Hot Topics

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October 2017

NATIONAL | October 20, 2017
States Add Construction Jobs But Numbers Likely Affected by Hurricanes

The number of construction jobs in September rose in 35 states compared to September 2016, but the monthly totals from August to September, showing only 26 states added jobs, were likely affected by the devastating hurricanes that hit the South and the Caribbean. In the region, Rhode Island was in the top five, adding 2,500 jobs in the year-over-year period, a 13.7% gain. But Rhode Island lost 400 jobs for the month, down nearly 2%. Connecticut was down in the bottom five for both periods, losing 2,500 jobs for the year (down 4.3%) and 1,500 jobs for the month (down 2.6%). New York was also in the bottom five for the month, losing 2,900 jobs, a 0.8% drop, and lost 3,800 jobs for the year-over-year, a 1% drop. Delaware lost jobs in both periods, down 300 for the month (a 1.4% drop) and down 400 for the year (a 1.9% drop). New Jersey gained 4,900 jobs for the year, up 3.2%, but lost 400 for the month, a 0.3% drop. Only Pennsylvania showed all positive numbers for the region, gaining 8,700 jobs for the year, a 3.7% hike, and 4,000 for the month, a 1.7% increase.

LOCAL | October 19, 2017
Paterson Pita Plant Offered $30 Million in Tax Credits

If Kontos Foods, which makes pita bread in Paterson, decides to stay in the state rather than move to a better plant in Bethlehem, PA, it will receive up to $30 million in EDA tax credits over the next 10 years. In return, Kontos will invest $8.5 million to expand its plant, save 166 existing jobs and add 45 new jobs.

LOCAL | October 19, 2017
PSE&G Announces Three New Transmission Projects for Three Counties

PSE&G will begin work on three transmission projects totaling more than $300 million, part of the $12 billion in sustainability investments planned for the next three years.

  1. $197 million in Union County will upgrade existing substations in Springfield and Union; build a new 11-mile, 69-kilovolt line running along Front Street through the County.
  2. $21 million in Bergen County will construct five miles of 69-kilovolt lines between Hasbrouck Heights and Carlstadt.
  3. $98 million in Gloucester County will construct 15 miles of 69-kilovolt lines between Hilltop and Woodbury.

LOCAL | October 17, 2017
Cape May Bridge Work Could Include Big Projects

In addition to E-ZPass, due to be completely installed by next spring on the five Cape May County Commission bridges, the Commission is considering significant upgrade projects. The first could be replacement of the Townsends Inlet Bridge that connects Avalon and Sea Isle City, built in 1940 – it was already shut down for two months of emergency repairs after a crack was found in one of the supporting piers. The Commission is also considering upgrades to the other four, which include the Ocean City-Longport Bridge, originally built in 1927 but mostly torn down and reconstructed in 2002, the Middle Thorofare Bridge between Cape May and Wildwood, built in 1940, the Grassy Sound Bridge between North Wildwood and Stone Harbor, also built in 1940, and the Corsons Inlet Bridge between Strathmere and Ocean City, built in 1946. All have had work done through the years.

Gloucester County to Replace Almonesson Lake Bridge and Dam

Gloucester County will replace the Cooper Street Bridge and Dam, both declared functionally obsolete, at Almonesson Lake in Deptford Township. Both structures are 90 years old. The work could take two-and-a-half years and county officials will apply for federal funds to pay for the project.

LOCAL | October 17, 2017
Middle Township Plans Economic Rehab and Redevelopment

Middle Township (Cape May County) has designated five areas that need rehabilitation and redevelopment, including Cape May Courthouse, Rio Grande, Stone Harbor Boulevard, the site of the former Lamonica Oyster Processing plant, and Cape Harbor. Average age of the buildings in those areas is 80 years, and parts of the sewage infrastructure are older than 80. Plans could include walkable, mixed-use residential and retail areas. To proceed, the township will hire a redevelopment lawyer and possibly apply for state and federal grants.

LOCAL | October 17, 2017
AC Property Auction Brings In More Than $1.1 Million

Last week, Atlantic City auctioned off 29 city-owned properties for $1,173,500 in the Northeast Inlet and Midtown South. Most of the sites were vacant or parking lots, many sold in bundles. Eight of the listed properties didn’t sell and could be put up for auction again.

NATIONAL | October 9, 2017
Federal DOT Ends Local Hire Rule

On Friday, DOT officially ended the local hire pilot program and withdrew the proposed local hire rule that allowed states to require contractors to meet local hiring mandates on federal highway and transit projects. AGC of America had opposed the rule since it was proposed in 2015 and had reiterated its objections to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao earlier this year.

LOCAL | October 9, 2017
More Mixed-Use Planned for Aetna Street in Jersey City

Argent Ventures, based in Manhattan, announced a third proposal last month for Aetna Street in Jersey City’s Ward F, following its proposals earlier this year for the same street. The mixed-use development of 5, 26 and 36-44 Aetna Street, plus adjoining property on Jersey Avenue, would include approximately 280 residential rental units, parking and ground-floor retail space. The Jersey City Redevelopment Agency approved the proposal in September. The site currently holds abandoned industrial buildings and vacant lots overgrown with scrub plants.

NATIONAL | October 9, 2017
AGC of America Partners with EPA on Rules Review

AGC of America met with senior EPA officials last week to launch the “Smart Sectors” program, an aggressive attempt to eliminate or improve rules that have harmed contractors or hampered economic growth. The partnership with EPA means AGC of America will have a direct point-of-contact in the EPA Office of Policy and the opportunity to effect outcomes in AGC’s regulatory agenda. One initiative that may see early success is AGC’s request for EPA to revive the Sector Strategies program, through which AGC worked with EPA to develop the online Construction Industry Compliance Assistance Center and a toolkit for developing an environmental management system. For more information and updates, visit www.agc.org.

LOCAL | October 4, 2017
Upgrades Planned for Bergen Regional Medical Center

Bergen County will invest more than $50 million in capital improvements at New Jersey’s largest public hospital, Bergen Regional, now renamed New Bridge Medical Center. The 1,070-bed hospital in Paramus provides long-term care, acute medical services, and expertise in behavioral health and substance abuse. Upgrades will include operating room renovations and expansions of the acute and ambulatory care facilities, along with technology and equipment upgrades. The hospital is operated by Care Plus Bergen Inc., a partnership of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Integrity House and Care Plus NJ Inc.

LOCAL | October 2, 2017
Funding Secured for Newark Public Schools Headquarters

A $13.5 million loan will provide funding to renovate 765 Broad Street in Newark and create a new headquarters for the Newark Public Schools. The seven-story, 214,172-square-foot building, built in 1960, has a basement and ground-level retail space, part of which is leased by Wells Fargo Bank. Newark Public Schools will take over three floors and part of the ground-floor retail for its new community outreach center. The Schools administration expects to occupy the new offices by the end of the year.

LOCAL | October 2, 2017
Affordable and Senior Housing Proposed for Jersey City

The Community Outreach Team, founded by the Heavenly Temple Church of God in Christ, has proposed a new mixed-used development in the Greenville section of Jersey City that would include 225 affordable and senior apartments and 223 parking spaces. Planned for property on Martin Luther King Drive (1, 11, 14, 15-19 and 21), Warner Avenue (129 and 131) and McAdoo Avenue (30 and 32), all in Ward A in the Jackson Hill Redevelopment Area, the development will also offer a 12,600-square-foot multipurpose community center, an 11,320-square-foot employment training center and gym, and another 21,200-square-foot space that could be for commercial or medical use. The apartments will have one, two or three bedrooms, with 85 available at market rates, 70 at affordable-housing rates and 70 for senior citizens. Currently the sites have gated parking lots, a church and community center, a one-story industrial building, two abandoned houses and a vacant lot. The Community Outreach Team, COT, will serve as redeveloper.

September 2017

NATIONAL | September 27, 2017
Metro Construction Employment Better Than State Numbers

Construction jobs increased in more than three-quarters of the country’s metro areas from August 2016 to August 2017, showing more positive results than the state figures for the same time period. Of the 358 metros, 274 added jobs, 52 lost jobs and 32 remained the same over the year period. In New Jersey’s seven metros, however, the picture was not so rosy. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean was in the bottom five in the nation, losing 1,900 jobs, a 5% loss. And Trenton was in the bottom five percentage-wise, marking a 9% drop on the loss of 500 jobs. Atlantic City-Hammonton experienced a 5% drop on the loss of 300 jobs. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, on the other hand, picked up 2,600 jobs for the year-over-year period, an 8% gain. Newark added 1,600 jobs, a 3% uptick, and Camden added 300 jobs for a 1% bump. Vineland-Bridgeton’s numbers remained the same as a year ago.

NATIONAL | September 15, 2017
State Construction Employment Not Growing as Fast as Demand

Most parts of the country are experiencing a rising demand for construction, reports AGC of America, but only 34 states added construction jobs in August compared to a year ago, and only 30 added jobs since last month, indicating a shortage of craftworkers. In our region, Rhode Island came out on top with the highest percentage of new construction jobs in the nation this past year, up 17.6% with the addition of 3,200 jobs. Rhode Island was also up for the month, adding 1,100 jobs, a 5.4% hike. New Jersey was up 4.3% for the year with 6,300 new jobs, and up 0.8% for the month with 1,300 jobs. Pennsylvania also looked healthy, up 2% with 4,700 jobs for the year and 0.7% with 1,700 jobs for the month. The rest of the region did not fare as well. Delaware edged up 0.5% for the year on 100 jobs, but fell 0.9% for the month, losing 200 jobs. New York slid 0.4% for the year, losing 1,400 jobs, and was down 0.7% for the month, losing 2,600 jobs. Connecticut lost 1,200 jobs for the year, a 2% drop, and 900 jobs for the month, a 1.5% drop.

LOCAL | September 14, 2017
Hackensack Approves Redevelopment of Route 4 Office Complex

Plans aren’t yet proposed, but Continental Plaza, a three-tower, 650,000-square-foot office complex off Route 4 in Hackensack (Bergen County), has been approved for redevelopment. The City Council voted last month to convert the property to mixed-use, which could include residential units, retail space, a hotel and public open space. It’s owned by Capstone Realty Group and JD Companies.

LOCAL | September 14, 2017
State Grants $7.1 Million to Turn Perth Amboy Brownfield into Park

Because of $7.1 million in state grants, Perth Amboy will convert a brownfield into the 2nd Street Park, a 6.1-acre public park with an area for performances, a skate park, a bike course and spray ground, access to the Raritan River, a coastal landscape, floating wetlands, a stormwater forest and community gardens. Remediation of the brownfield site near Robert N. Wilentz Elementary School, the first phase of the project, will begin in early 2018 with $2.5 million from NJ DEP’s Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund. Phase two will be funded by $4.6 million from Natural Resource Damages settlements secured by the DEP.

NATIONAL | September 7, 2017
Construction’s Multiemployer Pension Plans Mostly in Green Zone

Several recent surveys of multiemployer pension plans reveal 65% of all plans are in the Green Zone, and plans in the construction industry are healthier than most. Of the 788 construction industry plans, 30 (about 4%) are in “critical and declining” status (failure anticipated within 15 years), affecting approximately 29,000 participants. The other 96% are expected to remain solvent. Segal Consulting reports construction plans have an average funding level of 89%, three percentage points higher than the average of all the plans surveyed.

NATIONAL | September 7, 2017
Hurricane Harvey Could Boost Steel Prices and Other Construction Materials

The Port of Houston, badly damaged by Hurricane Harvey, is the largest steel importer in the US, which could push up prices contractors pay for steel products. The prices for diesel fuel and gasoline have already spiked, although they’re expected to fall again soon because the country is less reliant on Gulf Coast natural gas than in the past. PVC feedstock, another petrochemical product, could see a longer-term price rise because 70% or more of the total US capacity is already affected or could be affected by Harvey-related damage.

NATIONAL | September 7, 2017
OSHA Posts Extension of Compliance Date for Crane Operator Certification

When we published the ACCNJ Industry Update this month, we noted OSHA had not yet issued a new compliance date for crane operator certification. However, a compliance date of November 10, 2018, is now on the calendar, with a deadline for comments of September 29, 2017.

LOCAL | September 7, 2017
AC’s Gardner’s Basin Redevelopment Agreement Approved

Last night, the City Council approved a lease/management deal with Scarborough Properties of Somers Point to redevelop Gardner’s Basin, located on the waterfront in Atlantic City where New Hampshire Avenue meets the Bay. The agreement includes intent to purchase Caspian Point, adjacent to Gardner’s Basin, owned by Kushner Cos., to be used for parking. Plans also include enhancement of the existing aquarium, building a new pier restaurant, and adding a children’s garden, minigolf course, water taxi, retail and restaurants. The National Park Service shut down Crafters Village and has asked the City to remove the shacks because of Green Acres violations.

LOCAL | September 6, 2017
$250 Million in Improvements to NJ Highway Rest Areas

In late August, Governor Christie announced a $250 million project to improve 16 service areas on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. The replacement and remodeling of buildings will be paid for by HMSHost and Sunoco, the private companies that operate the food and fuel concessions. In return, the companies will receive new 25-year contracts.

Replacement of 60-year-old buildings, an HMSHost project, will cost $10 million to $15 million per building at these eight service areas:  Vince Lombardi (Turnpike between Exits 18E & 18W in Ridgefield, Bergen County); Thomas Edison (southbound Turnpike between Exits 11 & 12 in Woodbridge, Middlesex County); Joyce Kilmer (northbound Turnpike between Exits 8A & 9 in East Brunswick, Middlesex County); Walt Whitman (southbound Turnpike between Exits 3 & 4 in Cherry Hill, Camden County); Clara Barton (last service area on the southbound Turnpike in Oldmans Township, Salem County); John Fenwick (first service area on the northbound Turnpike in Penns Grove, Salem County); Forked River (Parkway milepost 76, Ocean County); and Monmouth (Parkway milepost 100, Monmouth County). Construction on the Thomas Edison and Monmouth facilities will begin in 2018 and finish in 2019; the rest will be completed during the first seven years of the new contract.

Buildings at another six service areas will be renovated, at a cost of $26.4 million, with new dining areas and restrooms, among other improvements:  Woodrow Wilson (northbound Turnpike between Exits 7 & 7A in Hamilton Township, Mercer County); Richard Stockton (southbound Turnpike between Exits 7 & 7A in Trenton, Mercer County); Molly Pitcher (southbound Turnpike between Exits 8 & 8A in Cranbury, Middlesex County); James Fenimore Cooper (northbound Turnpike between Exits 4 & 5 in Mount Laurel, Burlington County); Cheesequake (Parkway milepost 123, South Amboy/Sayreville, Middlesex County); and Montvale (Parkway milepost 100, last stop heading north, Bergen County).  

Sunoco will spend $90 million to improve 21 fuel facilities and remodel the existing convenience stores, plus build new stores at Brookdale North (Parkway northbound at milepost 153.3 in Bloomfield, Essex County) and Alexander Hamilton (southbound Turnpike between Exits 15E & 16E in Secaucus, Hudson County). Another possible project for Sunoco could be a new fuel stop and convenience store on the Turnpike’s eastbound Newark Bay-Hudson County Extension.

The agreements must be approved by the Turnpike Authority, which will meet later this month.

LOCAL | September 6, 2017
AC’s Bader Field Proposals Go from Two to Four

The last time Bader Field was up for sale, it received only two bids, both rejected by Atlantic City officials. In late August, the city got four redevelopment proposals:

  1. Frank Boulton, former owner of the Atlantic City Surf baseball team who now owns the Long Island Ducks, wants to redevelop Surf Stadium, already on the 143-acre site, and bring professional baseball back to AC.
  2. Glenn Straub, owner of the former Revel Casino, wants to turn Bader Field back into an airport, much the same offer he made in 2015.
  3. Pipe Dream Development Group of Brick (Ocean County).
  4. Bader Field Development LLC of Long Branch (Monmouth County), which had submitted one of the rejected bids in 2016.
August 2017

LOCAL | August 23, 2017
Update on Virtua’s Now-Approved Westampton Hospital

As we posted in Hot Topics more than a year-and-a-half ago, Virtua Health System purchased a 110-acre lot at Route 541 and Woodlane Road in Westampton (Burlington County), with plans to build an acute-care hospital. Construction plans were recently approved with an additional 190,000 square-feet above the two million originally proposed. The campus will include a hospital, long-term care facility, medical office buildings, surgery center, critical care unit, and a women and children’s pavilion.

LOCAL | August 22, 2017
More Plans for Mixed-Use Development in Jersey City

Construction plans continue to proliferate in Jersey City, from the Holland Tunnel to the West Side:

  • Two high-rise buildings are planned for 560 and 580 Luis Munoz Marin Boulevard, just west of the Holland Tunnel and bordered by I-78, and 130-150 12th Street, adjacent to the Holland Tunnel, rising 57 and 59 stories with 750 residential units, 240,000 square feet of other space (office and/or retail) and 1,098 parking spaces. Marin would be widened as part of the proposal. Fourteen Florence Street Corp. owns the site at 580 Marin and has applied for Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan approval. Michael Angelo Warehouse Corp. owns the sites at 560 Marin and 130-150 12th Street, adjacent to the Holland Tunnel.
  • A three-phase project is planned for 100 Water Street on the West Side, which runs parallel to Rt. 440 between Claremont and Clarke avenues. Phase I – a five-story, mixed-used building with 233 residential units, 7,763 square feet of retail, and a temporary 123-space parking lot. Yale Avenue, which runs between Claremont and Clarke but ends at Mallory Avenue, would be extended to Bennett Street with a connector from that extension to Claremont. Phases II and III would include two more buildings, seven stories each, with 310 residential units and 11,057 square feet of retail in one and 78 residential units and 9,638 square feet of retail in the other. A six-story parking deck with 373 spaces is planned as part of the project. The developer is listed as 100 Water Street Development LLC of Hoboken.

NATIONAL | August 22, 2017
Construction Jobs Grow State-by-State for Year, Slow for Month

Thirty-six states and DC added construction jobs between July 2016 and July 2017, but only half of the states added construction jobs between June and July, attributed to declining public-sector investments in infrastructure and other construction projects, says AGC of America. Over the last year, Rhode Island increased jobs by 12.7% with 2,300 jobs, in the top five across the country, yet remained unchanged over the last month. Pennsylvania lost 2,900 jobs over the last month, a 1.2% decrease, second worst in the nation, overwhelming its positive rise of 0.8% for the year with 2,000 jobs. New Jersey gained 900 jobs from June to July 2017, a 0.6% increase, opening 5,300 new jobs over the last year for a 3.5% rise. Connecticut, Delaware and New York each suffered losses for the month but remain up for the year. Connecticut lost 1,600 jobs with a 2.6% loss for the month but still up for the year with 100 new jobs and a 0.2% increase. Delaware lost 500 jobs for the month for a 2.3% decrease yet is up 500 jobs for the year with a 2.4% increase. New York saw 1,200 jobs disappear for the month, only a 0.3% decrease, and remains up for the year with 2,500 new jobs, a 0.7% growth.

NATIONAL | August 16, 2017
President Issues EO to Streamline Federal Construction Permitting

Today President Trump announced an executive order to speed up the federal environmental review and permitting process for transportation, water and infrastructure projects by making the process more efficient and uniform. Going forward, agencies must complete environmental reviews of such projects within two years. In the order, Trump revoked former President Obama’s executive order that stated projects built in flood plains take into account rising sea levels. Jimmy Christianson, Regulatory Counsel for AGC of America, noted the revoked EO did not standardize how to account for rising sea levels across government agencies, creating a burdensome responsibility for each agency to develop its own standards. However, like streamlining provisions enacted in 2012 and 2015, this latest executive order will require regulators to issue compliance guidance, typically a lengthy process in itself.

LOCAL | August 16, 2017
Wildwood Boardwalk Replacement Plans Underway

Wildwood officials have started planning to replace large sections of rotting boards on the Boardwalk and the supporting concrete below. The project will cost the city between $800,000 and $1 million as the concrete, power, gas and other utility lines that run below the Boardwalk are expensive to replace.

LOCAL | August 16, 2017
Skyway in Atlantic City Approved

The skyway between Tropicana Atlantic City and the former Chelsea Hotel has been approved by the AC City Counsel. Construction should begin later this year to connect recently acquired the recently acquired hotel at 111 S. Chelsea Ave., with completion expected in early 2018.

NATIONAL | August 10, 2017
College Construction Majors Leap 26.4%

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports students majoring in construction disciplines in four-year colleges jumped 26.4% from Spring 2016 to Spring 2017 – the largest percentage increase of any discipline. The most common major in the field is construction management. In Spring 2016, 7,659 students were enrolled in a construction major. That number grew to almost 10,000 by Spring 2017. Colleges and universities have also expanded their offerings:  in 2006, 60 baccalaureate degree programs for construction management were accredited by the ACCE, but by the 2015-2016 school year, 73 programs were accredited.

LOCAL | August 10, 2017
Route 206 Bypass Through Hillsborough Soon to Go Out for Bid

NJDOT anticipates the long-delayed $44 million bypass project designed to channel traffic away from Hillsborough Township’s (Somerset County) business district will go out to bid this fall, once the contract is finalized. The agency expects a contractor to be selected before the winter, with work beginning next spring and finished by late 2020. Initial work to clear trees, move utility lines and poles, and grade the surface was completed in 2015, but work was halted last summer as part of the shutdown.

LOCAL | August 9, 2017
Morristown to Expand Even More with New Proposal

Morristown (Morris County) could see another new mixed-use development in the near future. The proposal is for 38 residential units along with retail space at 45 Morris Street on the corner of Wilmot Street. The proposed five-story building has been approved by the Morris County Land Development Review Committee, but more approvals are needed before the plans are put to action.

LOCAL | August 9, 2017
More Construction Could Be Coming to the Meadowlands

With the opening date of the American Dream Meadowlands getting closer, officials are considering adding even more acreage to the redevelopment area surrounding the site. The area east of Washington Avenue in Carlstadt could see 109 more acres, which could be used for the addition of hotels and other commercial ventures.

NATIONAL | August 9, 2017
Government Infrastructure Spending at Lowest Level Ever

The Census Bureau reports government spending on public works in the second quarter of this year equaled 1.4% of the country’s GDP, the lowest level ever recorded, and was 9.5% lower in June 2017 than it was in June 2016. The Bureau includes transportation systems, roads, highways and bridges in its analysis. The low spending level contrasts sharply with total construction spending, which has topped pre-recession highs because of private-sector activity, particularly in commercial construction. And it continues a downward curve from last year, when spending in 34 states was lower than in 2007. At the same time, infrastructure across the country continues to deteriorate with age. The average road surface in 2015 clocked in at 28 years old.

LOCAL | August 9, 2017
Three Pharmas May Receive NJ EDA Incentives

If Geri-Care Pharmaceuticals Corp., which manufactures generic drugs and supplements, decides to move from Brooklyn to Lakewood (Ocean County) instead of Gulfport, MS, it will get a $1.17 million incentive over 10 years. If Aptapharma Inc. of Pennsauken (Camden County), an oral drug delivery technology firm, chooses to expand and upgrade in New Jersey instead of moving to Bensalem, PA, it will receive just under a half-million dollars in a 10-year incentive. And Eywa Pharma Inc., subsidiary of a Singapore drugmaker, will get a 10-year, $221,000 incentive if it opens operations in Cranbury Township (Middlesex County) rather than Wayne, PA. All three incentives were approved yesterday by the NJ Economic Development Authority. Of interest to the construction industry, Aptapharma would invest $4.9 million in upgrading and expanding its Pennsauken location from 29,000 square feet to 43,000 square feet.

LOCAL | August 8, 2017
NJ EDA Headquarters Renamed to Honor Caren Franzini

The headquarters of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority will be renamed the Caren Franzini Memorial Building in honor of the woman who lead the Authority for 18 years. Caren Franzini, who passed away in January, joined EDA as deputy director in 1991 and became executive director in 1994, leaving in 2012 to start her own firm. In 2016, she helped found Great Trenton, a nonprofit dedicated to economic development in the capital city. As you know, Caren was a good friend of the Association and is much missed by the construction industry and many others in public and private domain in New Jersey.

LOCAL | August 8, 2017
Montclair to Undergo Large Redevelopment Project

Montclair (Essex County), is getting a new development project that will create a mixed-use complex. Developer BSREP II Wellmont, GSA acquired the building on Bloomfield Avenue and Seymour Street for $2.425 million and plans to use the 29,835 square feet to build a six-story building with 200 residential units, a lobby and lounge, four retail spaces, and 81 parking spaces.

LOCAL | August 8, 2017
Downtown Jersey City Will Gain Another New Development

A new development is in the works for 285 Newark Avenue. The proposed space will consist of 22 residential units and commercial space on the ground floor. The proposed six-story building, which needs a variance, will also feature balconies, a roof-deck and bike storage.

LOCAL | August 8, 2017
Final Approvals Received to Demolish Centerton Road Bridge

Burlington County officials recently received approvals to shut down the Centerton Road Bridge, over Rancocas Creek, after it sat unused for two years and was declared structurally deficient. The demolition is expected to take five months and officials have already started discussion about what will replace the bridge.

LOCAL | August 7, 2017
Cascades Inc. Announces Plant Investment in Piscataway

Cascades Inc., which produces green packaging products and tissue paper, recently announced an $80 million project for a new containerboard packaging plant in Piscataway. The 400,000 square-foot plant will create 120 jobs; operations will begin in the second quarter of 2018.

LOCAL | August 3, 2017
Portal Bridge Project Passes Environmental Impact Test

Yesterday, the FTA approved the environmental impact statement for the Portal Bridge replacement project – another step toward getting federal funds. The project over the Hackensack River is estimated at $1.6 billion and is part of the larger Gateway Tunnel project.

LOCAL | August 2, 2017
AC's Bader Field Up for Sale—Again

Once again, Bader Field is up for sale. The last time the 143-acre property was on the block, Atlantic City only received two bids, neither very high considering it is prime real estate. The city is now welcoming redevelopment proposals.

NATIONAL | August 2, 2017
Metro Construction Employment Increases for the Year Despite Hiring Difficulties

Construction employment increased in 264 out of 358 metro areas between June 2016 and June 2017 and the employment gains were the most pronounced in the western third of the country. New Jersey’s biggest construction employment increases were in Vineland-Bridgeton, where there was a 7% increase with 200 new jobs. Camden saw a 5% rise with 1,100 new employment opportunities, and Newark had a 3% increase with 1,500 new jobs. Although the majority of metro areas had increased employment nationally, 57 of the metro areas decreased, and parts of New Jersey showed discouraging losses. One of the largest losses for metro areas in the country was in Atlantic City-Hammonton, which showed a 9% decrease on 900 job losses. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean showed a 7% decrease with 2,900 job losses. Trenton NJ had a 6% decline when 300 jobs disappeared.

LOCAL | August 2, 2017
New Chair and ED at Port Authority

Selected by Governor Christie, New Jersey Senator Kevin O’Toole will replace John Degnan as Chairman of the Port Authority. At the same time, Rick Cotton, special counsel for New York Governor Cuomo, will take over as Executive Director from Patrick Foye. Both appointments take effect September 28 following the next Port Authority Board meeting. The governors announced the two new leaders will resume the search for a new CEO.

LOCAL | August 2, 2017
Mixed-Use Projects Define Hackensack Redevelopment Plans

Several developers have proposed plans or are currently constructing approved plans for mixed-use projects in downtown Hackensack (Bergen County), thanks to new zoning pushed for by the city’s Main Street Alliance in 2012.

  • Heritage Capital is turning a former bank into 127 luxury residential units, a $38 million project at 210 and 214 Main Street that will also include valet parking, an outdoor lounge and fitness center, and nearly 5,000 square feet of retail in two buildings. Heritage Capital got a 25-year Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) grant, and is now eyeing up 210 Moore Street for more development.
  • Also under construction is Meridia Metro at 100 State Street, where 222 units have been completed by developer Capodagli Property Company of Linden.
  • Hornrock Properties and Russo Development recently received approval for a $90 million project of 377 residences, 3,000 square feet of retail, 200 public parking spaces and community amenities at “Lot C” between East Salem Street Extension, Midtown Bridge Approach and Midtown Place, a triangle that borders Foschini Park.
  • Fourth Edition is finalizing agreements to redevelop the former Bergen Record property at 150 River Street with 267 residential units and expects to break ground in the second half of 2018; Fourth Edition also hopes to build retail properties, perhaps including a hotel, along River and Bridge streets.

Altogether, the city has 881 units under construction, approved site plans for 510 units and more than 1,500 units in planning stages.

Street work will include a $5 million project to turn Main and State streets into two-way roadways, which involves new traffic lights and meters.

LOCAL | August 2, 2017
New Apartment Building with Parking Garage Coming to Bloomfield

A parking lot in Bloomfield is set to be replaced by a mixed-use building. The parking lot is alongside the New Jersey Transit tracks from Washington Street and will be used for a six-story building. The building will hold 176 apartments, 314 parking spaces and a 2,700 square foot common area.

LOCAL | August 1, 2017
Newark to Get Apartments at Site of Defunct Baseball Stadium

Lotus Equity Group recently unveiled plans to turn the site of the former Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium into as many as 2,000 rental apartments and 400,000 square feet of office space.  In total the development will be 2.3 million square feet and will include retail stores and open space. The site is within walking distance of Rutgers, NJIT and trains to Manhattan. Lotus has named four architecture firms that will collaborate on the design.

LOCAL | August 1, 2017
PSE&G to Hire 3,000 Workers for Gas Pipeline Project

Public Service Electric & Gas says that if it receives approval from the Board of Public Utilities, it will create 3,000 new jobs over the next five years. PSE&G plans to replace 1,250 miles of aging gas pipes, a project that will cost $2.7 billion. The project is part of a long-term goal to replace 4,000 miles of cast-iron gas pipes with modern plastic ones.

July 2017

LOCAL | July 31, 2017
PSE&G to Build $275 Million Substation

Public Service Electric & Gas won approval to replace a large, outdated substation in Newark. The estimated cost of the project is $275 million and is one of many of PSE&G’s electric transmission reliability projects. The work on the project will begin immediately so that the station can be in service by June 2021. 

NATIONAL | July 28, 2017
Construction Among States Up for Year; New Jersey Strong in June

For the year from June 2016 to June 2017, 42 states added construction jobs, a strong showing indicating increased private-sector demand. However, for the month from May to June, nearly half the states lost jobs, attributed to a shortage of workers in some parts of the country. Coming out ahead of the other 49 states and DC, New Jersey added the largest percentage of new construction jobs for the month, up 2.7% with 4,200 jobs. For the year, New Jersey gained 4,600 jobs, a 3% hike. Rhode Island added the highest percentage of jobs for the year-over-year, up 13.4% with 2,400 jobs, and saw a 1% increase for the month with 200 jobs. Delaware also gained during both periods, up 1,200 jobs (5.9%) for the year, 100 (0.5%) for the month. Connecticut, which gained 1,500 jobs for the year-over-year, a 2.5% bump, lost more jobs for the month than any other state in the region, shedding 800 jobs, a 1.3% drop. Pennsylvania added 5,600 jobs for the year period, a 2.4% increase, but lost 500 jobs for the month, a 0.2% loss. New York picked up 5,500 jobs for the year, a 1.5% increase, but lost 100 for the month, down 0.03%.

LOCAL | July 25, 2017

Corning to Expand Vineland Plant 

Following its partnership with Merck and Pfizer, Corning Inc. in Vineland is expected to add 1,000 jobs to its plant, which will require the plant to be expanded by 26,500 square feet.

LOCAL | July 25, 2017

Jenkinson’s Will Build Seawall

Jenkinson’s Pavilion in Point Pleasant Beach has settled a lawsuit with the borough, the State Department of Environmental Protection, and the US Army Corps of Engineers that requires them to install a steel seawall on its private beach. The agreement is for a steel sheet pile bulkhead, 18 feet above sea-level constructed at Jenkinson’s expense.

LOCAL | July 21, 2017
Port Authority Approves New Delta Terminal at LaGuardia

Delta will pay $3.4 billion of the $4 billion project, with the Port Authority covering up to $600 million following the Authority’s approval yesterday of the lease agreement with Delta. Work on the 37-gate facility is scheduled to begin this summer.

LOCAL | July 19, 2017
US DOL Orders East Orange Contractors to Pay Back Wages

Yesterday, the US Department of Labor announced it has told three East Orange construction firms to pay $850,000 in back wages and damages to

workers who were cheated out of overtime. The companies, DKNJ Masonry Corp., Roy Rock LLC and Silver Construction Inc., all run by Rui Pires, paid 153 workers straight time after 40 hours of work, rather than time-and-a-half. US DOL also reported the companies did not properly track employee hours and in fact hid overtime hours worked for one company in the payroll of another. All were violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

NATIONAL | July 14, 2017
Payment for Small Business Bill Passed in House Committee

Recently, the House Small Business Committee passed H.R. 2594, a bill supported by AGC of America that would speed up payments to small-business federal contractors. The bill addresses change order payments, requiring 50% payment in a timely manner of the billed change order work amount. Currently there is no Senate companion bill; ACCNJ will track this bill’s movement.

LOCAL | July 13, 2017
Cushman & Wakefield Report Strong NJ Industrial Real Estate Markets

The second quarter of this year was New Jersey’s 18th consecutive quarter of positive net absorption in the North and Central Jersey industrial real estate markets, according to a recent Cushman & Wakefield report. Overall warehouse and distribution vacancy dropped to 4.2%, pulled down by all the New Jersey Turnpike corridor submarkets, which measure at or below 4%. On average, Central Jersey, which represented more than 70% of the year-to-date absorption, reports a 3.5% vacancy for warehouse facilities.

LOCAL | July 13, 2017
NJ Representative Proposes $900 Million for Gateway Project

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, Republican from District 11 and chair of the House Appropriations Committee, has allocated $900 million for the Gateway project in the House transportation spending plan released Tuesday. The bill, for FY2018, includes $500 million in grants for rail repair and $400 million for building a new tunnel under the Hudson plus replacing the Portal North Bridge over the Hackensack. In addition, a “significant portion” of Amtrak’s $328 million in Northeast Corridor funding would be used on the Gateway project. The bill was advanced by voice vote through an appropriations subcommittee Tuesday night.

LOCAL | July 12, 2016
Update: Burlington County, Towns Pull Support of Huge Warehouse Zone Plan in Florence, Mansfield

Due to citizen concern about severe traffic problems in the Florence and Mansfield area, the plan to rezone hundreds of acres and build a 6.5 million-square-foot industrial space has recently been cancelled. Had the plan been approved, the development could have added $500 million to the ratable base in the area as well as more than 3,000 jobs.

LOCAL | July 10, 2017
Cost of Hudson Tunnel Project Could Hit Nearly $13 Billion

The Hudson Tunnel Gateway Project is currently considered one of the most important infrastructure projects in New Jersey. However, after a steep increase in the original cost estimate and the uncertainty of support from the Trump Administration, it is unclear whether the project will continue. Latest estimates state building a new rail tunnel and fixing the existing one could reach an estimated $13 billion, $5.3 billion higher than the original plan. If the project continues, the construction of a new tunnel could begin by fall 2019 and be completed by spring 2026. John D. Porcari, the interim executive director of the Gateway Program Development Corporation, attributes the steep increase to the location of the new tunnel, which was just recently decided to be along the curve, adjacent to the current tunnel.

LOCAL | July 10, 2017
Tropicana Acquires the Chelsea Hotel

Tropicana Entertainment in Atlantic City plans to connect the Chelsea Hotel to its casino by a skyway bridge, transforming it into the new Chelsea Tower, a 20-story oceanfront hotel.

LOCAL | July 10, 2017
Rockefeller Completes $57M Deal in Piscataway

Rockefeller Group recently bought a 228 acre sight in Piscataway (Middlesex County), for $57 million. The site will be used to build 2.4 million square feet of industrial distribution and light manufacturing space. The logistics center will consist of six buildings and construction will begin on two sites later this summer. The cost is estimated to be between $225 and $250 million.

NATIONAL | July 7, 2017
Monorail Hoists Removed from Crane Rule Compliance

On July 3, OSHA announced that monorail hoists used to lift natural gas canisters, septic tanks and other similar objects will not have to comply with the agency’s 2010 construction crane rule, 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC, as long as the hoists comply with other OSHA regulations. In the original rule release, monorail hoists were classified as cranes, a designation that also required the truck drivers operating the hoists to comply with OSHA’s crane operator testing and certification regulations. Per the announcement, monorail hoists must comply with the standards covering overhead hoists (29.CFR 1926.554) along with the corresponding training standards. The announcement is considered a notice of temporary enforcement as OSHA reviews rulemaking options for a long-term solution covering monorail hoists. Visit www.osha.gov for details and updates.

LOCAL | July 7, 2017
Kearny Point’s Building 197 Breaks Ground

Building 197, part of the $250 million development of Kearny Point (Hudson County), is slated to be a 200,000-square-foot “light industrial” project that will provide homes for smaller manufacturers, perhaps in the food industry. The site formerly held the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, just off Hackensack Avenue behind the Hudson County jail. Building 197 will join Building 78, completed in 2015, which is rented to about 100 small businesses and 250 employees. Hugo Neu is the property owner and developer.

June 2017

LOCAL | June 28, 2017
Cumberland County Jail Approved

The Cumberland County Improvement Authority can go ahead with plans for a new jail following the County’s Board of Freeholders approval this week. The proposal calls for 300 to 500 beds for Cumberland County inmates plus Gloucester County inmates as part of the continuation of the shared-service agreement between the two. One of two sites will be selected and cost determined accordingly.

LOCAL | June 28, 2017
Matrix Proposes 530,000-Square-Foot Warehouse in Burlington Township

After being empty and without purpose for nearly 10 years, 135 acres that were once home to U.S. Pipe & Foundry Co. could be torn down and rebuilt into a business park with a 530,000-square-foot warehouse under the direction of Matrix Realty. The plant closed in 2008, and the site may need environmental remediation. Thursday, there will be a  public hearing to determine whether the redevelopment should proceed.

LOCAL | June 28, 2017
UPDATE:  American Dream Financing a Done Deal

Triple Five announced last week the financing for the American Dream project is a done deal:  Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan completed a $1.1 billion tax-exempt bond sale to fully fund completion of the East Rutherford megamall.

NATIONAL | June 28, 2017
Metro Construction Employment Increases for the Year Despite Hiring Difficulties

Construction employment increased in 243 out of 358 metro areas between May 2016 and May 2017 despite many firms’ difficulties finding qualified workers, according to AGC of America. New Jersey’s biggest construction employment increases were in Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, NJ, where there was an 8% increase with 2,400 new jobs, and in Vineland–Bridgeton, NJ where there was a 7% increase with 200 new jobs. Camden saw a 2% rise with 400 new employment opportunities, and Newark had a 1% increase with 400 new jobs. Although the majority of metro areas had increased employment nationally, 59 of the metro areas decreased, and parts of New Jersey showed discouraging losses. One of the largest losses for metro areas in the country was in Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean, which showed a 9% decrease on 3,400 job losses. Trenton had a 6% decline while 300 jobs disappeared. Atlantic City-Hammonton had a 3% drop, losing 200 jobs. 

LOCAL | June 20, 2017
Camden Hotel Gains $18.3 Million EDA Tax Break

The NJ EDA approved tax incentives totaling $18.3 million for an eight-story, 180-room Hilton Garden Hotel on the Camden waterfront at Cooper Street and Riverside Drive, plus a $3 million low-interest loan. Project cost is estimated at $52.8 million, of which 40% will be paid for by the hotel owner, CHP Land LLC.

LOCAL | June 20, 2017
Penn Station Expansion Includes Farley Building Mixed-Use

New York’s Farley Building, built in 1912 and on the National Register of Historic Places, will become an annex of Penn Station under a $1.6 billion partnership deal among various groups – New York State, Amtrak, the MTA, the Port Authority, the Related Cos., Vornado Realty Trust and Skanska. The building, on eight acres fronting 8th Avenue between 31st and 33rd streets, will house Amtrak and Long Island Railroad train halls and 700,000 square feet of office and retail space, in addition to the Post Office headquarters and operations. The Related Cos., Vornado and Skanska will construct the space and pay $630 million of the cost in return for operating it and collecting income from the commercial space. New York State will ante up $550 million, with $420 million coming from Amtrak, the MTA, the Port Authority and federal grants. The 255,000-square-foot train halls and transportation facility, to be called Moynihan Station, will connect underground to the new western concourse in Penn Station.

LOCAL | June 20, 2017
$26.7 Million Performing Arts High School Planned for Ocean County

On June 14, the Ocean County Board of Freeholders approved a 53,000-square-foot performing arts high school on the campus of Ocean County College, a $26.7 million project that is expected to open in 2019. The school will be adjacent to the college’s 450-seat theater. A partnership of the state, the county, the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation and the college will fund the work, with 40% financed by the state ($10.6 million) and 60% by the county and the foundation ($16 million). Another $2 million from the college will cover interest payments or other expenses during construction.

NATIONAL | June 16, 2017
Construction Among States Up for Year But Weaker for Month

For the year from May 2016 to May 2017, 42 states added construction jobs, a strong showing indicating increased private-sector demand. However, for the month from April to May, half the states and DC lost jobs, attributed to a shortage of workers in some parts of the country. In the region, Rhode Island added the largest percentage of new construction jobs for the year, up 12.8% with 2,300 jobs. Rhode Island also gained 300 jobs for the month, edging up 1.5%. Pennsylvania, on the other hand, which gained 2,600 jobs for the year-over-year, a 1.1% bump, lost more jobs for the month than any other state, shedding a whopping 4,300 jobs, a 1.8% drop. New Jersey picked up 200 jobs for the year period, a 0.1% increase, and 100 jobs for the month, another 0.1% gain. Connecticut added 2,000 jobs for the year-over-year, up 3.4%, but lost 600 for the month, a 1% drop. Delaware gained 1,200 jobs for the year period, a 5.9% jump, but lost 200 for the month, down 0.9%. New York picked up 5,000 jobs for the year, a 1.3% increase, and gained 700 for the month, a 0.2% rise.

LOCAL | June 15, 2017
UPDATE:  Stranded Asset Hoffman-LaRoche Campus to be Redeveloped

We discussed the 116-acre site, the former Hoffman-LaRoche campus that straddles both Nutley and Clifton in Essex County, in our feature article, “Repurposing Stranded Assets to Revitalize New Jersey,” in the Fall 2016 issue of New Jersey Construction magazine (page 21). Bought by Prism Capital in October of 2016, the land is being repurposed to offer a medical school – a joint venture of Hackensack University Medical Center and Seton Hall University, other life-science firms, and a possible mixed-use collection of residential, retail, entertainment and fashion.

Now, as Roche finishes water remediation on the campus, the first phase of the redevelopment will focus on the five existing buildings. Buildings 123 and 123A, each seven stories with a total of 500,000 square feet, will house the medical school, along with Seton Hall’s Applied Health Program and Graduate School of Nursing. Half of the five-story Building 102 (7,500 square feet), which is connected to the first two buildings via a sky bridge, will be the new home for an as-yet-unidentified bio-fabrication firm. Building 76, the 15-story office tower, and Building 1, a seven-story office building, which together offer another half-million square feet, will be leased. Prism also plans road improvements, including working with Essex County on a reconfiguration of Kingsland and Bloomfield avenues, and possible bus line and shelter changes with New Jersey Transit.

LOCAL | June 15, 2017
$18.5 Million Riverfront Project Coming to Trenton

A pedestrian bridge will stretch from the roof of the Statehouse parking deck over Route 29 to a revitalized riverfront park in Trenton (Mercer County), a joint $18.5 million project of NJDOT and NJDEP announced by Governor Christie yesterday. The bridge will be funded by $15 million in enhancement funds, and the 4.5-acre park – with plantings, paths and lighting – will be funded by $3.5 million of DEP’s Natural Resource Damages monies. The park will connect to Stacy Park (across Route 29 from Trenton High School West) and run south along the Delaware River, touching Mill Hill Park and Assunpink Creek. At the same time, the governor announced the first phase of a $2.4 million restoration of Cadwalader Park, on 100 acres east of Stacy Park.

LOCAL | June 8, 2017
Joint Base First to Get New Tankers – and $154 Million in Construction

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst gained another measure of protection against closure as it was selected to receive the first round of new refueling tankers, two years ahead of Travis Air Force Base in California. The 24 new KC-46A Pegasus planes, which measure 52 feet tall and 165 feet long with a wingspan of 157 feet, are scheduled to arrive in 2021. The $154 million in military construction will occur in advance of their arrival.

LOCAL | June 6, 2017
AC Electric to Proceed with $79 Million Capital Investment

Atlantic City Electric got approval from the NJ Board of Public Utilities to invest $79 million in a five-year capital improvement plan that will strengthen grid resiliency. Part of the company’s PowerAhead Program, the investment structure will allow AC Electric to recover revenue spent on resiliency. The program covers these projects:

  • Structural and Electrical Hardening - $24 million
  • Selective Undergrounding - $11 million
  • Barrier Island Feeder Ties - $13 million
  • Distribution Automation - $15 million
  • Electronic Fusing - $2 million
  • New Harbor Beach Substation - $14 million

LOCAL | June 6, 2017
MGM and Caesars to Partner in Atlantic City

With few details, MGM Resorts, owner of the Borgata, and Caesars Entertainment, owner of Harrah’s, announced last week they planned to partner on an unnamed Atlantic City project. Both properties are close together on the Boardwalk.

LOCAL | June 1, 2017
UPDATE:  American Dream Bonds Issued

Two bond offerings issued last week ($800 million) and this ($300 million) could mean financing is now in place to complete the American Dream Meadowlands shopping and entertainment complex in East Rutherford (Bergen County) after 14 years of start-and-stop building. The $300 million bond offering claims American Dream will open “no later than March 1, 2019,” less than two years from now. Construction crews have been on the site in recent weeks.

May 2017

NATIONAL | May 31, 2017
Metro Construction Grows for the Year on Private-Sector Projects

Construction firms added jobs in 217 of 358 metro areas (nearly 61%) in the year from April 2016 to April 2017, responding to the demand for workers on private-sector projects. Public-sector investments, AGC of America notes, declined 8.5% during that year-over-year period. New Jersey metros reflected dismal numbers for the period, with two metros in the bottom five in the nation. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean lost 3,200 jobs, an 8% drop, and Trenton lost 500 jobs, a 10% decline. While not quite in the bottom five, Atlantic City-Hammonton also lost 500 jobs, a 9% drop. With more positive numbers, Camden added 500 jobs, a 2% gain; Vineland-Bridgeton picked up 200 jobs for a 7% increase; and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic fared the best with an additional 1,700 jobs, a 6% rise. Newark remained unchanged from last year.

LOCAL | May 31, 2017
Trenton to Demolish 500 Abandoned Buildings

At a cost of $11.5 million, Trenton will demolish perhaps as many as 500 abandoned buildings within the city limits, as announced by Governor Christie yesterday. That is about one-sixth of the estimated 3,000 abandoned commercial and residential buildings in Trenton. The funding will come from the state, with another $786,000 allocated for 150 new surveillance cameras and inspection of city street lights.

LOCAL | May 24, 2017
Midtown Elizabeth to Get $200 Million Redevelopment

A partnership between MAS Development Group and Faros Properties will redevelop Midtown Elizabeth, building approximately 525 luxury residential units and 30,000 square feet of retail space on five acres along Union Street, across from the Elizabeth NJ Transit Train Station on West Grand Street. The two-phase project, which should break ground in the first quarter of 2018, is estimated at $100 million per phase. The developers received final approvals for the project in March. The Elizabeth train station itself is slated for a $55 million renovation.

LOCAL | May 24, 2017
Roebling Wire Works Redevelopment to Include Loft Apartments

In the first phase of redeveloping the former Roebling Wire Works complex at 675 S. Clinton Avenue in Trenton, HHG Development Associates will create Roebling Lofts, 190 luxury apartments in 475,000 square feet of industrial space. The project will also include building a new structure and repurposing the old boiler house, plus adding 175,000 square feet of Class A office space and 30,000 square feet of retail, all at a cost of $31 million. The total cost of redeveloping the more-than-a-century-old complex comes in at approximately $150 million. The developer expects it to qualify for EDA’s Grow New Jersey tax incentives.

LOCAL | May 23, 2017
Aqua NJ Announces $23 Million in Water Infrastructure Upgrades

Aqua New Jersey, which provides water and wastewater services to 11 New Jersey counties, announced last week it plans to invest nearly $23 million this year in upgrades to its drinking water and wastewater systems. Some projects are currently underway. The 2017 capital improvement program includes these expenditures:

  • More than $7 million throughout the company’s central operating division, comprised of Chesterfield and North Hanover townships (Burlington County); Robbinsville, Lawrenceville, and Hamilton and Washington townships (Mercer County); Howell and Upper Freehold townships (Monmouth County); and Berkeley Township (Ocean County).
  • Nearly $6 million in the southern operating division of Gloucester Township (Camden County); Woolwich Township (Gloucester County); and Egg Harbor Township (Atlantic County).
  • Nearly $10 million in its northern operating division, which provides water service in Phillipsburg, Greenwich, Harmony, Lopatcong, Pohatcong and Holland townships (Warren County); Lebanon Township and Califon and Bloomsbury boroughs (Hunterdon County); and Fredon, Hardyston, Vernon, Green, Byram and Stockholm townships (Sussex County).

LOCAL | May 23, 2017
UPDATE:  American Dream Financing Secured

American Dream Meadowlands developer Triple Five announced late last week it has secured $1.6 billion in construction financing, which will lead to a bond issuance, hopefully in the near future, to provide the rest of the funding to complete the project. Triple Five set a new opening date of March 2019.

LOCAL | May 22, 2017
Smithville to Add Mixed-Use Development

Historic Smithville, the tourist attraction in Galloway Township (Atlantic County) owned by The Towne of Smithville LLC, will get a new addition on a currently empty 19-acre lot at 2 N. New York Road, across Route 9 from the Smithville Inn. The mixed-use development, just approved by the town’s planning board, will include a 62-room hotel, shops, a gas station and convenience store, and two senior living communities with an assisted living facility, 40 one-bedroom units and 48 one-bedroom townhomes. No construction date has been established.

NATIONAL | May 22, 2017
State Construction Employment Still Uneven Month-by-Month

Although 39 states added construction jobs for the year-over-year period from April 2016 to April 2017, more than half lost jobs between March and April this year. In the region, Rhode Island came out in the top five for highest percentages, adding 1,800 jobs for the year-over-year, reflecting a 10% hike. But Rhode Island remained flat for the month, with no jobs added. Of the 21 states that did add jobs for the month, Connecticut had the highest percentage increase in the nation, climbing 4.7% on 2,800 new jobs. Connecticut was also strong for the month, adding 2,500 jobs, a 4.2% increase. Delaware added 1,100 jobs for the year-over-year period, a 5.3% rise, but lost 200 for the month, a 0.9% dip. New Jersey fared poorly in both timeframes, losing 500 jobs for the year-over-year, a 0.3% drop, and 1,000 jobs for the month, a 0.6% decrease. While New York added 3,400 jobs for the year period, edging up 0.9%, the state lost 2,000 for the month, down 0.5%. Pennsylvania was also up for the year period, adding 4,300 jobs, a 1.8% gain, but lost 900 jobs for the month, a 0.37% drop.

LOCAL | May 18, 2017
Monmouth Mall Redesign Proposal #2

The first proposal to redesign Eatontown’s Monmouth Mall failed after residents resisted the effort to include 700 residential units. Proposal #2, presented by owner Kushner Companies, doesn’t specify the number of residential units, but features a broad glass canopy covering a “culinary marketplace,” wine bars, upscale restaurants and “tea boutiques,” along with shopping and entertainment venues and some amount of residential. Kushner Cos. expects to partner with Rouse Properties to develop the concept, which will be named The Heights at Monmouth, and begin construction in 2018.

LOCAL | May 18, 2017
CRDA Approves AC Beer Garden

Bungalow Biergarten, an open-air restaurant and bar slated for a site just off the Atlantic City Boardwalk in the half-block between South California and South Belmont avenues, received approval from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority this week. Dectrinity LLC proposed the project; its principal, Nick Dounoulis, who also owns the Bungalow Restaurant and Beach Bar on the Boardwalk at South California Avenue, expects the operation to be open around the Fourth of July. It will include seating for 322 guests, an outdoor kitchen with walk-in refrigeration, two bars, three propane fire pits, a game area and restrooms. Four distressed-wood shipping containers will serve as dry storage. Parking will be available in an adjacent lot.

NATIONAL | May 18, 2017
USDOT Secretary Chao Calls Gateway Project “Absolute Priority”

At a hearing yesterday, USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao told the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, “Please be assured that Gateway is an absolute priority” for the Trump administration.

