Building Boom Cities: The Metro Areas With The Most New Construction

At the height of the economic downturn more than 700 construction projects were idled across New York City’s five boroughs, according to the city’s Department of Buildings. Some faced foreclosure while others found creative ways to make use of their vacant space.

Three years later, construction in the Big Apple Apple has surged back to life, and with it, the development of many of those stalled sites. The city clocked $20.5 billion worth of new construction starts in 2012, thanks in part to the groundbreaking of the first office tower at Hudson Yards, the $15 billion mixed-use mega development Related Companies billionaire Stephen Ross plans to roll out over the next decade.

In the first five months of 2013, New York welcomed another $8.5 billion worth of new construction starts, a 16% increase over the same period last year, with a flurry of new residential towers popping up to meet the ever-increasing demand for housing. Among the most anticipated: Manhattan’s The Atelier II, with a projected construction cost of $295 million; a Bjarke Ingels-designed pyramid-shaped building on Manhattan’s 57th Street, with a projected cost of $225 million; and Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards B2 Residential Tower, the world’s tallest modular tower, with a projected cost of $117 million. (Interestingly, October’s Superstorm Sandy has contributed little to the rise in construction dollars spent, in part because building related to that natural disaster is a drawn out process tied closely to government aid and legislation.)


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“Apartment housing has been seeing increases since 2010 and certainly New York City has been a part of the resurgence for multifamily building,” says Robert Murray, vice president of economic affairs at McGraw Hill Construction, a New York City-based construction data firm.

Another factor playing into the Big Apple’s construction figures: mixed-use developments throughout the metro area (which includes the city’s surrounding suburbs in northern New Jersey, Long Island and Westchester). In Queens’ Long Island City neighborhood the $192 million first phase of developer Related’s massive Hunters Point site kicked off in March. In New Jersey, construction began in April on two big projects: the $400 million Prudential Financial Prudential Financial Office Tower in Newark, and Jersey City’s $191 million 70 Columbus tower (one-half of a dual tower development).

Sound like a lot of new building? It should: for the second consecutive year the New York metro area tops our list of the U.S. cities with the most new construction.

To compile our list, the folks at McGraw Hill Construction sorted through building data for the nation’s metropolitan statistical areas to find the 20 places where the most money has been spent on new construction from the start of 2013 through May. (MSAs, geographic entities defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, include the cities for which they are named as well as their surrounding suburbs.)