Construction Projects Continue to See a Positive Trend

Construction projects are getting the green light as the real estate recovery spreads to a handful of urban areas. In New York, San Francisco, and Boston, the construction of apartments, hotels and office buildings has increased. Construction is also picking up in Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas and a number of other cities nationwide. These cities are finally seeing a pickup in employment and a demand for new construction.

High vacancy rates and leasing struggles are in the past for Atlanta. The city is now ready for more construction. Tishman Speyer Properties broke ground on a 30-story, 500,000 SF office tower in the Buckhead area. The company believes this is the right time to build in Atlanta with vacancy rates below 17 and significant job growth.

The monthly Architecture Billings Index is another sign that shows increase construction activity. The index, based on the theory that developers hire design firms six to nine months before breaking ground, is a leading indicator of future construction activity. The index increased in July to 55.8 from its previous 12-month average of 51.3. Scores over 50 indicate an increase in billings for design firms, while a score under 50 means a decrease in billings.

The Architecture Billings Index is not the only indicator that shows an increase in a construction trend. Private, nonresidential construction spending increased $4 billion from June 2013, and office spending reached its highest level in five years. These indicators are making companies and residents feel better about making long-term decisions. 

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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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