Confused? You’re Not Alone

I tend to meet with a lot of business owners in December and January to talk about the coming year. At the present time, confusion seems to be the prevailing wisdom about the market’s direction.

The fundamentals are very supportive of a breakout year in 2015. Space is tight in commercial property; industrial and manufacturing are expanding rapidly because of the natural gas exploration and its related businesses; employers are creating a lot of jobs in Pittsburgh; interest and investment in the region are very high. Add to that macroeconomic recipe the fact that construction has been stagnant for 5 years and you would expect a boom to begin. Somehow, no one seems to keen on that happening in 2015, including your correspondent.

Look for a better year in 2015, especially if your market is commercial construction, but don’t expect to fill up your belly in the first half of the year. By mid-year we’ll discover what a new governor might be thinking (especially about the gas industry) and what a Republican-controlled Congress will be doing or not doing. After that, all bets are off.

As the year turned, a couple of big projects that were out were resolved. The Cambridge Healthcare Solutions development team – which includes Mascaro Construction – was selected to build the $75 million VA Butler Outpatient Center. Johnson Controls selected a team that includes PJ Dick and IDC Architects for its $100 million office/research center in York, PA.

Bids were opened Jan. 8 on the Parran/Crabtree Hall project at the University of Pittsburgh in Oakland. The 3 low bidders on the prime contracts (from base bid #1) were:

General #1: Volpatt – $10,499,000; Gen #2: Burchick – $10,771,000; Gen #3: Massaro – $10,760,000

HVAC #1: McKamish $6,725,000; HVAC #2: Ruthrauff/Sauer – $6,798,000; HVAC #3: Tomko – $6,,887,000

Plumbing #1: Tomko – $1,857,000; Plmb #2: McKamish – $1,882,000; Plmb #3: SSM Industries – $1,937,000

Electrical #1: Farfield – $4,388,000; Elec #2: Lighthouse – $4,824,000; Elec #3: Westmoreland – $4,897,000

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