5 Trends in New York City Construction

By Robert Proffitt, R.A.

One month into the New Year, 2017 already promises to be an exciting time for the construction industry. We’re seeing more active projects than ever across the board, spanning vertical markets and boroughs.

  1. A running start. Typically, New York City construction slows down at the end of the year and picks up toward the end of January, ultimately peaking in July. Then, activity drops off during the summer and resumes in September. This year opened with a bang across the board, a trend that dates to last August, when we received a flood of requests for proposals on new and expanded development. Dormant projects have moved to the front burner, and many new projects are starting.
  2. Widespread activity. Construction is booming throughout the five boroughs. Long Island City and downtown Brooklyn are still hot, but the Bronx is experiencing the most dramatic increase in construction volume. More developers are researching the Bronx and finding properties.
  3. Shifting demographics. As Millennials get married and start families, they need additional housing, schools, supermarkets—the typical facilities that families use every day. Consequently, a lot of vertical construction is taking place in Brooklyn and Queens, including several residential towers with schools.
  4. Affordable housing. Another factor in residential construction, the city’s Inclusionary Housing Program (IHP) offers incentives for developers or owners to include low- and middle-income housing, as well as housing for the elderly. By providing a certain number of qualifying units, owners receive a density bonus that allows them to build taller or larger buildings.
  5. Ongoing investment. Foreign investors continue to flock to New York City. The Asian market is still strong, and most of these investors come from China, rather than Europe or Russia. One Asian company, for example, has requested zoning analysis as they consider various properties in Midtown Manhattan.

While these trends highlight positive developments in the five boroughs, new players need to factor in the complexity of New York City construction. Less-experienced developers often seek guidance after plans are produced—plans that often cannot be built as rendered or may incur prohibitive construction costs. Bringing in expert assistance during the planning and design process can avoid costly delays and keep projects on schedule.