LOCAL | May 16, 2017
Transit Hub in Queens Proposed to Ease Penn Station Congestion

ReThink Studio has proposed a new transit hub in Sunnyside, Queens, to reduce the congestion in Penn Station by connecting commuter trains with subways and bus lines at four regional hubs in New York and New Jersey. Called ReThinkNYC, the proposal aims to be developed as part of the Gateway Tunnel project, without additional cost. Plans include moving rail yards from Sunnyside to the Bronx and building a “trunk line” to connect various transportation methods between Secaucus in New Jersey (Hudson County) and Port Morris in the Bronx. The plan’s design aspires to connect the 26 commuter rail lines – Metro North’s Harlem and Hudson Lines, Hudson Lines and NJ Transit’s Bergen County Lines – with Secaucus, Penn Station, Sunnyside and Port Morris becoming the four major transit hubs. As part of the Sunnyside plan, ReThink envisions an office district with millions of square feet of new office space that is connected to the regional rail network, seven subway lines and the new light rail/bus system for Brooklyn and Queens.

LOCAL | May 16, 2017
Glassboro Public Housing: Demolition and Rebuild

The Ellis Street Projects at Ellis Street and Higgins Drive in Glassboro were built on 76 acres in the early 1960s, but residents were relocated in 2013. Now the buildings will be demolished and the site remediated, at a cost of $1.6 million funded by state demolition funds, affordable housing trust funds and a community development block grant. Together, the Glassboro Housing Authority and developer Pennrose Properties LLC plan to build affordable, age-restricted housing on the original site, with 65 units for seniors, of which 16 will be for developmentally disabled adults. Demolition is expected to be completed by the end of the summer with construction beginning in Spring 2018.

LOCAL | May 11, 2017
New Shopping Complex Coming to Paramus

Paramus Crossroads will sit on a 14.5-acre site along Route 17 South that currently holds a PGA Tour Superstore and P.C. Richard & Son, plus an office building that will be demolished. In its place, a 40,000-square-foot retail space will house approximately 10 new dining options and specialty retailers, each occupying 1,500 to 20,000 square feet, along with office and medical operations that are currently in the office building. The complex is expected to be completed by Summer 2018. Developers are Advance Realty and Invesco Real Estate. 

LOCAL | May 10, 2017
Newark Warehouse to be Transformed into Mixed-Use

Plans for Ironside Newark, a vacant warehouse that will become a 456,000-square-foot mixed-use project, include two stories of retail and restaurant space and six floors of office space. Located on the corner of McCarter Highway (Route 21) and Edison Place, Ironside Newark’s site borders Mulberry Commons Park, a project announced in January and posted in Hot Topics. Newark real estate developer Edison Properties, known for Edison ParkFast lots and garages, is making a $75 million equity investment in the Ironside Newark project.

LOCAL | May 2, 2017
Newark PATH Extension Estimated at $1.7 Billion

Last week, the Port Authority approved $57 million for planning and design of a two-mile extension of PATH from Newark Penn Station to Newark Liberty Airport, which could also include a new PATH transportation hub in the Dayton/Seth Boyden section of Newark’s South Ward, depending on environmental review results. The extension would create a direct link from the World Trade Center PATH to the Newark Liberty monorail. The total project is estimated at $1.7 billion, with completion in 2026.

NATIONAL | May 2, 2017
March Metro Construction Jobs Increase in Two-Thirds of Markets

Construction employment rose in 224 of 358 metro areas in the country in March 2017 compared to March 2016, approximately 63%. It declined in 92 metros and remained the same in 42. In New Jersey, Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean lost 2,100 jobs, a 6% drop that landed it in the top five worst metros for the period. Atlantic City-Hammonton lost 600 jobs for the period, an 11% drop, and Trenton lost 300 jobs, a 6% drop. On the plus side, Bergen-Hudson-Passaic gained 900 jobs, a 3% increase; Newark added 700 jobs, a 2% hike; Vineland-Bridgeton added 200 jobs, a 7% hike; and Camden added 100 jobs, a 1% bump. Overall, the state lost 1,200 jobs for the period, a 1% decrease.

April 2017

NATIONAL | April 28, 2017
US Senate Confirms Alexander Acosta as Labor Secretary

Last evening, in a 60-38 vote, the US Senate confirmed Alexander Acosta as Secretary of Labor. A Republican, Acosta was a member of the National Labor Relations Board, and had been the US attorney in Florida and head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division.

LOCAL | April 27, 2017
New York City to Count All Construction Fatalities in Total

After a Crain’s Business story and a new law from City Council, New York City’s Buildings Department will now count all construction fatalities in its total and post them on its website. In the past, the Buildings Department only reported those fatalities in which a city code violation occurred, regardless of OSHA findings of workplace safety violations. According to the Crain’s report, one-third of the city’s jobsite fatalities in 2015 was not reported.

NATIONAL | April 27, 2017
USCIS Issues New Green Cards and EADs

Beginning May 1, US Citizenship and Immigration Services will issue redesigned Green Cards (Permanent Resident Cards) and EADs (Employment Authorization Documents). With enhanced graphics and security features, the new cards are part of the federal government’s efforts to deter counterfeiting and fraud. Each has the individual’s photo on both sides; the Green Card, with an appropriately green color palette, has an image of the Statue of Liberty, and the EAD has a bald eagle on a predominantly red palette. Both have embedded holographs and will no longer display the individual’s signature. The old and new versions of the Green Card and EAD are both acceptable for Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification and E-Verify. For more details, access the USCIS news release at https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-will-issue-redesigned-green-cards-and-employment-authorization-documents?utm_source=homepagebanner&utm_campaign=gcredesign

NATIONAL | April 25, 2017
Trump Orders Tariffs on Canadian Softwood Lumber

Last night, President Trump ordered tariffs on Canadian exports of softwood lumber, particularly used in the US residential building market. Five Canadian lumber companies will have to pay duties of between 3% and 24%. The rest of the Canadian lumber company tariffs will be nearly 20%.

NATIONAL | April 24, 2017
Construction Employment Strong for Year, Weak for Month

While 39 states added construction jobs for the year from March 2016 to March 2017, only 17 added jobs from February to March of this year. In the region, Rhode Island placed in the top five for the year-over-year period, adding 1,500 jobs for an 8.2% leap, but slid back for the month, shedding 100 jobs, a 0.5% decrease. Pennsylvania gained 6,700 jobs for the year, up 2.8%, but lost 1,700 for the month, a 0.68% drop. New York added 7,100 jobs for the year, a 1.9% gain, but lost 2,000 for the month, a 0.5% decrease. Delaware picked up 200 jobs for the year, a 0.9% rise, but lost 100 for the month, a 0.5% drop. And both Connecticut and New Jersey lost jobs for both periods. Connecticut shed 1,800 jobs for the year-over-year, down 3%, and 300 jobs for the month, down 0.5%. New Jersey dropped 1,000 jobs for the year-over-year, a 0.6% loss, and 2,800 for the month, down 1.8%.

LOCAL | April 20, 2017
Luxury Apartments Slated for Somerville

Somerville (Somerset County) has approved a four-story luxury apartment building at 11 South Bridge Street, to be developed by Sterling Properties of Livingston. Called SOMA, the building will hold 69 units ranging from 585 square feet to 1,290 square feet, a fitness center and tech lounge. Construction is expected to begin this spring.

LOCAL | April 20, 2017
South Jersey Tech Park Lands Animal Health Company Headquarters

HIPRA, a veterinary pharmaceutical with locations in 27 countries, has signed an agreement to build its North American headquarters on 25 acres at the South Jersey Tech Park on Route 322 in Mantua Township (Gloucester County). Rowan University, which owns the 180-acre site, finalized the sale April 5 and expects HIPRA to apply to the township for construction approvals in the near future.

LOCAL | April 18, 2017
FEMA to Fund 90% of Repair in Sandy-Damaged Holland Tunnel

FEMA will contribute $229.6 million to the Port Authority to repair 22 sites in the Holland Tunnel damaged by Superstorm Sandy. The funds represent 90% of the $255 million total required for repair and added resiliency. Both tubes of the tunnel, designated a National Historic Civil and Mechanical Engineering Landmark, were flooded as the water came through from the New Jersey side and the exhaust air duct system.

NATIONAL | April 17, 2017
March Construction Materials Prices Leap

While finished project prices remained flat, construction costs rose in March. Materials prices compared to March 2016 soared for diesel fuel (up 35%), steel mill products (up 19%), copper and brass mill shapes (up 17%), aluminum mill shapes (up 8.8%), gypsum products, including wallboard and plaster (up 7.6%), and lumber and plywood (up 7.3%). In contrast, the price index for new nonresidential buildings increased only 1.4%. AGC of America, which analyzed the federal producer price data, also warned that construction costs for commercial projects could continue to rise if “Buy America” provisions are expanded or tariffs on imported steel are increased. In addition, limiting Canadian lumber could affect the cost of residential projects.

LOCAL | April 11, 2017
$1.6 Billion Staten Island Revitalization Report Released Today

The New York City Economic Development Corp. is releasing a report today that details $1.6 billion in public and private funding to revitalize Staten Island’s North Shore waterfront, of which $600 million is public investment, $1 billion is private funding. The report calls for 4,000 new housing units, 2,000 new jobs, transportation upgrades, and 200,000 square feet of new commercial and retail development on a 10-acre strip of land. Some specific projects the EDC hopes to advance include rehabilitation of 55 Stuyvesant Place, the 630-foot observation wheel (largest in the Western hemisphere), business incubators and co-working spaces, a new mixed-used district along Bay Street, affordable housing units on the site of the Jersey Street Sanitation Garage at 100 Brook Street (due to close in 2020), and various arts, cultural and historic venues. For a copy of the report, visit https://www.nycedc.com/system/files/files/program/downtown_staten_island_brochure.pdf.

LOCAL | April 11, 2017
Rutgers Approves $115 Million Athletic Practice Facility

Last week, Rutgers Board of Governors approved building a $115 million multisport training and practice facility on the Livingston Campus, to be named the RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center after the joint Rutgers/RWJBarnabas Health sports medicine program announced last November. The building will be four stories and 125,000 square feet with practice rooms, locker rooms, strength-training and conditioning facilities, space for nutrition counseling, coaches’ offices, a Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame, a spirit shop and an area for athletes to eat. A 555-space parking deck and bicycle storage will be integrated. Funding will come from a $26 million bond issuance for the parking deck; monies from the R Big Ten Build campaign; a multi-million naming gift from RWJBarnabas Health; and tax credits from NJEDA’s Economic Redevelopment and Growth Program. The project is one of three to be funded in part by the R Big Ten Build campaign, which has raised more than $71.1 million in donations to date.

LOCAL | April 10, 2017
Dumont Considers New or Renovated Municipal Complex

Last week, Dumont (Bergen County) officials had a “preliminary” look at costs for a new or rehabbed municipal complex. Either project – rehabilitation of the 26,000-square-foot former borough hall or demolition of the existing facility and new construction of a 27,600-square-foot building – would cost more than $11 million for construction. Additional costs, presented by RSC Architects of Hackensack, could include purchase of adjacent land for parking, professional fees and removal of the four conjoined trailers that currently house the borough’s police department, bringing the total cost closer to $14 million. The Feasibility Assessment dated 4/4/2017 can be found on the Dumont Borough website:
http://www.dumontnj.gov/dumont-news/notices-announcements

LOCAL | April 6, 2017
American Dream Update: Under Construction Again

A Forbes Exclusive online post Tuesday afternoon reports construction is back on at American Dream Meadowlands, with a targeted opening in Fall 2018.

LOCAL | April 5, 2017
New Brunswick Finally Getting Performing Arts Center

New Brunswick Development Corp., DEVCO, announced that the long-awaited, state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center will finally break ground this summer. The $190 million project will hold two theaters – 485-seat and 300-seat, three rehearsal stages and 240 one- and two-bedroom apartments on land owned by the city across from the Heldrich Hotel. The George Street Playhouse and Crossroads Theatre, currently on the site, will be demolished and rebuilt as part of the PAC, along with the American Repertory Ballet and Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts. An 80-foot fly space and 50-seat orchestra pit are also part of the plan, along with third-floor amenities for the apartment-dwellers, including a fitness room, yoga studio, demonstration kitchen, a massive communal living room and a co-working space. A pool will be built on the roof. Identified as a public-private partnership, funding comes from EDA’s Economic Redevelopment & Growth ($40 million); Rutgers University ($17 million); redevelopment area bonds ($15 million); County of Middlesex Cultural Arts Fund ($6 million); New Market Tax Credits ($6 million); the New Brunswick Cultural Center ($4.5 million); and air rights payments ($2 million). The rest will come from developer equity, debt raised by the private-sector partner and bond proceeds from the New Brunswick Parking Authority. Demolition on the site will begin June 5.

LOCAL | April 5, 2017
Hard Rock Plans $375 Million Makeover of Taj Mahal

Hard Rock’s CEO Jim Allen released renderings and announced plans to spend $375 million redeveloping the former Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, which Hard Rock International bought from Carl Icahn March 1. The complete redesign that will become Hard Rock Hotel & Casino features two separate 7,000-seat arenas, more than 2,400 slot machines, and a new 400-seat venue for the Hard Rock Café. It’s expected to create more than 1,000 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs, with a projected opening in Summer 2018.

NATIONAL | April 4, 2017
As Metros Add Construction Jobs, AGC Focuses on Worker Safety

In the period from February 2016 to February 2017, 239 of 358 metro areas, nearly 67%, added construction jobs. In New Jersey, four of seven metros were included in the “gain” column. Newark came out on top in the state, adding 2,300 over last year, a 6% gain. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 1,700 jobs, also a 6% hike. Camden added 1,100 for the period, up 5%, and Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, up 4%. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean saw the biggest drop for the year-over-year, losing 1,300 jobs, down 4%. Atlantic City-Hammonton and Trenton each shed 200 jobs, a 4% drop for each.

         As employment in the industry climbs, AGC of America has released a new safety study to help construction firms prevent workplace injuries and fatalities. The study, for which AGC partnered with the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech, analyzed every construction fatality in the US from 2010 through 2012. The study revealed some facts we already knew – falls account for a third of the fatalities in the industry – and some we didn’t. For example, most fatalities occur between 10 am and 3 pm, with a peak at noon. AGC now recommends holding safety talks and stretching exercises as workers return from the 11-to-noon lunch break. For a copy of the complete 30-page report, downloadable as a PDF, visit https://www.agc.org/industry-priorities/safety-health/construction-fatalities-study-0

LOCAL | April 3, 2017
Rutherford Adding New Police Station to Borough Hall

Rutherford borough officials are in early planning stages for a new police station that will become a 15,000-square-foot or larger addition to Borough Hall at 176 Park Ave. T&M Engineering and architect Anthony Guzzo were hired to design a site plan and estimate building costs. The new facility will include updated technology and current law enforcement standards for jail cells and prisoner transport.

March 2017

NATIONAL | March 28, 2017
Repeal of Federal Blacklisting Rule Signed Into Law

Yesterday, the President signed into law a bill repealing the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” executive order imposed by President Obama. As we posted in Hot Topics on March 7, the so-called Blacklisting Regulation was struck down via the Congressional Review Act, which means future presidents can’t issue similar rules. AGC of America’s advocacy efforts contributed to the repeal.

NATIONAL | March 27, 2017
State Construction Jobs Up in 43 States in February Year-Over-Year

Compared to February 2016, 43 states added construction jobs in February 2017, and 39 states added jobs in the month from January to February 2017. In the Mid-Atlantic region, New York and Rhode Island showed the strongest gains. New York was one of five states to reach a record for construction employment in the year-over-year with the addition of 6,800 jobs (up 1.8%); New York also added 2,100 jobs for the month, a 0.6% bump. Rhode Island added 2,200 jobs for the year-over-year, a whopping 12.2% increase, giving it the #1 spot in the nation for percentage gain. And the 700 jobs added in Rhode Island for the month, a 3.6% gain, put it in the #6 spot for percentage gains. New Jersey was up for both periods, adding 2,400 jobs for the month, a 1.5% increase, and 3,100 jobs for the year-over-year, a 2% gain. Rounding out our region: Delaware added 800 jobs for the year-over-year, up 3.8%, and 1,000 jobs for the month, up 4.7%, a percentage increase that put it in the #2 spot for the month. Pennsylvania added 9,300 jobs for the year-over-year, up 3.9%, and 1,500 for the month, up 0.61%. Connecticut lost 400 jobs for the year-over-year, sliding 0.7%, but was up 1,200 jobs for the month, a 2.1% rise.

LOCAL | March 24, 2017
Jersey City Approves Land Transfer for Liberty Science Center Expansion

Liberty Science Center will now be able to build a $280 million technology center on 16 acres along Phillip Street within Liberty State Park. Last night the Jersey City Council approved a land transfer to the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, which will then sell the 16 acres to SciTech Scity, the Liberty Science Center’s planned futuristic mini-city, for $10. The development will offer a K-12 school dedicated to STEM; the world’s first business “optimizer” for 100 science, technology and engineering startups; a small conference center; and Scholars Village, a 50,000-square-foot residential complex with short-term dorm-room accommodations for visiting scientists and entrepreneurs and longer-term apartments for STEM college students and people working at SciTech Scity.

LOCAL | March 22, 2017
$13 Million Development Approved for Vineland

Helped by EDA tax credits for 30% of the project’s eligible costs up to $3,911,700 worth of state taxes, approved last week, Vineland will see a $13 million commercial development on the site of the former Kmart site on Delsea Drive across from Cumberland Mall. The project includes construction of an Olive Garden restaurant on a discrete pad on the site, plus a 30,000-square-foot Raymour & Flanigan Furniture store, a 50,000-square-foot Gabe’s discount clothing store and other businesses.

LOCAL | March 22, 2017
Gateway ROI Could be 4-to-1

The Gateway project, estimated at $25 billion, would generate $4 for every dollar spent, says Amtrak. The projected return-on-investment was based on a study to determine if finding funding for Gateway is feasible. If completed, the project could double service for NJ Transit and Amtrak commuters into Manhattan, foster job growth and strengthen a transit system that was severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy. According to the study, if a new Gateway tunnel is not built, the region could lose as much as $3 billion in economic activity from 2025 to 2029, particularly if the storm damage and aging force one of the two tubes of the century-old North River Tunnel to close. Such a closure would reduce capacity by 75%.

LOCAL | March 22, 2017
Last of “Building Our Future” Bond Act Monies Appropriated

The remaining $34.3 million from the 2012 voter-approved legislation to fund higher education capital projects has been appropriated. Projects include:

  • NJIT - new Life Sciences and Engineering Research facility
  • Stevens Institute of Technology – state-of-the-art technology-equipped instructional and research building
  • William Paterson University – reconstruction of Hunziker Building for laboratories and general-use classrooms
  • Monmouth University – renovations to the Edison Science Building
  • Caldwell University – new Art Therapy facility
  • Union County College – new Health Sciences building

LOCAL | March 17, 2017
$135 Million Investment Planned for Former Atlantic Club Casino

R&R Development of Ventnor, with managing partner Ronald Young, has purchased the former Atlantic Club Casino with plans to convert it, after a $135 million investment, into a family resort, not a gambling venue. To be called Dolphin Village, the resort’s centerpiece will be a water park, along with a 300-room hotel that could open this fall. Young has partnered in the venture with Robert Reilert, former general counsel for Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Caesars had owned the Atlantic Club, selling it to TJM Properties of Clearwater, FL, after closing it in 2014. TJM continues to hold an ownership stake in the property.

NATIONAL | March 17, 2017
Metro Areas Show “Mixed Pattern” of Construction Employment in January

On the heels of the state construction employment figures, AGC of America released the metro figures, which show what AGC calls a “mixed pattern” across the country in January compared to January 2016. While 219 of 358 metro areas increased construction jobs, 61%, “many pockets of decline” appeared, even within states that had an overall increase for the same year-over-year period. In New Jersey, the up-and-down pattern was evident. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic and Newark each saw 4% increases, picking up 1,200 and 1,600 jobs respectively. Trenton added 100 jobs for a 2% gain. But Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean lost 1,900 jobs, a tough 5% hit, and Camden, despite all the new development, dropped 200 jobs, a 1% decline. Construction employment remained unchanged in Atlantic City-Hammonton and Vineland-Bridgeton for the year-over-year period.

LOCAL | March 15, 2017
AC’s CRDA Amends Master Plan to Spur Economic Development

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has proposed an amendment to its Tourism Master Plan with the hope it will encourage more development in Atlantic City. Key changes:  more permitted uses in zoning areas, and new zoning that would allow mixed-use development in the Southeast Inlet (plus restaurants and parks), along with art studios in other areas besides Ducktown and retail along the AC Expressway and waterfront. The 50-page amendment includes 25 objectives. The PDF and more details may be found at http://www.njcrda.com/ac-tourism-district/master-plan/

NATIONAL | March 15, 2017
State-by-State, Construction Employment is Up for the Month and Year

From January 2016 to January 2017, 39 states added construction jobs, and 38 states and DC added jobs between December 2016 and January 2017, reports AGC of America. New Jersey posted modest growth in both periods, adding 800 for the year-over-year, a 0.5% gain, and 3,800 jobs for the month, a 2.5% hike. New York and Rhode Island showed the strongest growth in the region. Rhode Island was in the top five percentage-wise for the year-over-year, jumping 8.9% with the addition of 1,600 jobs, and for the month, gaining 4.8% with an increase of 900 jobs. New York took the #2 spot for the month with the addition of 8,200 jobs, a 2.2% increase, and was up 5,100 jobs for the year-over-year, a 1.4% gain. Connecticut lost 900 jobs in the year-over-year, a 1.5% drop, but picked up 700 for the month, a 1.2% increase. Delaware was up 200 jobs for the year-over-year, a 1% gain, and 600 jobs for the month, a 2.9% increase. Pennsylvania added 6,500 jobs for the year-over-year, up 2.7%, and 5,900 for the month, a 2.45% gain.

NATIONAL | March 7, 2017
Congressional Review Act Repeals “Blacklisting” Rule

Yesterday, using the Congressional Review Act, the US Senate voted 49-48 to repeal former President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order, known colloquially as the blacklisting rule, that required federal contractors to disclose workplace violations. The House passed the same bill last month. It now goes to President Trump for signing.

AGC of America CEO Steve Sandherr issued a statement following the Senate vote: “Congress has wisely voted to preserve the integrity and fairness of the federal contracting process…To be clear, there should be no place in federal contracting for unsafe or unscrupulous firms. Yet the…measure did nothing to reform or improve the existing suspension and debarment process. Instead, it created a new layer of bureaucracy that would have given federal officials broad discretion to punish construction firms based on any number of unsubstantiated allegations without establishing a process for those firms to defend themselves. That is why the Associated General Contractors worked so aggressively…for passage of today’s repeal measure. We urge President Trump to sign this measure into law as quickly as possible.”

LOCAL | March 6, 2017
Hard Rock Buys AC’s Taj Mahal

Last week, Hard Rock International announced its partnership with the Morris and Jingoli families to purchase the former Trump Taj Mahal casino from Carl Icahn. Hard Rock will be the majority owner of the now-to-be-called Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. The group will invest more than $300 million to purchase and renovate the casino. Joseph Jingoli and Son, Inc., of Lawrenceville is an Active Member of ACCNJ, and will serve as developer on the project, which is expected to open in 2018.

February 2017

NATIONAL | February 28, 2017
AGC of America Launches New Advocacy Site

In case you find it less-than-easy to communicate with state and federal officials, AGC of America has launched a new advocacy site to seamlessly send emails, take action on legislative/regulatory alerts and find out information on a variety of topics. For example, under “ACTION CENTER” on the nav bar, you can find your legislator, send an email to one or more legislators and research their voting records. Under “ADVOCACY” you can read about the issues and legislation that directly affect the construction industry, and even register to vote. Visit and browse: http://advocacy.agc.org/

LOCAL | February 27, 2017
Pinelands Commission Approves PennEast Pipeline

On Friday, the Pinelands Commission approved, 9-5 with one abstention, the underground PennEast pipeline, which will run from Millville to the B.L. England electric plant in Upper Township (Cape May County). Approximately 15 miles of the 22-mile pipeline will travel through the Pinelands. The rest will follow Routes 49 and 50.

LOCAL | February 21, 2017
Jamie Fox, Twice Transportation Commissioner, Dies at 62

Jamie Fox, who served as Commissioner of Transportation under Gov. Jim McGreevey and Gov. Chris Christie, died yesterday of kidney disease. Fox had a long history of public service in the state, serving as Chief of Staff and/or senior advisor to Governors McGreevey, Florio, Codey and Corzine, as well as Senator Bob Torricelli. Fox was also a former Executive Director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Born in Elizabeth and raised in Union Township, he was a lobbyist and founder of River Crossing Strategy Group in Trenton, and was well-liked and respected by Democrats and Republicans alike.

LOCAL | February 21, 2017
Route 206 Bypass Moves Closer to Completion

NJ DOT’s Route 206 Bypass, an idea that’s more than four decades old and a project that’s only half-completed, might be finished by 2020. It’s supposed to run from Old Somerville Road to Mountainview Road in Hillsborough, but part of the land needed for the congestion-relieving bypass is also the site of the Van der Veer Harris House, which dates to the late 18th century and is owned by the New Jersey Historic Trust. DOT proposes a land swap of almost 13 acres it owns on Township Line Road, to be dedicated as open space, for just under two acres for the bypass – running 1,100 feet along Route 206 and 50 feet back into the Van der Veer House property. If the NJ DEP Green Acres Program approves the land swap, bids for site prep and construction could go out in the fall. The project is estimated at $50 million or more.

LOCAL | February 17, 2017
Port Authority Capital Plan Includes Some Bus Terminal Funding

Yesterday the Port Authority approved a $32.2 billion, 10-year capital plan. The 2017-2026 Capital Plan includes $11.6 billion in major redevelopment projects at regional airports; $10 billion for trans-Hudson commuting, of which $2.7 billion will pay debt service on federal loans to build the Gateway Project’s rail tunnels; the remaining funds needed to complete the $1.5 billion Goethals Bridge replacement and $1.6 billion Bayonne Bridge rebuild; and almost $2 billion to complete the GW Bridge rehab. Notably, the Capital Plan also provides $3.5 billion for a new Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. Initially, $70 million of that is set aside for planning – hiring environmental and technical consultants, identifying a site, conducting environment studies and evaluating “interim solutions for the existing terminal.”

LOCAL | February 14, 2017
Virtua Health Announces $22 Million Expansion in Camden

Virtua’s Camden campus, more than 100 years old, could be transformed into a $22 million, two-story, 34,500-square-foot Family Health Center at Mount Ephraim Avenue and Everett Street, consolidating and upgrading the services it currently offers in the complex of buildings at Mount Ephraim and Atlantic avenues. Plans include flexible space for 16 to 18 exam rooms, including two larger rooms that can encompass medical teams; a video hookup for communications with offsite experts; urgent care services; physical therapy facilities; podiatry and dental services, and other specialties. The existing family health center would be demolished to create parking and the new center would be built adjacent to that site. The site plans were supposed to be considered at the Camden Planning Board meeting last Thursday, which was cancelled due to weather conditions.

NATIONAL | February 14, 2017
Materials and Labor Costs Rising Faster Than Project Prices

AGC of America reported today the cost of materials used in construction rose 3.8% in January compared to January 2016, while the price index for new nonresidential buildings increased only 1.4%. Most notable were price increases in diesel fuel, up 34.8%, copper and brass mill shapes, up 19.9%, steel mill products, up 11.4%, and lumber and plywood, up 3.7%. Across the country, the average hourly earnings for all construction workers rose 3.2% in the year-over-year timeframe. For AGC’s producer price index tables and explanation, login to www.agc.org.

LOCAL | February 10, 2017
Cherry Hill Advances Plans for Addiction Rehab Center

On Monday, the Cherry Hill Planning Board approved a recommendation to adopt a redevelopment plan for the nearly four-acre Baker Lanes bowling alley site on Cuthbert Blvd. between Routes 38 and 70. The proposed treatment center, under the direction of Advance Recovery Systems of Fort Lauderdale (Florida), would be three or four floors with a maximum of 90 beds, medical treatment areas, therapy offices, group meeting rooms, a cafeteria, administrative offices and other staff facilities, all within a footprint of up to 30,000 square feet accessible to off-street parking. Indoor and outdoor recreational areas could include a half-size basketball court, volleyball court, indoor running track, in-ground swimming pool, gardens and outdoor seating areas, and locker rooms. It would also be a secured facility with fencing, landscaping and both internal and external security measures.

LOCAL | February 8, 2017
Morristown Office Building to Get Major Renovation

The property at 340 Mount Kemble Ave. in Morristown, with 400,000 square feet, will get a glass façade, full-height atrium, conference rooms, a cafeteria and an auditorium. It will also have parking spaces for 1,600 vehicles, along with shuttle service to downtown Morristown and the train station. The renovation is directed by Onyx Equities LLC.

LOCAL | February 7, 2017
AC Land Auction Expands to Include Other Towns’ Land

An auction scheduled for March 9 will offer more than 150 properties in Atlantic City, Egg Harbor Township, Galloway Township and Pleasantville. The site is an old union hall at 470 N. Albany Avenue, itself one of the parcels to be auctioned off, currently being upgraded to become a restaurant. Other parcels evoke Monopoly:  the Columbus Hotel at Pacific Avenue and St. James Place; land on Pacific Avenue next to Kelsey’s Restaurant; and several beachfront properties on New York Avenue and St. James Place. Some have been packaged together, such as a six-property group in Galloway Township and 10- and 18-property groups in Pleasantville. And there’s an 11.7-acre piece zoned for commercial use on White Horse Pike in Galloway. Most of the land is owned by Ned Sakhai, including the old union hall. Robert Salvato’s AcAuctions of Ventnor is running the auction.

LOCAL | February 2, 2017
New York’s Labor Unions Maintain Highest Membership in US

New York is the most unionized state in the country, and the only state to have more than 20% of its workers organized – and that’s been true every year for the past decade, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2016, 23.6% of New York’s workers belonged to a union, compared to 10.7% of US workers overall. New Jersey saw a rise recently in the percentage of union members among employed workers, measuring 15.4% in 2015 and 16.1% in 2016.

LOCAL | February 2, 2017
NYC Buildings Department Comes Out Against Union Apprenticeship Bill

New York City’s construction fatalities rose sharply in the last two years, and a 21-bill Construction Safety Act was debated this week in City Council.  One hotly contested piece, the apprenticeship bill, would require apprenticeship training for construction workers. It was blasted on Tuesday by the city’s Department of Buildings Commissioner, Rick Chandler, who would prefer a provision requiring OSHA’s 10-Hour Construction Health & Safety course. While the debate was going on within, reportedly thousands of union construction workers protested on Broadway outside City Hall in support of the apprenticeship bill, while another group organized by the New York City Housing Authority rallied against the bill.

NATIONAL | February 1, 2017
Metro Construction Employment Sluggish in December Year-Over-Year

Compared to December 2015, construction employment dropped in 110 of 358 metro areas (31%) in December 2016. It remained unchanged in 65 metros and increased in 183, only 51% -- the lowest increase since September 2012, according to AGC of America’s Chief Economist Ken Simonson. The biggest loss in our region was the Orange-Rockland-Westchester metro area in New York, which shed 5,500 jobs, a 12% drop. In New Jersey, we had a see-saw among our metro areas. Camden gained 2,100 jobs in the year from December 2015 to December 2016, a 10% jump that put the city at #15 across all metros in the US. But Trenton lost 500 jobs, a 9% drop, ranking it near the bottom at #346. Atlantic City-Hammonton lost 300 jobs, a 6% drop, and Vineland-Bridgeton lost 100 jobs, a 3% drop. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean picked up 1,300 jobs in the year-over-year comparison, a 3% gain; and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic and Newark each gained 400 jobs, a 1% increase for each. The see-saw resulted in a net gain for the state of 3,200 jobs, a 2% bump.

January 2017

LOCAL | January 31, 2017
AC Plans New Public Housing

The Atlantic City Housing Authority has proposed demolishing two existing public housing developments, Stanley Holmes and Buzby Village, and building new facilities, plus renovating the senior and disabled towers under the authority’s domain, including Jeffries Tower and Altman Terrace. Monies for these projects could come from the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration Program, and the property for the new developments could be found in vacant sites owned by the city. Rehab in the towers could include new kitchens, bathrooms, vanities, painting, roofing and other exterior work. Planning is still in the early stages, but if projects can go forward, the Housing Authority anticipates completion within four years.

NATIONAL | January 30, 2017
AGC of America Asks for Action on Congressional DOT Funding

AGC of America’s Highway Facts Bulletin last Friday reports the Transportation Construction Coalition sent a letter to the 115th Congress asking for action to fully fund an FY 2017 transportation appropriations measure. Because federal funding is approved only through the end of April, the letter notes, states are unable to put all their projects out to bid. Also, federal highway and transit programs are currently funded at FY 2016 levels, 2% below the level authorized in the FAST Act. AGC of America urges members to contact your Congressional delegation and invites you to use the message available through the Hardhats for Highways website:  http://hardhatsforhighways.org/

NATIONAL | January 30, 2017
Cleveland Ironworkers First to Approve Pension Cuts Under 2014 Law

Last week, a majority of members of Iron Workers Local 17, based in Cleveland, approved pension cuts requested by trustees in order to save the pension fund from imminent insolvency (projected to be 2024). The Local was the first to take such action under the 2014 Multiemployer Pension Fund Reform Act. The Treasury Department certified the voting results; the cuts will be reflected in February 1 pension checks.

LOCAL | January 26, 2017
$10 Million in Funding for Rehab of Passaic Riverfront

Passaic city and county officials announced funding this week of $10 million to rehabilitate the city riverfront at Dundee Island Park. Half comes from a DEP grant, half from Passaic County. First phase of the project includes construction of a river walkway, upgrades to athletic fields in the park and sustainability designs to reduce flooding. The Trust for Public Land will coordinate the project.

NATIONAL | January 26, 2017
Senate Democrats:  $1 Trillion, 10-Year Infrastructure Proposal

Senate Democrats this week jumped on President Trump’s infrastructure remarks to develop a $1 trillion plan for transportation and other infrastructure projects to be built over the next decade. Calling for $210 billion to repair or replace aging roads and bridges, plus $200 billion for a fund to pay for projects of “national significance,” they estimate the plan could create 15 million jobs. The Gateway Project – new rail tunnels and bridges between New York and New Jersey – is one of the projects that could be eligible for financing from the infrastructure fund. The plan isn’t getting much support from Senate Republicans, nor did the Democrats offer ideas for funding it.

NATIONAL | January 25, 2017
Two-Thirds of States Add Construction Jobs in 2016

For the year that just ended, 32 states added construction jobs, down from 44 states that added jobs in 2015. AGC of America attributes the drop to a “dearth of workers with experience.” On the plus side, New Jersey added 900 jobs from November to December 2016, a 0.6% increase, and was up 3,200 for the year, a 2.1% gain over 2015. In the region, Pennsylvania was the only other state that fared well, adding 2,200 jobs for the month, a 0.94% gain, and 3,900 for the year, up 1.7% from 2015. New York added 300 jobs for the month, a 0.1% increase, but shed 7,800 jobs for the year, the second highest loss in the nation and a 2.1% decrease. Connecticut’s monthly total remained unchanged from November to December, but the state lost 1,900 jobs, a 3.3% drop, from 2015. Delaware picked up 200 jobs for the month, a 1% gain, but was down 1,000 jobs, a 4.6% drop, from 2015. And while Rhode Island picked up 600 jobs, a 3.4% increase for the month, it lost 200 jobs for the year, a 1.1% drop.

NATIONAL | January 23, 2017
US DOT Issues New Report on Bridge and Highway Status

Last week, just as the I-276 bridge was shut down over the Delaware between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the US DOT was releasing its latest report, “2015 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges and Transit: Conditions and Performance.” Produced every other year, this latest report IDs a backlog of $836 billion in unmet capital investment needs for surface transportation, up 3.4% from the last report. And that figure was for 2012 improvements. The report states $142.5 billion is required – across state, federal and local governments – to cover the backlog plus other needs that could arise in the next couple of decades. To access the report, visit https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/pressroom/dot1710.cfm

LOCAL | January 23, 2017
PA Turnpike Bridge Closes with Fracture in Steel Truss

In May, the I-276 bridge over the Delaware will be 61. On Friday, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Authority abruptly closed the bridge after a fracture was discovered in an I-beam (14-inch steel truss). Owned jointly by the PA Turnpike Authority and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, the bridge will be closed indefinitely while repairs are made. Also closed:  NJ Turnpike Exit 6 and local roads under the bridge. The PA Turnpike Authority has launched a web page to track the progress of the work and provide information about detours:  https://www.paturnpike.com/DRBAlert.aspx

LOCAL | January 19, 2017
Newark’s Triangle Park to Become Mulberry Commons

Redevelopment of downtown Newark continues:  Mayor Baraka announced yesterday a plan to transform Triangle Park into 22 acres of park, retail and commercial space, known as Mulberry Commons. The project site, which runs along Mulberry Street by the Prudential Center, will repurpose a warehouse on McCarter Highway and connect the Ironbound district to Newark Penn Station. Edison Properties is principal owner, partnering with J&L Properties, the Newark Community Economic Development Corp. and the Newark Downtown District. More than $100 million for the project comes from private investors, with another $10 million expected in public funding. Still in the design stage, the project’s anticipated completion date is late summer 2018.

LOCAL | January 17, 2017
Industrial Park Proposed for Logan Township

F. Greek Development, based in East Brunswick, last week purchased 415 acres on US Rte. 322 in Bridgeport, Logan Township (Gloucester County), on which it plans a three-million-square-foot industrial park to be developed in partnership with Advance Realty.

LOCAL | January 17, 2017
UPDATE: Tunnel Project’s Gateway Development Corp. Elects Chair

Last week, the Gateway Development Corp. announced it elected Richard Bagger as chairman at the corporation’s first meeting in Newark. Currently a Port Authority Commissioner, Bagger was a New Jersey State Senator (R) and then chief-of-staff to Gov. Christie. In its first funding action, the corporation approved an Emerging Projects Agreement with the US DOT, the first step in securing billions of dollars in low-cost loans to pay for the Gateway project. The cost estimate for Gateway starts at $23 billion to cover two new tunnels, replacement of the Portal Bridge, two new tracks between Secaucus and the new tunnels, repair of the existing tunnels, an annex to Penn Station, a loop in Secaucus to connect Bergen County light rail with New Jersey Transit’s Northeast Corridor lines, and a second Portal bridge. On January 5, the Port Authority committed $2.7 billion in its capital plan for Gateway.

LOCAL | January 13, 2017
Joint Base Chosen as Home for New Tankers

The second-largest employer in New Jersey and the only tri-service military base in the country, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst has been chosen to house a new fleet of 24 Air Force KC-46 air-refueling tankers, expected to arrive beginning in 2020. With the aircraft could come new jobs and millions in military construction spending. It also helps protects the Joint Base against closing or budget cuts.

LOCAL | January 12, 2017
New York’s Gov. Cuomo Issues EO for State Contractors on Pay Equity

On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 162 requiring state contractors and subcontractors to report comprehensive payroll information on all workers employed on state contract jobs beginning on or after June 1, 2017. The information must include job title and salary in addition to the EEO information already required (gender, race, ethnicity).

NATIONAL | January 12, 2017
AGC Releases Hiring and Business Outlook Survey Results

Yesterday AGC of America released the results of its 2017 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook survey. Based on results from nearly 1,300 construction firms from 49 states and DC, 73% expected to expand payrolls in 2017, with demand growing in both private and public sectors in all market segments. Among the segments, respondents were most optimistic about demand in the hospital and retail/warehouse/lodging markets. Respondents remain worried about the availability of qualified workers and rising health and regulatory costs. For complete details and the report, visit:

https://www.agc.org/news/2017/01/10/seventy-three-percent-construction-firms-plan-expand-headcount-2017-contractors-0

New Jersey did not have enough respondents to warrant an individual state report.

NATIONAL | January 11, 2017
USDOT Creates Committee on Automation

With an illustrious

membership, the new advisory committee on automation, announced today by the USDOT, will immediately begin work on a number of issues facing transportation, included automated vehicles. The 25-person committee is co-chaired by Mary Barra of GM and Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, and includes engineering and transportation experts from well-known organizations and municipalities: Gloria Boyland of FedEx; Robin Chase of Zipcar; Douglas Chey of Hyperloop One; Henry Claypool of the Community Living Policy Center; Mick Cornett, Mayor of Oklahoma City; Missy Cummings of Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering; Dean Garfield of the Information Technology Industry Council; Mary Gustanski of Delphi Automotive; Debbie Hersman of the National Safety Council; Rachel Holt of Uber; Lisa Jackson of Apple; Tim Kentley of Klay-Zoox; John Krafcik of Waymo; Gerry Murphy of Amazon; Robert Reich of UC-Berkeley; Keller Rinaudo of Zipline; Chris Spear of the American Trucking Association; Sully Sullenberger of Safety Reliability Methods; Bryant Walker Smith of the University of South Carolina’s School of Law and School of Engineering; Jack Weekes of State Farm; Ed Wytkind of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department; and John Zimmer of Lyft.

LOCAL | January 11, 2017
Produce & Prepared Foods Provider Gets $28.1 Million EDA Incentive

Yesterday, F&S Produce Co., Inc., of Deerfield Township (Cumberland County), was awarded a 10-year, $28.1 million Grow New Jersey incentive from EDA to build a new 100,000-square-foot facility in the Rosenhayn section of Deerfield. The plant would include a USDA-approved prepared meal assembly area with space to process fruits and vegetables and cook meats and grains.

LOCAL | January 5, 2017
Fishermen’s Energy Loses Fed Funding for Windmill Farm

New Jersey has already lost out to Rhode Island as a wind energy leader, and now South Jersey’s Fishermen’s Energy has lost its federal funding to build a windmill farm off Atlantic City because the company couldn’t make a deal with the state for a power offtake agreement by December 31, 2016, the feds’ deadline. The US DOE has revoked most of the $47 million it committed to the project – nearly $11 million has already been spent on preliminary work. New Jersey’s state Board of Public Utilities rejected the Fishermen’s Energy plan three times, blocking any kind of power purchase agreement.

LOCAL | January 5, 2017
$10 Billion Plan to Remake JFK Airport

Yesterday, New York’s Gov. Cuomo revealed a $10 billion plan to remake JFK International Airport. The plan includes upgrading terminals, streamlining the roads and creating an enormous parking lot. However, the Port Authority, which operates the airport, was scheduled to meet today to review the 10-year capital plan, which included perhaps a tenth of that for JFK improvements.

December 2016

NATIONAL | December 29, 2016
AGC Analysis of Population Data as Predictor of Construction Demand

AGC of America’s Chief Economist Ken Simonson analyzed US Census Bureau population data posted this month to determine change over time (July 2010-July 2016), which can indicate where demand for construction may be strongest. For example, population across the US as a whole increased more slowly from 2015 to 2016, and has been “considerably slower” than in the decade before, which could mean demand for construction nationwide may also be slowed. Demand could be stronger, on the other hand, in states where year-over-year population growth is sustained or accelerated.

New Jersey’s population increased by small degrees from 2010 through July 1 of this year,for a modest six-year gain of 1.6%. However, growth in the state has decelerated in those six years, indicating demand may be less-than-robust.

In the region, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New York all lost population for the year from 2015 to 2016. Connecticut suffered from declining population over the last three years, while Pennsylvania and New York had maintained slow growth until this year. Rhode Island experienced up-and-down shifts over the six years, ending up with a small increase in mid-2016. Delaware made gradual gains although decelerated recently, but still reflected a 5.81% increase after six years, the best growth rate in the region.

For the table, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, July 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016, click here - State Population Change 2010-2016.  

Click here for Analysis of 2016 State Population Data.

LOCAL | December 28, 2016
New Milford Looks Ahead to Shopping Center Development

Following settlement of a legal dispute last week, New Milford (Bergen County) will now see a new shopping center on a currently vacant 14-acre lot. The dispute with the developer, S. Hekemian Group, led to the decision to allow a shopping center with a new ShopRite and bank, and to replace the existing New Milford ShopRite, just south of the lot, with 145 units of multifamily housing, 27 of which will be “affordable housing” (below market rate) as required by the state. As part of the settlement, the developer will donate part of the lot plus $800,000 for construction and maintenance of a borough athletic field.

LOCAL | December 27, 2016
NJ Transit to Fund Perth Amboy Train Station Renovation

Announced last week, New Jersey Transit will provide nearly $47 million to renovate the Perth Amboy Train Station, built in 1928 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. NJ Transit had gotten the renovation process started in 2013 with monies for design and engineering. Environmental assessment has already begun, and construction is expected to start in 2019.

NATIONAL | December 22, 2016
Metros Add Construction Jobs at Lowest Level in Four Years

We posted the November state construction employment data in Hot Topics earlier this week, and now bring you the metro area statistics for the year from November 2015 to November 2016. While the state numbers looked reasonably positive, drilling down finds construction employment increased in 211 metros for the year-over-year period, the lowest level in four years, according to AGC of America’s analysis. It declined in 86 metros and remained unchanged in 61. New Jersey’s numbers reflected the national pattern, with an uptick statewide for the year in the addition of 3,700 jobs, a 2% rise. But three metros lost jobs for the year:  Atlantic City-Hammonton shed 200 jobs, a 4% loss; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic lost 100 jobs, a 0.3% slip; and Trenton lost 400 jobs, an 8% slide. Vineland-Bridgeton maintained status quo. On the other hand, Camden added 2,600 jobs, a 12% jump that offset the losses; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean picked up 900 jobs, a 2% gain; and Newark added 600 jobs, a 1% increase.

LOCAL | December 20, 2016
Feds Want to Remake Northeast Corridor 

Last Friday, the Federal Railroad Administration unveiled its vision and recommendations for a 30-year remake of the Northeast Corridor, increasing the flow to four tracks in most locations, adding access to Philadelphia Airport, adding direct and frequent access to Hartford and Springfield, MA, and increasing or even doubling the number of regional trains, with up to five times more intercity trains. The FRA says the proposals would cut travel time from Boston to New York by 45 minutes and from New York to DC by 35 minutes. Work would start with the improvement of rail conditions along the corridor. However, these are recommendations only from the FRA, suggesting solutions that require more review, environment impact studies and significant funding.

LOCAL | December 20, 2016
Camden Gets $13.2 Million HUD Grant

A $13.2 million grant from the US Housing and Urban Development agency will go toward revitalizing the Mount Ephraim South neighborhood in Camden, one of five cities to receive a HUD 2016 implementation grant intended to turn old federal-subsidized housing into new mixed-use properties close to transit, schools and workplaces. The grant will come with another $280 million in private and public resources. Including Branch

Village in Mount Ephraim South, the neighborhood between I-676 and Haddon Avenue currently houses 5,000 residents. The grant will fund development of 176 new townhomes and a 50-unit senior mid-rise, and the city school district plans a new high school and K-8 school, together estimated at $50 million.

LOCAL | December 20, 2016
Update: More German Groceries in Jersey

In July, we posted a Hot Topic about Lidl, the German-owned grocery store chain coming to Millville. Last week, the Lacey Township (Ocean County) Planning Board gave “conditional” approval for a 36,000-square-foot Lidl store with nearly 200 parking spaces on 6.2 acres at the intersection of Route 9 and Haines Street. The conditions included adding taller evergreen trees, fencing and sidewalks along the property line and contributing a share of the cost of a new traffic light on Haines. In addition to Millville, Lidl plans to open groceries in Burlington County, Hazlet (Monmouth County) and Philadelphia.

NATIONAL | December 19, 2016
Uptick in Construction Jobs Across the Country for Month and Year

State-by-state, November saw an increase in construction jobs for both the month from October to November and for the year from November 2015 to November 2016. For the month, 29 states and DC added jobs, while 21 lost jobs. For the year-over-year period, 34 states added jobs, 14 lost jobs, and two states plus DC remained unchanged. While New Jersey lost jobs for the month – down 500, a 0.3% drop – it picked up 3,700 jobs for the year-over-year, a 2.5% increase. In the region, New York took a big hit for the month, shedding 2,400 jobs (a 0.7% drop), placing it second in the nation for jobs lost from October to November. New York also lost jobs for the year, dropping 6,400, a 1.7% decline. Connecticut lost the biggest percentage of jobs for the month, a 3.1% drop with 1,800 jobs lost, and recorded a decrease of 2,200 jobs for the year, a 3.8% drop. Delaware picked up 300 jobs for the month, a 1.5% rise, but was down 400 jobs for the year, a 1.9% decline. Pennsylvania lost 100 jobs for the month, a 0.04% slip, but added 800 for the year-over-year, a 0.3% uptick. Rhode Island gained during both periods, adding 200 jobs for the month, a 1.1% rise, and 300 for the year, a 1.7% gain.

LOCAL | December 13, 2016
EDA Approves Incentives for Three Manufacturing Projects

In action today, EDA approved a 10-year, $29.4 million Grow New Jersey award for Vitaquest International LLC, manufacturer of custom-contract nutritional supplements, which will invest more than $4.1 million in a 79,650-square-foot facility in Paterson, create 100 new jobs and retain 110 jobs that might have been lost had the company moved to Rochester, NY.

         EDA also approved a 10-year, $18.2 million Grow New Jersey award for Cascades Containerboard Packaging, manufacturer of containerboard and corrugated paper products, should the company construct a new 481,908-square-foot facility on Kapkowski Road in Elizabeth, create 182 new jobs and invest more than $116 million in the project. The company is considering Elizabeth and Newtown, CT, locations.

         Cyalume Specialty Products Inc. could receive a 10-year, $1.5 million Grow New Jersey award if it expands in Franklin Township (Somerset County) and invests $4.5 million to renovate a 44,392-square-foot facility. The company, which makes specialty chemical products for the pharmaceutical, medical products and cosmetics market, would create 10 new jobs and retain 27 if it decides not to relocate to West Springfield, MA.

LOCAL | December 13, 2016
UPDATE:  Amtrak Adds Six Months to Each Gateway Tunnel Fix

The first part of the Gateway Project includes building two new tunnels under the Hudson. But Amtrak announced yesterday that rehabilitating the existing tunnels, originally projected to take a year apiece, will now take 18 months each. After the new tunnels are built, the old tunnels will be shut down during off-peak hours for repairs, one tunnel at a time, allowing 55 hours of work time each weekend.

LOCAL | December 7, 2016
Dream Sequence: Triple Five Presents American Dream Design Video

Construction has apparently resumed on the American Dream project in the Meadowlands, and Monday the developer, Triple Five Worldwide, released a video of renderings depicting a chrome-and-glass exterior to replace the multi-colored existing face. Triple Five says it anticipates a Fall 2018 completion date. View the YouTube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVwxucZzl_M

LOCAL | December 7, 2016
NJ Post-Sandy Dredging Gets Extension and Budget

NJ DEP reports the state has a seven-year extension on its deadline to finish dredging 131 state channels clogged with sand and silt because of Superstorm Sandy – and will receive approximately $60 million more in federal FEMA funds for “vital waterway recovery projects.” The deadline was extended from October 30, 2017, to December 31, 2024. To date, NJDOT has restored 12 channels to authorized depth and is dredging 15 more. The 131 channels represent most of the 200 that were affected by the storm and are eligible for FEMA reimbursement.

LOCAL | December 7, 2016
Palmieri to Leave CRDA

John Palmieri, who has served as Executive Director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority for more than five years, will leave the position at year-end, to be replaced by Deputy Director Christopher Howard. Palmieri was appointed by Gov. Christie in 2011, after CRDA took on planning and development authority in Atlantic City’s Tourism District.

LOCAL | December 7, 2016
Gibbstown DuPont Factory Moves to Phase Two in Redevelopment

Monday night the Greenwich Township (Gloucester County) Planning Board approved second-phase plans for redevelopment of the old DuPont Repauno Plant in Gibbstown. Phase one, approved in July, allowed construction of the first building, a cold-storage warehouse; phase two will see more warehouses and an eight-million-gallon underground storage tank for butane, repurposed from the anhydrous ammonia cavern of the original plant, which closed in 1999.

November 2016

NATIONAL | November 29, 2016
October’s Construction Employment Up in Two-Thirds of Metro Areas

Construction employment rose in 223 of 358 metro areas (62%) between October 2015 and October 2016, fell in 73 (20%) and remained unchanged in 62 (17%). In New Jersey, two of seven metros lost jobs for the year-over-year:  Atlantic City-Hammonton dropped 200 jobs, a 4% decrease, and Trenton lost 400 jobs, a 7% drop. On the upside, Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 900 jobs for the year, a 3% gain; Camden added 700, also up 3%; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 2,000, a 5% hike; Newark added 2,700, up 6%; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, a 4% rise.

