With today's sluggish construction market, it might seem like a bad time to talk about large construction jobs. I mean, how many big buildings are really being built in this type of market?

More than you might think. Electrical Wholesaling's editors discovered that despite slow sales, several of the Top 200 electrical distributors were involved with some very interesting and, at times, very large construction projects last year. For instance, Sonepar supplied a major expansion of the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia's Franklin Electric Co. worked on the new Eagles' football field and Phillies' baseball stadium; and IG Federal Electrical Supply Group, Long Island City, N.Y., supplied the new AOL-Time Warner headquarters in New York.

We'd like to feature some of the large projects and the distributors who supplied them. If your company has worked on a new office tower, industrial retrofit, lighting job, VDV installation, stadium, hospital or school job that you would like to crow about, please call Jim Lucy, Electrical Wholesaling's editor at (913) 967-1743, or e-mail him at jlucy@primediabusiness.com.

The biggest of the big jobs attract a lot of attention, but the winning bid's margins will probably be razor-thin. Trophy jobs are run on a tight, low-budget schedule, and distributors are under the gun to deliver the correct products on time.

Still, there's something many distributors love about supplying a big job. It looks great on your company's resume, and every time you drive past the building, you can bore your spouse or kids by proudly pronouncing, “My company worked on that job.”

Here are some of the largest construction projects now underway or on the drawing boards in some major metropolitan markets. We would love to hear from you if you get involved with any of them!

Atlanta

The action is in midtown Atlanta, where a 680,000-square-foot tower to be built by Hines Interests L.P. at the corner of Peachtree and 14th Streets already has a law firm signed on for 120,000 square feet of office space. Although there's plenty of office space available in some of the area's other large office towers, another building in the 500,000-square-foot class is planned for Atlantic Station.

Don't expect the same construction activity in the suburbs, which have plenty of vacant space to fill before there's any need for new construction.

Charlotte, N.C.

According to an article in the Charlotte Business Chronicle, residential building in the Charlotte metropolitan area hasn't skipped a beat, and will continue strong in the near future. The article said Crescent Resources is ready to develop the first phase of a huge residential development in a 6,200-acre tract called Catawba Ridge. Over the next 10 years, the development will offer a golf course, marina, town center and 1,400-acre industrial park. Eventually, it could have as many as 14,000 houses and 30,000 residents.

New York

Two large projects are underway — 7 World Trade Center, a 1.7-million-square-foot office building; and The Hearst Tower, an 856,000-square-foot office tower at 959 Eighth Ave.

The most recent report by IGDNYC Inc., New York, a real estate consulting firm, said several huge jobs are on the drawing boards, including Bank of America's 2.1-million-square-foot building on 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue; a 52-story building with 1.54 million square feet of office space that will be the new headquarters for The New York Times; and a 2-million-square-foot skyscraper for Pfizer.

One of the highest profile trophy jobs ever built in the United States will be The Freedom Tower, expected to break ground later this year at the World Trade Center site. The building is expected to have 2.6 million square feet of commercial space and be completed in 2008.

San Antonio

Spring 2004 will bring with it the roar of bulldozers clearing a 2,000-acre site for the construction of a Toyota truck plant. Toyota is investing $800 million in the factory, which will produce 150,000 Toyota Tundra full-size trucks and bring approximately 2,000 new jobs to the Alamo city. According to an article in the Houston Business Journal, general contractors for the project will be chosen by mid-2005.

San Francisco and the Bay Area

While the office construction market is expected to remain slow for at least another year, other construction may break ground soon. According to that San Francisco Business Times report, construction could begin this year at the Hunters Point Shipyard, the Oakland airport expansion and at several proposed museums in San Francisco.

Washington, D.C.

The biggest project on the drawing boards in the D.C. metropolitan area is Potomac Yard, a 300-acre development that straddles Arlington, Va., and Alexandria, Va., in the Crystal City area. According to the Washington Business Journal, if a lead tenant signs on in 2004, Crescent Resources, owner of the site, will start a 654,000-square-foot office complex called One Potomac Yard. In all, the Potomac Yard project will include 4.7 million square feet of office space; 235,000 square feet of retail space, 40 acres of parks, public art displays, underground parking, and its own Metro stop.

The area north of Union Station, near the 400,000-square-foot headquarters of the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives now under construction is also expected to be a hotbed of activity in the near future. With a new $90-million Red Line Metro station, the Department of Homeland Security and Public Broadcasting Service may build in the area. If Washington ever gets back a major league baseball team, the area is also being mentioned as a site for the stadium.

TROPHY JOBS

If your company has worked on a new office tower, industrial retrofit, lighting job, VDV installation stadium, hospital, school or university, or another large job that you would like to crow about, please call Jim Lucy, Electrical Wholesaling's editor at (913) 967-1743, or contact him by email at jlucy@primediabusiness.com.

Here is the tentative publication schedule by type of construction project.

March: Lighting Projects

April: Industrial Retrofits

May: Stadium Construction

July: Hospitals/Health care

September: Residential Housing Developments

October: Schools and Universities

December: Urban Core Construction Projects