

The Northwest extension alone is set to attract 1000 new construction jobs as part of the project. It will include a new 500-space park-and-ride facility as well as three new stations that will be built at the intersections of 19th Ave & Glendale Ave, 19th Ave & Northern Ave, and 19th Ave & Dunlap Ave.

The light rail already serves more than 50,000 riders daily but expects that number to jump by 12% upon completion of the extension.

 

Conclusion

Last November, the Metro Phoenix construction industry added 5,400 jobs, the fifth-highest in the nation, according to a report by the Associated General Contractors of America. Compared to last year, that’s a 6% increase in employment, a great sign of progress considering the rest of the nation continues to have difficulty boosting performance and employment in the construction industry.

For additional information on the outlook of the job market, read our blog entry on the state of the construction industry.

Sources: 
1, 2, 3, 5
Cubs: 1, 3 2, 3, 4, 5