NATIONAL | November 28, 2016
Report Studies Effect of Undocumented Construction Workers on GDP

In the US from 2011 to 2013, the construction industry employed approximately 1.1 million undocumented workers, a 13% share of the industry’s workforce, according to a working paper released this month by the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research. The report calculates if those workers were excluded from the industry, construction GDP would drop about 5%, $30.9 billion, in the short-term, and about 8%, $47.6 billion, in the long-term. On the other hand, if undocumented workers gained legal status, the industry’s GDP could increase 1.2%, $7.7 billion, in the short-term, and 1.9%, $12.1 billion, in the long-term. Two other research groups, the Migration Policy Institute and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, responded with skepticism to the report, whose authors explained their findings are based on projected short-term reduction of building activities and long-term increase in labor costs. Released November 14, “The Economic Contribution of Unauthorized Workers: An Industry Analysis” by Ryan Edwards and Francesc Ortega of Queens College (New York), can be found online at http://nber.org/papers/w22834.

LOCAL | November 28, 2016
Camden to See More University Development on Broadway

The partnership between Rowan University and Rutgers-Camden advanced plans last week for a $65 million Center for Sciences complex on Broadway in Camden, across from its $70 million health sciences center. The 100,000-square-foot center on the east side of the 200 block of Broadway, for which the partnership is soliciting “pre-design” services, represents the third phase of a joint health sciences campus. It will include a “unified health sciences library,” classrooms, labs, a research incubator, healthcare-related retail, office and research space. Construction is expected to begin in 2017 on the first two phases and demolition of existing properties on the third-phase site could start in the summer of 2017. At the same time, the Camden County Board of Freeholders is considering a mixed-use complex at the Walter Rand Transportation Center, a block north of the health sciences campus.

NATIONAL | November 28, 2016
Federal Court Blocks Overtime Rule

As companies prepared to comply December 1 with the federal overtime rule requiring overtime pay for salaried workers making approximately $47,500 per year or less, a federal court in Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the rule last Tuesday, November 22. The US District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, in a case filed by 21 states, declared the US DOL did not have the authority to determine overtime eligibility based on a “minimum” salary. The DOL has not indicated whether it will appeal the decision.

LOCAL | November 22, 2016
Kennedy Health to Build $225 Million Tower and Parking Deck on Washington Township Campus

Kennedy Health announced it will build a seven-story tower and 700-space parking garage on its Washington Township Campus (Gloucester County), which already includes Kennedy University Hospital, surgical, cancer, dialysis and rehab centers, and a long-term care facility. Preliminary plans show a 200,000-square-foot tower with four floors of approximately 30 private patient rooms per floor, same-day surgery services, a cafeteria, hospital support services and a large lobby. Estimated at $225 million, construction on the project could begin in late 2017.

NATIONAL | November 22, 2016
Better Roads Releases 2016 Bridge Inventory

Equipment World’s Better Roads released its latest bridge inventory last Friday, noting that 10% fewer state DOT chiefs are worried about finding the funding to fix the functionally obsolete (FO) or structurally deficient (SD) bridges in their states. The publication attributes that to the enactment of more state programs to fund bridge repairs, with less reliance on federal funds. According to the 2016 Bridge Inventory, New Jersey is one of 17 states with 25%-50% of its bridges classified as FO or SD. The state has 6,680 bridges, of which 1,581 are FO and 568 are SD, for a total of 2,149, or 32.2%. For details and a mouse-over map of the states, visit http://www.equipmentworld.com/2016-better-roads-bridge-inventory-2-year-decline-in-deficient-u-s-bridges-snapped/.  

LOCAL | November 21, 2016
NJDOT Launches NJPass for Trucks to Bypass Weigh Stations

On Friday, NJDOT launched NJPass, a technology installed in fleet trucks that allows them to bypass the state’s weigh stations at I-78, I-80 and I-295. Any trucking company can apply for enrollment and, once approved, pay an annual fee. For details, visit www.njpass.net

LOCAL | November 21, 2016
Port Authority Approves Gateway Oversight Entity

Last Thursday, the Port Authority approved creation of the Gateway Program Development Corporation to oversee the Gateway rail transportation project. The municipal corporation, headed by John Porcari of Parsons Brinckerhoff, will be able to apply for and accept up to $6 billion in low-cost loans and staff the corporation, which could include “borrowing” staff from the Port Authority, Amtrak and NJ Transit.

NATIONAL | November 18, 2016
Less Than Half the States Add Construction Jobs in October

For the month from September to October, only 23 states and DC added construction jobs. For the year from October 2015 to October 2016, 35 states added jobs. AGC of America reports a decline in public-sector projects has led to the slowing demand for workers. New Jersey lost 200 jobs for the month, a 0.1% decrease, but gained 6,100 jobs for the year-over-year period, a 4.1% increase. In the region, Delaware lost the highest percentage of construction jobs for the month, down 2.8% with a drop of 600 jobs, and also lost 1,300 jobs year-over-year, a 6% drop. Pennsylvania was another loser, shedding 800 jobs for the month, a 0.3% drop, and 3,000 jobs for the year-over-year, a 1.3% drop. Connecticut gained 800 jobs for the month, a 1.4% increase, and 200 for the year-over-year, a 0.4% rise. New York picked up 1,100 jobs for the month, a 0.3% increase, and 2,700 jobs for the year-over-year, a 0.7% rise. And Rhode Island added 100 jobs for the month, up 0.6%, and 100 for the year-over-year, also a 0.6% increase.

LOCAL | November 10, 2016
Camden County to Build New Social Services Center

The Camden County Board of Social Services is planning a new $60 million, 195,000-square-foot facility that will eventually mean the demolition of its current home, the Aletha R. Wright Administration Building on Market Street, which will become a park next to City Hall. The new building on the 2600 block of Mount Ephraim in Camden’s Fairview section, expected to be completed in late 2018 or later, will consolidate Social Services and the job-training and resource center, with 700 employees serving 2,500 clients a day. It is accessible by NJ Transit buses.

LOCAL | November 10, 2016
State Approves Five-Year Takeover of AC

Yesterday the Local Finance Board unanimously voted to allow the state to take control of Atlantic City’s government and finances. The move gives the state power to renegotiate union contracts, hire and fire employees, sell city assets such as Bader Field and the Municipal Utilities Authority, and overrule or reverse city council actions. The Local Finance Board’s decision followed last week’s rejection by the Department of Community Affairs of AC’s proposed five-year plan to rescue the city.

NATIONAL | November 2, 2016
September Year-Over-Year, Construction Employment Rises in Two-Thirds of Metro Areas

In 226 of 358 US metro areas, 63%, construction employment rose. It declined in 74 metros and remained steady in 58. Like the rest of the nation, metro areas in New Jersey were a mixed bag, with two metro areas losing construction jobs, one making a modest gain and four showing healthy increases. Atlantic City-Hammonton lost 100 jobs, a 2% decrease, and Trenton lost 400 jobs, an 8% drop. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 200 jobs, a 1% bump; Vineland-Bridgeton also added 200 jobs, a 7% jump; Camden added 1,400 jobs, a 6% increase; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 2,200 jobs, a 6% rise; and Newark added 2,900 jobs, a 7% rise.

LOCAL | November 2, 2016
CarePoint Health Plans Nine Satellite ER Centers in Three Counties

CarePoint Health announced it will build nine new satellite emergency room facilities in Hudson, Bergen and Passaic counties. In partnership with Adeptus Health, and following approval by the Department of Health, CarePoint will locate the centers in Greenville and downtown Jersey City, Union City, Edgewater and North Bergen (all Hudson County); Palisades Park, Carlstadt and Lodi (all in Bergen); and Clifton in Passaic County. Plans are to build them in three phases, at a cost of approximately $8 million per center.

LOCAL | November 1, 2016
Florence & Mansfield Share e-Commerce Development Goal

Changes are in place that would help Florence and Mansfield in Burlington County add approximately 6.5 million square feet of industrial space between the NJ Turnpike and Route 130, with the goal of building more e-commerce fulfillment facilities. County freeholders voted to endorse changing state planning areas in Florence to allow for the industrial node, a move that must now be ruled upon by the State Planning Commission. If the state approves, next steps would include changing the zoning to industrial and getting DEP approval on a wastewater management plan to permit sewer and water service. In the end, if all the government regulations are aligned, private developers could bid to purchase the zoned land, which includes farms and residential properties. One possible developer is NFI of Cherry Hill, known for the Subaru and Quality Packages warehouses in Florence.

LOCAL | November 1, 2016
Wind Farm Auction Off New Jersey Coast in December

As we continue to follow New Jersey wind farm developments in Hot Topics, the latest news is the next federal government lease auction, scheduled for December 15, of 80,000 acres of the Atlantic Ocean seafloor approximately 18 miles southeast of Sandy Hook. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management oversees commercial offshore wind leases and identified 14 companies qualified to participate in the auction, including a Deepwater Wind subsidiary, which just finished building the first US wind farm off Rhode Island, and New Jersey’s Fishermen’s Energy. Last November, two other companies were awarded leases to build wind farms on 344,000 acres across a 60-mile stretch from Cape May Court House to Barnegat.

October 2016

LOCAL | October 27, 2016
Mack-Cali Buys 47 Undeveloped Acres in Wall Township

Mack-Cali Realty Corp. has purchased 47 acres of undeveloped land in Wall Township (Monmouth County) from Sheldon Gross Realty. The land has been approved for office and industrial use with a maximum facility size of 275,000 square feet.

LOCAL | October 27, 2016
Construction Management Groups Sue NYC Over Crane Laws

After the February crane collapse in lower Manhattan that killed a resident, the city updated its crane rules to require a shutdown of operations when wind speeds reach 30 mph. On Tuesday, two construction management associations filed a lawsuit to nullify the new regulations, stating no existing laws or standards in the US or internationally mandate or “even suggest that 30 mph winds necessitate special safety placement or maneuvers for crawler cranes.” The Building Trades Employers’ Association of New York and the General Contractors Association of New York claim the 30 mph clause comes from the 1968 building code and the Buildings Department used it in the new rules before the cause of the fatal accident was determined. The associations also take exception to the new lift director position, designated in the rules as a person who must be onsite along with a previously mandated crane safety director. Overall, the associations claim the rules ignore input from industry experts and want to prevent the city from enforcing similar rules in the future.

NATIONAL | October 24, 2016
OSHA Delays Enforcement of Anti-Retaliation Provisions - Again

Previously delayed until November 10, OSHA again has delayed enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions of its injury and illness tracking rule until December 1 at the request of a federal court. As we reported in the July Monthly Update (available online at www.accnj.org), AGC of America has serious concerns about OSHA’s interpretation of the provisions, which could result in prohibiting mandatory post-incident drug-testing and restricting certain safety incentive programs. To explain its position, AGC is hosting a free webinar for members, "Making Sense of OSHA’s Controversial Drug Testing Position in the Context of Injury and Illness Reporting," next Monday, October 31, 2-3 pm Eastern time. To register, visit https://www.agc.org/learn/education-training/events/webedmaking-sense-osha%E2%80%99s-controversial-drug-testing-position-context.

NATIONAL | October 24, 2016
OSHA Proposes Revisions to Standards, Including Construction

As part of OSHA’s initiative to update standards, the agency has proposed 18 changes to various standards, including 10 that are pertinent to construction: Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs), Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals, Personal Protective Equipment, Lanyard/lifeline Break Strength, Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Excavation Hazards, Underground Construction, Rollover Protective Structures, Regulation of Coke Oven Emissions in Construction and Collection of Social Security Numbers. For the Hazardous Chemicals Standard for construction, OSHA proposes “to replace the entire 31 pages of regulatory text” with a cross-reference to the general industry standard, which is identical. For all the details, access the summary at https://www.osha.gov/sip-iv/summary.html and the news release at https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=33234.  

NATIONAL | October 21, 2016
State Construction Employment Gains for Year, Slows for Month

While 35 states added jobs in September compared to a year ago, only 21 added jobs in the month from August to September. Construction employment in the region was uneven, with New York adding the most jobs for the month (5,100, a 1.4% increase) and Pennsylvania losing the most (down 3,400 jobs, a 1.4% drop). New York also gained 5,200 jobs in the year-over-year, another 1.4% gain, while Pennsylvania lost 2,600 for the year, a 1.1% drop. New Jersey lost 600 jobs for the month, down 0.4%, but over the year picked up 5,700 jobs, a 3.9% increase. Connecticut added 500 jobs for the month, a 0.9% increase, but lost 700 compared to last year, a 1.2% drop. Delaware’s construction employment did not change month-to-month, but the state lost 200 jobs over the year, a 0.9% drop. Rhode Island also maintained the status quo from August to September, but picked up 100 jobs in the year-over-year, a 0.6% gain.

LOCAL | October 21, 2016
Port Authority Commits $300 Million for Replacing Portal Bridge

Yesterday the Port Authority Board of Commissioners authorized more than $300 million to replace the Portal North Bridge, part of the Gateway project that includes a new trans-Hudson rail network. The Authority will fund debt service on a $284 million low-cost, long-term federal loan and $18 million in loan expenses. With permits already in place for the bridge, which crosses the Hackensack River near Secaucus Junction, construction could start as early as 2018.

LOCAL | October 17, 2016
ResinTech Gets $138 Million in EDA Incentives to Relocate to Camden

ResinTech, currently based in West Berlin, was approved for a 10-year, $138 million EDA Grow New Jersey incentive package to relocate to Camden, rather than move to Roanoke, VA. If ResinTech, which manufactures ion exchange resin, decides to stay in New Jersey, it might build a 385,000-square-foot facility on Federal Street in Camden that would house both its manufacturing plant and corporate headquarters. The Camden move would retain 92 full-time positions and create 173 new full-time jobs.

NATIONAL | October 13, 2016
AGC of America Joins Alliance to Prevent Construction Worker Suicides

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report in July that revealed construction workers commit suicide at an alarming rate – 53.3 per 100,000 workers in 2012, second only to farming, fishing and forestry industry workers – the Construction Financial Management Association formed an industry alliance to work on the problem. AGC of America has joined the efforts of the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention to promote mental health awareness and help prevent worker suicides. Visit www.cfma.org for the CFMA’s web page on the Alliance or look for #SuicidePreventionCFMA on social media.

LOCAL | October 6, 2016
AGC of America Analyzes Economic Impact of Construction in New Jersey

In September, AGC issued the latest analysis of construction’s impact on New Jersey’s economy, based on statistics from 2014-2016. Last year, construction contributed $22 billion, or 3.8%, of the state’s GDP of $568 billion, slightly less than the industry as a whole contributed to the country’s GDP (4%). Private nonresidential construction spending in the state totaled $4.1 billion, based on 2014 figures. Construction employment in New Jersey hit 152,400 in July 2016 for both residential and nonresidential segments, an increase of 2.6% over July 2015 and a 14% decrease from April 2006, the state’s peak employment in the industry. In 2014, 94% of New Jersey’s 20,900 construction firms were considered “small,” with less than 20 employees. In 2015, construction worker pay in the state averaged $67,700, 9% more than all private-sector employees in the state. For the one-page PDF with complete details, download the NJ-Fact-Sheet-Economic-Impact-of-Construction.

NATIONAL | October 6, 2016
AGC of America and Other Groups Ask for Long-Term Funding in Presidential Candidates’ Infrastructure Plans

In a letter to the Trump and Clinton campaigns, AGC of America and many other business and labor groups told the Presidential candidates to include “sustainable revenue” sources to fund their infrastructure plans. Pointing out the surface transportation law enacted in late 2015 contained no measures for long-term solvency of the federal Highway Trust Fund, the letter stated the revenue “must be long-term, reliable, dedicated and focused on the users and beneficiaries of our transportation network.” The groups assured the candidates they “stand ready to assist the next presidential administration in formulating and implementing” an infrastructure agenda. In addition to AGC of America, the letter was signed by 33 groups, including the International Union of Operating Engineers, Laborers’ International Union of North America, the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Asphalt Pavement Association and the National Electrical Contractors Association. To read the letters and view the signatures, visit https://www.agc.org/sites/default/files/Files/Communications/Clinton_Letter.pdf
https://www.agc.org/sites/default/files/Files/Communications/Trump_Letter_0.pdf

LOCAL | October 5, 2016
Vineland to Build New Police Department Facility

With construction expected to begin next June, Vineland is building a new 59,000-square-foot police department facility, with a 6,150-square-foot out-building for car, bike and kennel storage. It will be located across Plum Street from the old one, which will be demolished for a new parking lot. Construction will be financed with a $25 million bond.

September 2016

LOCAL | September 29, 2016
Bill Could Allow Municipalities To Restart and Receive Compensation for TTF Projects

Legislation passed this week by the New Jersey Assembly’s Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee, A-4114, would permit counties and municipalities to fund TTF projects shut down by Governor Christie and “require (New Jersey) DOT to compensate government entities for contractual delay damages resulting from shutdown” of TTF projects.

NATIONAL | September 28, 2016
August Construction Employment Up in 61% of Metros Over Last Year

Of the 358 metro areas in the US, 220 (61%) added construction jobs in August compared to August 2015. Another 76 metros lost jobs, and construction employment remained unchanged in 62. AGC of America notes the number of metros reporting gains is the smallest since April 2013, while the number of job openings is “at a 10-year high,” indicating shortages of qualified workers in parts of the country. In New Jersey, five of the seven metro areas gained jobs for the year-over-year: Bergen-Hudson-Passaic picked up 300 jobs, a 1% increase; Camden added 1,100 jobs, a 5% lift; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 1,600 jobs, a 4% rise; Newark added 1,900 jobs, a 4% increase; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, a 3% increase. Atlantic City-Hammonton and Trenton both lost jobs for the period, down 300 (a 5% drop) and 400 (a 7% drop) respectively.

NATIONAL | September 21, 2016
States Add Construction Jobs for the Year, But Monthly Growth Slows

Compared to August 2015, construction employment rose in 36 states in August 2016. But the growth from July to August of this year was sluggish, with less than half the states – 24 – adding jobs. AGC notes public-sector demand slowed for the month, contributing to the mediocre growth. New Jersey’s construction employment figures indicated a bump of 5,100 jobs in August compared to last year, a 3.4% increase. But the state added only 200 jobs for the month, continuing to reflect the shutdown of TTF projects. In the region, New York was the biggest loser for the month, dropping 4,600 jobs, more than any other state, and measuring a 1.3% drop. Over the year, New York showed a modest gain of 0.3% with 1,200 new jobs. Connecticut lost 1,600 jobs for the month, a 2.8% drop, and another 1,600 jobs compared to a year ago, again a 2.8% drop. Pennsylvania lost 2,000 jobs for the month, down 0.8%, but picked up 600 jobs year-over-year, a 0.3% rise. Delaware had modest gains, up 200 jobs for the month, a 1% increase, and 100 jobs year-over-year, a 0.5% increase. Rhode Island also showed small gains, up 100 jobs for the month, a 0.6% rise, and 300 jobs for the year-over-year, a 1.8% increase.

LOCAL | September 20, 2016
NJPAC Development Funding in Place After a Decade

One Theater Square, a $116 million mixed-use development planned for the area around the Performing Arts Center in Newark, was initially proposed in 2005, but last week finally got all its funding lined up and could open in Summer 2018. Current plans include a 22-story building on 1.2 acres with 12,000 square feet of ground-floor retail topped by 390,000 square feet divided into 245 apartments. Those will range from 585-square-foot studios to 1,700-square-foot three-bedroom units, including 24 affordable housing units, along with a swimming pool and health club. The building, which also includes 285 parking spaces, features a curved glass front and will be located across from NJPAC and Military Park. Dranoff Properties of Philadelphia was originally named developer; Dranoff has now signed a letter of intent with NJPAC’s Theater Square Development Co.

LOCAL | September 19, 2016
PennDOT Rolls Out Mobile App for Construction

Construction-related documents are now accessible on a mobile app developed by Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation for its construction inspectors, both in-house and contracted. The documents – plans, permits, correspondence, change orders, etc. – are automatically saved and updated, allowing inspectors to access them on a mobile device instead of carrying the paper loads. PennDOT claims $11 million in productivity savings the first year, another $17 million in the fiscal year, and looks forward to saving $81 million in the next five years.

LOCAL | September 14, 2016
UPDATE:  American Dream to Offer SpongeBob and Ninja Turtles

Now that financing for American Dream Meadowlands appears more secure, developers Triple Five have announced some fun:  an agreement with Nickelodeon Universe to use its characters, including SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as entertainment at the megamall’s indoor amusement park. American Dream Meadowlands now has a tentative completion date of mid-2018.

LOCAL | September 14, 2016
Rocky Hill Bridge Project to be Funded by Somerset County

Work on replacing the Rocky Hill Bridge on Route 518 began in July, just before Gov. Christie shut down all TTF projects. Yesterday, Somerset County announced it has agreed to pay the $2.75 million to complete the project because the closure has been a hardship for residents and first responders. The Board of Chosen Freeholders will fund the project as a capital expenditure with no added tax burden on county residents.

NATIONAL | September 6, 2016
July Private Construction Spending Up from Last Year, Public Spending Sluggish

July construction spending, at $1.153 trillion, was up 1.5% compared to July 2015, but remained roughly the same as June, down $345 million, less than 0.1%. Public-sector construction spending dropped 3.1% for the month and was down 6.5% year-over-year. On the plus side, private construction spending increased 1% for the month, up 4.4% year-over-year. Total non-residential spending slid down 0.3% for the month, due in large part to the Census Bureau’s upward revision to June’s numbers, but increased 1.4% year-over-year. Looked at by sector, office construction spending was up 4% for the month with a whopping 25.2% jump for the year-over-year, making it the strongest non-residential sector; power dropped 1.9% for the month but inched up 0.7% for the year-over year; and highways and streets were up 0.2% for the month, down 1.7% year-over-year.

AGC of America points out that in the first seven months of 2016 construction spending was up 5.6% over the same period in 2015, with private nonresidential spending up 8.6% for the year-to-date. By sector for January through July 2016, power construction spending grew 8.3% over the same period in 2015; commercial retail/warehouse spending was up 10.1% year-to-date; and private office construction spending was up 27% year-to-date. But public construction spending was up only 0.2% for the first seven months of 2016, with highway and street spending up 2.6% year-to-date and education construction spending up 4% year-to-date.

August 2016

NATIONAL | August 26, 2016
AGC of America Responds to Federal “Fair Play” Rule

On Wednesday, AGC of America’s Steve Sandherr released public comment condemning the new federal “Fair Play” rule following release of the final regulation that allows federal officials to blacklist firms. AGC’s position is the federal government already has in place a “robust, clear-cut and fairly administered suspension and debarment program to deal with the extremely small number of federal contractors that do not operate in good faith.” In addition, AGC objects to the provision that “unelected federal bureaucrats” can “make arbitrary decisions about which firms will be singled out for punishment…with broad latitude to impose separate and inconsistent consequences on those firms.” Sandherr concludes that AGC of America will “explore all possible legislative and legal measures for undoing this deeply troubling…mandate.”

LOCAL | August 26, 2016
UPDATE:  American Dream Creeps Closer

Yesterday the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority authorized a $1.1 billion bond sale to Public Finance Authority of Wisconsin, which will then resell them to investors. Along with $1.5 billion in other private financing, the sale will hopefully jumpstart resumption of work on American Dream Meadowlands, perhaps as soon as September.

NATIONAL | August 22, 2016
US DOT Launches Mobile App for Pocket Guide to Transportation

US DOT is celebrating its 50th anniversary by launching a mobile app for its popular “Pocket Guide to Transportation.” Straight from the DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which publishes the hard-copy Pocket Guide every year, the app will instantly produce any transportation factoid you might want. You can search Infrastructure, Moving People, Moving Goods, Performance, Economy, Safety and Environment, and a new Major Trends section. Available for iPhones, iPads and Androids.

LOCAL | August 22, 2016
NJ Construction Employment Plummets With Work Shutdown in July; National Picture Not Strong Either

New Jersey ranked second from the bottom in the nation in July’s construction employment figures, losing 3,200 jobs, a 2.1% drop compared to June. The loss, of course, was primarily due to the shutdown of road and infrastructure projects ordered by Governor Christie on June 30. But across the country, only 23 states and DC gained jobs for the month. In the region, New York was third from the bottom for the month, losing 2,800 jobs, a 0.8% drop. Delaware lost the highest percentage of construction jobs from June to July, down 2.3% with the loss of 500 jobs. Connecticut lost 600 jobs for the month, a 1% drop. Pennsylvania and Rhode Island were the only regional states to gain jobs for the month, picking up 3,900 (up 1.7%) and 100 (up 0.6%) respectively.

For the year from July 2015 to July 2016, the picture was better. Along with 38 other states, New Jersey added 3,800 jobs compared to a year ago, a 2.6% increase. Also in the gain column:  New York added 6,400 jobs for the year, a 1.8% rise; Pennsylvania added 3,900 jobs, a 1.7% rise; and Connecticut added 400 jobs for the year, a 0.7% rise. Delaware lost 100 jobs compared to a year ago, a 0.5% drop; and Rhode Island also lost 100 jobs for the year, a 0.6% drop.

LOCAL | August 17, 2016
AC Gets Two Bids in Bader Field Auction

Just 16 months ago, Atlantic City was moving fast to select development for Bader Field. But in the city’s sealed auction that ended August 4, only two bids came in for the former municipal airport on N. Albany Avenue, with the top bid at $50 million. Legend Properties Inc. of Cherry Hill and Bader Field Development LLC of Long Branch were the two bidders.

LOCAL | August 17, 2016
Appeals Court Says Belmar Voters Will Decide Pay-to-Play

Last week, an appeals court affirmed a Superior Court order from July that will allow Belmar voters to decide changes in the town’s campaign finance law. The Borough Council had increased the amount of money candidates can receive from political action committees, vendors and developers without recusing themselves from voting on town development and liquor licenses. A group of residents then sued the Borough Council on ethical grounds, leading to the court cases. The special referendum is scheduled for September 27, 2016.

LOCAL | August 11, 2016
Food Commercialization Center Coming to Cumberland County

Bridgeton will house the 27,000-square-foot Food Commercialization Center, a resource to help aspiring food industry leaders and entrepreneurs launch their ventures. The Cumberland County Improvement Authority, in partnership with the Cumberland Empowerment Zone Corporation and Bridgeton, will develop, own and manage the facility, expected to be completed by the end of 2017. The space will include units of 2,000 to 5,000 square feet to provide short-term accommodations for fledgling businesses.

LOCAL | August 11, 2016
This Week’s UPDATE #2 on American Dream Financing

Yesterday the Local Finance Board, a division of the Department of Community Affairs, approved the $800 million bond issuance proposed by the NJ Sports & Exposition Authority the day before. The monies will help work begin again on the American Dream Meadowlands project.

LOCAL | August 10, 2016
UPDATE: NJSEA Approves New Financing for American Dream Project

Hot Topics has been following the progress of the American Dream Meadowlands project, which lately had been stalled as developer Triple Five sought additional financing. Earlier this week, the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority unanimously approved a new bond issue to push the project along, for perhaps as much as $800 million.

LOCAL | August 10, 2016
Freehold Voter Decisions Struck Down in Favor of $32 Million School Expansion

As we reported via bulletin, in two special school construction referenda in September and December 2014, Freehold Borough residents rejected proposals to renovate and expand Park Avenue Elementary/Middle School (K-8) and the Freehold Learning Center, at a cost of $32,902,400, of which the state would have covered approximately 38% ($12.5 million). But last week the State Commissioner of Education, David Hespe, in concurrence with an administrative law judge, overruled the voter decisions and authorized a bond issuance for the work, noting it was “an extraordinary remedy” that was needed to ease overcrowding and provide a “thorough and efficient” education in Borough schools. The project will include 17 new full-size classrooms and five small-group classrooms at Park Avenue Elementary, along with a gym and library at the school. The Freehold Learning Center will get a cafeteria. All new construction will be covered by the Schools Development Authority; renovations will be covered by taxpayers via the bond issuance. Freehold Borough Superintendent Rocco Tomazic noted the district will work with the SDA to plan and build the project.

NATIONAL | August 3, 2016
June Construction Jobs Rise in Nearly Two-Thirds of US Metro Areas

Compared to June of last year, construction employment rose in 228 of 358 (64%) metro areas in June, dropped in 82 and remained the same in 48. In New Jersey, five of seven metro areas saw a jobs gain. Newark added the most jobs in construction year-over-year, up 2,900 for a 7% gain. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 2,200 jobs, also a 7% increase; Camden added 1,800 jobs for an 8% rise; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 600 jobs, up 2%; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, up 4%. Losing jobs year-over-year were Trenton, down 500 jobs for a 9% slump, and Atlantic City-Hammonton, down 300 jobs, a 5% drop.

July 2016

LOCAL | July 27, 2016
Woodbine Applies for $4 Million in Fed Funding for Sewer Project

In an application filed last week, the Borough of Woodbine and its Municipal Utilities Authority seek $4 million in funding from the USDA Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program to begin the two-phase $12.5 million Woodbine Sewer System Construction Project. The first phase, which this funding would cover in part, is all about connection – connecting the borough, the sanitation landfill of Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority, the Woodbine Municipal Airport and Business Park, and the Woodbine Developmental Center with a force main proposed by Cape May County’s MUA that would then connect to the MUA’s Seven Mile Beach/Middle Township Wastewater Facility. The second phase would capture and carry waste from Woodbine’s downtown through the phase-one connections. Woodbine will submit another USDA Rural Development application for that phase. Cape May County will cover an additional $8 million needed to construct the force main, bringing the total estimated cost of the project to $20.5 million.

NATIONAL | July 22, 2016
More than Three-Quarters of States Add Construction Jobs for Year

June construction employment rose in 39 states compared to June 2015, but half the states lost construction jobs for the month from May to June. New Jersey, however, looked strong for both periods, adding 6,800 jobs compared to last June, a 4.6% increase that put it in the #20 spot in the nation. For the month, New Jersey added 1,300 jobs, up 0.8% and in the #16 spot among all states. In the region, Connecticut added 400 for the year-over-year period, a 0.7% increase, but lost 900 for the month, a 1.5% drop; Delaware added 700 jobs for the year and 700 for the month, a 3.4% rise for each period; New York added 8,600 jobs for the year, a 2.4% increase, but lost 1,600 for the month, down 0.4%; Pennsylvania lost 100 jobs for the year-over-year, down 0.04%, but gained 3,400 for the month, a 1.5% rise; and Rhode Island lost in both periods, down 100 jobs for the year, a 0.6% decrease, and 600 for the month, a 3.4% loss.

LOCAL | July 20, 2016
NYC Mayor’s EO Requires Union Labor and Labor Agreements on City-Financed Projects

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio issued Executive Order No. 19 last week requiring that “city development projects” of a certain size have in place a “Labor Peace Agreement” between the labor union and the developer to prevent work stoppages or other interference, as well as allow a labor union to represent all the craftworkers on the job. Commercial or retail projects larger than 100,000 square feet and housing projects with more than 100 units, both receiving financial assistance from the city, are covered under the terms of the EO. Each Labor Peace Agreement would remain in effect for 10 years or for the duration of the city’s financial assistance to the project. The EO went into effect immediately on July 14, when it was issued.

LOCAL | July 19, 2016
NJ DOL Commissioner Hal Wirths to Leave Office in August

Governor Christie announced yesterday that Hal Wirths, who has led the Department of Labor and Workforce Development for more than six years, will leave the position next month. He took office in February 2010. The Governor noted he plans to nominate Commissioner Wirths to serve on the State Patrol Board.

LOCAL | July 15, 2016
Gateway Projects Get Federal “New Starts” Funding

The two new Hudson River rail tunnels and the Portal North Bridge, part of the Port Authority’s Gateway projects, are now officially in the Federal Transit Administration’s “New Starts” funding program, per an announcement yesterday from US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. The announcement allows the Port Authority, and Gateway project partners Amtrak and NJ Transit, to start funding the work, knowing federal funds will be available in the future. Once the feds approve a Project Development plan, work can begin on the Portal Bridge because the design is complete and ready to build, and because completion of a new bridge going north is considered a public safety benefit. The tunnel plans are ready to go into environmental review.

NATIONAL | July 11, 2016
Labor Board to Report Contractors’ Labor Law Violations

The National Labor Relations Board sent a memorandum to field offices announcing it will report federal contractors charged with labor law violations, in compliance with the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order signed by President Obama in July 2014. Thus, if a contractor is named in an unfair labor practice complaint, the Labor Board will 1) ask the contractor to provide information that could identify that employer as a federal contractor and 2) report the information to a federal database. That information, which could include Commercial and Government Entity and Data Universal Numbers System identifiers, and employer or taxpayer ID numbers, could be used to assess eligibility for contracting with the federal government. However, if a contractor settles or resolves an unfair labor practice case before a formal complaint is issued by a Regional Director, the NLRB will not report the information to the database.

NATIONAL | July 6, 2016
Construction Spending Down for May, Up for First Five Months Combined

May spending dropped 0.8% to $1.143 trillion from April, but because March and April spending were each revised upward, it’s possible the May numbers will also rise in the final analysis. The year-to-date overall increase in construction spending of 8.2% in the first five months of 2016 presents a “truer picture,” according to Ken Simonson, AGC of America’s Chief Economist. Looking at the private sectors, spending on multifamily residential construction rose 1.8% in May and 24% year-to-date; private nonresidential spending slipped 0.7% for the month but was up 9.2% year-to-date, fueled by power construction, which dropped 0.2% for the month but climbed 9.4% year-to-date; and commercial construction spending, which includes retail and warehouse, decreased 1.6% in May but was up 8.6% year-to-date. Public construction spending slid down 2.3% in May but still marked a 3.8% increase for the first five months of the year combined. Highway and street construction spending dropped 0.2% for the month but was up 6.9% year-to date, and educational spending dropped 5.4% in May but was up 8.6% January through May.

June 2016

NATIONAL | June 29, 2016
May Construction Employment Slows in 37% of Metro Areas

Of 358 metro areas across the country, 131 (nearly 37%) either lost construction jobs or did not add any in May of this year compared to May 2015, a lag primarily attributed to “inadequate investment in infrastructure,” according to AGC of America’s Chief Economist Ken Simonson. Five of New Jersey’s seven metros, however, were among the 227 that did add jobs for the year-over-year. Newark added 1,900 jobs, a 4% increase; Camden added 1,700 jobs, an 8% raise; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 1,500 jobs, up 4%; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 1,300 jobs, also up 4%; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, another 4% increase. Losing jobs for the year-over-year were Trenton, down 500 jobs for a 9% drop, and Atlantic City-Hammonton, down 400 jobs for a 7% loss.

LOCAL | June 29, 2016
Governor Announces Latest – and Last – Release of Higher Ed Bond Funds

Yesterday Governor Christie proposed the release of $180 million for higher education projects, using up the last $34 million of the funds from the $750 million bond voters approved in 2012 and taking $146 million from the Higher Education Capital Improvement Fund. The Legislature has 60 days to consider the use of both fund sources; if it takes no action, the projects are approved. For a list of the 35 projects, visit http://www.nj.gov/njefa/pdf/Comprehensive%20List%20By%20Sector%282%29.pdf

LOCAL | June 23, 2016
Millville to Get Lidl, a German Supermarket

Lidl, a German supermarket chain, chose Millville as a location for one of its new stores as it expands its presence on the East Coast. Undeveloped land off North 2nd Street will be the site for the 36,170-square-feet store with 148 parking spaces.

LOCAL | June 23, 2016
ACCNJ Members Chosen to Compete for Javits Center Project

Gilbane Building Company, a Skanska-led joint venture and a Lend Lease-Turner Construction Co. joint venture were chosen to respond to a request for proposals to renovate and expand the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan. All are members of ACCNJ. The project to add more than a million square feet is estimated at $1 billion.

NATIONAL | June 23, 2016
Silica Rule Goes Into Effect Today – and in One Year for Construction

For the construction industry, the one-year countdown to compliance begins today. OSHA’s silica rule goes into effect today, lowering the exposure limit for crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter over an eight-hour period. Construction firms must be in compliance by June 23, 2017.

ACCNJ will host a Coffee Talk with OSHA on the new silica rule. Mark your calendar for September 23, 2016, and look for registration information via email, to be sent soon.

NATIONAL | June 22, 2016
OSHA to Release New Penalty Schedule by July 1

OSHA has announced that by July 1, 2016, the US DOL will publish in the Federal Register the Interim Final Rule that spells out the new penalty structure due to take effect August 1. Those new penalties could affect any current OSHA inspection that will extend beyond August 1. ACCNJ will send a bulletin with details on the new penalties once the rule is published.

NATIONAL | June 20, 2016
State-by-State Construction Employment Up for Year, Down for Month

Compared to May 2015, state construction employment was strong, with 39 states adding jobs in May 2016. But from April to May of this year, only 19 states added jobs, which AGC of America attributes to a shortage of workers in the industry. New Jersey, however, added more construction jobs for the month than any other state in the nation, with an additional 2,900 positions, a 1.9% increase. For the year, New Jersey added 5,700 jobs, a 3.8% increase over May 2015. Construction was uneven in the region:  strong in New York (up 500 for the month, a 0.5% blip, and 11,000 for the year, a 3% raise); weak in Pennsylvania (down 2,900 for the year, a 1.2% drop, with the same negative figures for the month). Connecticut added 900 jobs for the month, up 1.5%, and 1,400 for the year, a 2.4% increase. Delaware lost jobs – down 400 for the month, a 1.9% loss, and 100 for year, a 0.5% drop. And Rhode Island lost 300 jobs for the month, a 1.7% drop, but picked up 800 jobs for the year, a 4.8% rise.

LOCAL | June 17, 2016
New York’s Palace Theatre Looks Forward to $2 Billion Lift

Maefield Development and owner Nederlander Organization plan to raise New York’s Palace Theatre, built in 1913, 29 feet above Times Square and build 70,000 square feet of retail and entertainment beneath it, both at street level and below-grade. The project, which will also include a new exterior, grand entrance and marquee on 47th Street, plus interior upgrades and restoration of the historic interior finishes, is expected to cost $2 billion and take 32 to 36 months complete, but it won’t start until “An American in Paris” finishes its run, which could be as long as three years from now. Construction of the Palace project will use 100% union craftworkers; a construction manager has already been selected but was not named publicly.

LOCAL | June 17, 2016
Pulaski Skyway Road Work Needs Another Year

The Pulaski Skyway will not fully re-open with all lanes operational until next summer, according to the DOT. Work on the fourth and final contract continues, redecking the last half-mile of the northbound lanes and the length of the southbound lanes.

NATIONAL | June 17, 2016
Report Names New Jersey Driving Experience 10th Worst

CarInsurance.com ranked New Jersey as the 10th worst state for driving, based on bridge and road conditions (6th and 7th worst, respectively), which result in damage (repair costs are highest in the country) and commuter delays (second-longest). In two categories, New Jersey fared better, ranking fourth best in road fatalities (6.2 deaths per 10,000 people) and sixth lowest in gas prices (averaging $1.87 per gallon). Insurance costs, another category, found New Jersey 15th highest based on percentage of median household income spent on car insurance (3.91%), although the site ranks New Jersey third-highest in premium rates. In the final category, New Jersey came out slightly better than the middle of the pack with 10.3% of its drivers uninsured.

LOCAL | June 17, 2016
EDA Tax Breaks for Camden Mixed-Use Apartments and Parking Garage

Last month we posted a Hot Topic announcing developer Carl Dranoff’s plans for a waterfront mixed-use complex with apartments, retail and parking at Delaware and Cooper in Camden. This week, EDA approved a $20.5 million tax break for the $55.2 million project. Also approved, $12.5 million in tax incentives for a Camden Parking Authority parking garage and office space estimated at $42.6 million.

NATIONAL | June 8, 2016
TIGER Grant Requests Far Outnumber Dollars Available

On Monday, US DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx said the dollars requested for TIGER grants added up to more than 18 times the total available for award. DOT received 585 applications requesting $9.3 billion from communities across the country. Only $500 million will be awarded through the competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, covering capital investment in surface transportation infrastructure. In fact, this year’s requests add up to double the total amount awarded in the previous seven years of the TIGER program.

NATIONAL | June 8, 2016
Construction Employment Down, Average Pay Up in May

Construction employment dropped in May for the second month in row, but “average pay in construction is rising faster than in the rest of the private sector,” according to AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson. He also reported unemployment among construction workers hit the lowest May rate in 16 years. There were 6,645,000 construction workers employed in May, down 15,000 from April; the industry lost 5,000 from March to April. But compared to May 2015, employment this year in May was up 3.4% with an increase of 219,000 jobs. Average pay rose 2.6%.

LOCAL | June 3, 2016
Borgata Becomes MGM Casino as Boyd Sells Stake

Boyd Entertainment announced this week it is selling its 50% share in Atlantic City’s Borgata to MGM Resorts for $900 million, a deal that includes assumption of Borgata’s outstanding debt of $600 million. In its Northeast properties, MGM also owns MGM National Harbor casino and resort in DC and is building a new casino in Massachusetts.

NATIONAL | June 1, 2016
April’s Metro Construction Employment Rose Over Last Year

From April 2015 to April 2016, construction employment increased in 235 of 358 metro areas, just under two-thirds of the metros. AGC’s Chief Economist Ken Simonson notes that the growth is project-specific and some metros that saw an increase in employment are in states that overall experienced job losses or are home to other metros that experienced losses. New Jersey is an example of that: three metros lost jobs for the year while four gained. In the loss column were Atlantic City-Hammonton, down 500 jobs for a 9% drop; Newark, down 300 jobs, a 1% decrease; and Trenton, which also lost 300 jobs, a 6% hit. On the up side, Bergen-Hudson-Passaic picked up 1,500 jobs for the year, a 5% increase; Camden gained 1,000 jobs, also a 5% hike; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 2,700 jobs for a 7% gain; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, a 4% increase. In the region, New York City landed in the #3 spot, adding 7,800 jobs, a 6% gain.

May 2016

NATIONAL | May 26, 2016
Feds Announce Final Overtime Rule Effective December 1

Last week the US Department of Labor published the final rule that doubles the salary minimum for an employee to qualify for overtime. Previous to the new rule, an employee had to earn $455 or less per week, or up to $23,600 annually, to qualify for overtime after 40 hours of work. Beginning December 1, an employee who makes $913 per week or less, or up to $47,476 annually, will qualify for overtime (defined as “time-and-a-half”) after 40 hours, unless the employee’s position is classified as executive, administrative or professional. Employees are also exempt from the overtime rule if they have a predetermined or fixed salary that isn’t docked because of quality or quantity of work performed. But many employees who make the minimum or less and work long hours could qualify. AGC of America has lobbied against the rule, citing unfortunate and unintended consequences for construction company employees.

LOCAL | May 24, 2016
AC Casino Profits Sharply Higher in First Quarter

The weather in the first quarter of 2016 was much better than first quarter 2015 – which might have helped push Atlantic City casino profits up 31.1%. Borgata came in on top with first-quarter gross profits of nearly $47.7 million, almost half the total gross profits of $106,580,000 brought in by the seven casinos that made money. Harrah’s was second, generating $26.8 million, although that was 3.1% less than the quarter period a year ago. Caesar’s netted $15.3 million, up 2.5% from a year ago; Tropicana brought in $7.3 million in profit, more than 200% higher than its gross profit a year ago; Golden Nugget reported $6.7 million, up a healthy 64.7% over last year; Bally’s claimed $5.6 million, up 23.5%; and Resorts reported a modest half-million gain, which was about what it lost a year ago. Trump Taj Mahal, the only casino to lose money this quarter, reported a loss of almost $4.6 million, about half what it lost last year for the quarter. In addition to the happy revenue reports, AC officials noted an increase in occupancy rates, average room rates and third-party sales.

NATIONAL | May 20, 2016
Construction Employment Across States Slows from March to April

While 42 states and DC added construction jobs in April compared to a year ago, only 23 added jobs from March to April. New Jersey was not one of them, losing 1,800 jobs for the month, a 1.2% decline. However, for the year from April 2015 to April 2016, New Jersey added 3,100 jobs, a 2.1% increase. In the region, Connecticut added 2,400 jobs for the month (up 4.2%) and 2,300 for the year (up 4%); Delaware lost 200 jobs for the month (down 0.9%) but gained 600 for the year (up 2.9%); New York added 700 jobs for the month (up 0.2%) and 13,100 for the year (up 3.7%); Pennsylvania added 500 jobs for the month (up 0.2%) and 1,800 for the year (up 0.8%); and Rhode Island lost 700 jobs for the month (down 3.8%) but added 1,200 for the year (up 7.2%).

LOCAL | May 20, 2016
Dranoff Plans More Apartments on Camden Waterfront

Last week, the Camden Planning Board approved Philadelphia developer Carl Dranoff’s plans for a mixed-use complex on the city’s waterfront, with 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, 156 apartments (30 of which would be set aside for affordable housing) and 200 parking spaces. The complex would be situated at the end of Cooper Street at Delaware Avenue. Dranoff plans a Summer 2018 completion date, with construction beginning in January 2017.

LOCAL | May 19, 2016
Showboat Owner Blatstein to Develop Adjacent Site

Yesterday, AC’s City Council approved Bart Blatstein and his company, Tower Investments, to develop three acres between the Showboat and Revel casinos. The city owns the land; Blatstein has proposed a $40 million “multi-use event center” that will be part of his Showboat investment. The city may or may not sell the land, for which Blatstein had offered $1.9 million.

LOCAL | May 12, 2016
NYC Operating Engineers Lose Battle Over Licensing

On Tuesday, appellate judges in New York City ruled that crane operators do not have to be licensed under a test administered by Operating Engineers Local 14, but rather may be licensed via a national test administered by OSHA. Local 14 plans to appeal the decision.

LOCAL | May 11, 2016
Cape May County Approves $6.2 Million for Central Dispatch at Airport

Yesterday, Cape May County Freeholders approved a $6.2 million bond issue to build a central dispatch facility for police, fire and rescue at Cape May County Airport in Lower Township ($4.2 million) and renovate the police station in Erma, Lower Township ($2 million), where the center will be located. The 94,000-square-foot building will be shared equally by the police and county emergency management.

LOCAL | May 9, 2016
ACCNJ Member Calls for Mandatory Safety Harnesses Above Six Feet on New York Jobsites

During OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction last week, ACCNJ member Gilbane Building Co. proposed making it mandatory for all construction workers on jobsites in New York to wear safety harnesses with two attachments when they work above six feet. Gilbane already imposes the six-foot tie-off rule on all its jobsites, which is more stringent than OSHA requirements. ACCNJ member Lend Lease also has a similar rule.

NATIONAL | May 5, 2016
Metro Construction Employment Continues Growth from February to March

 

Construction employment in the nation’s metro areas looked strong in February and now even stronger in March, with more than two-thirds adding construction jobs. Construction employment compared to March 2015 rose in 244 of 358 metro areas (68%), dropped in 70 and remained the same in 44. New Jersey’s strong growth reflected the national trend, with jobs added in all but two metro areas. The biggest gain was in Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean, which added 4,800 jobs for the year-over-year, a 14% jump. Camden added 1,100 jobs, a 6% increase; Newark added 1,500 jobs, a 4% rise; Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, also a 4% increase; and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 900 jobs, a 3% increase. Trenton lost 100 jobs, a 2% drop, and Atlantic City-Hammonton lost 400 jobs, an 8% drop. Statewide from March 2015 to March 2016, New Jersey added 7,500 jobs, a 6% gain.

NATIONAL | May 2, 2016
Congress Saves Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

By approving the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 last week, the House Armed Services Committee prevented the Pentagon from closing more military bases around the country, including New Jersey’s Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. The Committee voted 60-2 for the $610 billion defense policy bill, which then moved on to the full House for consideration. The Pentagon had requested that Congress authorize more base closures in 2019; the bill didn’t allow it.

April 2016

NATIONAL | April 25, 2016
2014 Workplace Fatalities Jump From 2013

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 4,821 fatal workplace injuries in 2014, up from its preliminary count of 4,679 in September. Fatalities in private construction were up 9% over 2013. The preliminary construction fatalities for 2014 were reported as 885, but have now been revised upward to 902.

LOCAL | April 25, 2016
Costco Will Anchor Harrison Twp.’s Richwood Town Center

The Southside Commercial Redevelopment Area, which will be transformed into the Richwood Town Center in Harrison Twp. (Gloucester County), will feature Costco as its anchor. Officials are hoping to begin construction on the first phase, 350,000 to 400,000 square feet of retail space, by the end of the year. The initial phase is bordered by Route 322, Aura Road and Route 55; ultimately the entire project, 380+ acres, will span Route 322 between Barnsboro Road and Route 55, and will include 1,600 housing units. The developer, Madison Marquette, still has to finalize sewer and road work plans before seeking final site approval. The project’s sewer system will connect to Gloucester County’s utilities authority’s sewer system.

LOCAL | April 22, 2016
NJ Transit Director Backs Out

William Crosbie, unanimously approved as Executive Director by the NJ Transit Board on April 6, has decided not to take the position. He had served as Chief Operating Officer at Amtrak, and currently lives in Virginia. According to the Wall Street Journal, Crosbie cited family reasons for not making the move to New Jersey.

NATIONAL | April 20, 2016
State-by-State, March Construction Employment Even Better Than February

Year-over-year, 44 states added construction jobs in March, one up from February’s numbers as posted on Hot Topics last week. And from February to March, 28 states added construction jobs, again one up on the January-to-February count. In the region, New York and Rhode Island continued to stand strong in the year-over-year count, with increases of 17,300 jobs (up 4.9%) and 2,200 jobs (up 13.3%) respectively. New Jersey added 7,700 jobs compared to March 2015, a 5.3% gain, Delaware added 1,200 for the year, up 5.9%, and Connecticut reflected no change for the year. Pennsylvania, which fared badly last month, showed a remarkable turn-around, adding the most construction jobs for the month of any state in the country – 6,000 jobs, a 2.6% increase. Its year-over-year stats were identical, an increase of 6,000 jobs, up 2.6%. Also for the month, New York added 1,600 jobs, a 0.4% increase, New Jersey added 3,000 jobs, a 2% bump, and Delaware added 100 jobs, a 0.5% rise. Connecticut and Rhode Island, however, both lost jobs from February to March, down 1,100 (-1.9%) and 100 (-0.5%) respectively.

LOCAL | April 20, 2016
American Dream Update:  More Delays

Triple Five, developer of American Dream Meadowlands, announced last week it is running into problems getting the rest of the financing for the shopping and entertainment complex. Triple Five hopes to sell $1 billion in public bonds by early summer – its latest deadline in a series of deadlines that haven’t been met. November’s uneasy financial downturn is to blame, according to Triple Five. In the meantime, construction activity has mostly ceased on the 91-acre site.

LOCAL | April 20, 2016
Inspira Health Plans Continued Expansion in South Jersey

Inspira Health Network, which purchased 30 acres in Deptford in February, is planning to build an outpatient services facility on that property on Clements Bridge Road. But action on the project is on hold while Inspira works out a potential partnership deal with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, on a 100-acre parcel in Harrison Township, also purchased in February, Inspira has plans for to build a 172-bed hospital where Route 55 and Route 322 meet.

LOCAL | April 14, 2016
Governor Announces Unemployment Tax Break

For the third consecutive year, New Jersey employers will get a break on unemployment insurance taxes. With the unemployment trust fund in sound financial shape (a positive balance of $1 billion) and fewer people claiming unemployment benefits, the state can afford the $200 million tax break that begins in July.

LOCAL | April 14, 2016
Javits Project Issues Request for Qualifications

The $1 billion Javits Center renovation project in Manhattan progressed this week when New York State issued a request for qualifications to begin the vetting process for building contractors. The state also announced the project would be bid as design-build; RFQ responses are due May 10, with as many as three finalists selected in late May. The RFP will be issued in June to the finalists and a contractor will be selected by the end of this year. To view the RFQ, visit http://www.esd.ny.gov/CorporateInformation/Data/RFPs/JavitsExpansionProject/2016_Final_JavitsCenter_RFQ.PDF

LOCAL | April 14, 2016
$22.8 Million EDA Tax Incentive To Expand Business in Florence

A $22.8 million, 10-year Grow New Jersey tax incentive package, approved by the EDA this week, is designed to help Quality Packaging Specialists International expand operations with a new 377,440-square-foot facility in Florence Township. Under the terms of the tax package, the company, a product and retail packaging services provider, would keep 170 current full-time positions and add 220 new full-time positions.

NATIONAL | April 12, 2016
February Construction Employment Up in Most States Compared to a Year Ago

For the year from February 2015 to February 2016, construction employment increased in 43 states and DC. In our region, New York and Rhode Island ranked in the top five for the year-over-year gains, New York with a large number of jobs – 19,100, a 5.5% increase – and Rhode Island with a percentage jump, up 14.6% with the addition of 2,400 jobs. New Jersey recorded a modest gain for the year, adding 3,900 jobs for a 2.7% increase. Connecticut also gained jobs for the year, up 1,300, a 2.3% rise. Pennsylvania lost jobs for the year, down 3,200, a 1.4% drop. For the month from January to February of this year, only 27 states added construction jobs. Pennsylvania again shed jobs, down 1,100, a 0.5% decrease. New Jersey also lost jobs, down 600, a 0.4% decrease, as did Connecticut, down 100, a 0.2% slide. New York was the only state in the region to add jobs, gaining 4,500, a 1.2% rise. Rhode Island construction employment remained unchanged for the month.

LOCAL | April 7, 2016
Rowan College at Burlington Plans New Student Center

Called the “Student Success Center,” the proposed two-story building on Route 38 in Mount Laurel will serve as the gateway to the new Mount Laurel campus and house all student services, including enrollment, academic planning, library, bookstore and dining area. State-of-the-art technology will be a key feature in the contemporary design. Forming a quad with existing buildings, the student center is expected to open in Fall 2017. Renderings of the 75,000-square-foot, $22 million project from USA Architects and Moody Nolan can be found on the college website at http://www.rcbc.edu/campus-transformation/student-success-center.

NATIONAL | April 5, 2016
Nearly Two-Thirds of Metro Areas Add Construction Jobs in February

Of 358 metro areas in the nation, 234 – more than 65% – added construction jobs in February 2016 compared to February 2015, while 72 shed jobs and 52 remained unchanged. New York City came in at #2, adding 11,900 jobs, a 9% gain, and Orange-Rockland-Westchester in New York was #3, adding 7,800 jobs, a whopping 23% increase. In New Jersey, Camden and Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean each enjoyed a 9% increase, adding 1,800 and 3,000 jobs respectively. Vineland’s year-over-year construction employment was up 4% with the addition of 100 jobs; Newark’s was up 1% with 500 new jobs; and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic construction employment remained unchanged from a year ago. Atlantic City-Hammonton lost 200 jobs compared to a year ago, a 4% drop, and Trenton lost 100 jobs, a 2% drop. The state was up 4,800 jobs for the year, a 4% overall gain.

NATIONAL | April 4, 2016
Construction Spending Up in February, Employment Up in March

Across the nation, construction added 37,000 jobs in March following an uptick in spending in February. From March 2015 to March 2016, the industry added 301,000 jobs, a 4.7% rise, bringing construction employment to 6,672,000, the highest total since December 2008. Nonresidential construction firms – building, specialty trades, heavy and civil engineering – added 23,900 for the month, 134,800 for the year, a 3.4% increase. Construction spending in February totaled $1.144 trillion, a half-percentage point below January but 10.3% higher than a year ago. Multifamily residential spending was up 0.9% for the month, 24.1% for the year. Private nonresidential construction spending dipped 1.3% for the month but climbed 10.6% compared to February 2015. Other year-over-year leaps included spending on private office and lodging construction, both up more than 30%, and amusement/recreation and private education construction, each up more than 20%. Public construction spending overall was down 1.7% for the month but 9.2% higher than last year. Highway and street construction, the biggest public segment, slid 2.1% for the month after a very strong January, but was up 24.5% for the year.

March 2016

LOCAL | March 29, 2016
DRBA May Build New Business Space at Cape May Airport

The Cape May Airport business park off Breakwater Road in Lower Township is running out of room, so the Delaware River and Bay Authority said last week it’s exploring the possibility of building new office and warehouse space. Tenants and prospective new tenants range from tourist attractions to start-ups to mechanical and aviation businesses. Research and testing on drones has piqued interest for business – the airport was selected as one of six national test sites in 2014. Cape May County also plans to move its emergency management office to the business park.

LOCAL | March 28, 2016
Port Authority and Amtrak to Put $70 Million Toward Gateway Project

The Port Authority announced last week it will put $35 million toward the Hudson Tunnel Project, matched by $35 million from Amtrak, to fund “critical preliminary engineering work.” The funds are designed to “expedite and accelerate” the environmental review and permitting of the project. In addition, a Memorandum of Understanding entered into by the Port Authority, NJ Transit and USDOT will coordinate efforts among the three groups to “advance” the project on all fronts. The Port Authority and NJ Transit will also apply for federal competitive grants for the project.

NATIONAL | March 17, 2016
Metros Add Construction Jobs in January Growth Spurt

Strong state construction employment figures, posted yesterday in Hot Topics, are supported by growth in metro area construction jobs. Of 358 metro areas across the country, 243 (nearly 68%) added jobs in January compared to January 2015. And like the states, the metro areas that saw job losses – 72 of them – were primarily in formerly booming energy regions. Construction employment remained unchanged year-over-year in another 43 metro areas. In New Jersey year-over-year, Bergen-Hudson-Passaic and Trenton each lost 200 construction jobs, a 1% drop for the former and a 4% drop for the latter. Atlantic City-Hammonton remained unchanged. Camden picked up 900 jobs for the year, a 5% rise; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 2,500 jobs, a 7% increase; Newark added 1,900 jobs, a 5% rise; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 300 jobs, a satisfying 13% bump.

LOCAL | March 16, 2016
EPA Announces Final Clean-Up Plan for Lower Passaic River

The 17 miles of the Lower Passaic River – from the Dundee Dam to Newark Bay – were designated a Superfund site in 1984, and the lower 8.3 miles were deemed the most contaminated. The EPA had announced a dredging clean-up plan more than a year ago and has now announced a final plan for those last eight miles that feed into Newark Bay. Estimated to cost $1.38 billion, down from the $1.7 billion originally announced, the project will involve dredging and removing approximately 3.5 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment, down from 4.3 million in the original plan, followed by placement of a two-foot-deep sand cap over the dredged area. Along the shoreline, the cap will be one foot of sand and one foot of “materials to support habitat for fish and plants,” according to the EPA’s news release on the plan, which also stated “the EPA expects less depth in parts of the navigation channel than was contemplated in the 2014 proposed plan.” The EPA news release did not specify when the work would commence nor how long the project is expected to take.

NATIONAL | March 16, 2016
January Construction Employment Up Year-Over-Year

January construction employment was up in 44 states and DC from a year ago, and up in 30 states and DC from a month ago. The six states that lost jobs compared to January 2015 were all hit by the drop in demand for energy, including Pennsylvania, which shed 3,600 jobs, a 1.5% drop. Pennsylvania also lost jobs from December 2015 to January 2016, down 2,200 jobs, a 0.9% loss. Along with Pennsylvania and 16 other states, New Jersey didn’t fare too well for the month, losing 200 jobs, a 0.1% drop. But year-over-year, New Jersey picked up 4,800 jobs, a 3.3% gain. New York also lost jobs for the month, down 5,900, a 1.6% drop, but gained 15,700 jobs year-over-year, a 4.5% rise. Connecticut had modest gains in both periods, up 400 jobs (a 0.7% gain) for the month and 900 (a 1.6% gain) year-over-year. Delaware’s construction employment remained unchanged for the month but enjoyed an increase in 1,400 jobs year-over-year, a 6.9% hike. Rhode Island gained 300 jobs for the month, a 1.6% increase, but showed strong growth year-over-year with an uptick of 2,100 jobs, a 12.7% bump that put it at #2 in the country.

LOCAL | March 16, 2016
PSE&G Boosts Capital Plan to $16 Billion

PSE&G announced last Friday it is increasing its capital investments to $16 billion over five years, of which nearly $12 billion is being spent on already-slated improvements and upgrades to the company’s transmission and distribution systems. In that package is $900 million to upgrade aging pipelines and replace more than 500 miles of the old cast-iron mains. PSE&G expects to expand the infrastructure program by another $2 million. PSE&G Power, a subsidiary, is also spending $2 billion on three new natural-gas power plants, including one in Sewaren (the other two are in Maryland and Connecticut).

LOCAL | March 16, 2016
AC Casino Revenues Up 15% in February

Atlantic City casinos reported the largest year-over-year percentage hike in revenues in more than 10 years, up 15% over February 2015, with top-grossing Borgata bringing in $62.8 million, up $14.2 million compared to last year, a 29.3% gain. Tropicana increased revenues by $3.1 million for the year, a 14% rise; Golden Nugget increased take by nearly $2.8 million for the year, a 17.5% boost; Bally’s added $2.7 million compared to last February, a 19.3% rise; Harrah’s saw a $1.9 million increase over last February, a 7% gain; and Resorts reported $1.7 million over last February, a 16% rise. Caesars and Trump Taj Mahal both lost revenue compared to February 2015, down $2 million (an 8% loss) and $19,000 (a 0.16% drop) respectively. Internet gambling also saw a big gain in February, with revenues at $14.7 million, a 42% gain over last year.

LOCAL | March 15, 2016
Burlington Masonic Home To Expand and Rebrand

The Masonic Home on Jacksonville Road in Burlington Township is changing its name and expanding its services to seniors. Soon to be called the Masonic Village at Burlington, the organization will build as many as 72 duplex cottages for the 60+ group, ranging from 1,509 to 2,350 square feet with two-bedroom options and two-bedrooms-plus-den options, on a field behind Burlington Township High School that is part of the 450-acre campus. The cottages are expected to be ready for occupancy in late Spring 2017.

LOCAL | March 11, 2016
Blatstein Considers Hotel on AC’s Garden Pier

While much of the news coming out of Atlantic City isn’t good, Bart Blatstein keeps transmitting his optimism about the city’s comeback. His firm, Tower Investments, was chosen to redevelop the Garden Pier that now holds the Atlantic City Art Museum and Historical Museum. In addition to entertainment, commercial and dining venues proposed for the redevelopment, the company mentioned in its qualifications document that plans could also include a waterfront hotel on the ocean end of the pier. Blatstein and Tower Investments also purchased the Showboat Casino from Stockton University and owns the mall on the Caesar’s pier and a boardwalk hotel.

NATIONAL | March 9, 2016
FHWA Report Blasts NJ Bridges - Again

The Federal Highway Administration’s latest bridge report, which judges the state of disrepair through December 31 of last year, put New Jersey bridges once again in the bottom 10, with 34.5%, or 2,310, of the state’s 6,686 bridges in bad shape – structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Nationally, the rate was 23.2%. However, after repairing 33 of the bridges listed as deficient on the FHWA’s 2014 report, New Jersey’s standing improved slightly, moving from sixth worst to eighth worst. Like New Jersey, most of the bottom 10 states are in the Northeast, including Rhode Island, which came in dead last with 56% of its bridges listed as deficient, Massachusetts (52%), Pennsylvania (39.9%), New York (38.3%) and Connecticut (34.1%). For the complete report, visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/nbi/no10/defbr15.cfm.

LOCAL | March 8, 2016
$230 Million Expansion for Westchester Medical Center

Last week, the Westchester Medical Center announced a $230 million expansion for its Valhalla campus with plans for a 280,000-square-foot, eight-story ambulatory care pavilion cloaked in glass and steel. Specs include 185,000 square feet of ambulatory care space that would hold a surgery center, advanced imaging, and a heart and vascular institute, plus a 20,000-square-foot private-room expansion and 75,000 square feet for doctors’ offices. The medical center anticipates construction will start this spring, creating 225 construction jobs, with completion in 2018. The Westchester County Local Development Corporation approved nearly $300 million for the project.

NATIONAL | March 2, 2016
Big Leaps in January Construction Spending

Multifamily, private nonresidential and highway construction spending all saw big gains in January compared to December 2015 and January 2015, boosting total construction spending to its highest level since October 2008. Reaching $1.141 trillion, the total was 1.5% higher than December, already revised up, and 10.4% above January 2015. Spending in multifamily construction rose 2.6% for the month and 30% year-over-year, private nonresidential spending increased 1% for the month, up 11.5% from a year ago, and public construction spending rose 4.5% for the month, 13% for the year. Manufacturing posted the biggest gains in the private sector, up 4.2% for the month, 11% year-over-year. In the public sector, highway and street construction took the strongest spot, rising 15% for the month and 34% year-over-year.

NATIONAL | March 2, 2016
Lending May Get Tighter for Multifamily Construction

A December letter from the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – all agencies that regulate banks – asked lenders to be careful in loaning money for multifamily construction. The concern comes from the sharp rise in demand for such building, especially in a climate of new regulations that limit the risk commercial banks can carry on their balance sheets, requiring them to hold capital in reserve to cover potential losses on commercial real estate loans. Defaults on multifamily construction loans are not being recorded in large numbers, and banks are still offering loans that cover up to 80% of construction at relatively low rates, but bankers are scrutinizing the number of apartment projects and the cost of labor.

February 2016

LOCAL | February 29, 2016
$1.6 Million Daniels Bridge Replacement Necessary

Daniels Bridge over Oyster Creek in Waretown (Ocean County) must be replaced, and will cost $1.6 million, according to Ocean County Engineer John Ernst. The timber substructure of the bridge was built in 1947; a superstructure was built in 1972. The roadway over the bridge will be widened from 30 to 40 feet, adding shoulders.

LOCAL | February 12, 2016
Egg Harbor’s Cardiff Substation Due for Major Upgrade

Atlantic City Electric plans to install two new high-voltage lines at its Cardiff Substation in Egg Harbor Township, replacing two low-capacity lines. The project is part of a larger system-wide upgrade, expected to be completed by year-end 2018, that is focused on replacing aging infrastructure and building in reliability. More than $150 million in 10-year bonds, issued in late 2015, will fund the upgrade.

LOCAL | February 11, 2016
Cherry Hill Redevelopment Slated Along Cooper River

Cherry Hill’s Park Boulevard Gateway Redevelopment Plan will begin along a stretch of the Cooper River, where an empty Faith Life Christian Center and a rundown America’s Best Value Inn, slated for demolition, occupy 7.3 acres. Residents of the motel will have to move, as will an Asian restaurant, to make room for an apartment complex consisting of one three-story and one four-story building, along with a swimming pool, outdoor recreation areas and a rooftop sitting area. Of the 176 units, 29 will be affordable housing. Adjacent to the apartment buildings will be 16 townhouses. First Montgomery Group of Haddonfield is buying the property and will most likely be named the redeveloper. In addition to the Park Boulevard Plan, Cherry Hill has targeted four other sites for redevelopment:  Hampton Road Gateway, 19 acres between Hampton Road and Cuthbert Blvd., for which 300 apartments are planned; Victory Gateway, 35 acres on Woodcrest Road near Woodcrest Station that is owned by Vineland Construction Co., where the town would like to see mixed-use apartments, hotel, nursing home and/or retail; Route 38 Gateway, 14 acres near the Cuthbert Blvd. PSE&G substation, where three motels could be redeveloped; and Cuthbert Blvd. Gateway, 13 acres that hold a vacant Verizon facility and bowling alley, an operating motel and an operating home-supply store. The last two sites have not officially been named redevelopment areas.

LOCAL | February 11, 2016
Port Announces Record Cargo Volumes

The Port of New York and New Jersey recorded annual cargo volumes in 2015 10.4% higher than in 2014, a year that had already seen record volumes. The Port handled 6.4 million 20-foot equivalent units, also translated as 3.7 million cargo containers in 2015. The port’s ship-to-rail system, ExpressRail, also set a record with 522,244 containers handled, a 12.2% increase over 2014. With 30% of market share, the port remains the busiest on the East Coast.

LOCAL | February 11, 2016
Feds to Help Fund Delaware River Dredging Project

Monies to finish the multi-year dredging project in the Delaware River could be found in President Obama’s proposed budget -- $33.135 million -- and the Army Corps of Engineers Work Plan for FY2016 -- $21.875 million. That $55 million would go toward the last two segments due to be dredged, an 11-mile section between Chester, PA, and Wilmington, DE, and approximately 24 miles in the Delaware Bay. The dredging, which will allow larger vessels to travel up the Delaware, is expected to position the Port of Philadelphia more competitively.

LOCAL | February 9, 2016
Fatal Crane Collapse Prompts New Safety Regs for NYC

Following the crawler crane collapse in Tribeca last Friday that killed a man, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio issued new safety regulations on large cranes. The new policies includes these four steps:

  1. All crawler cranes must cease operation when wind speeds are forecast to exceed 20 mph or wind gusts to exceed 30 mph. Fines for failure to comply will increase from $4,800 to $10,000.
  2. City departments will increase enforcement of sidewalk and street closures when cranes are active in the area, including requiring a DOT pedestrian traffic manager in areas with “significant pedestrian traffic.” The NYC Department of Buildings will be responsible for conducting inspections and issuing violations.
  3. Crane operators are now required to notify area residents and business owners prior to moving a crane, in addition to the current regulation requiring notification upon initial installation.
  4. With a 90-day timeline, a task force will evaluate the Friday incident and propose additional best practices and regulations.

LOCAL | February 3, 2016
Gateway Project Timetable:  15 Years  

Late last week, the Bergen Record published a report from federal officials stating a 15-year timeline for the $23.9 billion Gateway project that includes two new rail tunnels, a new tunnel entrance under Manhattan, renovation of existing tunnels, replacement of three New Jersey bridges and a Penn Station expansion, among other things. According to the timeline in the Record, first up (and already underway) is the trans-Hudson tunnel entrance below Hudson Yards, expected to be completed in 2019 ($326 million), followed by the new rail tunnels and renovation of existing tunnels, which will take a decade once financing and a start-date are established ($7.7 billion). Bridge replacements are planned for the Portal swing bridge over the Hackensack River (2017-2022, $1.2 billion), the Sawtooth Bridge over the Passaic (2022-2026, $1.1 billion) and the Portal Bridge South in Kearny (2024-2030, $1.9 billion). Other Jersey projects include renovation of Secaucus Junction station, construction of a Secaucus Loop for one-seat rides from North Jersey to Manhattan, and track renewal and replacement between Newark and Secaucus.

LOCAL | February 3, 2016
Great Falls in Paterson Getting “Great Lawn”

The area surrounding the Paterson Great Falls, which has already seen one renovation project completed and is in the midst of a second one, is slated for a third – a “Great Lawn” to be billed as a venue for concerts and festivals. Approximately a third of the old Allied Textile site will be covered by the 2.5-acre, $4.3 million project, which will feature an open lawn area, flower beds, shade trees and paved paths. A National Historical Park, Great Falls was awarded a $1.8 million Centennial Challenge grant from the National Park Service for the project. Another $2.1 million in funding will come from New Jersey Green Acres and Passaic County Open Space monies, and the rest from a National Park Service conservation grant. The land for the Great Lawn is city-owned, and city officials will manage the design and construction contracts. New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell, who announced the Centennial Challenge grant, has posted on his website notice of two “Paterson Great Falls General Management Plans” informational events, open to the public, on February 4 and 15, 2016:
http://pascrell.house.gov/about/events/paterson-great-falls-national-historic-park-general-management-plan-open-house

NATIONAL | February 2, 2016
Metro Construction Employment Strong Year-Over-Year

Nearly twice as many of the nation’s metro areas added jobs in December 2015 compared to December 2014 – 190 out of 358, approximately 53%. In New Jersey, only one metro dropped construction jobs. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic lost 1,000 jobs, a 3% decrease. Newark construction employment, on the other hand, jumped 13% with the addition of 5,700 jobs; Camden was up 10% with 2,100 additional jobs; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean and Vineland-Bridgeton each increased 7% with 2,700 and 200 jobs respectively; and Atlantic City was up 4% with 200 new jobs. Trenton’s construction employment remained flat. Statewide, New Jersey added 10,900 jobs, a 7% boost.

NATIONAL | February 2, 2016
December Construction Spending Anemic After Growth Year

Despite good growth compared to December 2014 – an 8.2% increase – December 2015’s construction spending across the nation was less than 0.1% higher than November’s, which had already been revised downward. The total was $1.117 trillion, seasonally adjusted. Construction spending for the year as a whole increased 10.5% over all of 2014, and represented the highest annual total since 2007, but the second half of the year remained flat. Spending on multifamily residential remained strong, up 2.7% for the month and 12% higher than a year ago, but private nonresidential construction spending, while up 11.8% from December 2014, dropped 2.1% for the month and showed the lowest rate since April 2015. Public construction spending increased 1.9% for the month, up 3.9% for the year, pushed by highway and street construction, which jumped 9.4% for the month and 12% year-over-year. Educational spending decreased half a percentage point from November but was up 9.4% compared to December 2014.

January 2016

NATIONAL | January 28, 2016
BLS Report:  Union Membership Rate Remains Unchanged

The percentage of wage and salary workers who were union members in 2015 in the US remained the same as 2014, 11.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics annual report. The number of union members, 14.8 million, also remained about the same. Public-sector workers had a union membership rate of 35.2%, more than five times higher than the 6.7% of private-sector workers. Within the private sector, 13.9% of workers in construction were union members. Median weekly earnings of union members were $980 in 2015, compared to $776 for non-union workers. At 24.7%, New York had the highest union membership rate in the country in 2015. New Jersey had a union membership rate of 15.4% in 2015, down from 16.5% in 2014. Approximately half of the 14.8 million union members nationwide lived in seven states in 2015, including California (2.5 million), New York (2.0 million), Illinois (0.8 million), Pennsylvania (0.7 million), and Michigan, Ohio and New Jersey (0.6 million each). These seven states account for about one-third of wage-and-salary employment in the country. The complete report can be found online as a 12-page PDF:  http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/union2.pdf

NATIONAL | January 26, 2016
Construction Employment Strong in December State-by-State

For the month and for the year, December jobs in construction increased state-by-state. In the month from November to December, 39 states and DC added jobs, while in the year from December 2014 to December 2015, 44 states and DC added jobs. New Jersey numbers looked strong on both counts. Construction employment inched up in the last three months of 2015, and in December was up 700 jobs, a 0.5% increase over November. For the year, New Jersey added 10,800 jobs compared to December 2014, a 7.5% gain. In the region, New York added 2,200 jobs for the month, a 0.6% increase, and 26,500 for the year, a 7.6% gain; Delaware added 900 jobs for the month, up 4.2%, and 2,000 for the year, up 10%; Connecticut lost 300 jobs for the month, a 0.5% slide, but picked up 2,200 jobs for the year, a 4% bump; and Rhode Island added 1,000 jobs for the month, a 6.5% increase, but lost 100 compared to last year, a 0.6% drop. Pennsylvania was the only state in the surrounding region to lose jobs in both periods, down 2,500 for the month, a 1.1% decrease, and 500 for the year, a 0.2% drop.

LOCAL | January 25, 2016
Gateway Projects Could Cost Nearly $24 Billion

Amtrak told the New York Times last week the Gateway projects – a new rail tunnel under the Hudson, repair of the existing tunnel, expanding Penn Station and replacing New Jersey railway bridges – could cost as much as $23.9 billion. Although Amtrak warns the figures are preliminary estimates, officials say the largest portion, approximately $7.7 billion, would go toward the tunnels. The Penn Station project could cost $3 billion.

LOCAL | January 19, 2016
Feds Award $176 Million for NYC Storm Protection

Through HUD, New York City will get $176 million to fortify the Manhattan shoreline from the Lower East Side south of the Manhattan Bridge to the northern end of Battery Park City. Plans that have not yet been detailed could include sea walls, temporary flood walls that would be deployed before a storm, and grass berms that could be used for recreation. The project won the federal funds through the National Disaster Resilience Competition; the monies will supplement $100 million in capital funds the city already committed to the project.

LOCAL | January 13, 2016
Port Authority Drops Truck Retrofit Requirements at Seaports

The Port Authority has announced it is abandoning plans to require retrofitting or replacement of older diesel trucks hauling cargo at Newark and Elizabeth seaports. Five years ago, in an effort to improve air quality, the Port Authority and US EPA jointly proclaimed all trucks that didn’t meet 2007 federal emissions standards would be banned from entering the seaports. Now the Port Authority says the cost of helping drivers replace approximately 6,300 vehicles would be more than $150 million in grants – too high a price tag. Instead, per an announcement last week, the Port Authority will commit $1.2 million to help drivers replace approximately 400 trucks, supplemented by $9 million in federal funds. Therefore, trucks manufactured before 2007 and already registered with the ports may continue to haul cargo, and only older trucks not registered will be banned. The truck replacement program information remains live on the Port Authority website.

LOCAL | January 13, 2016
Amazon’s Audible to Turn Old Newark Church into R&D Hub

Audible Inc., Amazon’s audiobook giant, will turn the vacant Second Presbyterian Church on the corner of Washington and James streets in Newark, plus two adjacent, connected sites on James Street, into an engineering and development facility. Last May, NJ EDA approved a 10-year, $39.3 million Grow New Jersey grant for the project, which is expected to create 350 new jobs and maintain 50 existing jobs in the city. The façade of the church, whose congregation disbanded 20 years ago, will be preserved; plans approved by the Central Planning Board in December call for new floors and mezzanines in the church, along with renovations to the James Street properties. Audible’s headquarters are close by at 1 Washington Park.

LOCAL | January 12, 2016
Vineland’s Allied Specialty Foods Plots $14 Million Addition

With plans to expand its facility in the Vineland Industrial Park on West Forest Grove Road, Allied Specialty Foods will invest $14 million and create 70 jobs. The 75,000-square-foot addition will include office space, cold storage and manufacturing, and is expected to be complete by year-end.

LOCAL | January 12, 2016
$1 Billion Expansion Planned for New York’s Javits Center

Thirty years after it opened, and 10 since its last renovation, the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen area may get a billion-dollar expansion, if New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement comes to pass. The governor said construction would start this year to add 1.2 million square feet to the Center, located on 11th Avenue between 34th and 40th streets, including a half-million square feet of meeting and exhibition space, a new ballroom, a terrace overlooking the Hudson and a new garage for delivery trucks.  

LOCAL | January 11, 2016
CRDA Approves Funding for Stockton’s AC Campus and Boraie Development Project

Last week, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved $17 million in funding for Stockton’s Island Campus in Atlantic City plus $15 million for a new residency project in the South Inlet. The Island Campus, estimated at $210 million, will serve approximately 1,500 students with academic facilities, residence halls and a parking garage, and will also headquarter South Jersey Gas. With construction expected to begin this spring off Albany Avenue, Stockton hopes to open the campus in Fall 2018. The new residency project, spearheaded by Boraie Development, will include approximately 250 market-value apartments.  

LOCAL | January 11, 2016
Update:  New Jersey Wind Farm off Atlantic City

Fishermen’s Energy has continued its efforts to build a wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City, despite three rejections from the state BPU. In the latest move, the New Jersey State Senate approved a bill supporting such a wind farm. The bill would allow the BPU to approve the Fishermen’s Energy project, although it doesn’t require the BPU to grant approval. The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk.

December 2015

NATIONAL | December 29, 2015
More Than Half of Metro Areas See November Construction Jobs Increase Over Last Year

In the year-over-year period from November 2014 to November 2015, 190 of 358 (53%) of the country’s metro areas saw an increase in construction employment. New York City measured the largest gain, adding 9,200 jobs, up 7%. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic in New Jersey came in third from the bottom, losing 1,500 jobs, a 5% drop. As in October, most of New Jersey’s metro areas fared better. Trenton was the only other metro to lose jobs, shedding all of its October gain with a decrease of 100 jobs, a 2% drop. Camden added 2,100 jobs, a 10% gain; Newark added 4,600 jobs, another 10% jump; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 3,400 jobs, a 9% bump; Vineland-Bridgeton added 200 jobs, a 7% hike; and Atlantic City-Hammonton picked up 200 jobs for a 4% increase.

LOCAL | December 23, 2015
NJ Transit Appoints Interim Head

New Jersey Transit announced today it has appointed Dennis J. Martin as Interim Executive Director, effective Monday, December 28. He replaces Ronnie Hakim, who leaves the ED position this week. With 30 years of transit experience, Martin most recently served as head of NJ Transit’s Bus Operations. He is credited with overhauling NJ Transit bus service staging at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Martin has a degree in Economics from Rutgers.

NATIONAL | December 21, 2015
State-by-State, November Construction Employment Grew, But Regional Growth Was Uneven

The construction industry added jobs in 44 states and DC compared to November 2014, a 4.2% increase, and in 38 states in November compared to the previous month. In the region year-over-year, New York came in at #2 in the nation, adding 30,500 jobs over last November, an 8.9% gain. Connecticut gained 1,800 jobs for the year, up 3.2%, and Delaware added 1,000 jobs for the year, a 4.9% gain. Rhode Island, on the other hand, was one of six states to lose construction jobs for the year, down 6.7% with the loss of 4,600 jobs. Pennsylvania also lost jobs for the year-over-year period, down 0.6% with a drop of 1,500 jobs.

New York hit the #2 spot for the month as well, adding 9,100 jobs, a 2.5% gain. Connecticut had a modest increase of 400 jobs for the month, up 0.7%, as did Rhode Island, which added 100 jobs for a 0.7% increase. Pennsylvania lost more jobs for the month than any other state, down 4,600, a 1.9% drop. Delaware also lost jobs for the month, down 800 for a 3.6% drop.

New Jersey construction employment looked good for both periods, adding 2,100 jobs for the month, a 1.4% gain over October, and 9,800 for the year, a 6.8% increase.

LOCAL | December 17, 2015
BPU Gives Final Approval on South Jersey Gas Pipeline Project

Yesterday the state Board of Public Utilities voted to allow the South Jersey Gas pipeline project to proceed without oversight by the local zoning boards in the municipalities through which the pipeline will pass – Upper Township, Maurice River Township and Estell Manor. Next step:  permission from the Pinelands Commission for the project to move forward. Assuming that approval and barring any appeals, construction on the pipeline could begin in Fall 2016.

LOCAL | December 14, 2015
DRPA Approves Higher Bridge and Transit Budgets

Last week, the Delaware River Port Authority approved bigger budgets for bridges and rapid transit in 2016 for a combined total of $290.7 million, up 1.9% over the 2015 budgets. The DRPA operates four bridges, the PATCO Hi-Speedline and RiverLink Ferry, and announced that bridge tolls would not increase for at least five years because of increased traffic and higher revenue. Bridge toll revenue and investment interest is expected to bring in $333 million in 2016. A separate capital budget of $166 million was approved last month to continue rehab of PATCO train cars, repaint the Commodore Barry Bridge, build a bike ramp onto the Ben Franklin Bridge and initiate a feasibility study on reopening the Franklin Square speedline station in Philadelphia.

LOCAL | December 14, 2015
Retail Vacancies Rise in Central and North Jersey

The combined retail vacancy rate in Central and North Jersey rose nearly a percentage point from this time last year, hitting 8.3%, primarily because of the closings of A&P, Pathmark and Superfresh stores. The closings hit hard in Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer and parts of Ocean County, where the retail vacancy rate separated out from North Jersey measured 8.8%, up from 7.5% last year. In North Jersey, the rate is 7.8%, up from 7.3% last year. On the plus side, store openings – Nordstrom Rack in Eatontown and Ulta Beauty, Carters and OshKosh B’gosh in West Long Branch – helped offset the loss of the grocery chain.

NATIONAL | December 14, 2015
OSHA’s Construction Head Announces Retirement

On December 2, Jim Maddux, director of OSHA’s construction unit, announced his retirement, effective at year-end. Maddux joined OSHA in 1990 and was appointed head of the Directorate of Construction in 2010. No replacement for Maddux was announced.

LOCAL | December 14, 2015
Sen. President Sweeney Seeks Voter Approval on North Jersey Casinos

Last Friday, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney announced he had introduced legislation to put a public referendum question on the ballot to determine voter sentiment for two casinos in North Jersey. If the public voted to approve North Jersey casinos, the state’s constitution, which currently limits gaming to Atlantic City, would be amended. The bill to put the question on the ballot, SCR-185, has to be approved by three-fifths of the votes in both houses of the Legislature or majority votes twice during two legislative years before going to the voters as a ballot question.

NATIONAL | December 8, 2015
GAO Report:  25% of Highway Bridges Still Deficient

At the request of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Government Accountability Office conducted a recent study of highway bridges across the country, finding nearly 1 in 4 deficient, 10% structurally deficient and 14% functionally obsolete. The GAO’s report, released to the public on November 30, recognized that many states performed bridge work over the last decade (2005-2014), decreasing by 21% the number of structurally deficient bridges and by 6% the number of obsolete bridges. The amount of structurally deficient deck area shrank by 20%. However, functionally obsolete deck area grew by 9% over the decade. The number of structurally deficient bridges dropped in 43 states and DC over the decade, but rose in seven states and Puerto Rico. The report can be viewed and downloaded as a PDF at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-72R.

NATIONAL | December 4, 2015
Half the Country’s Metros Increased Construction Employment in October

Across the nation in October, 180 metro areas saw an increase in construction employment compared to October 2014, while 132 saw a decrease and 46 remained unchanged. In New Jersey, the picture was uneven. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic was second from the bottom in number of jobs lost for the year-over-year period, down 2,200 jobs, a 7% drop. But it was the only metro area in the state to realize a loss; two metro areas, in fact, saw significant increases over last year.  Camden gained 2,300 jobs for the period, an 11% uptick, and Newark added 4,400 jobs, a 10% rise. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 2,200 jobs for a 6% gain; Atlantic City-Hammonton added 300 jobs, also a 6% gain; Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, a 4% rise; and Trenton added 100 jobs, a 2% rise. Overall, the state gained 9,600 jobs for the year-over-year period, up 6% over October 2014.

NATIONAL | December 3, 2015
VDOT Wants Zig-Zag Striping As Part of Uniform Traffic Code

For a year, Virginia DOT studied traffic control using patterns of zig-zag striping on roadways, finding the unusual markings slowed traffic, raised awareness of pedestrians and cyclists, and increased the likelihood a vehicle would yield. They also report motorists continued to respond to the zig-zag striping a year after it was applied to 11 points in northern Virginia, chosen because the roadway intersects at those points with the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, a popular hiking and biking route. Because of its finding, VDOT wants the striping to become part of the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Originating in Europe, the striping concept is also used in Hawaii and Ottawa.

NATIONAL | December 2, 2015
Construction Spending Grows Month-by-Month, Year-Over-Year

At a total of $1.107 trillion, construction spending rose in October, up 1% from September and 13% higher than October 2014 – reaching the highest level in almost eight years. Multifamily residential construction grew 1.4% for the month, up 27.9% over last year. Private nonresidential construction spending was up a modest 0.6% for the month, but 15.3% higher than last year. Manufacturing construction spending rose 3% for the month and a whopping 40.5% over last year. In the sector, only retail and warehouse spending decreased. Public construction spending rose 1.4% for the month, 6.1% over the year. Within the public sector, highway and street construction rose 1.1% for the month and 6% over the year, while school construction, which remained flat for the month, was up 8.4% over last year. 

LOCAL | December 2, 2015
$180 Million in State Funding for Colleges Prompts Wish Lists

As reported on philly.com, here are some of the South Jersey college projects on the “wish list” for the next round of higher-education funding from the bond act approved by voters in 2012:

  • Rutgers-Camden would like a $5 million expansion of its recently completed Writers House, plus a $15 million renovation of empty buildings and vacant lots on Cooper Street. And perhaps a new business school.
  • Rowan College at Burlington County seeks the full $57 million it needs to expand and renovate its Mount Laurel campus.
  • Camden County College, which didn’t get funding it sought in the first round of bond-act monies, would like to replace the HVAC systems in three buildings on its Blackwood Campus, and perhaps renovate classrooms.
  • Stockton University wants a slew of work done on its Galloway campus – roof replacement, renovations to its Coastal Research Center and water plant, spillway dam repairs and accessibility improvements. And then there’s the new campus in Atlantic City…
November 2015

NATIONAL | November 24, 2015
Construction Employment Rises in October Across 35 States, Up for Year in 43

A significant number of states – 43 plus the District of Columbia – measured an increase in construction jobs in October compared to October 2014, and a promising 35 states added industry jobs compared to September. Supporting the year-over-year growth was a 14% rise in construction spending, the biggest jump since 2006, according to AGC of America. New Jersey came in on the positive side in both periods, adding 9,700 jobs compared to a year ago, up 6.8%, and 200 jobs for the month, a 0.1% increase. In the region, New York was a big gainer for the year, adding 21,900 jobs, a 6.4% increase, and for the month, with 7,800 jobs, a 2.2% rise. Pennsylvania added 4,800 jobs for the year, a 2.1% increase, but lost almost that many for the month, down 4,200 jobs for a 1.7% loss. Connecticut gained 900 jobs for the year, up 1.6%, but lost 200 for the month, a 0.3% drop. Rhode Island lost 900 jobs for the year, down 5.6%, but made a healthier recovery for the month, adding 500 jobs for a 3.4% rise.

LOCAL | November 23, 2015
Rutgers Introduces the BEAST to Determine Bridge Longevity

The Bridge Evaluation and Accelerated Structural Testing facility, or BEAST, introduced by Rutgers’ Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation in October, virtually imposes real-life traffic and environmental loading on bridges over time and quantitatively measures stresses and deterioration of bridge materials to project future performance and lifespan. The BEAST can study spans up to 50 by 28 feet, with traffic loads up to 60,000 pounds at a continuous 20 miles-per-hour and more than 17,500 passes in a 24-hour period. Environmental stresses include rapid temperature fluctuations from 0 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit and salt brine saturation. Effects are measured on rebar, concrete, steel, ground wire and yellow paint, with all the variables of those materials as found in actual bridge construction. A review panel can advise interested parties about customized experiments. For more information, visit http://cait.Rutgers.edu/beast.  

LOCAL | November 23, 2015
PSE&G to Replace 500 Miles of Gas Lines

Last week the NJ BPU approved PSE&G’s request to accelerate replacement of more than 500 miles of old cast-iron and steel gas lines with plastic lines. The new lines are less likely to leak, will allow increased gas pressure and thus permit excess flow meters, which can signal when too much gas runs through the line and automatically shut it down. Covering less than 20% of PSE&G’s 3,000 miles of old cast-iron and steel gas lines, the replacement project will occur beneath the streets in urban areas where the original lines were installed more than 100 years ago, and will also include 38,000 service lines that feed directly into homes and businesses. Slated to begin next spring, the project is expected to take three years and cost $905 million.

LOCAL | November 19, 2015
AC Development Company to Build $200 Million Stockton Campus

News that AC Devco, the non-profit development group created in June to boost investment in Atlantic City, would build a $200 million Stockton campus in Atlantic City was announced at the League of Municipalities’ annual meeting today in AC. The campus is planned for the Chelsea neighborhood at the southern tip of Albany Avenue. South Jersey Gas had previously announced it will build a 75,000-square-foot corporate headquarters at the same Gateway Development site on Albany, a 14-acre parcel that was home to the former Atlantic City High School, demolished in 1999. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority is providing $2.5 million in seed money to develop the site.

LOCAL | November 19, 2015
NJ Transit Chief to Depart at Year-End

NJ Transit Executive Director Veronique Hakim announced via a staff email Tuesday that she will leave the agency in December. On the same day, the New York MTA posted her appointment as the new president of New York City Transit beginning December 28. She had previously worked at the MTA for 23 years, most recently as an executive vice president and general counsel for capital construction. NJ Transit has not posted announcements on its website about her departure or replacement.

LOCAL | November 17, 2015
Christie Announces Funding for Round 2 of Higher Ed Projects

Yesterday Gov. Christie announced a Fall 2015 grant cycle for the second round of funding from the 2012 Building Our Future Bond Act, which authorized up to $750 million in state grants for new-construction academic facilities. These monies, combined with other state-supported grant programs for higher-ed construction, meant nearly $1.3 billion in grants was authorized in 2013 for 176 projects at 46 institutions. For this cycle, colleges and universities will again compete for funding by submitting construction proposals to the Secretary of Higher Education, Rochelle Hendricks.

LOCAL | November 17, 2015
EDA Grants $93 Million in Tax Breaks to Jersey City Tower and Tenant

One Journal Square, a 56-story tower proposed for a 1.5-acre lot next to the PATH hub in Jersey City, will receive $34 million in tax breaks over 20 years from the NJ Economic Development Authority, while WeWork, a proposed tenant in the tower, will receive $59 million over 10 years. The tower, which could also be eligible for city tax breaks, will house 744 residential units, 101,000 square feet of office space on seven floors and 78,000 square feet of retail space on two floors. Kushner Companies and KABR Group, developers, purchased the property early this year. Construction is expected to be completed in 2018.

LOCAL | November 17, 2015
October Casino Take Down But Internet Gambling Rises

Atlantic City casino revenues, measured at $191.6 million in October, dropped 3.1% compared to October 2014, but Internet revenues, at $12.9 million, leaped up more than 35% in the same period. October was the first full comparable month since four of the casinos closed in 2014. Resorts saw the biggest percentage increase at 21%; Borgata had a 10.7% increase and the biggest take at $57.9 million; and Tropicana had a 0.6% rise. Caesars’ revenue plummeted 25.2% from a year ago; Harrah’s saw a 9.8% drop; Bally’s had a 2.6% decrease; and Golden Nugget’s revenues were down 0.1%.

LOCAL | November 17, 2015
Vineland’s Four Corners Development Picks Up Again in 2016

Following an award of $13.9 million in tax credits by the NJ Housing Mortgage Finance Agency last week, construction is expected to begin next year on the Landis Square Senior Project on East Landis Avenue between East and Myrtle in Vineland. The $18 million mixed-use project will offer 78 residential units for senior citizens, people with special needs and veterans in a three-story building with 8,000 square feet of retail space. Vineland will purchase and demolish the Travel Inn currently on the site, at a cost just under $2 million, while the developer, Eastern Pacific Development Co., will negotiate to buy the former Adamo Feed Store, also on the site, and Crown Fried Chicken on the corner of East Landis and East. The Landis Square project, which still needs site plan approval by the Vineland Planning Board, was originally part of a $40 million Four Corners development proposal by Eastern Pacific to create a gateway to Vineland’s downtown business district, but plans foundered over the past several years and the businesses that were renovated on one corner – a restaurant and theater – have since either closed or operate only occasionally.

LOCAL | November 17, 2015
Two Firms – But Not Fishermen’s Energy – Win Wind Power Development Bids

An auction held last week by the US Department of Interior’s Ocean Energy Management Bureau saw two out-of-state firms win bids to develop wind power projects off the Jersey coast in lease sales totaling nearly $2 million. The leased area, approximately seven miles offshore at the closest point, covers almost 340,000 acres and runs from Long Beach Island to Cape May. RES America Developments, Inc., of Broomfield CO and US Wind Inc. of Baltimore were the winning bidders. New Jersey’s Fishermen’s Energy participated in the auction but did not win. The leases run for a year, during which the developers have to submit preliminary plans. If the federal government approves those plans, each firm has four-and-a-half years to submit construction and operations plans, after which the government would conduct environmental impact assessments and open a public comment period. If final plans and assessments are approved, the leases would then run for 25 years.

LOCAL | November 17, 2015
Showboat Casino Sale Postponed Until January

Originally scheduled for yesterday, Stockton University announced last Friday that the settlement date for the sale of the Showboat Casino in Atlantic City has been postponed until January 15, 2016, an apparent tax benefit for buyer Bart Blatstein’s Tower Investments. As part of the new deal, the price will increase from $22 million to $23 million, with $2.2 million in escrow released immediately to Stockton for operating costs before the settlement date.

LOCAL | November 12, 2015
Newark’s $2 Million Should Jump-Start Residential High-Rise

The former Ballantine Brewery malt factory/Science High School site on Rector Street in Newark has been waiting for Boraie Development’s proposed $68 million, 23-story apartment tower, One Riverview, for more than two years. But Newark City Council’s decision Tuesday to provide $2 million toward construction costs should get work started before the end of the year. Other financing, already in place, comes as $35 million in loans from Goldman Sachs and nearly $24 million in Urban Transit Hub tax grants from the state, plus monies from the developer and other private sources. Newark had also granted the project a 30-year tax abatement back in 2013. The project, adjacent to NJ PAC, will preserve the red-brick façade and entry of the malt factory, which was built on the site in the 1890s, and the glass-and-steel tower will be built above and behind it. About 8,500 square feet of retail shops are planned for street level, topped by 169 market-rate rental units. Construction is expected to last just under 18 months, with initial rehab scheduled to take about two months.

LOCAL | November 9, 2015
Millville Plans Compressed Natural Gas Project

The Cumberland County Improvement Authority has partnered with Constellation Energy, a subsidiary of Exelon, to build a compressed natural gas quick-filling station at the county’s solid waste complex on Jesse Bridge Road (County Road 636) in Millville. The initial phase will include four CNG dispensers, each with two nozzles, plus onsite CNG storage in three vessels, each holding just under 12,000 cu. ft., with the ability to add more dispensers as needed. The station will service the county’s 144 heavy-duty vehicles that were converted from diesel to CNG as well as other fleet vehicles that pass the facility. Constellation will bear the full cost of construction.

LOCAL | November 9, 2015
Aviation Park Approaches “Mega Project” Status

The NJ EDA may consider granting tax incentives to a collection of entities expressing interest in moving into Stockton’s Aviation Research and Technology Park in Egg Harbor Township. If the authority decides to view the various businesses as a single entity, collectively meeting the authority’s threshold of 250 employees and a $20 million capital investment, the Aviation Park will gain “mega project” status, and can offer the same tax incentives as Garden State Growth Zones. The effect will make Aviation Park a much-more-competitive location.

NATIONAL | November 9, 2015
Construction Spending Strong for Year, Slows for Month

Year-over-year construction spending across the nation continued strong in September, reaching a new seven-year high and climbing at the fastest rate since January 2006, before the recession officially set in. Total construction spending in September hit $1.094 trillion, 14.1% above September 2014 spending and 0.6% higher than August. Multifamily residential construction spending jumped 26.7% for the year, up 4.9% for the month. Even public construction spending increased, up 9.4% for the year and 0.7% for the month. In that sector, construction spending on education facilities rose 10.5% for the year, 2.4% for the month. Although private non-residential construction spending rose 14.9% over last year, it fell 0.7% from August’s numbers. Within the sector, spending on lodging, manufacturing and office construction increased significantly year-over-year, but spending within most other categories declined. AGC of America blames the decrease on worker shortage; September’s BLS data noted less than half-a-million unemployed construction workers, the lowest September total in 15 years.

NATIONAL | November 2, 2015
OSHA May Increase Civil Penalties Under New Budget Act

The new Bipartisan Budget Act approved last week now makes it legal for OSHA to increase civil penalties based on inflation. Previously, civil penalties under the OSH Act were expressly exempted from annual inflation increases. OSHA may even increase penalties up to 150% in the first year to meet current inflation levels. However, any proposed increase would still have to go through OSHA’s formal notice and comment process.

NATIONAL | November 2, 2015
ACA Auto-Enrollment Mandate Repealed

In the Bipartisan Budget Act signed into law late last week, a mandatory auto-enrollment of employees into employer-provided healthcare plan was repealed. The mandate would have affected employers with more than 200 employees, requiring they enroll a new full-time employee within 90 days if the employee declined coverage or failed to choose coverage. The mandate also required employers to continue to enroll current employees in a healthcare plan, and was in addition to the Affordable Care Act’s individual and employer mandates requiring healthcare coverage.  

October 2015

LOCAL | October 30, 2015
Evesham Approves Development Application

Richard Birdoff and his development company, RD Management, based in New York, received preliminary approval from Evesham officials to move ahead with The Shoppes at Renaissance Square and the Residences at Renaissance Square. The proposed project would demolish and rehab the empty Tri-Towne Plaza on Route 70, owned by RD Management, making way for construction of restaurants, a coffee shop, and a free-standing 12,600-square-foot commercial/retail building. The residential plan calls for 338 apartments in five buildings. The developer will need to secure several other approvals, including those from NJDOT and NJDEP. Construction could create more than 300 jobs.

NATIONAL | October 28, 2015
Construction Employment Down in 40% of Metro Areas

For the year from September 2014 to September 2015, construction employment dropped in 40% of the nation’s metro areas – down in 144 of 358 metros. It increased in 159 and remained the same in 55. New Jersey’s Bergen-Hudson-Passaic landed in the bottom five, losing 2,700 jobs, a 9% drop. But despite the less-than-good news across the country, the rest of New Jersey’s metros fared reasonably well for the year-over-year period. Atlantic City-Hammonton and Newark each saw a 12% jump, with an increase of 600 and 5,400 jobs respectively. Camden gained 1,800 jobs, an 8% rise. The rest each increased jobs at a 4% rate, with Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean picking up 1,400 jobs, Trenton adding 200 jobs and Vineland-Bridgeton gaining 100 jobs. Statewide, New Jersey added 8,400 jobs, a 6% gain for the year-over-year.

LOCAL | October 27, 2015
Fed Grant Will Replace Newark’s Portal Bridge

The railroad swing bridge over the Hackensack River is 105 years old, and it doesn’t work well. NJ Transit, in collaboration with Amtrak for the design and engineering, can now replace it, with $16 million in a federal grant announced Monday. The grant will also cover electrical and fiber optic work, a retaining wall and a pier from the river’s western shore to allow steel, concrete and piping for construction to be delivered by water. The bridge will be built high enough for boats to pass under, eliminating the need for the problematic swing.

LOCAL | October 27, 2015
Competition for Plans to Replace Port Authority Bus Terminal

Late last week, the Port Authority approved a competition for plans to replace the aging bus terminal on Eighth Avenue. The new terminal will be located a block west, between Ninth and Eleventh, and could cost $10 billion. The Port Authority plans to select a design at its September 2016 board meeting, if not sooner.

LOCAL | October 22, 2015
AC Armory to Become Mixed-Use Development

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved conversion of Atlantic City's old Morris Guards Armory at Pacific and New York avenues into a mixed-use development that will be privately funded by developer John Longacre, whose firm, LPMG of Philadelphia, bought the site in April. The plan calls for 25 one- and two-bedroom apartments over first-floor retail. Longacre would like leasing to begin midyear 2016.

LOCAL | October 22, 2015
Newark Charter School Slated for Old Star-Ledger Site

On Tuesday, the Newark Central Planning Board okay’d plans for a new NorthStar Academy charter school to be built on a former Star-Ledger site on Court Street. The six-story school will serve K-12. Construction is expected to begin in early 2016 and be completed in 2018.

NATIONAL | October 20, 2015
September Construction Jobs Across the Country Up for Year

We posted in Hot Topics last week news of the 2,800 new construction jobs created in New Jersey in September, a 1.9% increase over August. AGC of America, using BLS data, reports New Jersey ranked #6 in the 23 states that added jobs for the month. A total of 35 states and DC added construction jobs in the year since September 2014, including New Jersey, which added 5,900 for the year, a 4.1% gain.

LOCAL | October 16, 2015
Bayonne Bridge Completion Delayed Two Years

The Port Authority’s Bayonne Bridge raising will take another two years beyond the original projected completion date, and is now expected to be finished in late 2017. The new date means new super-container ships that will begin passing through the widened Panama Canal in the spring of 2016 won’t be able to take advantage of the bridge’s 64-foot additional height. The Port Authority blames harsh weather and structural steel issues for the delay.

LOCAL | October 16, 2015
New Jersey’s Construction Industry Adds Jobs in September

New Jersey added 4,700 jobs in September, and construction employment contributed nearly 60% of the growth, with 2,800 new jobs in the industry. A close second, leisure and hospitality added 2,700 jobs.

LOCAL | October 16, 2015
Casino Gambling Revenues Up Nearly 10% in September

Atlantic City casinos reported total revenues of $230.1 million in September, a 9.9% increase over last year – when Revel and Trump Plaza revenues were included. Six of the eight remaining casinos reported gains, with Borgata’s year-over-year clocking in at the highest increase, up $7.8 million. Caesar’s had a $4.9 million increase, Resorts saw a $3.6 million gain and Golden Nugget reported a $3.3 million increase. Resorts and Golden Nugget had the biggest percentage gains from last year, up 31.8% and 20.9% respectively. Bally’s and Trump Taj Mahal both saw revenues drop, with Bally’s revenues down 4.2% and Taj revenues down 4.6%.

LOCAL | October 16, 2015
AFL-CIO Firm Expected to Announce Billion-Dollar Affordable Housing Investment

Crain’s New York Business reported earlier this week that the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust will commit $1 billion to financing 20,000 affordable-housing units in New York City within the next seven years. All the construction projects will hire union labor.

LOCAL | October 13, 2015
Phase 1 of Paulsboro Plaza Redevelopment Gets Funding

Lindsey-Ore LLC, a developer that plans to recreate Paulsboro Plaza, has obtained a construction loan for the first phase, rehabilitation of the old Acme grocery store into a Save-A-Lot grocery store. The developer now must get building permits from Paulsboro and put together a construction schedule.

LOCAL | October 13, 2015
Online Merchants Push NJ Industrial Vacancy Rates Down

The vacancy rates in New Jersey’s industrial space have dropped to their lowest levels since 2007, per Cushman & Wakefield, driven by demand from online merchants. In North Jersey, the vacancy rate is 7.2%, with just under 700,000 square feet currently under construction and an average rental rate of $6.33 per square foot. In Central Jersey the vacancy rate is 8%, with nearly 2.6 million square feet under construction and an average rental rate of $5.12 per square foot. Cushman & Wakfield did not report South Jersey rates.

LOCAL | October 9, 2015
Jersey City Takes Back Further School Control

On Wednesday, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop announced the city was taking back further control of the public school system, including personnel and operations. The State of New Jersey Department of Education, which took over the schools in October 1989 because of poor student performance, returned finance and governance control to the city in 2012. The state will continue to maintain control over instruction and program, but Mayor Fulop and School Superintendent Dr. Marcia Lyles both expressed optimism about transitioning that control back to the city in Spring 2016.

LOCAL | October 6, 2015
Burlington County Expected to Approve $60 Million for Bridges

The vote is next week, but the Burlington County Board of Freeholders will most likely approve a guarantee for $60 million in bonds to the county’s Bridge Commission for two major bridge rehabilitation projects. Total cost is estimated at $90 million for both projects – $45.3 million for stripping and painting both bridges and $45 million for replacing the deck on the Burlington-Bristol Bridge, plus $1.2 million to install gates and traffic signals on both 90-year-old bridges. The county would guarantee the loan and the Commission would repay the bonds through toll collection. Board of Freeholders meeting is scheduled for October 14, 7 pm in the county administration building, 49 Rancocas Road, Mount Holly.

NATIONAL | October 6, 2015
Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund Seeks Benefit Cuts

Not unexpected but now officially announced, the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund filed a plan to cut benefits for retirees in an effort to keep the fund from becoming insolvent. It is the first multiemployer pension fund to file an application with the Treasury Department for benefit cuts under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014. Under the rules, the plan will be made public by October 25. If Treasury approves the plan, it will go to the retirees for a vote. However, if propping up the pension fund will cost the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation more than $1 billion, Treasury can override the retirees’ predicted “no” vote.

NATIONAL | October 2, 2015
Nonresidential Construction Spending Takes Summer Leap

Private nonresidential construction spending across the nation in August jumped 16.9% over August of 2014, and even public construction spending was up, 7% higher than a year ago. Overall construction spending in August hit a seven-year high at $1.086 trillion (the highest since May 2008), 13.7% higher than August 2014 and the strongest year-over-year growth rate since March 2006. AGC of America noted “exceptionally strong growth in manufacturing, lodging and apartment construction all year,” with a recent spurt in construction spending for office, healthcare, highway and education structures.

LOCAL | October 1, 2015
Nearly $6 Million in Freight Rail Grants Come to South Jersey

Freight rail will get improvements in Paulsboro, Camden and Salem County, thanks to two DOT grants. South Jersey Port Corporation, which owns marine terminals in Paulsboro and Camden, will receive $5 million to improve the railroads at both terminals, including track extensions and two new grade crossings at Paulsboro and renovation of four crossings at Camden, along with improvements to the Camden terminal. Salem County will receive $972,840 to rehab its 18-mile shortline, primarily replacing old rail ties.

September 2015

NATIONAL | September 29, 2015
Construction Employment Falls in 43% of Metro Areas

Construction lost jobs in 153 of 358 metro areas, nearly 43%, across the country in the period from August 2014 to August 2015, which meant only 163 gained jobs while construction employment in another 42 remained unchanged. AGC of America attributed some of the job losses to the “steep downturn in oil and gas drilling,” along with uncertainty in the industry because of the lack of federal funding for infrastructure projects. In the bottom five metro areas was New Jersey’s Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, which lost 1,900 jobs for the year, down 6%. Trenton also saw a decline, losing 200 jobs, a 4% drop. But the rest of the state fared better for the year-over-year. Alphabetically, Atlantic City-Hammonton picked up 600 jobs, a 12% gain; Camden added 3,000 jobs, a 14% jump; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 500 jobs, a 1% increase; Newark added 5,000 jobs, a 12% increase; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 200 jobs, a 7% gain. Overall, the state added 7,300 construction jobs, a 5% increase.

LOCAL | September 29, 2015
Camden Looks Toward $1 Billion Waterfront Development

Liberty Property Trust, the same developer that remade the Philadelphia Navy Yard, last week announced a $1 billion mixed-use project for 16 acres of Camden waterfront that was formerly used by industry. The development, based on a master plan from architect Robert A.M. Stern, would include 1.7 million square feet of office space, a hotel with 120 to 140 rooms, retail shops at ground level, 325 rental apartments and 5,000 parking spaces. The design features a series of low-lying buildings strung between two towers. To date, Liberty has a signed agreement to purchase Camden Town Center LLC and develop the 16 acres. Once approvals are complete, Liberty could break ground in third-quarter 2016 and begin opening buildings for occupancy in late 2018. The project is expected to create thousands of construction jobs.

NATIONAL | September 23, 2015
Year Better than Month in Construction Employment

Across the country, construction employment rose in 36 states and DC in the year from August 2014 to August 2015. But the monthly numbers were not so positive:  only 25 states added jobs from July to August. New Jersey’s picture was a little rosier than of late, with 4,800 more jobs this August than last, a 3.3% increase. For the month, the state added 600 jobs, a 0.4% gain. In the region, Rhode Island ranked second from the bottom in percentage of jobs lost in the year-over-year period, down 7.9% with a loss of 1,300 jobs, but managed to pick up 100 jobs for the month, a gain of 0.7%. Connecticut added 1,700 jobs over last year, a 3% gain, but lost 500 jobs for the month, a 0.9% drop. New York added 7,800 jobs for the year, a 2.3% increase, and 2,600 for the month, a 0.7% gain. Pennsylvania added 8,900 jobs compared to last year, a 3.8% increase, but lost 300 jobs over the month, a 0.1% drop.

LOCAL | September 23, 2015
Golden Nugget To Transform Restaurant Into Villas

Last week, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority gave the go-ahead to the Golden Nugget Atlantic City to create two 2,400 sq.ft. villas from an old restaurant on the property, each with a bedroom, living room, entertainment space, dining area and bar. The $4.5 million project is being funded with $1.2 million in Investment Alternative Tax obligations, with more to come from projected IAT revenue. The villas will be available for weekend hotel guests and used for small-group meetings and hospitality suites.

LOCAL | September 22, 2015
$3.2 Million in Fed Funds for AC Airport Reconstruction

As Chair of the House Aviation Subcommittee, US Rep. Frank LoBiondo announced last week the FAA will give $3,223,440 to Atlantic City International Airport for reconstruction projects as part of the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program.

LOCAL | September 22, 2015
Proposed Woolwich Retail Project Gets Sewer Access

Earlier this month, Logan Township agreed to expand its sewer treatment facilities to accommodate a Woolwich retail project. Woolwich Commons, the first phase of a mixed-use development that will ultimately total more than a half-million square feet at the intersection of Kings Highway and Route 322, will include a Walmart, Chili’s, Applebee’s, Outback Steakhouse, Starbucks, a variety of fast-food choices and other retail stores. Subsequent development plans call for 3,000 to 4,000 residential units in a walkable environment, along with plans for NJ DOT to upgrade the intersection and build in safety features.

LOCAL | September 21, 2015
Blatstein Confirmed as Showboat Buyer

Reports surfaced and then were confirmed last week that Bart Blatstein, a Philadelphia developer and principal of Tower Investments, has purchased Atlantic City’s Showboat Casino from Stockton University for $22 million, with a closing date of November 9. Per the university, which paid $18 million for the hotel and casino last year, Stockton will be able to use some of Showboat’s entertainment venues and has an agreement with Blatstein to provide guest accommodations at Stockton’s Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway if AC rooms are booked. Blatstein previously bought AC’s Pier Shops at Caesars.

LOCAL | September 15, 2015
$253 Million in Tax Incentives for Camden Recycling Plant

Last Thursday, the NJ EDA approved $252,750,000 in tax incentives over 10 years for EMR Eastern LLC, which will build a nearly 700,000 sq.ft. advanced metals recovery facility and corporate headquarters on six blocks along Camden’s Waterfront South. EMR already owns Camden Iron & Metal in the vicinity, and will move its headquarters and 71 jobs from Bellmawr, along with 27 jobs from other New Jersey towns. According to the proposal approved by EDA, the project will create 285 new permanent jobs and 1,274 construction jobs.

NATIONAL | September 8, 2015
Construction Jobs Weaken in More Than Half of Metro Areas

Less than half of the nation’s metro areas (168 of 358, or 47%) added construction jobs in July compared to July 2014, and AGC of America called it “the weakest expansion since late 2011.” Construction employment decreased in 138 metros (39%) and remained static in 52 (15%). One New Jersey metro area, Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, landed in the bottom five, losing 1,900 jobs, a 6% decline for the year. But the rest of the state fared better. Atlantic City-Hammonton added 800 jobs, a 16% jump; Newark added 6,200 jobs, a 14% gain; Camden added 2,800 jobs, a 13% gain; Vineland-Bridgeton added 200 jobs, an 8% increase; and Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 400 jobs, a 1% increase. Only Trenton remained unchanged from a year ago. Statewide, New Jersey had a net gain of 7,200 jobs for the period, up 5%.

Across the country, the construction industry added 231,000 jobs (a 3.8% gain) in July compared to July 2014. However, the industry has shown only slow growth in the number of jobs, averaging 6,800 per month for the past six months. AGC blames the slow growth on a lack of qualified workers in many parts of the country, rather than on low demand for workers.

August 2015

LOCAL | August 26, 2015
Update on Virtua’s Proposed Westampton Hospital

As we posted in Hot Topics more than a year-and-a-half ago, Virtua Health System purchased a 100+ acre lot at Route 541 and Woodlane Road in Westampton with plans to build an acute-care hospital. Those plans have expanded to include nine other buildings – surgical and rehab centers, a hospice and assisted-living facility and medical offices. Covering two million square feet, the medical complex project would be constructed in phases within a 20-year timeframe during which the zoning would remain unchanged. The proposal is due to be presented to the Westampton Land Development/Zoning Board next week. Since we first posted, the township amended its master plan for the site, allowing a hospital and mixed-use, business and residential “town center” construction.

LOCAL | August 26, 2015
AC Casino Revenues Rise Slightly in First Half of 2015

With fewer casinos open in Atlantic City, overall revenue in the first six months of this year is down compared to the same period last year, by as much as 11.8%. However, the total revenue comparison for the eight casinos still open is somewhat higher, at $1.65 billion compared to $1.6 billion last year. The Division of Gaming Enforcement also notes Gross Operating Profit for the eight rose 27.4% to $213 million for the first half of 2015, and net revenue, including Internet gaming take, also rose for six of the eight. Borgata reported an increase of $24.6 million in revenue, the highest dollar gain, up about 7% over the first half of last year. Golden Nugget revenue was up 26.7% and Resorts revenue was up 12% for the period. Harrah’s revenue was up over 11%, while Caesar’s and Tropicana revenues were each up just over 7%. Trump Taj Mahal’s net revenue dropped 26.5% and Bally’s dropped 0.6% for the period.

NATIONAL | August 24, 2015
States Add Construction Jobs for Year, Less Strong for Month

While 37 states and DC added construction jobs for the year from July 2014 to July 2015, only 28 plus DC added jobs for the month. AGC of America noted that construction is growing overall but fewer states are benefiting from the growth. New Jersey added 4,700 jobs over the year period, a 3.3% gain, but lost 100 jobs for the month, dropping 0.1%. In the region, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania followed the same pattern, gaining jobs for the year but experiencing losses for the month. Rhode Island on the other hand dropped a significant number of jobs for the year, ranking at the bottom among all states, and picked up only a handful of jobs for the month.

LOCAL | August 20, 2015
Ocean Drive in Avalon Slated for $9 Million Resiliency Project

Cape May County plans a multi-year, $9 million “permanent fix” to approximately 1,500 feet of Ocean Drive that will install resiliency into the portion of the road at the bulkhead badly damaged during Superstorm Sandy. Plans call for thick plates of tar-coated sheet steel, driven down 25 feet on the ocean side and 15 feet on the marsh side, to flank a new road surface. The road itself will be constructed of nine-inch slabs of reinforced concrete with a six-inch Portland cement base over geotextile. Also part of the project is repair of the stone seawall, which will be made more resilient with a backing of filter stone rip-rap on the ocean side and rip-rap stone on the marsh side to allow seawater to drain away from the road. The project is expected to go out for bid in September, with a shortened winter construction cycle that will end March 15 because of shorebird protections.

LOCAL | August 13, 2015
Update: American Dream Meadowlands Tax Break

Latest news:  The project is still eligible for a $390 million tax break, following a vote of approval from the EDA on Tuesday. Developer Triple Five had presented an expanded and amended plan for the project, and EDA’s approval of the plan means the developer can proceed with the sale of as much as $800 million in bonds within the next 30 to 60 days. New construction funding of $3.2 billion is needed to finish the project. EDA approval, the bond sale and final approval from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which meets today to discuss the revised plan, could allow American Dream to open in the latter half of 2017. In the meantime, construction continues at the site. Triple Five’s EDA application specified 5,810 construction jobs would be created by the project.

LOCAL | August 7, 2015
NYC Forms Construction Fraud Task Force

Wednesday, New York announced the formation of a citywide Construction Fraud Task Force to investigate and prosecute corruption and fraud in the construction industry. Oversight of the task force comes from a partnership of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the NYC Department of Investigation, the Port Authority’s Office of the Inspector General, the MTA’s Office of the Inspector General, and the Business Integrity Commission for the City of New York. Created in the midst of a huge building boom in the city, the task force’s mission is two-part: uncovering fraud and preventing unsafe practices on jobsites. The Attorney-in-Charge is Assistant DA Diana Florence of the DA’s Rackets Bureau.

LOCAL | August 7, 2015
Former Elizabeth General Hospital May Morph Into Mixed-Use

The old Elizabeth General Hospital site, five acres on East Jersey Street in Elizabeth, was sold to a private developer listed as H. Elizabeth Realty LLC of Brooklyn for $2.5 million. The developer plans a mixed-use housing and retail complex on the site, which still holds part of the former hospital’s 350,000 sq.ft. building and a parking deck with 500+ spaces.

July 2015

NATIONAL | July 29, 2015
Metro Area Construction Employment Uninspiring for Year

Of 358 metro areas, 127 (35%) saw construction employment drop in the year from June 2014 to June 2015, while 180 (50%) saw an increase and 51 (14%) saw no change. AGC of America blames lack of sustained federal transportation funding for the sluggish growth. New Jersey’s numbers hit highs and lows:  Bergen-Hudson-Passaic was in the bottom five in the nation with a loss of 1,200 jobs for the year, a 4% decline, while Camden ranked third in the nation in terms of percentage gains, picking up 4,000 jobs for a whopping 19% increase. The rest of the metro areas in the state did better than Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, some of them recording a significance increase year-over-year:  Atlantic City-Hammonton picked up 900 construction jobs, an 18% gain; Newark added 5,000 construction jobs, a 12% gain; Vineland-Bridgeton added 300 jobs, also a 12% increase; Trenton added 100 jobs, a 2% gain; and Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 500 jobs, a 1% gain.

LOCAL | July 28, 2015
CSX To Replace Oradell Reservoir Bridge Deck

CSX, whose trains carry Bakken crude oil across the Oradell Reservoir Bridge every week, announced it would replace the bridge’s wooden deck this summer. The bridge is 86 years old and its 25-foot open-slat deck is deteriorating such that CSX ordered trains to reduce speed over the span from 40 mph to 25 mph. The deck will be replaced with a ballasted deck. Train traffic will be halted, not rerouted, during the bridge replacement, which is expected sometime this summer, although CSX did not name a date.

LOCAL | July 28, 2015
NY Gov. Cuomo Announces $4 Billion Rebuild for LaGuardia

Yesterday, New York Governor Cuomo announced a plan to rebuild LaGuardia Airport, consolidating its four terminals into one and moving the entire facility closer to the Grand Central Parkway in Queens. Pending approval from the Port Authority, the $4 billion project could break ground next year and be completed in five years.

LOCAL | July 27, 2015
Proposed Ridgewood Parking Garage Estimated at $15 Million

Last week, Ridgewood approved $500,000 for pre-construction costs, including project analysis and design, of a proposed $15 million parking garage. The garage would include conventional parking decks with perhaps as many as 300 additional parking spaces. This fall, Ridgewood residents will vote on financing the project through public funds.

LOCAL | July 27, 2015
Rebuilding Atlantic County’s Bridges: Three Years, Maybe $50 Million

A bridge rebuilding plan in Atlantic County will take three years and cost as much as $50 million. Many of the 28 bridges slated for reconstruction are 75 years old or more, one is more than a century old. Next in the project pipeline is replacement of the Catawba Bridge in Hamilton and Egg Harbor Township, for which construction is expected to begin in September and end in May of next year.

LOCAL | July 22, 2015
East Rutherford Votes to Issue $675 Million in Bonds for American Dream Project

Last night, the East Rutherford Borough Council unanimously approved issuing up to $675 million in bonds to help finance the American Dream Meadowlands project. These high-yield municipal bonds are “non-recourse,” which protects the borough from having to repay investors should the project ultimately fail. Triple Five, the project developer, is also in the midst of applying to the NJ Economic Development Authority for up to $390 million in tax breaks, another piece of the financing necessary to continue with the project.

NATIONAL | July 21, 2015
States Drop Construction Jobs in June

Half the states in the US lost construction jobs in the month from May to June, including New Jersey, which ranked close to the bottom in both number and percentage of jobs lost (down 4,600 jobs, a 3% drop). Another 24 states added jobs, and construction employment in Wyoming and DC remained unchanged. In the region for the month, Rhode Island lost 700 jobs, a 4.5% drop, Pennsylvania lost 2,300 jobs, a 0.9% drop, New York gained 3,300 jobs, up 0.9%, Connecticut picked up 2,200 jobs, a 3.8% increase, and Delaware added 900 jobs, a 4.3% gain.

         Despite the losses for the month, the construction employment picture for the year from June 2014 to June 2015 was somewhat improved, with 39 states and DC adding jobs, 11 states losing jobs. New Jersey finished the period with 6,200 more jobs than a year ago, up 4.4%.

NATIONAL | July 13, 2015
Some Construction Materials Prices Drop, Some Rise

Copper futures dropped during the first week of July to a six-year low, down to approximately $2.45 per pound, a 20% decrease from the same period in 2014. Iron ore used in steelmaking fell to the lowest price in a decade, and aluminum prices dropped 2% in the first week in July and have decreased 10% since January. Rising demand pushed up the prices for window glass, wallboard and steel pipe. Overall, however, the construction cost index, measured in 12 cities across the US, rose during the first quarter of 2015 only 0.5% in New York and 0.6% in Boston.

LOCAL | July 15, 2015
Montvale Property to Become Sloan Kettering Center

A 17-acre property in Montvale, most recently home to Teva Pharmaceuticals, will be transformed into an outpatient center for Memorial Sloan Kettering, which purchased the land and a 142,500 sq.ft. office building for $37 million. Sloan Kettering will invest more than $100 million in renovations to the building, located at 225 Summit Avenue, with plans to open it in 2017.

NATIONAL | July 2, 2015
Construction Spending Jumps This May Over Last

Construction spending nationally jumped 8.2% in May compared to May 2014, reaching the highest level of spending since October 2008. Totaling $1.036 trillion, the figure also represented a 0.8% increase over April. Private nonresidential spending increased 0.9% for the month, 10.3% for the year. By segment, year-over-year, construction spending in manufacturing rose 70%, amusement and recreation spending was up 46%, lodging was up 30%, private office construction was up 26% and multifamily construction spending rose 21%. Public construction spending increased 0.7% for the month, up 2.8% for the year.

LOCAL | July 2, 2015
New Mantoloking Borough Hall Rings Up at $5 Million

The old Mantoloking Borough Hall, damaged by Superstorm Sandy and demolished in 2013, will be replaced with a new one at a cost of almost $5 million, approved by the Borough Council Tuesday. The two-story building on Downer Avenue will incorporate the borough’s police department, municipal offices, a community and municipal meeting room that will double as a courtroom, and judge’s chambers. Once the architect, B.L.D.G. Architecture LLC of Brielle, finalizes the plan and bidding package, the project will be put out to bid.

LOCAL | July 2, 2015
Former Cherry Hill Syms Proposed for $50 Million Medical Complex

Vacant for the past three years, the 150,000 sq.ft. Syms store on 11 acres on Route 70, will be transformed into a $50 million medical complex if developer Penn Medicine’s proposal is adopted. The developer, an affiliate of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, envisions an urgent care center, radiology and cardiology units, a primary care center and more. The building would undergo a new façade, new roof, new electrical and HVAC systems and lighting upgrades. The project also includes a parking garage, and would take an estimated 18 months to complete. The Cherry Hill Planning Board will consider the proposal next week. The site is owned by Finmarc Management, based in Bethesda, Maryland.

NATIONAL | July 2, 2015
May Metro Construction Employment Reflects Slow Growth

While 205 of 358 metro areas across the country added construction jobs between May 2014 and May 2015, the number of municipalities adding jobs declined to its lowest level since April 2013. Rounding out the figures, 101 metro areas lost jobs compared to last year, and 52 remained unchanged. The New Jersey picture for the year was improved, however: Atlantic City-Hammonton, for example, ranked #3 in the US for largest percentage gains, picking up 1,100 jobs, a 22% increase over May 2014. Camden also appeared in the top 10 in terms of percentages, adding 3,300 jobs, a 16% increase. Newark was strong for the year, picking up 4,500 jobs, an 11% gain, followed by Trenton (up 500 jobs, a 10% increase); Vineland-Bridgeton (up 200 jobs, an 8% gain); and Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean (up 800 jobs, a 2% gain). Bergen-Hudson-Passaic was the only New Jersey metro area to lose jobs for the year, down 3% with a loss of 900 jobs. Overall, the state picked up 9,800 construction jobs from last May to this, a 7% increase.

June 2015

LOCAL | June 29, 2015
Bayonne’s Large Public Projects to Have PLAs

If a Bayonne public works or city-funded municipal project is valued at more than $5 million, it will now be covered by a PLA with the Hudson County Building and Construction Trades Council. The City Council approved the measure on June 17 in a unanimous vote.

LOCAL | June 29, 2015
Atlantic City Rescue Plan Passes Senate

Now awaiting action by Governor Christie, the package of five bills designed to rescue Atlantic City’s finances passed the state Senate on Thursday. It had been approved by Assembly on June 11, as posted in Hot Topics June 12.

LOCAL | June 25, 2015
Redevelopment Planned for Jersey City Pasta Factory Site

Developer Argent Ventures would like to raze the century-old Mueller’s pasta plant at 180 Baldwin Avenue in Jersey City and replace it with a four-building mixed-use complex holding 980 residential units, 490 parking spaces, ground-floor retail space, public plazas and a promenade. Plans call for two buildings of seven floors each, two of 25 floors each. Part of the Journal Square 2060 Redevelopment Plan, the complex would be built in four phases, the first two of which came before the Jersey City Planning Board Tuesday night for site plan approval.

NATIONAL | June 23, 2015
May Construction Employment Picks Up in the Northeast – But Not in New Jersey

Across the country, 40 states and DC added construction jobs in May compared to May 2014, but only 28 states and DC added jobs in the month from April to May. The six states that added the highest percentage of jobs for the month were all in the Northeast, including Connecticut (2,400 jobs, up 4.3%), New Hampshire (1,000 jobs, also up 4.3%), New York (14,200 jobs, up 4.2%), Vermont (600 jobs, up 4.1%), Maryland (4,500 jobs, up 2.9%) and Massachusetts (3,500 jobs, up 2.7%). While New Jersey fared better this year compared to last, up 11,000 jobs, a 7.8% gain, construction employment for the month slipped, down 700 jobs, a 0.5% loss.

LOCAL | June 19, 2015
$164 Million EDA Grant Goes to American Water Works

American Water Works, based in Voorhees, will use the 10-year grant for a new 250,000 sq.ft. headquarters building in Camden, consolidating staff from Mount Laurel, Haddon Heights, Cherry Hill and Voorhees. American Water claims the Camden project will retain 596 jobs and create 100 new jobs in New Jersey.

LOCAL | June 18, 2015
Teaneck to See New Glenpointe Hotel Development

Hackensack developer Alfred Sanzari Enterprises announced plans last week to build a 13-story, 350-room hotel at the Glenpointe mixed-use complex in Teaneck. The hotel will be jointly branded as a Hampton Inn & Suites (190 rooms) and Homewood Suites by Hilton (160 rooms), and will sit near the corner of Glenwood Avenue and the I-95 off-ramp.

NATIONAL | June 18, 2015
Kenneth Feinberg to Review Applications to Cut Multi-Employer Pension Benefits

Kenneth Feinberg, known for overseeing the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster Victim Compensation Fund and the Boston Marathon’s One Fund for victims of the bombings, was appointed by the Treasury Department to review applications from multi-employer pension funds that seek to cut retiree benefits to avoid insolvency. No applications have yet been received, but Feinberg will be responsible for ensuring that the regulations guiding the process are followed. Those regulations were issued with his appointment yesterday. Feinberg will serve in the position without pay.

LOCAL | June 12, 2015
NJ Assembly Approves AC Bailout Bills

A package of bills designed to bail out Atlantic City passed the New Jersey State Assembly yesterday, and now moves to the Senate for a vote later this month. The five bills cover these tax revenue issues:

  • Casinos would pay collectively $120 million in taxes each year for 15 years, based on annual gross gaming revenues of $2.2 billion to $2.6 billion, adjustable if gaming revenues rise or fall dramatically; casinos would not be allowed to appeal taxes.
  • $60 million in casino tax money would go to the Atlantic City Alliance this year rather than over the next two years as scheduled.
  • Casino Reinvestment Development Authority’s development funds would be used to pay down the city’s debt service, anticipated to be $36 million in 2015.
  • Casino workers would receive healthcare and retirement benefits.
  • Atlantic City schools would receive extra funding if necessary.

LOCAL | June 8, 2015
Track Port Authority Projects with Website Dashboard

The Port Authority last week launched a new dashboard on its website to post quarterly updates on its capital projects, including cost and schedule information. Access the dashboard at http://capitaldashboard.panynj.gov/.

LOCAL | June 3, 2015
Update on Next Gen Aviation Park: Stockton Gets Lease

As we told you in Hot Topics in late January, settled lawsuits between the South Jersey Economic Development District and its former executive director paved the way for a land lease transfer to Stockton University’s Aviation Research & Technology Park. The lease transfer of 58 acres in Egg Harbor Township went through last week, and Stockton now plans development to begin on the first building in the park by year-end. Construction is scheduled to include a total of seven buildings with 400,000 square feet of office and research space. The first building will offer 66,000 square feet, with 7,000 square feet of it set aside for the FAA.

NATIONAL | June 2, 2015
April Construction Employment Up in 65% of US Metro Areas

From April 2014 to April 2015, construction employment increased in 232 of 358 metro areas, declined in 66 and remained the same in 60. All New Jersey metros gained jobs in the year-over-year period, and Atlantic City-Hammonton ranked #2 in percentage increase, adding 1,100 jobs for a 24% gain. Newark added 5,600 jobs, a 14% gain, followed by Camden with 2,700 jobs, a 13% increase; Trenton with 600 jobs, a 13% increase; Vineland-Bridgeton with 300 jobs, a 13% increase; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic with 600 jobs, a 2% increase; and Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean with 500 jobs, a 1% gain. Statewide for the April-to-April period, New Jersey gained 11,900 jobs, a 9% boost.

LOCAL | June 1, 2015
Roller Coaster for AC?

Last week, Florida developer Joshua Wallack proposed a vertical roller coaster for the site of the former Sands casino in Atlantic City. The project would include construction of the roller coaster around a vertical-drop ride on a site that would also be filled with entertainment venues. Wallack is currently building Skyplex, a similar entertainment complex in Orlando, and would like to see an Atlantic City version open by Summer 2017. According to Wallack, the project would create approximately 1,000 construction jobs and 200 to 300 permanent jobs. Boardwalk Piers LLC owns the property.

May 2015

LOCAL | May 29, 2015
Wildwood Hopes Tax Incentives Draw Construction Projects

Wildwood City Commissioners have approved tax breaks for commercial renovations and construction, hoping to encourage new development, including construction of a year-round, full-service hotel in close proximity to the convention center. The city’s redevelopment plan also envisions construction on the Bayfront and the former landfill off Garfield Avenue, which must first be capped in compliance with state regulations. New construction and improvements of commercial, industrial or multi-family units would be eligible for an exemption in the form of a five-year phase-in process. During the first year, zero taxes would be due on improvements, with a 20% increase each year over five years.

LOCAL | May 29, 2015
Bayonne Bridge Construction Updates for June and July

The Port Authority and City of Bayonne officials have announced another set of updates to the bridge construction.

Street Closures

  • West Third Street, as previously announced, will be closed until July.
  • West Fourth Street, originally scheduled to open in June, will be closed until July.
  • Gertrude Street will be closed until July (updated from previous announcements).
  • As previously announced, no other streets will be closed while these three are closed.

In addition, the Bayonne Bridge will remain open over the Father’s Day weekend, from Saturday, June 20, 8 am, through Monday, June 22, 9 am.

For the latest information on bridge closures, call 855.265.5482, press 1.

For notifications via email and/or text, visit www.paalerts.com and click on “Register for Port Authority Alerts.”

NATIONAL | May 27, 2015
April’s Construction Employment Up in 30 States, Including New Jersey

Compared to March, construction employment in April rose in 30 states and DC. And compared to April 2014, this April’s construction employment rose in 40 states plus DC. New Jersey came out in the top five states in both numbers, with a month-to-month jump of 3,400 jobs, a 2.3% increase, and a year-over-year leap of 9.9% with 13,900 jobs. In the region, Pennsylvania added the most jobs – 10,000 – compared to all other states for the month, a 4.3% hike. But New York and Rhode Island were among the 18 states that lost jobs month-to-month, down 3,200 (a 0.9% loss) and 400 (a 2.5% drop) respectively. Rhode Island was also one of seven states to lose jobs compared to April 2014, down 800, a 4.8% drop.

LOCAL | May 26, 2015
AC Seeds New Development Company

The Atlantic City Development Company, AC Devco, received a $2.5 million loan as seed funding from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority last week and, as its first tasks, will look into a partnership with AtlantiCare and Rowan University to build a medical school as well as develop a new corporate office for South Jersey Industries, parent company of South Jersey Gas. The medical school could be built on property owned by CRDA that is bordered by Pacific, Atlantic, Ohio and Indiana avenues, across from AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center’s City Campus. A possible site for the corporate office is the former Atlantic City High School property on Atlantic Avenue at the entrance to Route 40.

LOCAL | May 18, 2015
Possible Funding for NJ Air National Guard Hangar

The House last week approved a military spending bill that includes $10.2 million for a new fuel-handling and corrosion-control hangar at the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing, stationed at Atlantic City International Airport in Egg Harbor Township. The new hangar will replace and upgrade two existing facilities for daily maintenance of F-16 fighter jets. The bill is the FY 2016 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, which still must be approved by the Senate and signed by the President.

NATIONAL | May 13, 2015
US Construction Unemployment Rate Drops to Nine-Year Low

With 45,000 construction jobs added in April, up 280,000 over April 2014, the construction unemployment rate in the US dropped to 7.5%, the lowest April rate since 2006. Nonresidential contractors hired 20,800 workers for the month and 126,100 since April 2014, up 3.3%, but 20,200 were in the specialty trades and 8,400 were in the heavy and civil engineering sector. Nonresidential building construction dropped 7,800 jobs for the month and was up only 2.4% for the year with 16,600 jobs. The number of unemployed construction workers has declined to 652,000, the lowest since 2001.

LOCAL | May 7, 2015
Bayonne Bridge Closure Updates

From the Port Authority and the City of Bayonne:

The Bayonne Bridge will remain open – no closures – on these days:

  • Mothers’ Day (Saturday, May 9, 8 am through Monday, May 11, 5 am)
  • Memorial Day (Friday, May 22, 5 am through Tuesday, May 26, 5 am)
  • Fathers’ Day (Saturday, June 20, 8 am through Monday, June 22, 5 am)

 In effect since April 20 and for the duration of the project, the bridge closes at 8:30 pm on weekdays.

 Street closings:

  • Portions of West Fourth Street until June
  • Portions of West Third Street until July
  • Juliette and Gertrude streets will be closed frequently through the duration of the project from 7 am to 3 pm

No other streets will be closed while three of the above streets are closed; for local access only, vehicles can enter from JFK Blvd. or Avenue A. No through traffic can travel under the bridge.

NATIONAL | May 7, 2015
Indiana Repeals Construction Wage Law

Indiana’s common construction wage law, which set minimum wages for public construction projects, was repealed this week with Governor Pence’s signature. The wages were set by government boards, and will now be determined by the state and local market conditions.

April 2015

LOCAL | April 29, 2015
Kevyn Orr, Aide to AC Emergency Manager, Leaves Post

Kevyn Orr arrived in Atlantic City in January as a consultant to Emergency Manager Kevin Lavin, and will leave that position tomorrow, returning to law firm Jones Day as Partner-in-Charge of its DC office and partner in the firm’s Business Restructuring & Reorganization Practice. Orr had previously served as Emergency Manager for Detroit.

LOCAL | April 29, 2015
New Plan for Old Proposal at Vineland Hospital Site

Vineland’s Newcomb Hospital has been closed for more than a decade, but redevelopment proposals have stalled. Developer Newcomb Medical Alliance has now proposed dividing the 6.5-acre site into several parcels, each to be owned, developed and financed separately but compatibly. The project could include 70 assisted-living housing units and 140 independent-living units for senior and disabled citizens and veterans, alongside a new facility for Vineland’s Emergency Medical Services. Chestnut, State, Howard and Almond streets border the site.

NATIONAL | April 28, 2015
Ironworkers General President to Retire

Walter Wise, General President of the Iron Workers since 2011, announced he will retire on July 1, 2015, and will also step down as Labor Co-Chair of IMPACT, the labor-management cooperative. He will be replaced in both positions by current General Secretary Eric Dean.

LOCAL | April 23, 2015
AC Moves Fast on Bader Field Development

Following the submission of proposals last week for Atlantic City’s Bader Field redevelopment, the AC City Council has moved quickly to select a concept and begin negotiations. Bader Field Sports LLC, based in Midland Park, proposed a “world-class destination” for sports from baseball to lacrosse and field hockey, soccer to softball, with indoor and outdoor fields, an air-supported dome facility, a senior citizen center, college dorms, classrooms, boardwalk promenade, restaurants and maybe even an indoor waterpark.

NATIONAL | April 22, 2015
March Construction Employment Up for Year, Down for Month

The year-over-year picture, March 2014 to March 2015, looks positive for construction employment, as 41 states added jobs, and the top five states added a significant number of jobs – 158,500 in total. Only nine states lost jobs in the industry for the period, and construction employment in DC remained unchanged. For the month from February to March, however, the number of construction jobs decreased in 29 states and DC, while it increased in only 19 states and remained unchanged in two. For the year-over-year, New Jersey added 11,200 jobs, an 8.1% jump, ranking #9 among all states. But for the month, the state lost construction jobs, down 2,300, a 1.5% drop, reversing the increases seen in January and February.

LOCAL | April 16, 2015
Proposals Hint at Various Futures for AC’s Bader Field

Four proposals submitted this week for Atlantic City’s Bader Field reveal some very different possibilities for the 140-acre peninsula site. Glenn Straub, the Florida developer who purchased the Revel casino, wants to recreate an airport to include a fixed-base operation for pilot services, airshows and other aviation entertainment. Link International Design of Houston envisions a sports and entertainment complex, including international soccer events. Bader Field Sports LLC of Midland Park, NJ, also sees the site as a draw for major spectator sports. SORA Northeast of Sewell has a somewhat different slant on the sports theme, including regional training camps and competitive leagues.

NATIONAL | April 6, 2015
Metro Construction Employment Continued to Rise in February

More than three-quarters of the 358 metro areas in the US reflected an increase in construction employment in the year between February 2014 and 2015, including every metro area in New Jersey. In fact, Atlantic City-Hammonton ranked #4 in percentage gains in the nation, with an increase of 1,000 jobs in the year-over-year, a 25% leap. Another 277 metro areas also saw an increase, while 36 lost jobs and 44 remained unchanged. Increases in the state were strong in Camden, which added 3,300 jobs, an 18% gain; Trenton, with 700 more jobs, a 15% gain; Newark, which added 5,100 jobs for a 14% gain; and Vineland-Bridgeton, which added 300 jobs, also a 14% gain. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 1,400 jobs, a 4% increase, and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 700 jobs, a 3% increase.

March 2015

LOCAL | March 29, 2015
White Horse Circle DOT Project Expedited

NJ DOT Commissioner Jamie Fox announced last Thursday the White Horse Circle project in Hamilton has been fast-tracked, with construction scheduled to begin in Fall 2016. South Broad Street, Route 206 and White Horse Avenue all converge into the circle, which is now slated to be a modernized roundabout with circle traffic having the right of way.

NATIONAL | March 29, 2015
Most States Saw Rise in February Construction Employment

February 2015 proved much better for construction employment than the same month a year ago, as 45 states and DC added jobs. Four states lost jobs for the year-over-year, and only Delaware construction employment remained unchanged. For the month from January to February, 33 states added construction jobs, 17 states and DC lost jobs. For the first time in a long time, New Jersey appeared in the top 10 states adding jobs for the year-over-year, ranking #6 with an increase of 14,500 jobs, a 10.5% jump. For the month, New Jersey added 2,100 jobs, a 1.4% gain.

LOCAL | March 26, 2015
East Windsor Looks Forward to New Aurobindo Pharma Plant

As announced in mid-February by East Windsor Mayor Janice S. Mironov, Aurobindo Pharma, headquartered in India with its primary US manufacturing center in Dayton, has purchased 90 acres on Windsor Center Drive for a major pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution center.

LOCAL | March 26, 2015
New York Investment Firm Plans Private Port on the Delaware

Last Friday, Senate President Steve Sweeney announced that Fortress Investment Group, headquartered in New York, has purchased the old DuPont Repauno Works in Gibbstown, Greenwich Township, and plans to develop it into a privately run port on the Delaware River. Fortress, which owns other ports in the US, will build a two-berth port with import/export facilities for autos and warehousing. Much of the nearly 1,800-acre site is slated to remain protected wetlands and buffer for the surrounding community. Talk about turning the brownfield site into a port has been in the works for nearly a decade, but the recession stalled public development. With studies, permits and approvals needed first, it could be many months before Fortress can begin work at the site.

LOCAL | March 24, 2015
DCA Commissioner Leaves for Private Sector

Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable, who joined Governor Christie’s cabinet in 2012, is leaving the position Friday, March 27, to enter the private sector. DCA Deputy Commissioner Charles Richman will take over as Acting Commissioner.

LOCAL | March 24, 2015
Edison Set to Replace School Destroyed by Fire

A year ago, James Monroe Elementary School in Edison burned to the ground. As we told you in Bulletin 30-15, Edison voters approved an $18.6 million bond issue this month to replace the school, with another $3.8 million coming from state funds and nearly $9.5 million from insurance. Construction for the new $28 million school will begin in May; the timeline kicked off March 18 when the district advertised for a general contractor. Advertising for RFPs for a construction manager will also begin this month, bids will be opened on April 28, and at a special school board meeting in early May the contracts are expected to be awarded. The board would like to see construction begin May 14 and be completed by August 19, 2016. Plans for the new school encompass 67,775 sq.ft., some on a second floor, and include fire sprinklers, a gym, cafeteria, media center, handicapped-accessible facilities and classrooms.

NATIONAL | March 20, 2015
January Construction Employment Trends Up in Metro Areas

More than two-thirds of the nation’s metro areas, 247 of 358, saw an increase in construction employment in January compared to a year ago. The same time period also recorded a decline in 56 metros and no change in 55. New Jersey’s metro-area construction employment was positive across the board in January compared to January 2014, with double-digit percentage gains in Atlantic City-Hammonton (up 20% with the addition of 800 jobs); Vineland-Bridgeton (up 19% with an increase of 400 jobs); Newark (up 15% with 5,500 more jobs); and Trenton (up 11% with 500 more jobs). In the other New Jersey metros, Bergen-Hudson-Passaic picked up 900 jobs, a 3% gain; Camden picked up 1,400 jobs, a 7% gain; and Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean, which used to be registered as Edison-New Brunswick, picked up 1,900 jobs, a 6% gain. Statewide, the net gain was 10,600 more construction jobs, an 8% jump.

LOCAL | March 18, 2015
AC Eyes Concepts for Bader Field and Gardner’s Basin

On Monday, a packed crowd at City Hall in Atlantic City saw concepts for redeveloping Bader Field and Gardner’s Basin from Maser Consulting, an engineering firm headquartered in Red Bank that used a Sandy recovery grant to develop the ideas.

Bader Field redevelopment could start with the construction of sports fields to attract youth tournaments and later morph into residential, commercial, boating, retail and community uses. FEMA regs now require the field to be raised approximately six feet, while bordering Albany Avenue might also be raised and widened. AC has issued a request for proposal for the site with an April 14 deadline.

Gardner’s Basin could become a mix of new retail and residential, green spaces and an amphitheater, and an expanded Atlantic City Aquarium. Current parking along the shore would be moved to allow a fishing pier. Currently Gardner’s Basin is managed by The Atlantic City Historical Waterfront Foundation, a nonprofit whose contract with the city goes through 2026. The Foundation could issue a request for proposal to gauge interest in the site.

LOCAL | March 18, 2015
Millville Ready for Downtown College Campus

Cumberland County College’s $6.4 million Arts and Business Innovation Center will open at High and Vine Streets in September 2016, bringing an estimated 500 students plus staff and visitors into downtown Millville. The 30,000 sq.ft. building will house the college’s arts curriculum, offering courses in the fine arts, ceramics, computer graphics, journalism, television and digital technology. The cost of the project will be covered by $3.2 million in state Chapter 12 funds, of which $1.6 million is a loan, along with funding from the Cumberland County Improvement Authority, the Millville Housing Authority, banks and other organizations. Cumberland County will pay half the loan, the City of Millville will pay a quarter of it, and the rest will be repaid by other groups.

LOCAL | March 18, 2015
Cape May County MUA Plans New $5 Million Building

The Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority is planning a new $5 million administration building behind its existing one on Route 9 in Swainton. OSK Design Partners of Collingswood and Stone Harbor serves as architect and construction administrator for the hurricane-resilient, two-story building, which will become a technology hub to allow staff to monitor operations for the landfill, transfer station, wastewater treatment, composting and recycling centers in Woodbine and Middle Township. It will also include basement archival storage. Construction is expected to begin next year.

LOCAL | March 11, 2015
Coming Soon – Toronto to AC on Air Canada

Last week, Air Canada announced it will launch non-stop seasonal service from Toronto Pearson to Atlantic City on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 22 to September 7, 2015, using a 74-seat Bombardier Q-400 aircraft. One way, the trip is approximately 90 minutes.

LOCAL | March 11, 2015
Funding Found for Bridge Repair

NJ DOT has released $25 million in funding through the Local Bridges, Future Needs program to allow county governments to repair bridges. The NJ Association of Counties reports county governments operate 7,140 bridges, classified as major and minor. Of the major bridges, 11% are declared structurally deficient (needing repair) and 17% are functionally obsolete (needing replacement). Of the minor spans, the numbers are 64% in need of repair and 21% in need of replacement. The funding program gives each county $1 million, and awards another $4 million based on a competitive application process.

LOCAL | March 6, 2015
Melissa Orsen Named New CEO at EDA

Last week, Melissa Orsen became the new Chief Executive Officer at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, filling the position vacated by Michelle Brown when she left to take over as head of ChooseNJ. Most recently, Orsen was serving as deputy commissioner at the Department of Community Affairs. During the past 15 years, she had been chief-of-staff to Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, during which time she served on the EDA board as Governor's designee, as well as chief-of-staff at DCA, chief counsel for the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing and a trial lawyer in the Attorney General’s office.

LOCAL | March 4, 2015
PSE&G’s Gas System Modernization Plan Filed

PSE&G filed with the NJ Board of Utilities this week its proposal to upgrade its gas systems in a $1.6 billion, five-year Gas System Modernization Program. Requesting approximately $320 million per year in funding, PSE&G would replace roughly 160 miles of cast iron and unprotected steel gas mains and 11,000 unprotected steel service lines to residences and businesses, using durable plastic piping. These new, higher-pressure systems would allow installation of excess flow valves that automatically shut off the gas to a damaged line. They also provide better support for high-efficiency appliances. PSE&G says the program would create more than 500 direct jobs. The Gas System Modernization Program is designed to work in tandem with PSE&G’s Energy Strong project that is, among other work, replacing 250 miles of low-pressure cast iron gas mains located in or near flood areas.

NATIONAL | March 3, 2015
Construction Spending Up for the Year in January But Down for the Month

Construction spending across the nation in January rose 1.8% over January 2014, but dropped 1.1% from December’s spending, which had reflected a six-year high. Total January spending reached $971 billion. Drilling down, private nonresidential spending was up 4.8% for the year but fell 1.6% for the month. Public construction spending rose 5.1% for the year, but decreased 2.6% for the month. And by segment year-over year, spending on multifamily construction was up 30%, manufacturing was up 23%, lodging was up 18%, office was up 15% and commercial (which includes warehouse, retail and farm) was up 14%. In the public arena, highway and street construction spending rose 8.4% for the year and education construction spending was up 0.6% for the year.

February 2015

LOCAL | February 26, 2015
Crest Haven Has Designs on $5.2 Million Library

The Crest Haven branch of the Stone Harbor library will be 10,000 square feet, measure 60 by 110 feet, have two floors and cost $5.2 million. Town and county officials saw architect Kevin Settembrino’s design this week of the building to be situated next to Borough Hall on Second Avenue, on the former Bank of America site. Elevation will be slightly more than 2.5 feet above basic flood elevation, and the structure itself will be 35 feet high, with dormers and a hip roof capped by a cupola. Plans also call for composite siding that looks like flagstone and cedar shake, and wood-like vinyl floors throughout most of the space with ceramic tile in the entrance, teaching kitchen and restrooms.

LOCAL | February 23, 2015
AC Electric Plans New Avalon Substation

The new Avalon substation, replacing the old one at 271 61st Street, will have triple the capacity, boosted from 23 kilovolts to 69 kilovolts, enough to power through the tourist season, provide power to Stone Harbor and, if needed, send power to Swainton and Cape May Court House. Work should begin at month’s end and take a year. The Avalon project is part of Atlantic City Electric’s five-year, $800 million upgrade and resiliency plan.

LOCAL | February 18, 2015
Road Construction in Carteret to Start In Spring

A very busy intersection at the base of the Turnpike bridge in Carteret will see major construction this spring to ease congestion and improve safety. The meeting of Roosevelt Avenue, Minue Street and Post Boulevard will be widened and turning lanes will be clearly defined in a $3.1 million project that will take approximately 18 to 24 months. Funding comes from state, county and municipal coffers.

LOCAL | February 17, 2015
AC Casino Revenues Up in January

In a good start to the New Year, Atlantic City’s casinos mostly saw revenue rise in January. Total revenue for the eight casinos reached $197.5 million, including the take from Internet gaming, slot machines and table games, up 19% from the $166.3 million in revenue for those eight in January 2014. Seven of the eight enjoyed higher revenue in January; only Trump Taj Mahal was down for the month, a whopping 21% drop from January 2014. Internet gambling revenues jumped from $9.5 million last year to $11.6 million this January, with the biggest percentage increase coming from Golden Nugget. Online winnings for Tropicana and Resorts also increased substantially. Overall, Borgata came out on top in January, with slot machines and table games generating $57.1 million, up 18% over last year, but Borgata’s $3.8 million in Internet revenue, while higher than the rest of the casinos, was down nearly 3% compared to last year.

LOCAL | February 10, 2015
Millville High School Slated for Renovation and Expansion

With a budget of approximately $108 million in SDA funds, Millville Senior High School on Wade Boulevard will be renovated and expanded to accommodate all Millville students in grades 9 through 12 – 2,026 students in total – in one school. The design calls for 228,544 sq.ft. in additions, 54,950 sq.ft. in alterations and 54,480 sq. ft. in demolition, and work is expected to be completed by Fall 2019. The designer is RSC Architects of Hackensack, originally hired by the SDA to design a “swap” between Millville Senior and Lakeside Middle School.

NATIONAL | February 4, 2015
December Construction Employment Strong in Metro Areas, Construction Spending Rose to Six-Year High

Construction employment grew in 257 of 339 US metro areas – 75% – for the year from December 2013 to December 2014. It declined in 43 metro areas and remained unchanged in 39. In New Jersey, some gained and some lost. The losses were among the worst in the nation, with Edison-New Brunswick ranking sixth in the bottom 10, shedding 1,000 jobs, a 3% drop. Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton ranked fifth in the bottom 10 in percentage of jobs lost, down 9% with a loss of 200 jobs. Atlantic City-Hammonton, on the other hand, gained 400 jobs, a 10% boost. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 1,800 jobs, a 7% increase; Camden added 1,200 jobs, a 6% hike; Newark-Union added 500 jobs, a 2% increase; and Trenton-Ewing added 400 jobs, a 9% jump. Overall, the ups-and-downs gave the state a net increase of 1,800 jobs, up 1% from December 2013.

At the same time, nationwide construction spending overall rose 2.2% in December over December 2013, climbing to a six-year high of $982 billion. Public construction spending rose year-over-year for the first time since 2009, up 6.7% from December 2013. Non-residential spending was up 5.3% for the year, although it dropped 0.2% from November 2014. Construction spending for warehousing (up 50%) and multifamily housing (up 34%) were strong across the country and in New Jersey, and projections are strong for those sectors in 2015 as well.

January 2015

NATIONAL | January 29, 2015
New Jersey on List for Enhanced myE-Verify Features

US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced this month that employees in New Jersey, along with 15 other states, can now create myE-Verify accounts and lock their Social Security numbers to protect against misuse. These 16 states join five other states and the District of Columbia, the original pilot states when myE-Verify launched in October 2014. The site is billed as a “one-stop shop for employees” and allows workers to create free and secure personal accounts to manage the use of their information in the E-Verify system and Self Check. In addition to securing their Socials, employees can find information on their rights and their employer’s responsibilities in the employment eligibility verification process.

LOCAL | January 29, 2015
Bayonne Bridge Construction Update

From the Port Authority, these updates on bridge and street closures due to Bayonne Bridge construction:

  • Periodic 20-minute traffic holds between 9 am and 3 pm throughout 2015
  • Periodic six-hour daytime closures during first quarter of 2015, beginning in early February
  • Extended Friday night closures January 30 and February 7, from 11:59 pm Friday through 11:59 pm Saturday
  • Closures daily, 7 am to 4 pm, as needed on Juliette Street, Gertrude Street and West Third Street
  • Portions of West Fourth Street will remain closed through June 2015

The Port Authority posts specific closures on its website, www.panynj.gov.

LOCAL | January 29, 2015
Wildwood Proposes Development-Incentive Tax Breaks

Wildwood has proposed a property-tax incentive plan to encourage redevelopment, including new commercial construction. The program would offer developers the opportunity to pay nothing for taxes the first year and 20% increments of the total tax bill each year thereafter for five years. The same plan is currently available to developers for properties on Pacific and Rio Grande avenues in the city, but would now be expanded city-wide.

LOCAL | January 29, 2015
Settled Lawsuits Could Advance NextGen Aviation Park

Lawsuits between the South Jersey Economic Development District and its former executive director have been settled, which means the SJEDD will be able to complete a land lease transfer to Stockton College so construction on the proposed aviation park at Amelia Earhart Boulevard and Delilah Road in Egg Harbor Township may finally begin. Stockton took over the project in 2013 and renamed it the Stockton Aviation Research and Technology Park. The site lies adjacent to the Atlantic City airport and the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center, home of testing and research on the NextGen air traffic control system.

NATIONAL | January 28, 2015
State Construction Employment Up in 40 States in December

In the year from December 2013 to December 2014, 40 states and Washington DC added construction jobs, and in the month from November to December 2014, 38 states and DC added jobs. AGC of America’s Chief Economist Ken Simonson attributed some of this December’s rosier outlook to its relatively mild weather compared to December 2013 and November 2014. Overall, however, construction employment increased at more than double the rate of total nonfarm payroll jobs. New Jersey actually gained jobs year-over-year for the first time since the beginning of 2014, picking up 1,800 jobs, a 1.4% increase, compared to December 2013. For the month, New Jersey added 900 jobs, a 0.7% increase, the second consecutive month of gains following a dismal year of month-over-month losses.

LOCAL | January 26, 2015
Liberty Science Center Plans Major Development on Adjacent Acres

On 16 acres of land owned by the city and adjacent to Liberty Science Center, Jersey City hopes to create a science and technology campus with a 100,000 sq.ft. technology business incubator and research facility, biotech lab, a light manufacturing facility, a coding lab, a STEM-focused elementary school, a science-themed hotel with 135 rooms and a “visiting scholar” residence for as many as 275 scientists. The project, called “SciTech Scity,” is projected to cost $80 million and create 2,526 construction jobs. Liberty Science Center will be the master developer, as appointed by the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency last week.

NATIONAL | January 26, 2015
AGC Upgrading EPA Compliance Website

AGC of America is partnering with the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences to upgrade the EPA’s compliance site for construction contractors. AGC will finance the upgrades to the site, called the Construction Industry Compliance Assistance website, which will add web tools and updated information on requirements, green construction and environmental management programs. Topics covered include air emissions, construction and demolition debris, diesel engines, endangered species, green building, hazardous and toxic waste, oil spill prevention/planning, process wastewater, release reporting, safety and health, stormwater and wetlands/water bodies.

LOCAL | January 23, 2015
Governor EOs Emergency Management for AC

An executive order from Governor Christie announced yesterday will install an emergency management team in Atlantic City to help solve its financial crisis. Kevin Lavin, an attorney specializing in corporate finance, and Kevyn Orr, who guided Detroit through bankruptcy, have been named to come up with a plan within 60 days to stabilize AC’s finances. The team can recommend operational changes, debt restructuring and cost-cutting measures, as well as negotiate with municipal employees. Per Executive Order 171, any actions in response to the recommendations must by directed by the Governor’s office.

LOCAL | January 23, 2015
Michele Brown Moves from EDA to Choose NJ

Michele Brown, CEO of the NJ Economic Development Authority, has been approved by Choose New Jersey to take over as that organization’s CEO beginning February 16, replacing founding CEO Tracye McDaniel, who announced her resignation in December. EDA has not yet announced a new CEO.

LOCAL | January 22, 2015
NJ DOT’s Fox Moves to Stop TTF-Linked Municipal Aid

As we reported below, negotiations to refund the state’s Transportation Trust Fund are ongoing. However, NJ DOT Commissioner Jamie Fox has indicated the Department intends to halt municipal aid that is linked to TTF monies until a funding deal is reached.

LOCAL | January 22, 2015
NJ DOT Orders Inspections of 300 Structurally Deficient Bridges

The state DOT closed two bridges recently, one in Franklin (Somerset County) and one in Dover (Morris County). And on Tuesday, DOT announced it will “immediately” begin inspections of 300 state-maintained bridges, about half of the approximately 600 New Jersey bridges deemed structurally deficient, with the option of closing any that are considered a threat to public safety. With the Transportation Trust Fund nearly dry, DOT says there is no money to fix the bridges. Negotiations to refund the TTF are ongoing.

LOCAL | January 20, 2015
AC’s South Inlet Development to Break Ground in April

According to a statement late last week from Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, the Boraie mixed-use development proposed for the South Inlet will break ground in April, creating as many as 250 construction jobs.

LOCAL | January 14, 2015
No Money In TTF as State Closes Bridge

The state shut down a bridge deemed too unsafe to carry traffic, but in June the Transportation Trust Fund runs out of money to fix it – or any others that prove too rickety. The bridge, at Prospect Street in Dover, couldn’t carry the weight of a fire truck without the risk of collapse. The New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority voted to add $4.8 million to the state transportation improvement plan to replace the Prospect Street bridge, but now that the TTF has reached its credit limit, it can only repay its debt load, not repair or replace bridges. According to Jamie Fox, Transportation Commissioner, 500 other New Jersey bridges are in urgent need of repair.

LOCAL | January 14, 2015
New Jersey Demanded Industrial Space in 2014

Cushman & Wakefield, a commercial brokerage firm, reports 11.7 million square feet of existing industrial space was picked up by tenants in 2014, and more than 7.3 million square feet of new industrial space was built – more than any year since 2003. The demand for space has come from logistics companies who want a warehouse in New Jersey; more than half the new construction was build-to-suit. With 3.1 million square feet under development across the state, Cushman & Wakefield expects demand to continue in 2015.

LOCAL | January 14, 2015
Sussex County Commuter Rail to Get New Station

As construction gets underway on a commuter rail line from Roxbury to Andover, NJ Transit plans to accept bids this spring on a new train station and high-level platforms in Andover. The commuter line, expected to be carrying passengers in approximately four years, will connect Sussex County to NJ Transit’s Morris & Essex lines and to Mid-Town Direct service to New York from Dover. Plans also include more track construction and work on the Roseville Tunnel.

LOCAL | January 14, 2015
Announcing…Atlantic City Sports Commission

Meet AC, in its efforts to attract meetings and conventions to financially troubled Atlantic City, has formed the Atlantic City Sports Commission to lure sporting events and meetings. Global-Spectrum, already contracted with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, has brought several sporting events to the city that have become annual occurrences, but AC officials are hoping the city can leverage the sports promotion connections of the Meet AC group to bring even more.

LOCAL | January 14, 2015
Metropark Expansion in the Planning

Metropark in Iselin, currently an office park clustered near the Amtrak/NJ Transit train station, could become much more if developer Hampshire Real Estate’s plans come about. The proposal calls for an expanded mixed-use development between Woodbridge and Edison that would include a new 192-room hotel, a 274-unit apartment complex and perhaps three new restaurants. It would be developed in two phases, with 17,000 sq.ft. of retail and restaurant space plus the apartment complex built first, followed by a 250,000 sq.ft. office building and three new levels added onto an existing parking deck. Hampshire Real Estate Co. is based in Morristown, and redeveloped Metropark’s CENTRA office complex in 2011.

LOCAL | January 6, 2015
AC Alliance CEO Resigns

Lisa Cartmell, CEO of the Atlantic City Alliance that splashed the "DO AC" marketing campaign across multimedia, resigned yesterday, replaced by Jeff Guaracino, who had been serving as chief strategy and communications officer. Created in 2011 as a five-year marketing agency for AC, the Alliance may be disbanded early if the State Legislature votes in favor of a proposed economic-recovery plan that would divert the Alliance’s $30 million annual budget to the city to help cover some of AC’s budget deficit.

LOCAL | January 5, 2015
Virtua Proposes New Hospital in Westampton  

Virtua Hospital Inc., which recently renovated its Mount Holly facility, now envisions an eight-story acute-care hospital at Route 541 and Woodlane Road in Westampton Township, adjacent to the Burlington County Human Services offices and just a mile from the Mount Holly building on Madison Avenue. The proposed hospital, on 100 acres, would include 330 beds, medical offices, other outpatient and support buildings, a heliport and parking. Estimated cost is $700 to $800 million with an expected seven-year construction schedule. Plans, however, are very preliminary, and no application has been filed with the Township; if it goes forward, the plan would require a zoning change because the lot is currently zoned commercial. Also needed would be an amendment to the Township’s master plan, an ordinance updating building codes and resolution of environmental issues.

December 2014

NATIONAL | December 30, 2014
Coal Ash Status as Recycled Material Preserved by EPA  

We know the value of recycled coal ash, also known as fly ash, in concrete, asphalt and other construction material, and as a valuable component in the LEED rating system for green building. So it was a relief to the construction industry when the EPA did not designate coal ash as a hazardous material in its new regulation announced December 19, but instead placed it under Subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act that regulates solid waste. AGC of America’s CEO Stephen Sandherr estimates the industry is able to recycle 30% of the combustion by-product every year.

NATIONAL | December 30, 2014
Construction Employment Up in Two-Thirds of Metro Areas  

Just as it did in October, construction employment increased in November in two-thirds of the country’s metropolitan areas – 224 of 339 – compared to November 2013. It declined in 64 metros and remained the same in 51. Edison-New Brunswick came in third from the bottom, however, losing 2,700 jobs year-over-year, a 6% drop. Other New Jersey metros losing jobs compared to last November included Atlantic City-Hammonton, down 100 jobs, a 2% drop; Newark-Union, down 1,000 jobs, a 3% drop; and Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, down 300 jobs, a 13% drop. On the positive side, Bergen-Hudson-Passaic picked up 700 jobs from last November’s total, a 2% gain; Camden gained 100 jobs, a 0.5% uptick; and Trenton-Ewing added 400 jobs, an 8% increase. Statewide, construction employment was down 3,700 jobs year-over-year, a 3% decrease.

LOCAL | December 24, 2014
Port Authority Releases Bayonne Bridge Updates  

Bayonne Bridge construction will hit its halfway mark in mid-2015, and in the meantime the Port Authority has issued these updates:

  • Cable work on the streets should be completed this month.
  • Sheeting, drill shaft work and concrete work has been completed on a majority of the piers; the rest will continue into 2015.
  • Beginning January 5, 2015, drivers can expect periodic 20-minute traffic holds, but the bridge will remain open until then.
  • During 2015, six-hour daytime closures are tentatively planned.

NATIONAL | December 22, 2014
State Construction Employment Remains “Variable” in November

In the latest construction employment figures, 38 states and the District of Columbia gained construction jobs in November compared to November 2013. The one-month results were not so rosy, with 26 states adding jobs from October to November. What is most notable is the list of states “has varied significantly from month to month” according to AGC of America, demonstrating continued volatility in the market. New Jersey’s year-over-year picture remained dismal, with the state coming in at the bottom with most jobs lost, down 6,200, a 4.5% drop. However, for the first time in months, New Jersey had a happier outcome in the month-to-month stats, adding 5,200 construction jobs in November compared to October, a 4.2% increase.

LOCAL | December 19, 2014
Stockton Inks Showboat Purchase for $18 Million

Stockton College will transform the Showboat Casino into a 26.8-acre “Stockton-Island Campus” following its purchase from Caesars Entertainment for $18 million. At 1.4 million square feet, the new college almost doubles Stockton’s space, as the Galloway Township campus measures 1.7 million square feet. It will double as a hotel and campus, and the hope is it will anchor a “University Park” section in the north end of Atlantic City. The casino portion of the old Showboat will be converted to accommodate academic and retail activity. With projections for 4,000 students within the next decade, Stockton plans to have the hotel operational by late spring 2015, perhaps offer summer classes and open a full academic schedule in the fall.

NATIONAL | December 12, 2014
Fed Funding Bill – With MEPP Reform – Passes House

Last night the House passed the $1.014 trillion spending bill that included some of the reforms for multi-employer pension plans as outlined in the AGC-supported “Solutions, Not Bailouts” recommendations. Reforms cover amendments to the sunsetting Pension Protection Act, additional authority in the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to facilitate mergers of multiemployer plans, premium adjustments in the plans, changes in plan status rules, and benefit suspensions for plans in critical status. The funding bill now goes to the Senate. ACCNJ MEMBERS:  Check your email for complete details on the reforms as provided by AGC of America.

LOCAL | December 11, 2014
GSP Reconfiguration Will Lead to Sayreville Mega-Project

Update on Sayreville’s Luxury Pointe:  Exit 125 on the Garden State Parkway will be reconfigured to lead traffic more directly to the sprawling mixed-use project slated for the Sayreville waterfront. With a two-year construction plan beginning in 2016, new ramps from the Parkway southbound and to the Parkway northbound will provide full access from and to Chevalier Avenue, which will lead to the development. The developer, O’Neill Properties, expects construction on the project to begin after the Parkway work commences, with the first phase opening in 2017.

LOCAL | December 8, 2014
Big Retail Coming to American Dream Project

Despite uncertainty about a final funding solution, American Dream developer Triple Five says it is signing big retail names, including FAO Schwartz, Victoria’s Secret, The Gap, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. In addition, Triple Five expects Cirque du Soleil to open a permanent theater in the Meadowlands mall. American Dream anticipates at least a partial opening in the Fall of 2016, but no construction has begun.

LOCAL | December 8, 2014
Burlington County’s $47.5 Million Capital Plan Announced

Of the total $47.5 million, Burlington County has slated $34.1 million for public works and road projects, of which $8.5 million is funded by grants. The road project plans include $2.7 million for a makeover of the Rancocas Road streetscape in Mount Holly, $1.6 million for drainage improvement on Moorestown-Mount Laurel Road in Moorestown, and $1.8 million for a roundabout in Cinnaminson where Riverton Road, Branch Pike and Parry Road meet. In addition, five upgrades are planned for intersections in Mansfield, Mount Laurel, North Hanover and Chesterfield (two). Also planned is guard-rail design, curb replacement, traffic signals and the state-funded overlay project. Bridge work, both underway and planned, covers 16 bridges in Burlington Township, Cinnaminson, Medford, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, Southampton and Wrightstown.

LOCAL | December 8, 2014
Choose NJ CEO Leaving

Tracye McDaniel, President and CEO of Choose New Jersey, is leaving the organization early in 2015 to serve in the same position for the Texas Economic Development Corporation. No successor has been announced.

LOCAL | December 4, 2014
Borgata Plans $13 Million in Interior Renovations

The Borgata in Atlantic City will begin a $13 million renovation next month, including a $7 million redesign of the buffet, upgrades to the spa lounges and improvement of workout facilities. Next year, it will continue the work with a $6 million restyling of 39 suites plus its two 5,000 sq.ft. residence suites. The lobby and front desk of the casino will also be redesigned.

NATIONAL | December 4, 2014
October Metro Construction Employment Up in 67% of Markets

October construction employment rose in 228 of 339 metro areas compared to October 2013, reflecting an uptick in construction spending in many areas of the country. In New Jersey, however, metro construction employment continued to show decreases from a year ago, as it has for most of 2014. Edison-New Brunswick clocked in as the second-biggest loser in the nation year-over-year, down 3,000 jobs, a 7% drop. Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton lost 300 jobs, a 13% drop; Newark-Union lost 1,300 jobs, a 4% drop; Atlantic City-Hammonton lost 100 jobs, a 2% drop; and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic lost 200 jobs, a 1% drop. In the good-news column, Camden gained 700 jobs, a 3% boost, and Trenton-Ewing picked up 200 jobs, a 4% hike. Statewide, New Jersey lost a total of 9,100 jobs, a 6% drop, from October 2013 to October 2014.

November 2014

LOCAL | November 24, 2014
Lakewood Public Housing Moves Closer to Redevelopment  

NJEDA’s award of $4 million in state tax credits will help Lakewood revitalize its aging public housing project, the 63-unit JFK Apartments at Cedarbridge Avenue and South Clover Street. Community Investment Strategies, Inc., an affordable housing developer, received approval from NJEDA for the tax credits through the state’s Economic Redevelopment and Growth program (ERG). The JFK Apartments project is part of a HUD pilot, the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, which encourages local projects to seek alternative funding and thus allowed CIS to apply an ERG grant to a public housing project. CIS is partnering with the Lakewood Housing Authority, owner of the apartment complex, to rehabilitate it and rename it Chambers Crescent in construction that is expected to begin in Spring 2015 with completion later in the year. Approximately 43 construction jobs will be created during the $16.3 million renovation, which includes full rehabilitation of 10 buildings and demolition of two that will be replaced with new structures.

LOCAL | November 24, 2014
Cape May County Plans New Jail

A new jail project for Cape May County will go out for bid January 15, with an 18-month construction schedule starting in May 2015. The proposed $34-$38 million project will be built on county land behind the old jail in Cape May Courthouse and will accommodate 346 inmates as well as the sheriff’s department offices, county drug court and weekly sheriff sales, plus an infirmary for inmates and a laundry that will also service the Crest Haven Nursing Home and county animal shelter. The old jail will be demolished and the space used for parking.

LOCAL | November 24, 2014
Resorts Casino Building Its Own Conference Center  

Harrah’s is building the mega conference center, due to open next year, but Resorts is targeting a different corporate niche – smaller conventions and business meetings – with a planned $9.3 million conference center of its own. A fast construction schedule calls for a February start date and July completion date for 12,000 sq.ft. holding 11 meeting rooms. To help fund the project, the Casino Reinvestment Development Agency will front $3.6 million of Resorts’ reinvestment credits with the agency, and Resorts will later request reimbursement of $5.7 million of future reinvestment payments to the CRDA.

LOCAL | November 19, 2014
Northfield Considers Zoning Law Change for Apartment Project  

Recognizing shifting times and economic imperatives, the Northfield City Council is asking residents to consider a change in the zoning on 22 acres to allow for 265 rental apartments, of which 40 would be affordable housing. Under the existing law, only senior housing would be allowed on the property located behind the Tilton Shopping Center on Tilton Road and Cresson Avenue. If the change in zoning is approved, the apartments, proposed by Max Gurwicz Enterprises, could be marketed to all ages. The City Council will hold a public hearing on the ordinance on December 16, 2014.

LOCAL | November 18, 2014
$120 Million Upgrade for Newark’s Terminal C  

United Airlines’ Terminal C at Newark Liberty Airport serves approximately 20 million passengers a year. This busiest of terminals will be upgraded to give those visitors fine dining and retail choices – and 6,000 iPads to track flight information, order food for delivery to their seats, purchase headphones and other flight amenities, and pay for those purchases with accrued United Airlines flight mileage. A big-name architect, David Rockwell, will design the new interiors, and 55 restaurants will feature famed restaurateurs, including Alain Ducasse, Marc Forgionne and Mario Carbone. The iPads will be tethered to three-quarters of the seating in the terminal, and 10,000 electrical plugs and USB ports will be installed for passengers to charge mobile devices. In a deal with United Airlines, OTG Management, which has upgraded terminals at JFK and LaGuardia, will cover the estimated $120 million upgrade in exchange for a share of the revenue.

LOCAL | November 18, 2014
HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley Plans Expanded ER

HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley in Westwood opened in June 2013 as a newly renovated and updated facility on the site of a shuttered hospital – and now has plans to double the size of its Emergency Department to more than 22,000 sq.ft. The project, estimated at $14 million with a 15-month construction schedule, will be able to accommodate 37,000 visits a year, and will feature a prominent front entrance, 26 private exam rooms, 11 adult and five pediatric exam and treatment rooms, six “Fast Track” rooms, two triage rooms, two rooms dedicated to behavior health exams, a digital radiology scanner, a CT scanner, and a lounge for EMS personnel. It’s expected to open in 2016. 

LOCAL | November 14, 2014
AC Revitalization Report Released

The Governor’s Advisory Commission on New Jersey Gaming, Sports and Entertainment and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority yesterday released a set of proposals aimed at revitalizing Atlantic City in the aftermath of the closing of four casinos this year. Casino revenues, decreasing since the Great Recession began, dropped to $2.5 billion in 2014, less than half the previous high of $5.2 billion, and since 2008 assessed property value has correspondingly dropped 45%. Unfortunately, dwindling property taxes accounted for 81% of Atlantic City’s revenue in 2014. The report proposes appointing an Emergency Manager (similar to Detroit’s actions following its bankruptcy declaration) and reforms to schools, taxes, pensions, and fire and police departments, as well as regionalization or privatization of some public services. It also recommends creation of a not-for-profit development company, ACDevCo, and concentration of revitalization efforts city-wide, not just in the Tourism District.

LOCAL | November 14, 2014
NJ Supreme Court Announces “Complex Business Litigation Program”

Stuart Rabner, Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, announced yesterday the launch of what was previously called “business court” and is now formally called a Complex Business Litigation Track for business, commercial and construction cases that meet the $200,000 threshold for damages. Its purpose is to streamline business disputes for faster resolution and less disruption in company operations. Eligible cases will be identified early in the process and overseen by a single judge, who will receive special training in relevant areas of the law, effective case and trial management, and e-discovery. The program also includes formation of a legal e-library of case decisions, posted on www.njcourts.com

LOCAL | November 12, 2014
Stockton College Plans to Purchase Showboat Casino

The former Atlantic City casino, which closed August 31, may become a branch of Richard Stockton College, if the sale goes through as planned. Caesars Entertainment Corporation announced today a letter of intent signed by both parties indicating Stockton plans to purchase the 1.4 million sq.ft. building and 28 acres and transform it into a Stockton campus.

LOCAL | November 10, 2014
Hartz Mountain Plans Warehouse or Datacenter on Panasonic Site

Hartz Mountain plans to build a state-of-the-art, 303,000 sq.ft. warehouse or datacenter on the remaining undeveloped part of the former Panasonic site in the Meadowlands. The location, 46 Meadowlands Parkway, is within the Harmon Cove Industrial Park. Hartz is currently working on the design and entitlements phase and expects to begin construction in January, with completion by fall of 2015. The warehouse project will include a 36’ clear ceiling height, 500 pounds per square foot floor load, 60’ x 55’ column spacing, 55 overhead doors measuring 9’ x 10’ with 35,000-pound pit levelers, ESFR sprinkler system, fluorescent T-5 lighting, 44 truck parking spaces, 460 car spaces, 15,000 sq.ft. of office space, ample electrical capacity, and other features.

LOCAL | November 4, 2014
Improvements Planned for Camden’s Haddon Avenue

The Haddon Avenue Improvement Project, estimated at $2.3 million, is the first phase of reconstruction for the corridor, focusing on the section that bisects Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center. Plans announced by the Camden County Board of Freeholders call for resurfacing the roadway, installing pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, curbs and ramps, upgrading traffic signals and doing significant stormwater reconstruction. Haddon Avenue is one of the oldest roads in Camden, running from far out in the surrounding suburbs and towns all the way into downtown Camden.

October 2014

LOCAL | October 31, 2014
Clementon Shopping Plaza To Become $50 Million Mixed-Use Development

The 30-acre site on White Horse Pike in Clementon, former home to Acme and Grants, will become a retail and commercial development in a project estimated at $50 million, according to an announcement this week by Camden County officials. Leewood Real Estate Group/NJ plans 205 residential units surrounded by promenades and walking/jogging trails that will lead to Rowand Pond and the adjacent Camden County Greenway. The first phase of the residential development will include 49 units ranging in price from $169,900 to $199,990. Seven acres of the site will be reserved for commercial development.

NATIONAL | October 31, 2014
September’s Construction Employment Up in Most Metro Areas Nationwide

From September 2013 to September 2014, construction employment rose in 236 of the 339 metro areas across the country (70% of the metros), while declining in 53 and remaining the same in 50. However, New Jersey metros continue to struggle, as they have for most of the year. Edison-New Brunswick came out in the bottom five losers, down 7% with the loss of 2,800 jobs during the period. Also measuring losses in the state:  Atlantic City-Hammonton down 6%, losing 300 jobs; Newark-Union down 5%, losing 1,900 jobs; and Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton down 12%, losing 300 jobs. Looking a little more positive, Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 100 jobs, a 0.3% gain; Camden added 900 jobs, a 4% gain; and Trenton-Ewing added 200 jobs, also a 4% gain.

LOCAL | October 23, 2014
Upgrades Planned for AC Convention Center and Boardwalk Hall

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority plans $110 million in upgrades to the Convention Center and Boardwalk Hall, part of a $253.3 million bond offering that, once sold, will signal the official beginning of the CRDA’s control of the two public venues. Upgrades over the next five years for the buildings will include maintenance work to the electrical, lighting, plumbing and heating and ventilation systems, repairs to the roofs, cosmetic renovations such as new floors and painting, and possibly new entryways and space conversion in the Convention Center. Also under consideration is a redo of Boardwalk Hall’s Adrian Phillips Ballroom into a venue for concerts and boxing matches. A construction schedule will be developed over the next few months.

LOCAL | October 23, 2014
Wider NJ Turnpike Opens This Weekend

The $2.5 billion job to widen the New Jersey Turnpike from six to 12 lanes and ease the bottlenecks between Exits 6 and 9 is coming to an end, with the new northbound lanes scheduled to open this weekend, followed by the opening of the southbound lanes next weekend. The project – the largest in Turnpike history – commenced in 2009 and encompassed 170 miles of new lanes, and is finishing up three weeks ahead of its planned mid-November completion date.

LOCAL | October 21, 2014
Five NJ Airports Receive $4.4 Million in State Grants

Five of New Jersey’s general aviation airports have received six airport grants totaling $4.4 million for safety and improvement projects. The projects, worth $5.7 million, are also partially funded by federal monies and airport contributions, and include taxiway rehabilitation, lighting improvements and fuel system replacement at Trenton-Mercer (Mercer County), Old Bridge (Middlesex County), Ocean County, Woodbine Municipal (Cape May County) and Somerset (Somerset County) airports. Through a separate federal grant, Morristown Municipal Airport received $985,455 from the FAA, 90% of the $1.1 million cost for an environmental study to rehabilitate the airport’s Runway 5-23. NJDOT is matching 5% of the grant, $53,242, and the airport will pick up the rest of the tab.

LOCAL | October 17, 2014
AC Casino Revenue Shows Improvement

For the eight casinos still open in Atlantic City, combined September revenue was $197.7 million, up 3.8% from September 2013. But the loss of four casinos, which collectively brought in $49.8 million in September 2013, means total gambling revenue was down 17.1% compared to a year ago. The surviving casinos hope to attract as much as 50% of the business from the closed properties. In the meantime, Internet gaming continues to grow in popularity, with a 5.8% jump in the number of accounts in September.

NATIONAL | October 17, 2014
New E-Verify Website Focuses on Employee

E-Verify, the electronic system designed by US Citizenship and Immigration Services to confirm for employers that employees are authorized to work, now has a new element specific to the employees themselves. The new website, myE-Verify, includes the existing Self Check feature and adds the ability to “lock” Social Security numbers to protect against fraudulent use, create and manage personal accounts, and find information on employee rights. MyE-Verify, currently available in only a handful of states that does not include New Jersey, will be rolled out in phases. While E-Verify is mandatory for employers in some states, the new myE-Verify is strictly voluntary for employees.

LOCAL | October 13, 2014
Cape May County Library Looks Forward to $1.1 Million Facelift

The library’s main branch on Mechanic Street in Cape May Court House, which serves as the county library system’s headquarters, can’t be reached from the main entrance because of buckling steps and crumbling columns. Inside, there isn’t enough room to accommodate the library’s programs. The Cape May County Library Commission estimates exterior and interior renovations will add up to $1.1 million, and include a new roof plus a sunroom near the entrance. The Department of Emergency Management, which currently resides in the basement, will be moved to a new location. Also in the plans, construction of a new library branch on 96th Street in Stone Harbor.

LOCAL | October 8, 2014
Sentinel Data Centers Plans Somerset Expansion

Sentinel Data Centers’ Somerset facility would be nearly doubled with a planned 200,000 sq.ft. expansion on its existing 230,000 sq.ft. The company owns, develops and operates multi-tenant data centers, and the expansion would represent Phase III of its growth, using modular building blocks that allow customization for each customer’s suite in the facility. Completion is projected for the second half of 2015.

LOCAL | October 8, 2014
Brookfield Bid for Revel Approved by Bankruptcy Judge

Yesterday a judge in federal bankruptcy court formally approved the sale of Atlantic City’s Revel Casino to Brookfield US Holdings LLC for $110 million, trumping the $90 million stalking-horse bid placed by Florida real estate developer Glenn Straub. Brookfield, which plans to keep a casino operating at Revel, is part of a Toronto investment firm, Brookfield Asset Management, that owns the Atlantis in the Bahamas and the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. The sale is expected to close within 60 days.

NATIONAL | October 1, 2014
New Jersey’s Metro Construction Employment Drops in August

While construction employment grew in 220 of 339 metro areas, New Jersey continued to lose construction jobs year-over-year. From August 2013 to August 2014, the state lost 9,600 jobs, a 7% loss. By metro area, Edison-New Brunswick (down 2,700 jobs, a 6% loss), Newark-Union (down 1,800 jobs, a 5% drop) and Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton (down 300 jobs, a 12% drop) were among the top 10 losers in the 73 that saw job decreases nationwide. Also in the loss column is Atlantic City-Hammonton, down 300 jobs for a 6% drop. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic showed no change from a year ago (along with 45 other metro areas across the country), while Camden picked up 500 jobs, a 2% gain, and Trenton-Ewing added 100 jobs, also a 2% gain.

September 2014

NATIONAL | September 22, 2014
State Construction Employment for August Still Positive – But Not for NJ

Across the country, 36 states added construction jobs in August compared to a year ago, while 28 states added jobs for the month. But New Jersey was the biggest loser among the 12 states and DC that saw a decrease in construction jobs year-over-year, shedding 11,300 jobs, an 8.1% drop. The state also lost jobs over last month, down 1,600 jobs, a 1.2% loss, one of the top four losers out of the 21 states and DC that shed construction jobs between July and August. While the rest of the region looked stronger for the 12-month period, New York too saw a drop from July to August, down 2,700 jobs, a 0.8% decrease, as did Pennsylvania, which hit the bottom in the loss list, down 3,000 jobs, a 1.2% decline.

LOCAL | September 22, 2014
New Jersey Receives Two DOL Grants for Misclassification Prevention Efforts

New Jersey received two grants totaling $838,621 from the US Department of Labor for its exemplary efforts in combatting worker misclassification in its unemployment insurance program. The funds will be used to further those efforts by the state’s Unemployment Insurance Division. The first grant, $342,222, recognized New Jersey’s existing initiatives to prevent misclassification fraud, while the second, $496,399, was a high-performance bonus applauding the state’s achievements. New Jersey was one of 19 states to receive the grants.

LOCAL | September 19, 2014
More Sandy Funding: $1.5 Billion for NJ Transit and PA

Nearly $1.3 billion from the Federal Transit Administration will go to New Jersey Transit for Sandy-related projects, out of a total package of nearly $1.5 billion. NJ Transit projects include, among others, $410 million for the electrical “microgrid” that will power trains even if other electric sources are shut down, $446 million for a new drawbridge over the Raritan River in Middlesex County, and filling in Long Slip, the historical canal terminus in Hoboken. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey received $212 million in FTA grants, of which approximately $85 million will pay for mitigation efforts at the World Trade Center site and transit facilities.

NATIONAL | September 19, 2014
Reason Foundation Issues Annual State Highway Report

The Reason Foundation’s 21st Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems ranks New Jersey in the bottom five, even though overall state highways have improved during the past four years. Third from the bottom, New Jersey is one of just six states that together carry almost half (49.5%) of the “poor-condition urban Interstate mileage.” For the report, visit www.reason.org.

LOCAL | September 19, 2014
New Tech High School at Cumberland County College

A $70 million technical high school on 10 acres of the Vineland campus of Cumberland County College, scheduled to open in the fall of 2016, goes out for bid next month. It will be one-third of a partnership with the college and the $7.7 million Cumberland County Center for Workforce and Economic Development, currently under construction on the campus. Also under construction is phase one -- two soccer fields -- for the new high school, formally called the Cumberland County Technical Education Center. The two-story high school, 200,000 sq.ft., will encompass classrooms, a media center, technical labs and a greenhouse, plus other essential school spaces.  

LOCAL | September 15, 2014
As Casinos Faced Closings, August Revenues Were Up

August casino revenues were mostly up in August compared to both July and August 2013, even as four more were slated for closing. Borgata came out the highest winner, with revenue totaling nearly $66 million, up from $62.5 million a year ago and $60 million in July. Caesars was second with nearly $44 million, up from $38 million a year ago and way up from July’s win of $28 million. In its final month, Showboat (which closed August 31)  revenues were just over $15 million, comparable to its July take and roughly $600,000 more than last August. Revel, which closed September 2, claimed $12 million in revenues during its final month, down from $15 million in July and well below the $20 million it took in last August. Trump Plaza, closing this week, saw less than $5 million for the month, down from $5.4 million in July and $9 million in August 2013. Trump Taj Mahal, expected to close in November, drew in $25 million in August, up from $22 million in July but down from the $26.5 million it saw last August. The rest of the take in August:  Harrah’s claimed $38.9 million; Tropicana won $31.3 million; Bally’s saw $25.7 million; Golden Nugget took in $16.8 million; and Resorts drew in $14.9 million.

LOCAL | September 11, 2014
Movement in AC Casino Status

Two items of note in Atlantic City this week:

  • Revel received a $90 million bid from Glenn Straub, president of bidding company Polo North Country Club Inc., of Florida. It established a low-bid floor; any other bidders must come in higher. Deadline for other bids is September 23; if none materialize, Straub will own the Revel. No word yet on what Straub would do with the casino.
  • MGM, former part-owner of the Borgata, has qualified for a new gaming license, plans to regain its 50% share in the casino and bring in new entertainment.

LOCAL | September 11, 2014
Update: Bayonne Bridge Construction

From the Port Authority, updates on “Raising the Roadway” project…

  • Construction continues on mechanical building at Sixth Street and Avenue A.
  • Mechanically stabilized earthwall from Sixth to Margaret streets nearly complete.
  • Gantry footings complete. Gantry assembly commencing this week, expected completion early November. In use for assembly and then pier construction:  330-ton crane with height starting at 120 feet, growing to 300 feet as it moves closer to Kill Van Kull. Base is at Sixth Street and travels length of bridge. This fall, a second crane should be at work on the southern section of the bridge, and also will be used for pier construction.
  • Wire vaults completed on First, Gertrude, Third, Juliette and Fourth streets. As cables are installed in the vaults, curb closures will occur.
  • Sheet pile work for support structures completed until next year.
  • Drill shaft work for 16 footings commenced last week and will take several months to complete.
  • Excavation work continues between Juliette and Fourth streets, and between Second and Gertrude streets. Removal of existing concrete piers continues at Gertrude and Third streets.

LOCAL | September 9, 2014
Grand Central Subway Looking at $210 Million Upgrade

Developer SL Green plans a $210 million upgrade for Manhattan’s Grand Central subway station that would include four new staircases, two new entrances from the street, a renovated mezzanine level and a new, 4,000 sq.ft. waiting area for commuters on the street level. With city approval pending, the project has some complex issues, including the agreement that the work will be finished before tenants may move into SL Green’s 65-story office tower, 1 Vanderbilt, which is to be located on the block just west of Grand Central, north of East 42nd Street. The planned waiting area in Grand Central would encompass the northeast corner of 1 Vanderbilt. That project is also going through its own laborious approval process. In addition, the planned mezzanine expansion for the Lexington Avenue line, which lies below the Hyatt Hotel, requires the hotel’s existing building columns to be incorporated into the design. Other design plans call for a hall linking the Grand Central Terminal to the Long Island Railroad station currently under construction, and improvements to the connections to Metro North and the Times Square shuttle. Ultimately, the block of Vanderbilt that runs between East 42nd and East 43rd will be closed to traffic and transformed into a public plaza, under the direction of the DOT. The timetable is expected to be as follows:  site approval for 1 Vanderbilt should be completed by March 2015, after which demolition of buildings on that site will run through mid-2016, with excavation and foundation completed by 2017. Subway construction is anticipated to run concurrently.

LOCAL | September 5, 2014
Mountain Creek Envisions $150 Million Water Park Hotel

 Mountain Creek, which early in the summer reverted the name of its outdoor water park back to Action Park, once a famous New Jersey summer destination, now wants to build a monumental indoor water park complex in Vernon, a $150 million investment the company sees as part of a larger, half-billion-dollar ski village development. Plans call for a 400-room hotel, 100,000 sq.ft. water park, 40,000 sq.ft. extreme-sports camp and 60,000 sq.ft. convention center. Mountain Creek proposes to pay for the project with $40 million from foreign investors, $25-$28 million through floating bonds, and the rest with financing from capital markets. A PILOT (payment-in-lieu-of-taxes) program to fund part of the project received approval on its first pass in front of the Vernon Town Council, and is scheduled for a second review this month. If approved and funded, the project would take approximately two years to complete.

NATIONAL | September 5, 2014
FHWA Loosens Restrictions on Fed Grants for State Projects

The Federal Highway Administration announced yesterday it is easing restrictions on federal grants for state highway and bridge projects, scrapping the required “value engineering” process on highway projects that cost less than $50 million and bridge projects that cost less than $40 million. Value engineering, which the feds claim saves the government approximately $1 billion a year, entails a complex process of determining the cheapest components for a project.

NATIONAL | September 2, 2014
July Construction Employment Up in 223 Metro Areas

Compared to July of last year, construction employment this July increased in 223 of 339 metro areas across the country, decreased in 72 and remained the same in 44. Some of the biggest losses came in two New Jersey metro areas. Newark-Union came in third in the nation for number of jobs lost (a drop of 2,500 jobs, down 7%) and Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton came in second for largest percentage decline (a 16% drop with the loss of 400 jobs). Two other New Jersey metro areas also recorded declines: Atlantic City-Hammonton lost 300 jobs for the period from July 2013 to July 2014, a 6% drop; and Edison-New Brunswick lost 700 jobs for the period, a 2% drop. On the up side, three New Jersey metro areas gained jobs year-over-year:  Bergen-Hudson-Passaic picked up 300 jobs, a 1% increase; Camden added 600 jobs, a 3% rise; and Trenton-Ewing added 100 jobs, a 2% increase.

August 2014

LOCAL | August 21, 2014
Long Branch Approves Phase One of Whitechapel Projects

The Whitechapel Projects, a plan to convert a century-old warehouse in Long Branch into a multi-use dining and cultural entertainment space, received approval from the Planning Board for its first development phase. The vacant warehouse at 15-17 Second Avenue covers 14,500 square feet, and phase one allows for construction of a courtyard, nano-brewery, restaurant and beer hall, kitchen, community event hall and art gallery. Further proposals, not yet approved, call for landscaping, a beer garden and a rooftop garden. Developer and property owner Preston Casertano plans to preserve and restore the building’s architectural detail in a construction project expected to take 18 months.

 

LOCAL | August 20, 2014
BPU Ordered to Reconsider AC Windfarm Application

In April, the state Board of Public Utilities rejected the offshore windfarm proposed by Fishermen’s Energy, but now an appellate court has told the Board it must reconsider the application with a revised $199-per-megawatt-hour price. The BPU had used a $263-per-MWH price in its decision to reject the proposal. The order, dated August 8, was released to the public on Monday, August 18. The BPU has 120 days from August 8 to deliver its decision. In May, even without the blessing of the BPU, Fishermen’s Energy was awarded $47 million in funding from the US Department of Energy to build the $200 million project in state waters off the coast of Atlantic City.

NATIONAL | August 19, 2014
States Increase Construction Employment for the Year – Except NJ

New Jersey once again came out at the bottom among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, losing both the highest percentage (down 6.5%) and total number of construction jobs (a loss of 8,900) in July compared to July 2013. For the period, 39 other states gained jobs, 11 states and DC lost jobs. For the month, however, New Jersey fared better, picking up 2,000 jobs over June, a 1.6% gain. Across the country for the month, 34 states added jobs while 15 states and DC lost jobs.

LOCAL | August 14, 2014
NYC Construction Spending Could Be 10% Higher in 2014

As we move through the second half of the year, the New York Building Congress predicts total construction spending in New York City will increase 10% by year-end to $31.5 billion, compared to $28.5 billion in 2013. The spending increase results from the residential construction boom, which at an estimated $10.2 billion will account for 32% of all construction spending in the city this year. Non-residential spending will likely reach $7.8 billion in 2014, down from $8 billion in 2013 and possibly the lowest level of non-residential spending since 2005. Government spending is predicted to be $13.5 billion, just slightly lower than last year. And, while spending may top $30 billion in the city, construction employment, expected to hit 122,700 jobs this year, is still well below 2008’s peak of 132,600.

LOCAL | August 14, 2014
Gas Pipeline Proposed for Parts of Mercer and Hunterdon

PennEast Pipeline, a joint venture with AGL Resources (parent company of Elizabethtown Gas), NJR Pipeline Co., South Jersey Industries and UGI Energy Services, announced a proposed $1 billion project Tuesday to run a 30-inch natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania through towns in Mercer and Hunterdon counties. The line would carry natural gas from a distribution center near Wilkes-Barre through four counties in Pennsylvania and then across western Hunterdon and the Hopewell Valley area of Mercer. According to PennEast, the line would provide lower, more stable natural gas prices because it would tap into the gas-rich Marcellus Shale region, and supply enough gas for 4.7 million homes. The proposal must be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a process expected to take three years. Construction would start in late 2017 under that timetable, and take seven months to a year, creating 2,000 jobs.

LOCAL | August 11, 2014
Carpenters’ Peter J. McGuire Joins NJ Hall of Fame

The Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters had asked us to vote for Peter J. McGuire, founder of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America in 1881, as an inductee into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. ACCNJ staff and guests even got a tour of the Hall of Fame’s Mobile Museum, the first mobile hall of fame in the country. And now it’s official – Peter J. McGuire was inducted in as part of the Class of 2014. McGuire was “the driving force behind the adoption of Labor Day as a national holiday in 1894,” and a “prominent figure in the struggle for the five-day, 40-hour work week.” He was born in 1852 and lived the last part of his life in Camden, dying in 1906.

LOCAL | August 5, 2014
Vineland Bread Manufacturer Plans $32 Million Expansion

Bread and pastry manufacturer Bridor Inc. will invest $32 million in an expansion to its Vineland plant that will add pastry manufacturing to its bread operations and create 50 more jobs. Bridor, a French company, also plans to source ingredients for the baked goods locally. The plant will expand from 136,000 to 183,000 square feet, with $5 million of the construction costs coming from Vineland’s revolving Urban Enterprise Zone loan funds.

July 2014

NATIONAL | July 30, 2014
Metro Area Construction Employment Up in June

Of 339 metro areas across the country, 215 saw a rise in construction employment in June compared to June 2013, while 80 experienced a drop and 44 saw no change. In New Jersey, Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton came in third from the bottom in percentage of jobs lost, down 13% with the loss of 300 jobs. Most of the rest of the state fared badly as well. Atlantic City-Hammonton lost 400 jobs, down 8%; Newark-Union lost 1,600 jobs, down 5%; Edison-New Brunswick lost 700 jobs, down 2%; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic lost 500 jobs, down 2%; and Trenton-Ewing lost 100 jobs, down 2%. Camden was the only New Jersey metro area to gain jobs, picking up 300 for a 1% increase.

LOCAL | July 29, 2014
Salem County Proposes Jail Expansion

The Salem County Jail, which currently holds just over 400 beds, could nearly double to 780 beds in a proposed expansion that would allow the county to house more inmates from Gloucester County, thereby increasing revenue. When completed, the $29 million project could bring in an estimated $7 million per year in revenue currently lost because Salem, which has an agreement with Gloucester County, can’t hold all the inmates Gloucester sends, and thus they are housed in Cumberland, Burlington and elsewhere. If approved, funding for the project would most likely come through a 10-year bond.

LOCAL | July 29, 2014
Jersey City’s Port Jersey Boulevard Upgrade Approved

The Port Authority recently approved a $9.5 million upgrade for part of Port Jersey Boulevard, which runs to the Global Container Terminal in Jersey City. The upgrade will improve access to the terminal and ease movement between the BMW processing facility and the vessel berthing area. Funding for the project comes from cargo facility charges, and will cover a new left-turn lane and entrance to the BMW site, realignment and repaving of the Boulevard between Colony Road and the Global Container Terminal gate, upgrades to the drainage system and installation of a guiderail.

LOCAL | July 29, 2014
Nearly $1.8 Million To Go To Atlantic City Airport

Announced a week ago, Atlantic City International Airport will receive $1,778,976 million from the FAA for taxiway rehab and reconstruction projects. That funding is in addition to the more-than-$1.68 million announced in June.

LOCAL | July 25, 2014
US Transportation’s Anthony Foxx Views NJ’s I-80 Project

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx visited Parsippany today for a briefing on the $84 million I-80 Rehabilitation project, which began nearly two years ago and is expected to be completed next year. Accompanied by New Jersey’s US Senator Cory Booker and NJ DOT Acting Commissioner Joseph Bertoni, Foxx pushed Congress in his comments to pass “a long-term funding solution for our nation’s highways and bridges.” The I-80 rehab stretches from Route 202/Littleton Road (milepost 41.5) to Beverwyck Road (milepost 45.6), and includes reconfiguration of the I-80 eastbound exit ramp in both directions at I-287 and the Route 202 northbound ramp to I-80 eastbound. This section of I-80 carries approximately 160,000 drivers each day, according to the state; the rehab will improve pavement conditions and reduce traffic congestion. The federal Highway Trust Fund, due to run out of money in a week, covered $83 million of the project.

LOCAL | July 25, 2014
Atlantic City Road and Drainage Improvements Planned

Atlantic City’s Planning Director Elizabeth Terenik recently laid out an array of road and drainage projects planned to improve the city’s infrastructure:

  • $6.3 million reconstruction of the hundred-year-old Baltic Avenue Canal that runs underground from Rhode Island to Georgia avenues and drains stormwater and tides from a third of the city; $2 million would come from AC and the rest from FEMA and the US Economic Development Administration, and the project should be completed in 18 months
  • $50 million project to shore up the seawall and boardwalk from Rhode Island Avenue to Gardner’s Basin, funded by the Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, NJ EDA and NJ DCA, and scheduled for construction beginning this fall through mid-2016
  • Another Army Corps job involving outfall pipes that drain from Pacific Avenue to the beach at these avenues:  Mississippi, California, Mansion, Arkansas, George and St. James
  • $200,000 stabilization project of the waterfront at South Boulevard in Chelsea Heights, still in design stage
  • $200,000 in repairs to the Flood Texas Avenue Bulkhead, outfall and street, of which $100,000 has already come from the Army Corps
  • $450,000 flood mitigation project at Massachusetts Avenue (city seeking funding)
  • $4.8 million flood mitigation project at the Sunset Avenue Bulkhead (city seeking funding)
  • Boardwalk improvements by the Public Works Department, for which the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has funded $1.7 million in lumber and supplies
  • $1 million paving of Arctic Avenue from Indiana to Delaware avenues (includes $400,000 grant from NJ DOT)
  • $1.1 million paving of Maryland Avenue from Brigantine Blvd. to Pacific Avenue (funded by NJ DOT)
  • $289,000 paving of Marmora Avenue from Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. to Ohio Avenue ($187,000 funded by NJ DOT)
  • $276,200 paving of Ventnor Avenue from Jackson to Bartram avenues ($210,000 funded by NJ DOT)
  • $964,000 paving of Pacific Avenue, funded by CRDA, currently underway and scheduled for completion by late fall
  • South Jersey Gas project to replace gas lines throughout 40% of the city through 2015, including new curb-to-curb asphalt
  • Various other traffic signal and safety projects

LOCAL | July 23, 2014
EDA Tax Incentive to Holtec Prompts Paulsboro Partnership

With a $260 million tax incentive from EDA, Holtec International will build a 600,000 sq.ft. manufacturing plant at the Port of Camden’s Broadway Terminal. And that deal has prompted another one. Holt Logistics, which must move some of its operations to make room for the Holtec project, has partnered with the South Jersey Port Corp. to become operator of the Port of Paulsboro, making that terminal a reality with the construction of a wharf and an investment of $10 million from Holt that will bring in equipment, cranes and technology. The state has committed $175 million to the redevelopment, and Holt estimates 850 new permanent jobs when the port is fully operational.

NATIONAL | July 23, 2014
State Construction Employment Still Shaky

While 38 states added construction jobs in June compared to a year ago, 27 states lost jobs for the month and the nation added only 6,000 jobs during the same period, indicating recovery remains “choppy,” according to AGC of America. New Jersey lost both the biggest number of jobs and the biggest percentage in June compared to June 2013, down 11,200 jobs, a loss of 8.1%. For the month, New Jersey shed 2,600 construction jobs, a 2% drop. In the region, New York lost a large number of jobs for the month, down 3,700, a 1.1% drop, but was up by 7,700 jobs (2.4%) for the year. Rhode Island lost 500 jobs for the month, a 2.9% drop, but was up 800 jobs (5%) for the year. Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Delaware all gained jobs for both the month and the year.

LOCAL | July 16, 2014
Carpenters’ George Laufenberg Joins Port Authority Board

George Laufenberg, Administrative Manager of the Carpenters Fund of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, and a labor partner of ACCNJ, was recently ratified by the New Jersey State Senate to fill a vacant seat on the Port Authority Board of Commissioners. Laufenberg is now one of six New Jersey commissioners on the board.

NATIONAL | July 16, 2014
House Passes Short-Term Highway Trust Fund Bill

Yesterday the US House of Representatives passed a short-term, $11 billion funding bill for the Highway Trust Fund, which is expected to start running dry in August. The bill was approved by a vote of 367 to 55, with 181 Republicans and 186 Democrats voting for it, 45 Republicans and 10 Democrats voting against. If approved as is by the Senate and signed by President Obama, the bill would draw $9.9 billion from the general fund and another $1 billion from a separate trust fund, extending the Highway Trust Fund until May 31, 2015. The Senate, which is working on its own short-term, open-ended fix, could amend and pass the House bill, but a key debate in the Senate will be whether to proceed with short-term funding or strive to pass a long-term funding bill during the lame-duck session following November’s elections. The current two-year authorization bill for the Highway Trust Fund expires September 30. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who chairs the public works committee, wants a long-term transportation bill, and could monkey-wrench short-term spending by refusing to permit authorization of spending beyond December 31, which would negate the May 31 deadline in the House bill.

LOCAL | July 14, 2014
Manasquan Inlet Coast Guard Station Slated for $14 Million Upgrade

The Manasquan Inlet Coast Guard station, located on the Point Pleasant Beach side of the Manasquan River, is slated to consolidate its operations in a new 91,100 sq.ft., three-story building that will cost nearly $14 million. The station’s current three buildings, including the administration office built in 1936, all experienced flooding during Superstorm Sandy, with damages reaching about $2.1 million. With the consolidation, the boat house and crew barracks will be demolished, but the historic administration building will be preserved. The new facility will have a generator capable of continuing operations for up to two weeks without electricity. Funding for the project comes from the $60 billion Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, of which $144 million is set aside for the Coast Guard. The plan is to award a contract on August 7 for the project, which is expected to take 18 months to two years to complete.

LOCAL | July 9, 2014
Terrence Brody to Lead Office of Recovery & Rebuilding

Governor Christie has chosen Terrence Brody as Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding, the group that leads Sandy-related recovery efforts. Brody, who has been serving as the Deputy Executive Director since the office was created in 2012, replaces Marc Ferzan, who resigned to take a teaching position at the University of Virginia.

NATIONAL | July 3, 2014
Metro Construction Employment Improves in May - Mostly

Construction employment this May compared to May 2013 increased in 218 of 339 metro areas across the country, decreased in 72 and remained the same in 49. In New Jersey, Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton came in third from the bottom of all metro areas in percentage of jobs lost, down a whopping 13% from May 2013 with a loss of 300 jobs. Atlantic City-Hammonton wasn’t far behind, losing 600 jobs for a 12% loss. Newark-Union lost 1,700 jobs, a 5% drop; Trenton-Ewing lost 100 jobs, a 2% drop; and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic lost 100 jobs, a 0.4% drop. Camden gained 300 jobs compared to May 2013, up 1%. Edison-New Brunswick numbers remained unchanged.

June 2014

LOCAL | June 30, 2014
Linden Grants Entitlement Approval for $350 Million Logistics Center

Goodman Birtcher, a subsidiary of Australia’s Goodman Group, an industrial property firm, has received entitlement approval for a $350 million logistics center, proposed as a redevelopment project consisting of 2.8 million sq.ft. across five distribution warehouses on a 143-acre site in Linden.

LOCAL | June 25, 2014
US Conference of Mayors Predicts Stronger Growth for Cape May County, Lesser for Cumberland and Atlantic Counties

In an IHS Global Insight report on metro economic forecasts commissioned by the US Conference of Mayors, three counties in South Jersey emerged with three distinctly different growth paths. Cape May County’s projected 3.1% annual growth through 2020 puts it in the top 40 areas of growth. But Atlantic County, looking at only 1.4% annual growth for the same time period, lands in the bottom five. Cumberland County comes out somewhere in the middle, with a projected 2.5% annual growth through the decade. One reason for the rosier picture in Cape May County is the anticipated influx of Baby Boomer retirees. According to Vicki Clark, president of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce, reports the county has the largest concentration of second homes in the state, with less than half of them rented out. Thus they transition from vacation to retirement homes.

NATIONAL | June 25, 2014
In May, New Jersey Lost the Highest Number of Construction Jobs - Again

Following March and then April’s dismal showing, New Jersey again shed more construction jobs in May compared to a year ago than any other state. Dropping 8,500 jobs, a 6.2% drop for the year, New Jersey was also the only state in the region to lose jobs – New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island all had gains. Overall, 10 states lost construction jobs during the past 12 months, while 40 states and the District of Columbia added jobs. From April to May, 30 states and DC added jobs, 20 states lost jobs. New Jersey did show a one-month gain in jobs, up 1.3% with 1,600 jobs added.

LOCAL | June 18, 2014
Millions of Square Feet of Office Space Forecast for Manhattan

A New York Building Congress report projects Manhattan will gain nine million square feet of office space by 2015, with another 10 million square feet to come between 2016 and 2018. Much of the first batch of new office space will be found in three buildings:  One World Trade Center, 4 World Trade Center and 10 Hudson Yards, the first tower in the Hudson Yards project. The second batch will arrive with 30 Hudson Yards, 1 Manhattan West, and 2 and 3 World Trade Center. Financing for the projects making up the second 10 million square feet hasn’t been secured, but approvals and sites are in place. Another project that could add more than a million square feet of office space is a yet-to-be-approved 1,200-foot tall office tower across from Grand Central Terminal. In total, the Building Congress forecasts 24.4 million square feet of new office construction from 2010-2019, five million more than was built in the previous decade and more than twice as much as was built in the 1990s. However, noting that net absorption rate for office space has been negative following the Great Recession, Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson affirms New York City will have to generate at least 20,000 new office jobs annually into the next decade to keep vacancy rates from rising and continue the demand for new office construction.

NATIONAL | June 16, 2014
May Sees Gain of 6,000 Construction Jobs in US

Across the country, the construction industry gained 6,000 jobs in May, reaching a total of 6,004,000, up 3.2% from May 2013. Nonresidential construction counted for 2,700 of those new jobs. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.6% in May, down from 10.8% in May 2013. However, as AGC of America has noted previously, while the unemployment rate has dropped by more than half since May of 2010, when it reached 20.1%, more than a million construction workers lost their jobs during that period and, to date, industry jobs have increased by only 480,000.  

NATIONAL | June 16, 2014
OSHA Video on Silica Dust Exposure Wins Award

In August 2013, OSHA released “Deadly Dust,” an educational video on the dangers of silica dust exposure timed to coincide with the release of OSHA’s silica rule. The nine-minute video recently won first place in the Best Safety Video category of PR Daily’s 2013 Video Awards. View the documentary-style video on the Department of Labor’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXsGJ1C4Xcw

LOCAL | June 12, 2014
Update:  Sixers to Build Camden Training Center

With an $82 million tax credit over 10 years, the 76ers will indeed build a training center in Camden, expected to be a 120,000 sq.ft. state-of-the-art training facility and team headquarters completed in 2016. The tax deal requires the team to employ 250 people in Camden and stay in the city for 15 years. The Sixers will lease four acres near the Susquehanna Bank Center on the southeast corner of Delaware Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard as the training center site, and construction is slated to begin in October.

NATIONAL | June 12, 2014
ConsensusDOCS Releases New Federal Work Contracts

ConsensusDOCS recently updated its standard federal subcontract, ConsensusDOCS 752, to reflect recent changes in federal contracting rules, including requirements for certifying small business entities and reporting executive compensation. ConsensusDOCS says 752 is the first and only standard subcontract agreement for federal work that complies with the 2012 Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). It includes a FAR Provisions Exhibit. For more information, visit www.consensusdocs.org.

NATIONAL | June 12, 2014
INSTALL Doubles Warranty Program

INSTALL, the International Standards & Training Alliance for Floorcovering Professionals, introduced a one-year, $5,000 Warranty on Labor last year. In January of this year, INSTALL doubled the program to two years and a $10,000 Warranty on Labor. For its Certified Contractors, INSTALL offers this free, third-party, value-added installation guarantee on commercial and residential installations of carpet, resilient and hardwood. The INSTALL Certification allows buyers to identify the most dependable and skilled installers in the US and Canada.

LOCAL | June 11, 2014
NJ DOT Gets New Acting Commissioner

Joseph D. Bertoni is the new Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, where he has 26 years of experience. Most recently Deputy Commissioner, Bertoni began his career in the Division of Bridge Design, worked as a Project Manager in the Department’s Capital Program Management unit and then became Chief of Staff. He received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Widener University and is a licensed Professional Engineer in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

LOCAL | June 11, 2014
Governor Names George Laufenberg to Port Authority Seat

Last week, Governor Christie named George Laufenberg, Administrative Manager of the New Jersey Carpenters Funds, to a seat on the Port Authority Board of Commissioners that was vacated by Anthony Sartor’s resignation in April. Laufenberg joins Ray Pocino, Vice President of the Laborers International Union, as the second labor leader to be named by Christie to the Port Authority Board.

NATIONAL | June 11, 2014
President Obama Signs $12.3 Billion Water Bill

Yesterday, President Obama signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) into law, the first water projects reauthorization since 2007. It authorizes 34 projects and cuts $18 billion in projects the Army Corps of Engineers deemed outdated or unnecessary. Included in the projects is dredging of ports in Jacksonville, Savannah and Boston – projects which can now, per the bill, be paid for by the ports up front and reimbursed by the feds later, helping reduce construction time. The rest of the funding is slated for flood control, hurricane recovery and environmental restoration.

LOCAL | June 4, 2014
Webcams Allow Public to View Goethals Bridge Construction   

Four webcams now let the public view construction of the Goethals Bridge almost as it occurs, with updates every 15 minutes. The construction, which began in May, will replace the old bridge with a new one offering more 12-foot-wide travel lanes, 12-foot shoulders and a pedestrian/bicycle pathway. Two webcams are mounted on the side of the old bridge, providing views of New York and New Jersey where the new bridge will span, and two are located nearby, one facing the bridge in Elizabeth and one facing it in Staten Island. Visit all four webcams at www.panynj.gov/bridges-tunnels/goethals-bridge-replacement.html#webcam, and share images on Facebook and Twitter.

LOCAL | June 4, 2014
Two NJ Projects Win HUD “Rebuild by Design” Grants   

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced yesterday that two New Jersey projects are winners in the Hurricane Sandy Rebuild by Design competition, and will be constructed using $380 million in disaster relief. One project would establish a large nature reserve in the Meadowlands, open to the public and surrounded by a multipurpose berm to protect against storm surges. The second project would use bulkheads, deployable flood walls, green roofs, stormwater pumps and constructed wetlands to protect Hoboken from the flooding that devastated much of the city during Sandy. The HUD competition selected six projects in New Jersey, New York State and New York City, and allotted more than $900 million in disaster relief funds to pay for them.

LOCAL | June 3, 2014
Kris Kolluri Named CEO of Rowan/Rutgers-Camden Partnership

The health sciences partnership between Rowan University and Rutgers-Camden now has a CEO to oversee day-to-day operations. Kris Kolluri, former Commissioner of the NJ Department of Transportation and CEO of the Schools Development Authority, was appointed Friday by the partnership’s Board of Governors, and will officially take the position on July 1, 2014, at an annual salary of $275,000. His responsibilities include overseeing capital projects, running the joint programs and driving community involvement.

LOCAL | June 3, 2014
Rumors of a Sixers Training Center in Camden  

Scott O’Neil, CEO of the 76ers, didn’t confirm locations, but the Sixers could build a training center in Camden adjacent to Campbell’s Field now that their first choice, the Philadelphia Navy Yard, didn’t come through. If the same design is used for a new location, the project would be a 55,000 sq.ft. facility housing two basketball courts, other training space, locker rooms, a player lounge, a broadcast center and more – estimated at $20 million to $25 million. Check the agenda for the next NJ Economic Development Authority meeting scheduled for June 10, 2014. The agenda is posted 48 hours prior to the meeting, according to the NJ EDA website, http://www.njeda.com/web/default.aspx.

NATIONAL | June 3, 2014
March Materials Costs Up for Nonresidential Building  

Bureau of Labor Statistics for March 2014 show that prices for materials used in nonresidential construction were well-above the overall inflation rate. Most notable increases compared to March 2013 include iron and steel scrap prices, up 14.9%, with a 4.8% jump over February 2014 prices; gypsum prices, up 11.6% for the year and up 7.4% for the month; and lumber and plywood prices, up 7.7% for the year, and up 2.4% for the month. Other increases were seen in prefabricated metal buildings, up 5.7% for the year, 2% for the month; cement prices, up 3.5% for the year, 2% for the month; concrete product prices, up 2.8% for the year and 0.8% for the month; brick and structural clay tile, up 2.3% for the year but down 0.2% for the month; asphalt paving mixtures and blocks, up 1.6% for the year, 1% for the month; steel mill product prices, up 0.5% for the year, 1.2% for the month; fabricated structural metal, up 0.2% for the year but down 1.4% for the month; and plastic construction products, up 0.1% for the year, 0.7% for the month. Prices that dropped compared to March 2013 include copper and brass mill shapes, down 5% for the year and down 1.2% for the month; aluminum mill shapes, down 4.7% for the year, but up 0.6% for the month; #2 diesel fuel, down 3.3% for the year and down 1.9% for the month; asphalt at refinery, down 2.5% for the year and down 2.2% for the month; and architectural coatings, down 1.5% for the year and down 0.3% for the month.

May 2014

LOCAL | May 30, 2014
Affordable Housing Plans to Revitalize Burlington City

The Apartments at the Mill, a 65-unit, $15 million affordable housing project planned for Mitchell Avenue in Burlington City, could generate as many as 141 construction jobs and $2.6 million in outgoing economic input. An old mill that became a PSE&G warehouse and has now sat empty for many years will be restored to encompass 11 apartments, a community center, and marketing and leasing offices. Another five three-story multifamily structures with 54 units will also be built on the three-acre property. Five of the units will be designated for special-needs tenants. The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency provided $1.7 million in permanent financing and awarded federal low-income housing tax credits, which generated approximately $12.1 million in private equity. Developed and managed by the Ingerman Group, the project is expected to be completed this fall.

NATIONAL | May 30, 2014
April’s Metro Construction Employment Improves – Except in NJ

As we reported for the state-by-state construction employment in April, many metro areas also saw an improvement – but four New Jersey metros landed in the top five in the loss column, and a fifth also lost jobs. Construction employment increased in 220 of 339 metro areas, dropped in 70 and remained unchanged in 49 between April 2013 and April 2014. Newark-Union recorded the third-largest loss in number of jobs, down 1,600 for the year, a 5% drop, while Bergen-Hudson-Passaic took the fourth-largest hit, losing 1,300 jobs, also a 5% drop. In percentages, Atlantic City-Hammonton topped the loss column, losing 900 jobs that represented an 18% drop for the year. Vineland-Millville-Bridgetown was fourth in the percentage-lost figures, down 300 jobs for a 13% drop. Trenton-Ewing also lost jobs, down 100 positions, a 2% drop. Two New Jersey metros actually reflected slight gains for the year: Edison-New Brunswick picked up 500 jobs, a 1% increase, and Camden added 100 jobs, a 0.5% increase. Statewide, New Jersey lost 10,700 construction jobs compared to April of last year, an 8% drop.

LOCAL | May 30, 2014
Fed Sandy Grants of $235 Million Go To NJ Transit and PATH

NJ Transit was awarded $66.8 million and PATH received $166.9 million in federal Sandy grants from US DOT’s Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program, run by the department’s Federal Transit Administration. NJ Transit will use the funds to build a system-wide emergency-operations communications center to replace the current one. PATH will use the funding to eliminate the saltwater residue left from the floods and upgrade signals in the tunnels between Jersey City’s Exchange Place and the World Trade Center in Manhattan.

LOCAL | May 27, 2014
New York Building Congress Responds to NYC Capital Budget

In New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed capital budget for FY 2015-2018, $34.7 billion would go for the construction and rehabilitation of the city’s infrastructure, including $10.2 billion for new school construction and expansion, $966.6 million for water projects, $2.7 billion for bridges and $2.5 billion for 200,000 affordable housing units. The New York Building Congress reacted favorably to the Mayor’s commitment to infrastructure and his “realistic” budget.

LOCAL | May 21, 2014
NextGen Update:  Promising Movement

After lots of starts and stops, the Next Generation Air Transportation System, NextGen, got a 2020 deadline for deployment from the FAA, which also said NextGen’s “basic infrastructure” should be in place by 2016. Last week at an Air Traffic Control Association meeting in Atlantic City, the conferees affirmed NextGen is finally moving along. New Jersey’s US Rep. Frank LoBiondo, chair of the House Aviation Subcommittee, said the FAA had begun to set “realistic benchmarks” for NextGen, which is important for New Jersey because of its connection with the proposed aviation research park adjacent to the AC airport and the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township.

NATIONAL | May 21, 2014
April Construction Employment Figures Not Good in NJ

In April, New Jersey lost more construction jobs compared to April 2013 than any other state in the nation:  both the highest percentage (down 6.8%) and the highest number (a loss of 9,300). Nine other states also lost construction jobs, while 39 states and DC gained jobs over the year. Compared to the previous month, March 2014, 20 states lost construction jobs, while 29 states added jobs and one state held the status quo. New Jersey came in second in the loss column for the month, down 2,800 jobs, a 2.1% drop.

LOCAL | May 21, 2014
Route 35 Summer Work Schedule Revised

NJ DOT updated its Route 35 summer work schedule today, adding details not previously released.

  • Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, only one lane will be available southbound from Curtis Point Drive in Brick to Strickland Boulevard in Toms River. The one-lane restriction will be in place through Thursday, June 26.
  • Work on this section of the project will be suspended from Friday, June 27 through noon on Tuesday, September 2, allowing two southbound travel lanes during the summer peak travel months.
  • During the holiday weekend and continuing through the summer, two southbound lanes will be available from Strickland Boulevard to the project’s end at Island Beach State Park.
  • On all other sections of the highway from Brick to Berkeley, all travel lanes will be open from Friday, June 13, through noon on Tuesday, September 2.
  • Work on the side streets in Berkeley, Seaside Park, Seaside Heights, Toms River, Lavallette and Brick will continue throughout the summer.
  • Work on Route 35 northbound in Lavallette between Brown and Bond avenues will be suspended by 6 am this Friday, May 23, and will resume at noon on Tuesday, September 2.
  • Work on the rest of Route 35 northbound will cease at noon on Friday, June 13, and will resume at noon on Tuesday, September 2.
  • New Jersey Natural Gas will be installing new gas lines on the northbound shoulder.
  • In Mantoloking and Bay Head, work on Route 35 and all side streets will be suspended by 6 am this Friday, May 23, and will resume at noon on Tuesday, September 2.

Residents in the affected towns can contact NJDOT about the project by phone, 732.230.7356, and email, restore.nj35@dot.state.nj.us.

LOCAL | May 16, 2014
April Casino Revenues Up

Comparing April 2014 to April 2013 revenues for the 11 Atlantic City casinos that were open in both months (which excludes the Atlantic Club), the Division of Gaming Enforcement filings show an increase of 3.3%. Internet gaming revenue was $11.4 million for April of this year, down from $11.9 million in March. The number of Internet gaming accounts in April rose 10.6% over March’s number. Combining the two venues, revenues rose 3.2% from last April, even when the now-defunct Atlantic Club is factored in. Total gaming taxes reached $18 million in April 2014, up 8.8% over last year. In the first four months of this year, total gaming taxes were $66.2 million, up 2.9% over January – April 2013.

LOCAL | May 16, 2014
Choose NJ Launches RFP Database for Leads

Choose New Jersey recently launched a next-generation database offering subscription access to public and private Requests for Proposals, Requests for Information and other business opportunities in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. RFP Watch 2.0 aggregates data from more than 30,000 public and private sources, averaging 7,000 contract leads a month, and is available to all companies with a New Jersey location for $295 per year. Visit https://rfpwatch.choosenj.com/ for more information and to subscribe.

NATIONAL | May 13, 2014
Wells Fargo to Offer Loans to Small Businesses

Wells Fargo Bank plans to ramp up loans to businesses with less than $2 million in sales and for commercial real estate financing below $500,000. The “Wells Fargo Works for Small Business” plan is to create $100 billion in new loans to small businesses across the country by 2018, aimed toward equipment upgrades and real estate investment. Its website, www.wellsfargoworks.com, combines product offerings with guidance on sustaining growth.

LOCAL | May 9, 2014
PSE&G Reaches Settlement with BPU for “Energy Strong”

PSE&G and Board of Public Utilities staff have brokered an agreement to roll out the utility’s proposed “Energy Strong” proposal for $1.22 billion, about 30% of the original $3.9 billion proposal. Pending final BPU approval, Energy Strong will include these investments:  $620 million to raise, relocate or protect 29 switching and substations; $350 million to replace and modernize 250 miles of low-pressure, cast-iron gas mains in or near flood areas; $100 million to create redundancy in the system, which will reduce outages; $100 million in smart-grid technologies for faster deployment of repair efforts; and $50 million to protect five natural-gas metering stations and a liquefied natural-gas station. The agreement calls for PSE&G to earn a return on equity of 9.75% of the first $1 billion of investment, after which the utility can file for a base rate adjustment to recover the remaining $220 million. According to PSE&G, the new proposal would add approximately 2% to a typical residential bill. The utility also anticipates that upcoming expiration of certain bill charges will actually cause customer bills to decrease.

LOCAL | May 7, 2014
Vineland Proposes Changes for Chestnut Avenue

Chestnut Avenue between Main Road and Delsea Drive could downsize four lanes to two under a proposal put forth by Vineland’s City Council, which will vote next week to apply for Federal Highway Administration funds to cover the cost of project design, estimated to be $500,000. The road could also get a center turning lane and bicycle lanes, upgraded traffic signals and a roundabout. The design goal is to improve traffic flow and increase safety by controlling speed, easing left turns, decreasing the number of lanes pedestrians must cross and eliminating a passing lane. The final design will determine construction costs.

LOCAL | May 7, 2014
AC Offshore Wind Farm Proposal Gets Federal Monies

Although the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities turned down the offshore wind farm proposed by Fishermen’s Energy, the project is one of three that will receive up to $47 million over the next four years from the US Department of Energy. A news release issued by the Energy Department today called the project “pioneering” and explained that its “innovative, US-developed twisted jacket foundation” is “simpler and less expensive to manufacture and install” than other designs. The Energy Department wants to use the five turbines, in their proposed location 2.8 miles off the coast of Atlantic City, as a laboratory for research in offshore wind and turbine interaction.

NATIONAL | May 5, 2014
Construction Unemployment Rate Drops to 9.4%

At 9.4%, the April unemployment rate in the construction industry hit its lowest point in seven years. Contractors added 32,000 workers to April payrolls, and the total number of people employed in the industry rose to 6.0 million. That’s up 3.3%, 189,000 jobs, since April 2013, when the unemployment rate was 13.2%. Aggregate hours also rose for the year, up 3.8%. By sector, nonresidential construction – building, specialty trades and heavy and civil engineering – added 18,600 employees from March to April, up 81,300 employees (2.2%) compared to April 2013.

NATIONAL | May 2, 2014
Construction Spending Slightly Higher in March

Spending for multi-family housing construction projects was strong in March, and spending for nonresidential projects was up a bit, pushing overall construction spending up 0.2% over February to $943 billion, and 8.4% higher over March 2013. Multifamily housing construction spending jumped 4.4% for the month, and was up a whopping 33% over March 2013. As a whole, private nonresidential spending crept up 0.2% for the month, and was 8.6% higher than a year ago. By segment, power construction rose 2.8% for the year, and communication construction leapt 34% for the year. However, overall public construction spending continued to decline, down 0.6% for the month and down 0.8% for the year. By segment, highway and street construction increased 8.5% for the year, but educational construction dropped 5.3% from March 2013.

April 2014

NATIONAL | April 29, 2014
Metro Area Construction Employment Improves in March

From March 2013 to March 2014, construction employment increased in 197 of 339 metro areas across the country (60%), declined in 87 and remained the same in 55. New Jersey’s picture was not as rosy, as construction employment decreased in four metro areas, increased in two and remained the same in one (Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton). Atlantic City-Hammonton lost 400 jobs, a 9% drop; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic lost 1,100 jobs, a 4% drop; Newark-Union lost 300 jobs, a 1% drop; and Trenton-Ewing lost 100 jobs, a 2% drop. Camden gained 200 jobs, a 1% increase, and Edison-New Brunswick picked up 100 jobs, a 0.3% rise. Statewide, New Jersey lost 6,600 jobs, a 5% drop.

LOCAL | April 29, 2014
New Jersey to Receive More Than $1 Billion in FEMA Funds

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will give New Jersey more than $1.1 billion in aid for Superstorm Sandy-related debris removal, building and property repairs, and other work needed for recovery. The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management posted that, to date, FEMA has given the state approximately $494 million, 43% of what FEMA had pledged. FEMA will pay 90% of eligible expenses, rather than the 75% usually paid out in public assistance grants, because federal disaster aid needed in New Jersey exceeded the threshold of $133 per resident. The state office reports 1,318 government agencies, schools and nonprofit organizations submitted nearly $1.3 billion in expenses eligible for FEMA’s public assistance grants.

LOCAL | April 29, 2014
American Dream Gets PLA, Due to Open Fall 2016

Triple Five, developer of American Dream Meadowlands in East Rutherford, yesterday signed a project labor agreement with the Bergen County Building & Construction Trades Council to begin work on the project formerly named Xanadu. Triple Five anticipates an opening date in the fall of 2016 for the mega complex, which is expected to include an indoor amusement and water park, indoor ski slope, observation wheel for panoramic views of New York, an NHL-class ice rink, a movie theater, an aquarium, a miniature golf course, and hundreds of retailers, restaurants and services. First order of business, according to Governor Christie, who was in attendance for the PLA signing, will be to redo the exterior façade. The project is expected to generate at least 9,000 construction jobs.

LOCAL | April 22, 2014
World Poker Tour Championship Kicks Off in AC

After 11 years in Las Vegas, the World Poker Tour Championship event kicked off Monday at the Borgata in Atlantic City, a move synergistic with New Jersey’s new online gambling market, which Saturday launched its first New Jersey Championship of Online Poker, the largest online tournament in the US. Why the Borgata? Because the World Poker Tour is sponsored by partypoker, whose parent, bwin.party, is the Borgata’s online gambling partner. The competition for the World Poker Tour’s $5 million prize drew “hundreds” of players to Atlantic City for the week. Approximately 15% of nj.partypoker.com players come into New Jersey from out-of-state for the online gambling, adding to the visitor revenue.

LOCAL | April 22, 2014
Detours Scheduled Around Lincoln Tunnel Helix Rehab

For the next eight months, night and weekend travelers on the Lincoln Tunnel Helix (Rte. 495) can expect detours while the second phase of helix rehabilitation progresses. Beginning tonight, New Jersey-bound (westbound) traffic will be detoured to the eastbound lanes from 11 pm to 5 am Monday through Thursday, between 11:59 pm Friday and 8 am Saturday, and from 1 to 9 am on Sunday. An hour before the weeknight westbound closings and a half-hour before the weekend westbound closings, New York-bound (eastbound) traffic will be detoured to exit at the Pleasant Avenue off-ramp and follow local streets to the Lincoln Tunnel by way of JFK Boulevard East. Traffic heading to Union City and North Bergen on the Route 495 West Helix, including NJ Transit buses, that usually exits at the Park Avenue/Union City ramp, will use the Hoboken exit to 19th Street in Weehawken to northbound Boulevard East to North Marginal Road. NJ Transit is advising bus travelers to expect delays in and out of the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

LOCAL | April 22, 2014
College of New Jersey Gets Financing for Student Housing

Campus Town, a 130-unit student housing project for The College of New Jersey in Ewing, has received $52.5 million in financing from a bank syndication composed of M&T Bank, Provident Bank and Columbia Bank, in the form of a 36-month construction loan for the borrower, the PRC Group. Campus Town will be located on 12.5 acres at the main entrance to the college between Pennington Road (Route 31) and Metzger Drive. Seven buildings will include more than 80,000 sq.ft. of ground-floor retail served by 503 parking spaces. Barnes & Noble will operate a college bookstore as part of the retail space, and a fitness and activity center will also be built in the space. An open plaza with a bell tower will be the focal point. Construction is expected to be completed in mid-2015.

NATIONAL | April 21, 2014
Multiemployer Pension Plan Zone Status Improves

This year shows an improvement nationally in the zone status of multiemployer pension plans. As we went into 2014, 65% of calendar-year plans (those with a January 1 start date) were in the green zone, an increase of 4% over 2013. In addition, the average funded percentage, as dictated by the Pension Protection Act of 2006, was 88%, up 3% from 2013.

NATIONAL | April 21, 2014
Construction Gains Jobs in 38 States from March 2013 to 2014

Construction firms added jobs in 38 states in March compared to March 2013, while 11 states and the District of Columbia lost jobs, and one state held on to the status quo. The largest number of losses occurred in New Jersey for the year, with a drop of 4,600 jobs (down 3.4%). In the month from February to March of this year, 24 states and DC gained construction jobs, 23 states lost jobs and construction employment remained unchanged in three states. New Jersey lost 1,900 for the month, down 1.4%.

LOCAL | April 17, 2014
Joint Base Groundbreaking for New Army Aviation Research Center

Last Friday saw the groundbreaking for the new, $42 million Communications and Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Originally proposed as a $47 million project, the new facility will be downsized but still large enough to accommodate helicopters and four-engine C-130 Hercules aircraft. The old CERDEC facility was a World War II-era wooden blimp hangar at Lakehurst that was literally crumbling on top of the people and aircraft housed there. Because the Army has maintained a flight facility at Lakehurst for 60 years, and CERDEC works on systems such as battlefield sensors and communications networks, it was the only group that remained when Fort Monmouth’s command was moved to Aberdeen, MD, as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process.

NATIONAL | April 9, 2014
AGC Survey Reveals 45% of Highway Contractors Experienced Motor Vehicle Crashes at Work Zones

The results of AGC’s survey of more than 400 highway contractors show 45% have had vehicles crash into their work zones during the past year, and that vehicle operators and passengers were injured or killed in those crashes at a higher rate than construction workers. Released to coincide with Highway Work Zone Safety Awareness Week, the survey said 43% of the contractors who experienced work zone crashes reported injuries to vehicle operator and/or passengers, and 16% reported operators and/or passengers were killed. More than 20% of work zone crashes injured construction workers, and 6% of those crashes killed workers. Crashes also affect construction schedules and costs, as 25% of the contractors reported work zone crashes forced temporary shut-downs, with 38% of the shut-downs lasting two or more days. To combat the risk, two-thirds of the contractors want tougher laws, higher fines and more stringent legal penalties for moving violations in work zones, and 74% called for an increased use of concrete barriers.

NATIONAL | April 7, 2014
Construction Adds 19,000 Jobs in March

Across the country, the construction industry added 19,000 jobs in March for a total of 5,964,000, bringing industry employment to its highest level since June 2009. Over March 2013, construction gained 151,000 jobs, a 2.6% rise. Nonresidential construction grew by 9,900 employees over February, and by 48,800 compared to March 2013, up 1.3%. The unemployment rate dropped to 11.3%.

NATIONAL | April 3, 2014
Steve Sweeney Appointed General Vice President, International Iron Workers

In January, Ironworkers General Organizer and President of the New Jersey State Senate Stephen Sweeney was appointed General Vice President of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers. He was initiated into Local 399 (Camden) as an apprentice in 1977, became a journeyman in 1980 and served as Financial Secretary Treasurer and Business Agent of Local 399 before becoming a General Organizer in 2008 for the District Council of Philadelphia and Vicinity and the District Council of Northern New Jersey. Sweeney was first elected to the State Senate in 2001, representing the Third Legislative District, and has been Senate President since 2010.

NATIONAL | April 2, 2014
Nonresidential Construction Spending Stronger in Early 2014

Total construction spending in February, measured at $946 billion nationwide, only increased by 0.1% over January (which had been revised upward by $1.5 billion from the original estimate), but January and February spending combined clocks in at 8.9% higher than the first two months of 2013. Using the same timeframe, private nonresidential spending climbed 11.8%, but public construction spending dropped 2%. By segment in the private nonresidential market, spending during the first two months of 2014 for power and energy projects rose 3% compared to the same months in 2013; rose 17.3% for manufacturing; rose 13.7% for retail, warehouse and farm; rose 19.5% for office; rose 43.8% for lodging construction; and rose 47.3% for communications construction.

NATIONAL | April 2, 2014
Some States Gain, Some Lose Construction Jobs in February

In the year from February 2013 to February 2014, 37 states added construction jobs, while 30 added jobs from January to February of this year. New Jersey, however, was second behind Indiana in the largest number of job losses for the year, down 2,800 jobs, a 2.1% drop. The state was also down for the month, shedding 2,000 jobs, a 1.5% loss.

LOCAL | April 2, 2014
Bayonne Reviews Plans from Six Developers for Site at Former Military Base

Six developers have submitted plans for a 57-acre site known as Harbor Station South at Bayonne’s former military base. The RFP was looking for transit-oriented, mixed-used development emphasizing retail and commercial space to complement the adjacent Royal Caribbean Cruise Line operations. The six developers include the Bayonne Peninsula Ventures Group (a partnership between Bergstol Enterprises and the Cameron Group); the Waitex Group (made up of Waitex, Gaw Capital, the Nan Fung Group and the Shui On Group); DeBartolo Development and Advance Realty; JMF Properties and K. Hovnanian Homes; Somerset Development LLC; and the Richmond Company.

LOCAL | April 2, 2014
Plainfield Designated 28th State Transit Village

Last Friday, the City of Plainfield in Union County became the state’s 28th Transit Village, eligible for mixed-used development and Complete Streets accommodations near the Plainfield/North Plainfield train station. NJ Transit’s Northeast Corridor train service takes residents and commuters into Newark and Manhattan, and more than a dozen NJ Transit bus routes provide regional service. The Transit Village designation comes after several years of planning, including a transit-oriented development project report completed in partnership with NJIT that outlined specific recommendations. Based on the recommendations, there are 13 “transit-supportive” projects currently being built, in the planning stage or envisioned.

March 2014

NATIONAL | March 27, 2014
Major US Businesses Form Alliance to Push for Infrastructure Investment

Led by Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman and former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, a group of five major US corporations have formed the Alliance for American Competitiveness, whose mission is to advocate for strategic infrastructure investment because it will enhance the long-term growth and competitiveness of American business in the global economy. The initial five also includes top executives from UPS, Honeywell, Dow Chemical and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. These corporations use integrated rail, road, water and air transportation systems to move billions of pounds of product, equipment and supplies around the world, and plan to work with Congress to pass legislation that will make the infrastructure improvements necessary to maintain a competitive advantage.

NATIONAL | March 21, 2014
Construction Employment Up in More Than Half of US Metros

Across the US, construction employment rose in 195 of 339 metro areas, more than 57%, from January 2013 to January 2014, fell in 90 and remained the same in 54. In New Jersey, however, construction employment during the same period fell in all but two metro areas. Atlantic City-Hammonton lost 300 construction jobs, a 7% drop; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic lost 1,100 jobs, a 4% drop; Camden lost 200 jobs, a 1% drop; Trenton-Ewing lost 300 jobs, a 6% drop; and Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton lost 100 jobs, a 5% drop. Edison-New Brunswick gained 2,600 jobs, a 7% increase, and Newark-Union gained 700 jobs, a 2% increase.

LOCAL | March 20, 2014
AC Update:  Trop to Add Health & Fitness Center, Progress on South Inlet Development, New Convention Sales Group

Tropicana Atlantic City Casino and Resort announced $35 million in multi-phase projects, including converting storage space into a two-story health and fitness center, adding shops at Morris and Pacific avenues, and updating 434 North Tower hotel rooms. When the work is complete, a light-and-sound show on the renovated façade will project from nine LED screens and bollards above the Boardwalk. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority indicated this week it will approve $18.8 million toward the Trop’s projects.

The CRDA also agreed to provide a $30 million loan for the $60 million apartment building proposed by Shaquille O’Neal and developer Boraie Development in the South Inlet. The CRDA funding will be accessible when Boraie secures the rest of the money for the project, and will come from sales tax rebates Revel Casino must remit to the CRDA for development projects in the South Inlet.

The CRDA authorized the spin-off of a non-profit entity, Meet AC, that will operate as a convention sales group similar to the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority that was merged with the CRDA in the 2011 Tourism District legislation. The merger proved a hindrance to the convention sales arm because of cumbersome state regulations. As the state’s deadline for improvements in AC tourism and resort revenue rapidly approaches, the CRDA hopes the new independent partner will be able to build convention sales more quickly – and increase midweek business. The 91 conventions, trade shows and public shows in 2013 reflected a 15% drop in bookings from 2010 levels.

LOCAL | March 19, 2014
$230 Million Upgrade Planned for Burlington Center Mall

Moonbeam Capital Investments of Las Vegas, new owner of the Burlington Center Mall on Route 541 in Burlington Township, announced a $230 million proposal last week to redevelop the mall, enlarging it to cover 1.5 million sq.ft. of retail, part of which would be on adjacent land along I-295. For the redevelopment, Moonbeam has partnered with home-builder Peter Hovnanian of Mount Laurel, who owns the I-295 land, and developer Patrick Heller, who owns Diamond Real Estate in Limerick, PA. The mall, renamed Marketplace at Burlington, could eventually include a movie theater and restaurants, along with retailers.

NATIONAL | March 19, 2014
January Construction Employment Up Despite Hard Winter

Although winter hit hard in nearly every state, construction employment grew from December to January as well as year-over-year. For the month, 27 states added construction jobs, while 38 added jobs from January 2013 to January 2014. For the year, New Jersey lost 1,300 jobs, down 1%, putting the state in the top 5 biggest losers. However, for the month, New Jersey was among the top five gainers, adding 5,700 jobs, up 4.4%. In the region, New York and Pennsylvania also added jobs for the month, up 7,900 jobs (a 2.5% gain) and 7,500 jobs (a 3.4% gain) respectively.

LOCAL | March 14, 2014
First State Channel-Dredging Project Out for Bid

The first project of the state’s newly announced State Channel Dredging Program went out for bid yesterday, the start of an aggressive schedule to repair the waterways affected by Superstorm Sandy. Dredging of the Waackaack and Thorns Creek in Keansburg will remove about 36,000 cu.yds. of sediment, and is expected to begin in June, following work on the adjacent Confined Disposal Facility in May. NJDOT expects to open bids for these projects in the coming months: dredging of St. Georges Thorofare (Atlantic County); Cape May Harbor and Middle Thorofare (Cape May County); and Double Creek, Double Creek – Mainland and Barnegat Light Stake Channels in Barnegat Bay (Ocean County). Funding for the multi-million-dollar program will come from State Transportation Trust Funds as well as federal monies. The projects could receive some reimbursement from FEMA.

NATIONAL | March 14, 2014
FAA To Increase NextGen Funding for FY2015

On Wednesday, the FAA announced increased funding for the NextGen air traffic control system in its proposed FY2015 budget, which begins July 1. The funding, set at $836 million plus another $186 million from the Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative, is up from last year’s $901 million and will move the NextGen satellite-based tracking system further along its 10-year or longer implementation. The day before, Rep. Frank LoBiondo (D-2nd District) chaired a Congressional panel at the FAA’s Hughes Technical Center at Atlantic City International Airport, a national testing site for NextGen. 

LOCAL | March 14, 2014
Ocean County Applies for $2 Million Grant to Fund Water Treatment System

Earlier this week, Ocean County submitted a grant application to the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust for $2 million to fund a portable stormwater treatment system for Barnegat Bay, along with a camera pipeline inspection truck system for viewing drainage pipes under the 620 miles of road in the county. The new water treatment system would allow water to be collected, treated and discharged at the site of each storm drain, more efficiently protecting against pollution from clogged stormwater pipes that back up onto the street. The grant application also seeks funding for six manufactured treatment devices that would be installed along the Toms River to collect solids and floatables so they can’t enter the river or the bay.

LOCAL | March 13, 2014
American Dream Lawsuit Settled

Triple Five, developer of the American Dream Meadowlands project, and the NFL’s Jets and Giants reached a tentative settlement of the lawsuit brought by the football teams to block a water and theme park as part of the shopping and entertainment complex. For the developer, that could mean construction can start soon to finish the stalled project, although Triple Five must still secure $1.9 billion in financing. As we reported last month, some of the funding may come from East Rutherford’s offer to issue up to $524 million in bonds and the Bergen County Improvement Authority’s deal to issue $276 million in bonds.

LOCAL | March 11, 2014
Jersey City’s Saint Peter’s University Partners with Developer

Announced in late January, Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City will partner with Sora Development to build a 20-story apartment building in McGinley Square that will house 300 students and include a separate section for market-rate apartments for the public, a parking garage, a movie theater, a bank and retail stores. Saint Peter’s is providing the land for the $210 million project. Sora Development, which partnered with Rowan University for similar mixed-use projects, hopes to complete construction and open the building by the end of 2016, pending approvals from the municipality.

LOCAL | March 11, 2014
Pennsauken Redevelopment To Begin with Rental Units

In 2003, Camden County received a $24 million redevelopment grant from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority for the old Pennsauken Mart on 35 acres at Routes 130 and 73. It was the first CRDA grant awarded outside AC. After demolition and three years of environmental cleanup, the site has sat empty. But the Camden County Improvement Authority announced last week that KMS Development Partners, a subsidiary of Keating Cos. of Philadelphia, has been chosen to build up to 600 residential rental units on 30 acres, with the other five acres slated for commercial development.

LOCAL | March 11, 2014
PSE&G To Spend $10 Billion on Transmission Line Upgrades

Late last week PSE&G announced it will spend $10 billion over the next five years to upgrade high-voltage transmission lines, the biggest chunk of PSE&G’s planned capital investment of $12 billion during the time period. This investment is separate from the utility’s “Energy Strong” project that proposes a $3.9 billion, 10-year “grid-hardening” undertaking currently being reviewed by the state Board of Public Utilities.

LOCAL | March 11, 2014
First Phase of Bayonne Peninsula Redevelopment Approved

Last week the Bayonne Planning Board approved development of the first phase of the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor, a project at Harbor Station North to build 400 residential and commercial units. Construction is expected to begin by early 2015.

LOCAL | March 11, 2014
Bedminster Bridge Construction Expected to Last Seven Months

Three bridges in Bedminster are under construction that will last approximately seven months. The Burnt Mills Road bridges cross above all lanes of I-78, over the southbound lanes of I-287 and over the northbound lanes of I-287. According to the NJDOT, the bridge decks will be replaced with cast-in-place concrete, beginning with the bridge over I-78. Burnt Mills Road will be closed up to each bridge as it’s being worked on. ACCNJ member Joseph M. Sanzari Inc. is the contractor for this $4.8 million federally funded project to replace the structurally deficient bridge decks, make guide rail upgrades and repair substructure at each bridge, as well as pave the approaches. Check www.511nj.org for real-time travel information.

NATIONAL | March 7, 2014
Construction Employment Rises in February

The construction industry added 15,000 jobs in February, up 2.6% from February 2013, making the total of 5,941,000 employees the highest in four-and-a-half years. The unemployment rate clocked in at 12.8%, down from 15.7% a year ago. Nonresidential construction added 12,700 jobs over January and 50,600 for the year, a 1.4% rise.

LOCAL | March 6, 2014
Pothole Repair Ramps Up Across New Jersey

It’s a rare vehicle that hasn’t hit a pothole this winter. NJDOT says it filled 100,000 in the past five months – the average per year is 160,000. NJDOT announced it is ramping up pothole repair from now until spring, allowing crews to close travel lanes as necessary, even during peak hours. The Department also advised travelers that detailed current repair locations would be posted on www.511nj.org.

The toll-free number to report potholes:  1.800.POTHOLE. There is also a reporting form at www.nj.gov/transportation.

NATIONAL | March 5, 2014
“Hardhats for Highways” Campaign Announced Today

A national coalition co-chaired by AGC of America CEO Stephen Sandherr announced today it is launching a campaign to send the message to Congress that local construction contractors and craftworkers across the country depend on federal transportation funding. “Hardhats for Highways,” created by the Transportation Construction Coalition that includes AGC, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, and 27 other national associations and labor unions, aims to encourage construction firms to contact their US Congressional representatives and Senators. In the coming days, contractors will receive special “Hardhats for Highways” decals and are asked to write on the decal the number of jobs at their firm that rely on federal highway funding, then affix the decal to a company hardhat and present it to their Congressional representation. Contractors and employees can also send “e-Hardhat” messages to Congress with similar information, asking representatives to support new federal transportation funding. For more information about the campaign and to submit an “e-Hardhat” message, visit www.hardhatsforhighways.org.

For more information about the Transportation Construction Coalition, visit http://www.transportationconstructioncoalition.org/.

NATIONAL | March 5, 2014
January Construction Spending Up 9.3% Over Last Year

December 2013 spending was revised upward by $12 billion from the initial estimate we reported last month, and January 2014 topped it by just 0.1%, at $943 billion. But January’s total construction spending jumped 9.3% compared to a year ago as demand rose in both private and public sectors for the year. Private nonresidential construction actually dropped 0.2% for the month, but was up 9.7% compared to January 2013. Public construction also dropped for the month, down 0.8%, but was 2.5% higher than a year ago. AGC of America’s Chief Economist Ken Simonson notes figures may be revised as we leave the severe winter behind us, but at the moment the Census Bureau marks highway and street construction spending in January as 3.7% higher than December and 15% more than January 2013.

NATIONAL | March 3, 2014
US DOT Announces $600 Million in Latest TIGER Funding

For the sixth round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, the US DOT announced last week it will make $600 million available to fund transportation projects around the country, awarded on a competitive basis. The TIGER 2014 program will focus on capital projects that “better connect people to jobs, training and other opportunities, promote neighborhood redevelopment and reconnect neighborhoods divided by physical barriers, such as highways and railroads,” according to a DOT news release issued on February 26, 2013. Deadline for TIGER applications is April 28, 2013. For more information, visit http://www.dot.gov/tiger/apply.

LOCAL | March 3, 2014
Dietz & Watson Gets EDA Incentive to Rebuild in NJ

When the Dietz & Watson meat-processing warehouse and distribution center burned down in Delanco, the company moved its operations to Philadelphia. Now the NJ Economic Development Authority has offered a $30 million tax incentive to entice the company to rebuild in South Jersey. The package, classified as a “mega project” under the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, would cover $3.08 million in annual tax credits for 10 years through EDA’s Grow New Jersey program. It would include reconstruction of the 160,000 sq.ft. cold-storage facility plus construction of a new 25,000 sq.ft. corporate headquarters and a 16,000 sq.ft. fleet maintenance garage, creation of 213 full-time jobs and retention of 135 jobs. It is also the first mega project approved by the EDA since the Act was passed last July. Dietz & Watson have not yet committed to returning to Delanco.

February 2014

NATIONAL | February 21, 2014
Construction Materials Prices Rise Along with Nonresidential Building Prices

Overall, construction materials prices rose 0.6% in January, but that’s just the average in a wide range of ups-and-downs. Gypsum prices jumped 7%, for example, while diesel prices dropped nearly 2%. Lumber and plywood prices rose 2.4%, cement rose 2%, insulation materials were up 1.5%, and prices for copper and steel products each rose 1.2%. Prices for flat glass dropped 0.6% and architectural coatings, including paint, fell 0.3%. At the same time, overall prices for private nonresidential construction also rose 0.6%. By segment, new school building rose 1%, the biggest increase. Office construction was up 0.6%, industrial buildings were up 0.5%, healthcare buildings were up 0.4% and warehouses were up 0.3%.

LOCAL | February 20, 2014
Possible Muni Financing for American Dream Project

East Rutherford’s Borough Council approved up to $524 million in bonds to help finance the American Dream project in the Meadowlands, pending protection against the cost of future lawsuits by investors. The developer, Triple Five, must agree to cover legal costs for both East Rutherford and the Bergen County Improvement Authority, which could also issue bonds, should the project ultimately fail and investors sue. The borough’s bonds would be part of the $1.8 billion Triple Five wants to raise to complete the complex and would come in the form of deferred tax revenue.

LOCAL | February 19, 2014
Updated Affirmative Action Manual Available at AGC Online Store

The Affirmative Action Manual for Construction, Third Edition, includes the updates pertaining to disabled Americans and veterans. This industry guide to federal law requiring affirmative action for federal and federally assisted contracts is now available for purchase at the AGC Online Store. Visit www.accnj.org, click on the AGC Online Store link on the home page, login using your AGC member ID and password, and then click on New Products on the AGC Store home page. As an ACCNJ member, you qualify for the member rate of $75.00 (retail rate is $97.50).

LOCAL | February 18, 2014
EDA Approves Two ERG Grants for Construction

Last week the Economic Development Authority approved $81.9 million in incentives for six projects, forecasting the creation of 435 construction jobs. Approved for EDA’s Economic Redevelopment and Growth awards are two construction projects:

--$15.7 million to PRC Campus Centers LLC to advance an $84.9 million project on the Ewing campus of The College of New Jersey. The project includes nine low-rise buildings for undergraduate housing, retail space and parking, with construction completion anticipated in 2015.

--$7.8 million to Paterson Commons II Urban Renewal Association LLC to advance the final phase of its 66 Gray Street project in Paterson. Earlier phases included construction of a high school and apartment building; the final phase will add more residential space, retail and parking.

NATIONAL | February 11, 2014
White House Delays ACA Employer Mandate – Again

Medium-size employers – those with 50 to 99 employees – got an extension yesterday on the Affordable Care Act mandate requiring they offer health insurance to their full-time workers. It’s the second extension this year, and draws the deadline out from 2015 to 2016 before medium-size employers would be subject to federal penalties for non-compliance. The original deadline was January 1 of this year. Big companies, with 100 employees or more, got a rule change, too. Rather than having to offer coverage to 95% of their full-time employees in 2015, they now have to hit only the 70% mark to avoid paying a fine.

NATIONAL | February 11, 2014
Six-Year Transportation Bill Needs $100 Billion in New Funds

According to the latest Highway Trust Fund projections from the Congressional Budget Office, released last week, a six-year surface transportation bill would need $100 billion in new revenue just to maintain current spending levels. The CBO and US DOT both project the Highway Trust Fund will run out of money by the end of the summer, before the expiration of MAP-21. For details, visit http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/43884-2014-02-Highway_Trust_Fund.pdf  

NATIONAL | February 11, 2014
Construction Employment Jumps in January

Nationally, the construction industry added 48,000 jobs in January, the largest one-month increase since April 2007. With the jump, the industry employment total reached its highest level since July 2009, topping out at 5,922,000. Nonresidential construction firms added 31,300 of those jobs. The unemployment rate for workers actively looking for jobs and last employed in construction dropped to 12.3%, down from 16.1% in January 2013.

LOCAL | February 10, 2014
Port Authority Pushes for Revised NY-NJ Rail Link

In its capital plan released last week, the Port Authority updated its plans for a rail link between downtown Manhattan and Newark Liberty Airport, a proposed $1.5 billion project that would extend the PATH and connect to the AirTrain circuit to the airport terminals. Subject to approval by the Port Authority board, the Authority would cover $1 billion of the cost. The project would include building a new platform at the Newark rail link station that connects the PATH to the AirTrain, replacing the storage yard near the station, funding a new garage with a public-private partnership, and renovating Newark Penn Station to accommodate increased ridership.

LOCAL | February 7, 2014
FEMA Releases Two NJ County Flood Maps

FEMA just released Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for Middlesex and Monmouth counties. To access the maps, visit http://www.region2coastal.com/preliminaryfirms. You can also view the maps through FEMA’s Map Service Center at https://hazards.fema.gov/femaportal/prelimdownload/. For help in understanding the maps, you can follow an online tutorial from FEMA at http://www.fema.gov/online-tutorials/firm-tutorial-system-requirements.

NATIONAL | February 6, 2014
December Spending Drops for Nonresidential and Public Work

Overall, construction spending nationally hitched up a 0.1% notch in December, and was up 4.8% for 2013, measuring only half the gain we saw in 2012. The increase was boosted by the demand for multi- and single-family homes. Private residential spending was up 2.6% in December and 18% for the year, while private nonresidential spending dropped 0.7% for the month and was down 0.4% for the year. Public construction spending dropped 2.3% for the month, down 2.8% for the year. Highway and street construction, the largest segment in the public arena, rose 1.8% in December, up 1.0% for the year. Construction put in place in December totaled $930 billion, up 0.9% over November.

NATIONAL | February 5, 2014
December Construction Employment Up in 192 Metro Areas

Compared to December 2012, construction employment was positive in 192 US metro areas in December 2013, declined in 84 and remained the same in 63. However, New Jersey’s Edison-New Brunswick numbers were not good for the period. The metro area lost the second-largest number of jobs in the country, down 3,200, a 9% drop. Atlantic City-Hammonton also registered losses, down 300 jobs, a 7% drop. Other Jersey metro areas fared better for the year:  Bergen-Hudson-Passaic gained 300 jobs, a 1% rise; Camden gained 100 jobs, also a 1% rise; Newark-Union gained 800 jobs, a 2% rise; and Trenton-Ewing gained 100 jobs, also a 2% rise. Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton construction employment remained the same from December 2012 to December 2013, at 2,400 jobs.

LOCAL | February 3, 2014
Crane’s Long Journey Ends at Tappan Zee Bridge   

After 6,000 miles, six weeks and a trip through the Panama Canal, the Left Coast Lifter, guided by tugboat crews, entered New York Harbor last Thursday, just in time to be another tourist attraction for Super Bowl visitors. The huge crane is currently in port in Jersey City, but come Spring it will migrate up the Hudson to the site of the Tappan Zee Bridge project, where it will move sections of the new bridge into place and, eventually, help demolish the old bridge. The crane weighs 992 tons, with a boom length of 328 feet and an 1,800-ton lift capacity. It got its name from its work on the bridge spanning San Francisco and Oakland, although its owners, Tappan Zee Constructors, have nicknamed it “I Lift New York.”

January 2014

NATIONAL | January 28, 2014
December Construction Employment Downed by Cold

Construction employment declined in 32 states and DC from November to December 2013, primarily because of winter storms and severe cold. On the plus side, employment in the industry was up in 34 states in December compared to December 2012. However, New Jersey was not one of those states, ranking fourth in the top five states experiencing the largest construction losses year-over-year. Compared to a year ago, New Jersey lost 3,300 jobs, a 2.5% drop. New Jersey also lost jobs over the month, down 6,500 jobs compared to November, a 4.9% drop. In the region, Pennsylvania also suffered, losing 7,000 jobs, a 3.1% drop, over the month, and 7,600 jobs, a 3.3% drop, compared to last year. New York gained jobs over both periods, up 3,100 (1%) for the month, and up 7,100 jobs (2.3%) compared to last year.

LOCAL | January 28, 2014
Super Bowl Limits Road Construction      

Yesterday, NJDOT announced it would stop non-emergency construction on North Jersey roads through noon on Tuesday, February 4, 2014, to limit congestion during Super Bowl activities this week. There will be no lane or shoulder closures and no moving operations on these roads: the entire length of Route 3 in both directions; Route 17 from Route 7 to Route 80 in both directions; the entire length of Route 24 in both directions; the entire length of Route 120 in both directions; I-78 from Route 24 to the Turnpike in both directions; and the entire length of I-495 in both directions. In addition, beginning at 5 a.m. on Friday, January 31, through noon the following Tuesday, no lane or shoulder closures or moving operations will be permitted on any NJDOT road within a 20-mile radius of the Meadowlands Sports Complex, located at the intersection of Routes 3 and 120. For today’s Media Day at Newark’s Prudential Center, construction activities have also ceased on these roads:  the entire length of Route 21 in both directions; the entire length of I-280 in both directions; and Route 1&9 from North Avenue in Elizabeth to Route 495 in both directions. NJDOT has added message signs to direct drivers who are unfamiliar with the region, and enhanced its Safety Service Patrol with coverage on Routes 3, 17, 21, 120 and I-495. For information about road closures, including local roads in Jersey City, Newark and East Rutherford, and real-time traffic information, NJDOT encourages visitors to go to www.nj.gov/superbowl and www.511nj.org.

NATIONAL | January 27, 2014
Ironworkers’ Ed McHugh Retires       

Ed McHugh, General Treasurer of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, retired on December 31, 2013. He joined Local Union 489 in Scranton, PA, in 1965, became a journeyman a year later, and was elected to the executive board in 1968. He then became vice president in 1979 and president of the local in 1986. That same year, he became assistant business agent, and was elected business agent in 1993. In 1998, he was appointed general organizer, moved to president of the Philadelphia and Vicinity District Council in 1999 and was appointed ninth general vice president in 2001. McHugh began his tenure as general treasurer in 2008. He is succeeded by Ron Piksa.

LOCAL | January 27, 2014
Yellow Dots on Cars Help Emergency Responders  

Last year, New Jersey passed legislation that would allow yellow dots to be placed on vehicles notifying emergency responders that important, potentially life-saving, information is available on the driver in that vehicle. Governor Christie signed it into law last Thursday, so NJ residents could conceivably begin to see these yellow dots in the driver’s side rear window. A corresponding yellow envelope would be located in the glove compartment, containing health information such as pre-existing medical conditions, emergency contacts, medications, the driver’s physician name and phone, etc. So if a driver is on blood thinners, for example, and gets into a car accident, police officers, firefighters and EMTs would know the driver’s blood could be slow to clot. The Yellow Dot program is at the discretion of the municipality and county, and the program allows the local entities to charge an administrative fee to drivers to offset any costs of providing the yellow dots and envelopes.

LOCAL | January 24, 2014
AC Tourism Report Sees Fewer Visitors Spending More

It’s officially a trend – Atlantic City is attracting visitors who stay longer and spend more. The 2013 third-quarter tourism report shows results that have now been seen for the last two years. Although the number of visitors dropped in the quarter overall, August proved a great month, based on a record-high Atlantic County Hotel Occupancy Fee (reflecting overnight tourist spending on accommodations) and a strong Atlantic City Luxury Tax (reflecting the level of resort entertainment spending). The third metric used in the tourism report is the Atlantic City Casino Parking Fee (showing transportation levels and spending), which continues to decline. The take-away:  fewer day-trippers, increased revenue from non-gaming entertainment.

LOCAL | January 24, 2014
State Groups Collaborate on “Getting to the Game” Website

“Getting to the Game,” launched last Friday by the New Jersey State Police, brings together resources from the State Police, DOT, New Jersey Transit, the Port Authority and other departments and agencies to keep game-goers up-to-date on travel to the Super Bowl. An interactive map gives real-time traffic delays around MetLife Stadium. Visitors can find links to information on all transportation routes that lead to the stadium – bridges, tunnels, airports and PATH stations, buses and trains (including rail maps and fares). Law enforcement agencies can post public safety information. Even real-time weather news for East Rutherford and environs is posted. It’s a one-stop source at www.nj.gov/superbowl.

LOCAL | January 24, 2014
Super Bowl Billboard Ads Target Businesses

New digital billboard ads are up in high-traffic areas leading to MetLife Stadium with the message “Businesses:  ChooseNJ.com.” Designed to catch the eyes of the more-than-80,000 fans heading to the Super Bowl on February 2, the billboards cite New Jersey’s business incentives and other advantages. They were launched through Choose New Jersey’s $200,000 business attraction campaign; ChooseNJ partnered with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, New Jersey Natural Gas, ShopRite, Electrical Workers Local 102, Operating Engineers Local 825 and LIUNA. The campaign, which started two weeks before game day, will last for approximately two weeks after.

NATIONAL | January 17, 2014
Database Tracks Infrastructure Mentions State-by-State

As each state governor gives a “state-of-the-state” address this month, Building America’s Future is tracking mentions of infrastructure, available to the public through a database. BAF says governors have been influencing transportation projects for years, so this year the group decided to capture what they say. With monies from the BAF Educational Fund, the database is updated daily at www.bafuture.org/2014StateSpeeches with key infrastructure points of each governor’s speech, along with a link to the governor’s entire speech.

LOCAL | January 15, 2014
AC Mayor Outlines Development Initiatives

As the new Mayor of Atlantic City, Don Guardian, begins to tackle a $40 million budget deficit, he outlined development initiatives in a speech before the Metropolitan Business and Citizens Association, of which he is a former vice president. Among the initiatives:  a vacant-land giveaway program for developers to build 400 housing units and a $50 million project to rebuild the Inlet Boardwalk. Already in the works are several housing projects, including one recently announced by Shaquille O’Neal’s development group, and a new four-year college.

NATIONAL | January 13, 2014
December Construction Employment Drops 16,000 Jobs

Nationwide, the construction industry lost 16,000 jobs in December, but was up 122,000 (2.1%) compared to December 2012. The unemployment rate fell to 11.4% despite the loss of jobs, and the total number of jobs in December – 5,833,000 – is still nearly 1.9 million below the April 2006 industry peak. By segment, nonresidential construction lost 22,900 new jobs in December, with nonresidential specialty trade firms down 12,900 jobs, and heavy and civil engineering firms down 8,800.

NATIONAL | January 9, 2014
Feds Announce $3 Billion for Reinforcing Transit Infrastructure

Just after Christmas, the Federal Transit Administration announced $3 billion in funding for transit agencies to help “strengthen the resiliency” of transit systems damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Awarded on a competitive basis, the funds could go to these eligible states:  New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia and DC. Proposals from public transportation agencies are due by 11:59 pm EST on Friday, March 28, 2014.

LOCAL | January 9, 2014
Evesham Plans New Shopping Center

J&J Development Group of Evesham was approved by the Township Council to demolish the old Browns Mills Shopping Center on Pemberton-Browns Mills Road and create a new commercial center with retail businesses. The 40,000 sq.ft. strip mall has been vacant since 1996. The town plans to seize the property, which J&J will then purchase. The developer’s total financial outlay, per agreement with the town, will be $3 million, with any additional expense picked up by Evesham.

LOCAL | January 9, 2014
New Business Development Coming to Robbinsville

Just approved by the Robbinsville Planning Board last week, plans from developer Ct Hankins Road LLC call for a 9,340 sq.ft. Kiddie Academy daycare, a 1,843 sq.ft. Dunkin’ Donuts, a 3,200 sq.ft. bank and a 5,000 sq.ft. retail space, to be constructed at the intersection of Route 130 and Hankins Road. Future plans may include two other retail spaces, 11,000 sq.ft. and 10,000 sq.ft. respectively, on the same site. The initial phase is projected to bring in $75,000 in annual tax revenue, with perhaps a matching sum from the second phase.

NATIONAL | January 2, 2014
Construction Employment Gains in 211 of 339 Metro Areas

Against the gains, 67 metro areas saw construction employment decline, while 61 remained unchanged in November 2013 compared November 2012. In New Jersey, all but two metro areas saw gains in November. Newark-Union saw the biggest gain, adding 3,500 jobs, a 10% rise. Camden added 1,600 jobs, an 8% gain; Atlantic City-Hammonton picked up 300 jobs, up 6%; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic gained 1,700 jobs, also up 6%; and Trenton-Ewing added 100 jobs, a 2% increase. Edison-New Brunswick was the biggest loser in numbers of jobs, down 600, a 2% loss, while Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton saw a bigger percentage drop, losing 100 jobs, down 4%.

December 2013

NATIONAL | December 30, 2013
Operating Engineers International Re-Affiliates with Building Trades

IUOE General President James T. Callahan announced on December 19, 2013, that the union will rejoin North America’s Building Trades Unions. The International represents approximately 400,000 members in 123 local unions in the US and Canada. Local 825 has more than 6,500 members in New Jersey and the lower counties of New York. With the re-affiliation, North America’s Building Trades Unions represent three million craftworkers in an alliance of 14 national and international unions.

LOCAL | December 23, 2013
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Slated to Get $46 Million

Also in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, waiting for the President’s signature, is $46.2 million for construction projects at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Funding includes $9.5 million for an automated multipurpose machine-gun range; $5.4 million for a modified record firing range; $10 million for replacing fuel tanks, pumps and pipes; $7.9 million for a central warehouse; and $13.4 million for a consolidated dining facility. The projects are expected to generate 150 construction jobs.

NATIONAL | December 23, 2013
Lower-Tier Small-Business Subcontracting Goals Allowed in National Defense Authorization Act

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, passed by the Senate on December 19 and expected to be signed into law soon, allows prime contractors to count lower-tier small-business contractors toward their small-business subcontracting goals. Once signed, this AGC of America-supported initiative will not be effective for at least 18 months after the rule-making process occurs. The Act, as AGC points out, doesn’t eliminate the prime contractor’s responsibility to make a good-faith effort to hire small-business subs at the first-tier level. In addition, the Act will require many subs to maintain small-business subcontracting plans (not applicable to subs who receive contracts of less than $1 million) – and prime contractors will be responsible for monitoring the subs’ compliance with subcontracting plans.

NATIONAL | December 23, 2013
State-by-State, Construction Employment Still Fragile

Across the country, 39 states added construction jobs in November compared to November 2012, while 10 states lost jobs and the rest remained unchanged. For the month, 30 states added jobs from October to November of this year. According to AGC of America, every state remains below its previous construction employment peak. New Jersey gained 4,100 construction jobs, a 3.2% increase, over last November, but lost 1,000 jobs, a 0.7% drop, in the past month. 

NATIONAL | December 23, 2013
Worker Misclassification Hits Tax Revenues Hard; NJ Law Protects Workers and Revenues

While Congress considers passage of the Payroll Fraud Prevention Act of 2013, which addresses misclassification, states and employees around the country feel the effects of workers misclassified as “independent contractors.” According to a Cornell University study, for example, New York State’s unemployment insurance fund loses $176 million annually because of it. In May, the US Department of Labor recovered more than a million dollars in back wages and damages for misclassified employees at a single company in Kentucky. A Michigan construction worker testified to the US Senate in November about losing basic employee rights and protections when his employer switched him to “independent contractor” status. In the meantime, New Jersey’s Construction Industry Independent Contractor Act is a tough measure to protect workers and revenues – at least in our industry. Employers face fines and/or jail time for worker classification violations, with each week of misclassification considered a separate offense. In addition, they can be debarred for three years, have their contractor registration suspended and be issued stop-work orders.

LOCAL | December 20, 2013
December 31 is Deadline for Stronger NJ Business Grants

The NJ Economic Development Authority reminds us of this fast-approaching deadline to apply for up to $50,000 in Stronger NJ Business Grants to assist small businesses damaged by Superstorm Sandy. NJEDA also has up to $5 million in Stronger NJ Business Loans, available for small-business damage repair or if a business wants to expand into an area hit hard by Sandy. Business owners can call EDA toll-free:  855.Sandy.BZ (855.726.3929) or visit application.njeda.com/strongernjbusiness/default.aspx.

LOCAL | December 20, 2013
Shaquille O’Neal Reveals Mixed-Use Plan for AC’s South Inlet

Shaq’s $100 million project, presented this week to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, would include 250 residential rental units featuring luxury amenities – free parking garage, outdoor swimming pool, gym – and retail that includes a Shaq Cityplex urban movie theater and a supermarket, all located on the South Inlet in a currently vacant city-owned site near the Revel and Showboat casinos bordered by Delaware, Connecticut, Atlantic and Pacific avenues. Shaq’s Boraie Development group is seeking CRDA funds; the proposed financing for the rental units would be 80% market rate, 20% affordable-housing rate, based on 50% of the area median income. That puts the price points at approximately $1,000 a month for a one-bedroom unit, and between $1,200 and $1,400 a month for a two-bedroom. If CRDA approves the project and the financing works out, construction could begin next summer and would take about 16 months.

LOCAL | December 10, 2013
Pulaski Skyway Closure & Route Plans Announced

As you know, the northbound lanes of the Pulaski Skyway, which take traffic from Newark toward Jersey City, will be closed for two years beginning in March, as the $1 billion rehabilitation project proceeds to replace all four northbound travel lanes. Last Friday, NJDOT released details of its plan to divert traffic to alternate routes. The two southbound lanes, from Jersey City toward Newark, will be open during peak travel times except for eight planned weekends when the support beams across the width of the bridge are replaced. Alternative routes include the Newark Bay extension of the Turnpike, which will have a shoulder converted to an extra eastbound lane during morning and evening rush hour; the Turnpike Eastern Spur; and Routes 1 & 9 T. Alternative modes of transport include NJ Transit trains, buses and PATH trains, along with carpooling or vanpooling. Additional ferry service may also be an option. For complete details, visit NJDOT for the press release:  http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/about/press/2013/120613.shtm

LOCAL | December 10, 2013
Marine Terminal Road Upgrade to Continue

Last week, the Port Authority approved the continuation of roadwork to upgrade access and ease truck traffic congestion at New Jersey’s marine terminals. The $105 million program includes design, construction and realignment of parts of the five major access roads to the ports, including Port, Corbin, Marlin and Kellogg streets and Doremus Avenue, and demolition and replacement of the Corbin Street Ramp. The road projects are part of the Port Authority’s $191.4 million Capital Plan for 2013.

NATIONAL | December 2, 2013
October Metro Construction Employment Up, Still Below Peak

October saw construction employment rise in 215 of 339 metro areas compared to October 2012. During the same time, industry employment declined in 74 metro areas and remained the same in 50. In 315 metro areas, construction employment remained below peak levels. In New Jersey, five of seven metro areas gained construction jobs. Atlantic City-Hammonton added 700 jobs, a 16% increase from a year ago. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 1,500 jobs, a 5% increase; Camden added 200 jobs, up 1%; Newark added 4,100, up 12%; and Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, up 4%. Edison-New Brunswick took the biggest hit, losing 2,400 jobs, a 6% loss. Trenton-Ewing also lost jobs, down 100, a 2% drop.

November 2013

NATIONAL | November 25, 2013
October Construction Employment Increased State-by-State

Compared to October 2012, construction employment was up – with 39 states seeing a gain in jobs. Compared to September, the numbers were also up; 32 states measured an increase in construction jobs over the previous month. New Jersey was one of the states that saw a healthy gain year-over-year, up 4,900 from October 2012, a 3.8% gain. But for the month, New Jersey ranked third for percentage loss and fourth for total job loss among states that lost jobs, down 3,000 jobs, a 2.2% drop. 

LOCAL | November 20, 2013
Fort Monmouth Update:  Change in Rollout Plans

The 1,126 acres that span three towns was slated for a $1 billion redevelopment project that was to include a hotel, medical center, office space, retail and light manufacturing facilities and 1,500 residences, along with public space. But the recession and Superstorm Sandy changed demand, and the site will now most likely be developed in a more piecemeal fashion. The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority and Cushman & Wakefield will not rewrite the original development plan, released in 2008, but expect construction and renovation will occur building by building, driven by market determination of “viable commercial uses.”

LOCAL | November 20, 2013
South Plainfield Road Project Advances with Green Permits

It’s been years in the works, but a proposed truck route that would skirt South Plainfield residential streets but border the protected Dismal Swamp has received two necessary permits from NJ DEP this month. The $10 to $15 million project will extend Hollywood Avenue to Metuchen Road, allowing trucks to enter the borough’s main warehouse district without impacting homeowners, although the route will run along 1.2 acres of the environmentally sensitive wetlands and cross two streams. Construction is expected to start in two years, after the borough secures funding, acquires land and reviews detailed drawings of the project. 

LOCAL | November 19, 2013
Local Aid Grants of $1.9 Million Announced

Governor Christie announced the release of another $1.9 million in Local Aid Infrastructure Fund grants that will go toward safety, road and pavement reconstruction projects in seven New Jersey counties. The projects include $450,000 for a pavement, curb and sidewalk project in Phillipsburg (Warren County); $390,000 for road reconstruction in Hillside (Union County); $300,000 for sidewalk improvement in school zones in Jackson (Ocean County); $300,000 for road reconstruction in Quinton (Salem County); $300,000 for roadway reconstruction and drainage improvements in Woodbine (Cape May County); $150,000 for a pedestrian tunnel in Harrison (Gloucester County); and $43,000 for emergency road repairs due to a water main break in Rockaway Township (Morris County).

LOCAL | November 18, 2013
United Airlines Announces New Flights for AC

Beginning April 1, 2014, Atlantic City International Airport will offer daily nonstop flights to United Airlines’ largest hubs – Chicago’s O’Hare and Houston’s George Bush airports – giving passengers one-stop options to locations throughout the Midwest and West, Canada, Asia and Latin America. United Express will leave Chicago at 8:10 a.m. daily, arriving in Atlantic City at 11:17 a.m., and will depart Atlantic City at 11:52 a.m., arriving in Chicago at 1:10 p.m. United Express will leave Houston at 7 p.m. daily, arriving in Atlantic City at 11:20 p.m., and will depart Atlantic City at 6 a.m., arriving in Houston at 8:49 a.m. United Express will operate 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft for the flights.

NATIONAL | November 12, 2013
Construction Employment Reaches 50-Month High

Employers added 11,000 construction jobs in October, the fifth consecutive month of growth, putting the total at more than 5.8 million, the highest level since August 2009. The unemployment rate in October clocked in at 9%, down from 11.4% in October 2012.

LOCAL | November 8, 2013
$474 Million Federal Loan for Goethals Bridge Project

The $1.5 billion Goethals Bridge Replacement Project got a $474 million loan this week through the US DOT’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (TIFIA). Per the DOT, the TIFIA credit program is designed to fill market gaps and leverage substantial non-federal investments; each dollar of federal funding can provide up to $10 in TIFIA credit assistance and support up to $30 in transportation infrastructure investment. The loan will be accepted by the project’s construction consortium, of which ACCNJ member Kiewit Construction is a part. The consortium’s contract is to design, build, finance and maintain the new cable-stayed bridge, which will have six 12-foot-wide travel lanes, a 12-foot-wide outer shoulder and a five-foot-wide inner shoulder on each of two roadway decks (one eastbound, one westbound), as well as a 10-foot-wide sidewalk and bikeway on the westbound deck and enough space to accommodate future transit service.

LOCAL | November 5, 2013
$1.5 Million in Tax Credits for Pennsauken Transit Village

A planned transit village estimated at $18.8 million in Pennsauken has received a $1.5 million tax credit allocation from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. The 75-unit Riverfront Village will rise on the site of a former Acme on River Road at 46th Street, with construction expected to begin next year. The tax credits will be sold to lenders to attract financing of $14.8 million. Because the housing units are intended for “workforce employees” with incomes between $40,000 and $50,000, the rents will be set in a range from $700 for a one-bedroom unit to $1,200 for a three-bedroom. The project encompasses eight buildings with brick facades and gables, combining three-story town homes over apartment flats, all with a view of the Delaware River and the Philadelphia skyline beyond. Residents can walk to NJ Transit’s 36th Street Station on the River Line light rail, and will also have access to a 3,000 sq.ft. community center with meeting rooms, exercise facilities, a computer lab and laundry services. In addition, the developer, Conifer Realty LLC of Mount Laurel, will set aside five units for military veterans who have no stable housing.

LOCAL | November 5, 2013
American Dream Project Gets $390 Million Tax Grant

It won’t be open for Super Bowl 2014, but the American Dream Meadowlands project will get a boost from the biggest Economic Redevelopment and Growth grant ever awarded by the Economic Development Authority. The award goes to Triple Five, the Canadian developer, which has six years to finish the project, estimated to cost $2.5 billion. About $2.2 billion of those costs are considered “qualified” under the grant. EDA also approved assigning a reimbursement agreement to Triple Five for remediation costs – approximately $36 million. EDA says the project will generate more than 5,800 construction jobs.

NATIONAL | November 4, 2013
AGC Constructor Magazine Covers ACCNJ Merger

AGC of America’s November/December issue of Constructor magazine carries a full-page story on the ACCNJ merger. To view, visit http://www.constructormagazine.com/ and scroll through the table of contents to Member and Chapter News.

NATIONAL | November 1, 2013
OSHA Extends Deadline for Silica Rule Comments

OSHA had originally set December 11, 2013, as the deadline for public comment on its proposed silica rule. But the deadline has now been extended for 47 days, until January 27, 2014, perhaps in part because of an AGC of America request for a 90-day extension. The rule would cut the permissible exposure limit in half, based on recommendations from NIOSH. AGC says compliance is “neither technologically or economically feasible.” For more information on the rule, visit www.osha.gov and www.agc.org.

October 2013

NATIONAL | October 29, 2013
Development Planned for Old GM Plant in Ewing

The site of the old General Motors plant and Naval Warfare Center on Parkway Avenue in Ewing has been vacant for years. But now the township is in negotiations with a developer to build 1,000 units of retail and apartments, and could offer a financial package to the developer that includes a PILOT agreement, or Payment In Lieu of Taxation.

NATIONAL | October 29, 2013
Deadline for Health Coverage Extended

If you have struggled to get on the federal health insurance exchange website, and you’re worried about not being covered by the deadline, you now have a little extra time. Last week the Obama administration extended the deadline an extra six weeks, through March 31, 2014. The feds said the extension has nothing to do with the technical difficulties many Americans have experienced, but rather to correct a “timing” issue with the law that requires Americans to have coverage or pay a fine. The fine-tuned version is that Americans must have purchased coverage during the enrollment period if they are not covered through an employer or other avenue, even if that coverage isn’t in effect by the deadline. 

NATIONAL | October 23, 2013
After the Shutdown:  Construction Numbers Update

Nationally, the construction industry added 20,000 jobs in September, pushing unemployment in the industry to a six-year low of 8.5%. Total construction employment reached 5,826,000, 3.4% higher than September 2012. Aggregate weekly hours of all construction employees rose 4.2% over last September.

Overall construction spending increased 0.6% in August for the fifth consecutive month, showing gains in residential, private nonresidential and public sectors, up 1.2% over August 2012. Private nonresidential spending gained 0.1% in August over July, up 4.3% compared to August 2012. Public spending rose 0.4% for the month but shrank 1.8% compared to last year. July’s construction spending figure was revised upward from a 0.6% increase to a 1.4% gain.

LOCAL | October 14, 2013
ACCNJ CEO Jack Kocsis Featured in NJ BIZ Triple Play

NJ BIZ has featured ACCNJ CEO Jack Kocsis in its Triple Play column in the October 14, 2013, issue. If you don’t receive a paper copy of the publication, you can view it online here:

http://www.njbiz.com/article/20131014/NJBIZ01/131019961/Triple-Play

LOCAL | October 11, 2013
News from Atlantic City Casinos:  Borgata & Revel

Yesterday the Borgata announced it had received the first Internet Gaming Permit in New Jersey’s history. Awarded by the State’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, the permit allows the Borgata Casino to pursue online gaming in the hope it will generate “significant benefits” for New Jersey. In other casino news yesterday, Revel announced it has promoted Scott Kreeger as president and chief operating officer, replacing Jeffrey Hartmann, who had been interim CEO since March. Kreeger had previously served as Revel’s interim COO.

NATIONAL | October 7, 2013
Merger Announcement in INSTALL Newsletter

News of the ACCNJ merger appeared in the September newsletter published by INSTALL, the International Standards & Training Alliance for Floorcovering Professionals, affiliated nationally with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.

To view the story, published September 23, 2013, visit:

http://www.installfloors.org/Module/NewsLetter2/Story?id=529

LOCAL | October 7, 2013
Update:  American Dream Lawsuit Can Move Forward

First, the Jets and the Giants sued Triple Five over the developer’s change in plans for the American Dream at the Meadowlands project (formerly Xanadu). When Triple Five moved to get the lawsuit dismissed, the motion was denied. So Triple Five countersued, claiming the football teams were being deliberately obstructive. Last week, a State Superior Court judge ruled the second lawsuit can move forward. Bottom line? No construction work for the near future while the dual – and dueling – litigation continues.

LOCAL | October 2, 2013
Merger Announcement Online at mycentraljersey.com

Online at mycentraljersey.com, visitors can read about the merger that created ACCNJ:

http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20130917/NJBIZ/309170036/BCANJ-AGC-NJ-moving-forward-one

Published on September 17, the article includes photos of CEO Jack Kocsis and the Board of Trustees.

September 2013

LOCAL | September 30, 2013
NextGen Park Now Auxiliary of Stockton College

Anticipated and now formalized, the NextGen Aviation Research and Technology Park in Egg Harbor Township was approved as an auxiliary organization of Richard Stockton College by college trustees on September 18, 2013. The college will take the lead role in developing the park for aviation-related educational programs and research. Hopes are the facility will generate 2,000 high-paying jobs related to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Next Generation Air Transportation System. However, the NextGen name has been replaced by the college name:  the Stockton Aviation Research and Technology Park.

LOCAL | September 30, 2013
$13 Million in Freight Rail Repair Grants from NJDOT

Of the nearly $13 million in grants from the New Jersey Department of Transportation to repair freight rail tracks and bridges in the state through the Rail Freight Assistance Program, more than half will go to six projects in three South Jersey counties. In Gloucester County, $1.5 million will go to SMS Rail Service for expansion of the Pureland line in Logan Township, with another $1.2 million to upgrade the existing line; and $675,000 will go to Conrail to install a continuously welded rail in Greenwich Township. In Salem County, just over $2 million will go to the county for rehabilitation of the Shortline Running Track in Mannington, Pilesgrove and Woodstown; and $470,062 will go to Winchester & Western Railroad to repair the South Main Branch welded rail in Pittsgrove. Winchester & Western will also receive $895,203 to repair a bridge that connects Salem and Cumberland counties. The other six grants will be distributed to NYS&W Corp. for laying track and weld-in-place jointed rail in North Bergen, Hudson County ($2.5 million for two projects); New Jersey Seashore Lines for work in Lakehurst, Manchester Township and Woodland Township, Burlington and Ocean counties ($1.5 million); East Jersey Railroad and Terminal Co. for Yard 6 Storage work in Bayonne, Hudson County ($974,700); Conrail for rehabilitation of three timber bridges in Lakehurst, Ocean County ($675,000);  and Belvidere & Delaware Railroad for the Three Bridges Rail Project in Readington Township, Hunterdon County ($395,996).

NATIONAL | September 26, 2013

August Construction Employment Rises in More Than Half of Metro Areas

Construction employment rose in 194 of 339 metro areas across the country in August, compared to August 2012, but only 19 metro areas hit new peaks. In New Jersey, four metro areas gained jobs, two lost jobs and one remained unchanged from a year ago. Atlantic City-Hammonton saw the biggest percentage gain – 19% – with an increase of 800 jobs year-over-year. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic saw the biggest increase in the number of jobs, adding 3,500, a 13% jump. Newark-Union added 2,200 jobs, a 6% increase; Trenton-Ewing added 300 jobs, also a 6% increase; and Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton remained the same compared to a year ago. Edison-New Brunswick lost 2,100 jobs, a 6% drop, and Camden lost 500 jobs, a 2% drop. Overall, the state gained 6,000 construction jobs, a 4% increase.

LOCAL | September 25, 2013
It’s Different in AC – New Ad Campaign Kicks Off

So far, the Atlantic City ad campaign has raised awareness of the city but hasn’t brought in the crowds. Now an extension of the “DO AC” campaign – “It’s Different in AC” – hopes to boost visitors and revenue. The new TV ads kicked off this week in New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore, and will be complemented by radio spots, print and online ads, and billboards. The campaign is part of the $20 million booster project from the Atlantic City Alliance, funded by the casinos.

LOCAL | September 25, 2013
Old Meredith Farms in Franklin Slated for Redevelopment

For 14 years, the former Meredith Farms poultry processing plant site on Route 40 in Franklin Twp. has been abandoned. Now the 52-acre site has been declared an area for redevelopment, which allows the township to begin plans to clean it up. A memorandum of understanding, signed in 2010, granted ACCNJ member Stanker & Galetto responsibility for development of the site. In 2012, the township received a $1.45 million federal grant to develop infrastructure for the site. A matching amount from the town via a 20-year bond agreement will fund the site’s demolition and remediation. The township and Stanker & Galetto are marketing the site to food processing companies as well as those in other industries.

NATIONAL | September 24, 2013
August Construction Employment Up in 26 States

From July to August, construction employment rose in 26 states, and was up in 35 states compared to August 2012. In the region for the month, the biggest increases were in Connecticut, which added 1,600 jobs, a 3% gain, and New York, which added 4,900 jobs, a 1.6% gain. Pennsylvania saw slight increases for both the month and the year, adding 1,800 jobs in August, a 0.8% gain, and 1,400 for the year, a 0.6% gain. Rhode Island gained 100 jobs in August, a 0.7% increase, but was one of the biggest losers for the year, down 700 jobs, a 4.4% drop. New Jersey lost 100 jobs for the month, down 0.1%, but was up 4,500 jobs for the year, a 3.5% increase.

LOCAL | September 19, 2013
Five Miles, Nine Towns, $3.7 Million on White Horse Pike

More than five miles of White Horse Pike in Camden County will get a $3.7 million upgrade. One stretch begins at Brand Avenue in Clementon and moves westbound through Lindenwold, Laurel Springs and Stratford, ending at Evergreen Avenue in Somerdale. The other stretch runs between Warwick Road in Magnolia to Grove Street in Haddon Heights, passing through Lawnside and Barrington. In addition to resurfacing, the project includes installation of image-detection cameras at some intersections, linked to traffic signals to make traffic flow more efficient.

LOCAL | September 19, 2013
AC Electric Plans Consolidation in Pittsgrove

Atlantic City Electric plans to purchase land and build a new state-of-the-art operations center in Pittsgrove, consolidating operations and closing the existing centers in Glassboro and Bridgeton. The company is currently negotiating to purchase the site, 188 acres near the intersection of Alvine Road and Landis Avenue. The proposed operations center would initially employ approximately 200 workers – primarily field crews for maintenance and repair – and house equipment and vehicles, as well as office space for engineers and operations support personnel. To date, funds for the purchase of the land have been appropriated but not for construction. Groundbreaking isn’t expected until 2016.

NATIONAL | September 17, 2013
ACCNJ Merger Announcement Makes National Press

News of the creation of ACCNJ from the merger of BCANJ and AGC of NJ was reported in ENR New York (http://newyork.construction.com/new_york_construction_news/2013/0912-newly-merged-nj-agc-chapter-sets-its-sights-on-legislative-issues.asp?elq=b8da06258e1d4fcc96a117ae37f0a995) and AGC of America’s Constructor Magazine (http://www.naylornetwork.com/ngc-constructor/articles/?aid=234045&issueID=31170). ENR New York’s Esther D’Amico spoke with ACCNJ CEO Jack Kocsis last week about the new Association’s goals.

LOCAL | September 17, 2013
Million-Dollar Makeover for East Hanover Bridge

The Melanie Lane Bridge in East Hanover, closed last year when it was declared structurally deficient, will get a $1 million makeover paid for by a Local Aid grant through NJ DOT. The two-lane bridge connects Algonquin Parkway and Ridgedale Avenue, spanning the Whippany River. No timetable has been announced for completion of the bridge repairs. Another grant for $200,000 will go to repair Section 8 of Brooklake Road in Florham Park. The grants are part of the $23.2 million in Local Aid Grants earmarked for all 21 counties and 11 municipalities in the state for bridge, road and other infrastructure work.

LOCAL | September 17, 2013
Plans for Bell Labs Building Unveiled

Somerset Development bought the largest vacant office building in the country for $27 million in August. The 2 million sq.ft. Bell Labs building and its 472 acres in Holmdel, on Preservation New Jersey’s list of endangered historic places, is now slated to become a village, with a health-and-wellness center, skilled nursing facility and assisted living center, a hotel, restaurants, shopping, spa, offices, 40 luxury single-family homes, 185 age-restricted townhomes, and a 20,000 sq.ft. public library. Surrounding it all, recreational and open space. According to plans, Community Healthcare Associates, a healthcare developer, will purchase about 400,000 sq.ft. in the building for the ambulatory surgical center and medical offices, and Toll Brothers will purchase about half the acreage for the homes and townhomes.

LOCAL | September 11, 2013
World Trade Center Proposed for Camden

Waterfront Renaissance Associates has proposed a 2.3 million sq.ft. Greater Philadelphia World Trade Center on the site of the now-demolished Riverfront State Prison on the North Camden waterfront. The developer, who originally wanted to build in Philadelphia, envisions an international trade center on 16 acres, with technology development, retail and housing. At the moment, the site is still owned by the Department of Treasury and would have to be transferred to the NJ Economic Development Authority before a developer could begin work on it. NJ EDA currently has a memorandum of understanding with the Treasury Department to identify a buyer via paid consultants. If it were built, the Camden development would be the third-largest World Trade Center in North America, after New York and Boston. Waterfront Renaissance Associates claims the project would bring 11,000 jobs to Camden.

NATIONAL | September 5, 2013
July Construction Spending Reaches Four-Year High

Nationwide, construction spending in July rose 0.6% compared to June, and was 5.2% higher than in July 2012. The hike reflects a four-year high, with private nonresidential spending up 1.3% for the month and up 2% for the year. By segment, year-over-year, spending on lodging construction was up 33%, warehouses up 11% and power up 5%. Spending on new multifamily housing increased only 0.1% for the month, but was a significant 39% higher than a year ago. Private healthcare construction and communication dropped, down 3% and 12 respectively. Public construction spending across the country also dropped, down 0.3% for the month and down 3.7% for the year. Highway and street construction spending was down 1.1% for the month, down 3.8% for the year, and educational construction spending fell 1.5% for the month, down 12% for the year.

NATIONAL | September 4, 2013
July Construction Employment Up in Most Metro Areas

The construction employment picture in July was better for 201 of 339 metropolitan areas (59%) compared to July 2012, but only 19 metro areas – 5% – exceeded their pre-recession employment records over the same period. In 90 metro areas, construction employment fell from July 2012 to July 2013, and of those 90, 28 lost at least half of their construction employees. Construction employment remained unchanged in 48 metro areas. Overall, construction employment levels are still 25% below peak levels from 2006. In New Jersey, five of seven metro areas gained construction jobs. Atlantic City-Hammonton gained 1,100 jobs, a whopping 26% jump; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic gained 2,400 jobs, a 9% boost; Newark-Union gained 2,300 jobs, a 7% increase; Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton gained 100 jobs, a 4% increase; and Trenton-Ewing also gained 100 jobs, a 2% increase. Camden lost 900 jobs, a 4% decline, and Edison-New Brunswick lost 1,000 jobs, a 3% drop.

August 2013

NATIONAL | August 23, 2013
Private Construction Worker Fatalities Up 5% in 2012

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its preliminary report of fatalities that occurred on the job for 2012 (final statistics will be released in Spring 2014). The report notes fatalities in private construction increased 5% in 2012 for a total of 775 workers, up from 738 fatalities in 2011. That marks the first increase in fatal construction-site injuries in five years. Total hours worked in private construction increased 1% in 2012. For details, visit www.bls.gov

LOCAL | August 21, 2013
Pulaski Skyway Closes Friday Evening for Reconstruction

New Jersey drivers don’t like to hear about road closings, but the Association is pleased to report that the closure of the Pulaski Skyway (Routes 1 & 9 in Jersey City) this weekend begins reconstruction as specified on the first of three contracts awarded to ACCNJ members. The work will replace a floor beam over the Tonnelle Circle; the Skyway will be closed from 9 pm Friday, August 23, until approximately 5 am Monday, August 26. The Routes 1 & 9 northbound highway will be closed at the Skyway entrance near Newark Liberty Airport, and the southbound will be closed at the ramp from Route 139 westbound to the Tonnelle Circle. Also in place long-term is a detour for all large-truck traffic from Tonnelle Avenue headed from Route 139 eastbound lower level (the Holland Tunnel approach). 

LOCAL | August 16, 2013
Affordable Housing Grants Come to Sandy-Affected Counties

Announced yesterday from the former Clarion Hotel in Egg Harbor Township, the State will commit more than $135 million in federal funds for the development of affordable housing units in nine counties hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. The Clarion, which will be converted to 83 affordable rental units, is one site that will receive funding, which will come in the form of low-cost loans and financial assistance to developers. State officials said ultimately 2,250 affordable residences will be created in Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union counties. The funding comes from two programs in the State’s recovery plan, the Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing and the Sandy Special Needs Housing Fund.

NATIONAL | August 8, 2013
US Senate Confirms NLRB Appointees

The National Labor Relations Board now has a full slate following the US Senate confirmation of four new appointees on July 30, marking the first time in a decade the Board has five confirmed members. Along with Chairman Mark Pearce, a Democrat, who had been the only confirmed member since December, the Board now includes two other Democrats – former AFL-CIO associate general counsel Nancy Schiffer and Mark Pearce’s chief counsel Kent Hirowaza – and two Republicans, Philip Miscimarra and Harry Johnson III, both management-side labor lawyers from large law firms. Two other sitting members, whose appointments during a Senate recess last December were called into question, have officially been replaced.

NATIONAL | August 8, 2013
New Labor Secretary Seeks Comments, Ideas

In a message from new US Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, emailed last week, the Secretary announced the update of the Department of Labor’s Strategic Plan and asked “all DOL stakeholders” to participate in crafting the plan. Perez seeks feedback and directs visitors to the Strategic Plan Outreach webpage, http://www.dol.gov/_sec/stratplan/2014outreach/. He also invites visitors to join a series of webchats in which DOL leaders discuss strategies and priorities; the schedule is posted on the outreach webpage.

NATIONAL | August 8, 2013
AGC of America’s Online Store Offers ePubs Discount

AGC of America recently launched a collection of ePublications, available through the online store, that can be downloaded to any iOS or Android device. Members may take advantage of a 15% discount on the ePubs this month only (through August 31, 2013). Access the AGC Online Store by clicking the link on the homepage of the ACCNJ website, www.accnj.org, and use Coupon Code ePubs15. Available ePub titles include, among others, CM/GC Guidelines for Public Owners, Affirmative Action Manual for Construction, Davis-Bacon Compliance Manual – Fourth Edition, Manual of Accident Prevention in Construction and AGC Project Delivery Systems for Construction.

LOCAL | August 2, 2013
Premium Outlets Coming to Gloucester Township

A partnership between Simon Property Group and PREIT-Rubin Inc. will develop a 55-acre site west of Cooper Road into Gloucester Premium Outlets, a retail center of approximately 450,000 sq.ft. that will include a “town square” with outdoor dining and seating, a play area and a “water feature.” Construction is expected to create 300 jobs. On the east side of Cooper Road, five commercial buildings comprising 35,000 sq.ft. of floor space will also be built. PREIT-Rubin, part of the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust of Philadelphia, owns malls in Cherry Hill and Moorestown, and the Voorhees Town Center. Simon operates premium outlets across the country.

NATIONAL | August 1, 2013
Metro Area Construction Employment Gained in June

Construction employment rose in 191 of 339 metropolitan areas in June compared to a year ago. It fell in 97 metro areas and remained unchanged in 51. June marked the fifth straight month of gains. All New Jersey metro areas gained construction jobs this June compared to last except Camden, which lost 500 jobs, a 3% decline. Atlantic City-Hammonton was up 13% with a gain of 600 jobs; Newark-Union was up 9% with a gain of 3,000 jobs; Trenton-Ewing was up 6% with an increase of 300 jobs; Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton was up 4% with a gain of 100 jobs; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic was up 3% with a gain of 700 jobs; and Edison-New Brunswick was up 1% with a gain of 400 jobs. Overall, the state gained 7,500 jobs from June 2012 to June 2013, a 6% jump.

NATIONAL | August 1, 2013
Mobile App for Infrastructure Woes

Building America’s Future, the transportation infrastructure advocacy group headed by former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, released an app for iPhone and Android that lets commuters – or Sunday drivers – report a problem on the roads, bridges and transit systems. Called “I’m Stuck,” the free mobile app alerts members of Congress that the American public is frustrated with the state of transportation infrastructure. Building America’s Future hopes the app will repeatedly signal Congress it’s “OK” to vote for infrastructure funding.

July 2013

LOCAL | July 30, 2013
Delaware Valley Transportation Projects Approved

Transportation and sustainability projects totaling $116 billion and extending over a 27-year period were approved last week by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. The transportation plans include 14 new rail and bus lines; however, funding availability for the approved projects remains uncertain. To view the plan, visit DVRPC.org/connections 2040.

LOCAL | July 29, 2013
Next Move for NextGen…State Funding?

NextGen Aviation Research and Technology Park, still struggling to overcome financial and partnership issues, may ask for funding through the NJ Economic Development Authority. Park officials met with EDA’s CEO Michele Brown last week to present a case for state backing based on funding of comparable aviation projects in other states.

NATIONAL | July 25, 2013
US Senate Makes Bridge Repair a Priority

Yesterday the US Senate passed an amendment to the $54 billion Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill that would make repair or replacement a priority for bridges declared “structurally obsolete” or “deficient.” The amendment adds $500 million to the bridge repair funds. The Senate is expected to vote on the total bill soon. However, the US House version of the THUD bill is $44 billion, a $10 billion difference and a cut of $7 billion from last year’s appropriations. 

LOCAL | July 25, 2013
$1.8 Million in Grants for NJ Airport Upgrades

Announced yesterday, five New Jersey airports will receive $1.8 million in grants from NJDOT for safety and improvements. The five include Sky Manor Airport in Pittstown (Hunterdon County), Eagles Nest Airport in Eagleswood Township (Ocean County), Lakewood Airport in Lakewood (also Ocean County), Essex County Airport in Fairfield, and Lincoln Park Airport in Lincoln Park (Morris County). The grants from the state will be augmented by $112,000 from the Federal Aviation Administration and $113,000 from the airport owners.

LOCAL | July 25, 2013
Bayonne’s Cape Liberty Approved for Redevelopment

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has approved the redevelopment of Cape Liberty Cruise Port, allowing Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to accommodate its new Quantum of the Seas ship. The 167,800-ton, 4,180-passenger cruise ship is scheduled to debut in 2014 and, if Royal Caribbean gets the project financing approved by the Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority, the cruise line expects to invest $50 million in a new terminal and two parking facilities that will be ready for the debut. 

NATIONAL | July 24, 2013
Two Bills in Congress Focus on Small Business

US House members introduced two construction-related bills designed to protect small businesses in the construction industry. The Commonsense Construction Contracting Act of 2013 would ban reverse auctions if the contract is suitable for award to a small business entity. The Association has long-opposed reverse auctions. A companion bill, the Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Act of 2013, encourages a two-phase selection process for design-build contract values of $750,000 or more. The contracting agency is responsible in the first phase for assessing the technical qualifications of the bidders and then restricting the second phase to a short list of no more than five firms, thus protecting small businesses from expending funds to create formal proposals at the initial stages of procurement. 

LOCAL | July 23, 2013
AC Luxury-Tax Revenues Up

The NJ Treasury Department reports Atlantic City luxury-tax revenues rose 13% in 2012 to $35.5 million, an all-time high, and were also up for three of the first four months of 2013. April revenues weighed in at $2.9 million, and marked the biggest monthly increase since Superstorm Sandy. Luxury-tax revenues reflect consumer spending on non-gambling attractions. The upward trend, attributed to a host of new venues in AC, is expected to continue this year.

NATIONAL | July 23, 2013
State-by-State, June Construction Employment a Mixed Bag

Half the states lost construction jobs in June compared to May, and half gained, while more than two-thirds gained compared to June 2012. For the month, 23 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs, and 24 states shed jobs. New Jersey gained 400 jobs for the month, a 0.3% increase, and was up 6,700 jobs over June 2012, a 5.2% increase. Connecticut had the sharpest percentage drop in the nation from May to June, losing 1,900 construction jobs, a 3.4% decline. Pennsylvania also appeared in the top five losers, down 3,600 jobs, a 1.6% drop. 

LOCAL | July 22, 2013
Offshore Wind Farm Rebuffed by NJ Regulators

The Fishermen’s Energy Atlantic City wind farm was rejected on Friday by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, which accepted its staff report that found project costs would not be offset by environmental benefits, added jobs and investment in the region. The first offshore energy project considered by the BPU, the decision is not yet final and Fishermen’s Energy could request more hearings and present more information. The project was previously approved by the NJ DEP and Army Corps of Engineers, and could have qualified for clean-energy tax breaks.

LOCAL | July 19, 2013
New Jersey Adds 4,200 Construction Jobs for Year

In the first six months of 2013, New Jersey’s construction industry has added 4,200 jobs, according to a state-issued report yesterday based on employer surveys. Across all industries, the state added 37,600 jobs in the first six months of the year. Rutgers University economist Joseph J. Seneca notes New Jersey has recovered approximately 60% of the private-sector jobs lost in the recession, compared to 82% for the nation.

NATIONAL | July 19, 2013
Gina McCarthy Confirmed as EPA Head

In addition to confirming Thomas Perez as Labor Secretary, the US Senate yesterday approved Gina McCarthy as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in a 59-40 vote. Most recently, McCarthy headed the EPA’s air and radiation office during President Obama’s first term. A 25-year public servant, McCarthy had previously served in Republican administrations in Massachusetts and Connecticut. She earned her BA in Social Anthropology in 1976 from the University of Massachusetts Boston and a joint MS in Environmental Health Engineering and Planning and Policy in 1981 from Tufts University.

NATIONAL | July 18, 2013
Thomas Perez Confirmed as Labor Secretary

In a 54-46 vote today, the US Senate confirmed Thomas E. Perez as President Obama’s Secretary of Labor. He replaces Hilda Solis, who resigned in January.

LOCAL | July 17, 2013
Conference to Address Diesel Emission Reduction

The Northeast Diesel Collaborative (NEDC), a regionally coordinated initiative to reduce diesel emissions and promote clean diesel technology, has announced a September conference for stakeholders in the sectors of construction, maritime, transportation, railroad and government. The conference will focus on technologies and strategies used in the Northeast to reduce diesel emissions, best business practices, clean air solutions, and the advancement of environmental and efficiency goals. The Collaborative extends an invitation to any interested ACCNJ members to attend the conference on September 11-13, 2013, at the Mystic Marriott Hotel and Spa in Groton, CT. Registration is free. For additional information, please go to: http://northeastdiesel.org/pdf/NEDCPartnersMeetingSaveTheDate.pdf

NATIONAL | July 17, 2013
Construction Materials Prices Down for June, Up for Year

The June Producer Price Index for construction – the average cost of materials plus those materials consumed by contractors during the construction process, such as diesel fuel – dropped a tenth of a percentage point in June and was up only 1.5% for the year. Segmented, materials costs in nonresidential construction remained flat from May to June, up 1.2% for the year. By product, steel mill products were down 0.7% for the month, down 8.1% for the year; copper and brass mill shapes were down 0.5% in June, down 3.8% for the year; and aluminum mill shapes were down 0.1% for the month, down 2.5% for the year. Other products, while down for the month, were higher than June of 2012:  diesel fuel was down 0.6% for the month but up 3.6% for the year; concrete products were down 0.1% for the month but up 3.1% for the year; gypsum products were down 0.2% for the month but rose a sharp 16% for the year; and lumber and plywood dropped 3.3% for the month but were up 9.9% for the year. However, a more granular review of lumber prices show they climbed in April to nine-year highs, and then fell farther in three months than they had the previous 10 months – a freefall caused by overly optimistic speculators, according to AGC of America’s Ken Simonson. 

NATIONAL | July 17, 2013
Real-Time Storm-Tracking for Energy Infrastructure

The US Energy Information Administration within the US Dept. of Energy released last week an interactive map for tracking major storms in real-time to help monitor the effects those storms could have on energy infrastructure. The map, available at www.eia.gov, pinpoints every petroleum refinery and import site, every natural gas processing plant or underground storage facility, every wind farm and nuclear power plant, and all the oil and gas fields and pipelines in the US and off-shore. The map layers storm paths, wind patterns on the energy infrastructure to display what might impact a particular area.

NATIONAL | July 16, 2013
BIM Ranks as “Most Exciting Trend” in Construction Owners Survey

In a survey at the 2013 Construction Owners Association of America (COAA) Spring Owners Leadership Conference, Building Information Modeling and Virtual Design and Construction (BIM/VDC) ranked highest as the “most exciting trend” in facilities management, chosen by 42% of the participants. In addition, 28%, the highest percentage of participants, said BIM was the area in which they were most interested in networking with peers to learn best practices. For more than half the respondents, BIM allows them to identify design and construction issues before they occur, and also improves the efficiency of the design and construction process. And while only 13% reported use of BIM was “significant” in their businesses, 30% expected significant use of BIM in three years.

LOCAL | July 16, 2013
OSHA’s Heat Wave Safety Tips

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued an “excessive heat warning” for eleven New Jersey counties – Sussex, Warren, Morris, Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex, Western Monmouth, Camden, Mercer, Gloucester and Northwestern Burlington – and several counties in eastern Pennsylvania. The warning started today and lasts through Monday, and cites “heat index values” (a combination of high humidity and very high temperatures) that are expected to reach or exceed 100 degrees. OSHA reminds employers they are responsible for the safety of their workers as well as providing training on heat-related illness and symptoms. Key tips:  Drink water every 15 minutes, regardless of thirst…Rest in the shade to cool down…Wear a hat and light-colored clothing…Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency…Keep an eye on fellow workers…Gradually increase the workload for new workers to build a tolerance for working in the heat (called “acclimatizing”). For details on heat illnesses and symptoms and OSHA’s “Water, Rest, Shade” campaign, visit www.osha.gov

LOCAL | July 15, 2013
Meadowlands Developer Sues Giants & Jets

In the latest legal wrangling over the stalled American Dream Meadowlands project, developer Triple Five has filed a lawsuit for breach of contract in state Superior Court against the National Football League’s New York Giants and Jets. The lawsuit claims the football teams are attempting to keep the former Xanadu project from ever being completed, in conflict with a 2006 contract in which the Giants and Jets received $15 million in exchange for allowing the project to be built. As you know, the Giants and Jets filed their own lawsuit last year to try to block Triple Five’s plans to add an indoor water park and amusement park to the American Dream project. The court had put a delay on that lawsuit pending final approvals from the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority. While filing the new lawsuit on July 9, 2013, Triple Five also asked the court to dismiss the teams’ lawsuit.

NATIONAL | July 10, 2013
Annual Highway Report Gives Jersey Roads Poor Ranking

New Jersey ranks 46 out of 50 in the condition of its state-owned highways, according to the Reason Foundation’s 20th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems – about the same as it ranked in the two previous reports (45th and 47th). In the region, Rhode Island also showed up in the bottom five, ranked at 49. New Jersey spends 8.4 times more than the national per-mile average on its 3,333 miles of state highway – more than any other state. It also spends the most on maintenance per mile and on capital and bridge disbursements per mile. It ranks 34th in deficient bridges, 45th in urban interstate congestion and 48th in urban interstate pavement condition. On the other end of the spectrum: New Jersey’s rural interstate pavement condition ranks No. 1, and in highway fatality rates the state ranks 4th.

NATIONAL | July 8, 2013
Construction Industry Adds 13,600 Jobs in June

Residential building and specialty trade contractors added 5,200 jobs in June, reflecting a growth of 90,200 jobs compared to a year ago, while nonresidential building, nonresidential specialty trade and heavy and civil engineering sectors added 8,400 jobs in June and 99,800 for the year. Correspondingly, the unemployment rate dropped to 9.8%, but AGC of America Chief Economist Ken Simonson warns that construction employment is still down 25% from its peak in 2006. An optimistic measure of future growth in construction employment was the 2.6% increase from June 2012 to June 2013 in architectural and engineering services employment.

NATIONAL | July 5, 2013
May Construction Spending Up Slightly

Total construction spending recorded a slight uptick in May, due to a surprising rise in public construction and a less-surprising increase in private residential spending. The 0.5% rise in spending from April to May, for a total of $875 billion, complemented a 5.4% increase over May 2012. Private residential spending was up 1.2% for the month and 23% for the year, while private non-residential spending dropped 1.4% for the month, down 0.9% for the year. Public construction spending rose 1.8% for the month but was down 4.7% over last May. The biggest increase in spending was in new multi-family construction, up 2.5% for the month and an impressive 52% for the year. Power construction spending was again the largest private nonresidential category, up 2.1% in May but down 1.5% from May 2012. Manufacturing spending dropped 8.1% for the month and was also down 3.4% from May 2012, although the manufacturing sector spending for January-May 2013 combined is up 5.4% over the same five months in 2012. Private lodging construction and renovation spending rose 1.6% for the month and 22% over 12 months. Highway and street construction, the largest public category, edged up 0.8% in May over April, but fell 7.3% from May 2012. Education construction also inched up a bit, 0.4%, for the month, but dropped 11% for the year. Finally, federal construction spending also climbed slightly, 0.6% for the month, but plunged 16% for the year and was down 29% from its peak in August 2011.

NATIONAL | July 1, 2013
Year-Over-Year, Construction Employment Up In Metro Areas

Just as the majority of states saw a rise in construction employment from May of 2012 to May 2013, so too did just over half the metro areas, 185 of 339, while 119 experienced a decline and 39 remained the same. In New Jersey, Atlantic City-Hammonton saw a significant 22% rise from a year ago, with an increase of 1,000 jobs. Also up for the year:  construction employment in Newark-Union rose 9%, adding 3,000 jobs; in Trenton-Ewing it rose 2%, adding 100 jobs; and in Edison-New Brunswick it rose 0.3%, adding 100 jobs. Camden dropped 1% for the year, losing 100 jobs, and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic dropped 2%, down 400 jobs. Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton remained unchanged, registering 2,400 jobs for May of last year and this.

NATIONAL | July 1, 2013
IRS Ends Special Provision in Misclassification Amnesty

June 30, 2013, was the deadline for a special provision of the IRS amnesty program known as the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program. The regular VCSP allows employers to correct classifications from “independent contractor” to “employee” and avoid payroll or employee audits for the past three years – if they have filed 1099-MISCs for the employees for those three years. Employers are subject only to a modest tax liability (10% of the taxes they would have owed) with no penalty. However, the recently retired special provision, called a Temporary Eligibility Expansion (TEE), also gave a break to employers who had not filed 1099-MISCs – they could pay 25% of the employment tax liability, and still not pay interest and penalties. The TEE deadline has passed, but employers who have been filing 1099-MISCs can apply for the regular VCSP any time. For those who have not been filing those 1099s, if they start this year and file for the next two years after this, they can apply for VCSP in 2016.