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  • Writer's pictureColliers | Columbus

OUR TAKE ON CONSTRUCTION CHALLENGES IN THE CRE INDUSTRY

Written by: Collin Fitzgerald


Columbus Business First recently published an article on how Central Ohio's top commercial construction companies are navigating a tricky environment. Collin Fitzgerald, Research Manager at Colliers | Columbus offers his perspective on the article.



Our Take on Construction in the current Columbus Market

Large-scale projects are the current powerhouse behind Columbus' construction market. Intel's development and other big-name data centers are fueling substantial growth. These mega-projects indicate strong investor confidence and have a cascading effect on local economies, generating jobs and spurring ancillary developments. Large healthcare facilities are also being developed to meet the growing demand, highlighting the region's robust healthcare infrastructure. Conversely, the decline in mid-sized projects is a cause for concern. Columbus Business First's recent survey shows that over half of the top 30 commercial construction companies experienced a year-over-year drop in contract values. Turner Construction Co., despite maintaining the top spot, saw a decline of $63.8 million in contract value. This decline is primarily attributed to high material and labor costs and elevated interest rates, which particularly impact the mid-sized market segment.

 

How this is Affecting Retail

The retail sector in Columbus is undergoing a significant transformation. The shift towards e-commerce has reduced the demand for traditional retail spaces, but there is a growing need for mixed-use developments that combine retail with residential and office spaces. Retailers are increasingly focusing on creating experiential spaces to attract customers, necessitating substantial renovations and adaptive reuse of existing buildings.

How this is Affecting Office

The office market is also evolving in response to changing work patterns. The rise of remote work has reduced the demand for large office spaces, but there is a growing trend towards flexible workspaces and coworking facilities. Companies are rethinking their office needs and prioritizing quality over quantity. This has led to an increased focus on office improvements, such as enhancing technological infrastructure and creating collaborative environments to attract employees back to the office.


How this is Affecting Industrial

The industrial sector in Columbus remains strong, driven by the need for logistics and distribution centers. The rise of e-commerce has increased demand for warehousing and fulfillment centers, which continue to be a significant part of the commercial real estate market. These facilities require substantial infrastructure investments to accommodate high-tech logistics operations, emphasizing the need for modern, efficient industrial spaces.

 

Conclusion

In response to these market shifts, commercial construction companies are emphasizing pre-construction planning and cost management. Leaders like Corna and John Brinich of Homestead Companies stress the importance of finding savings and making projects viable in the current economic climate. This involves thorough upfront work to ensure that projects meet budget constraints without compromising quality. Despite current challenges, there is optimism about the future of Columbus' commercial real estate market. Stabilizing material costs and a slightly more aggressive approach from developers are expected to help projects progress. With strong foundations in higher education, healthcare and major corporate investments, Central Ohio remains a thriving market. As Corna puts it, the region is in a good spot, and the outlook is bullish. The ongoing developments from major players like Intel and Honda and strategic investments in healthcare and education are set to keep Columbus' commercial real estate market vibrant and dynamic. The key to navigating these mixed signals lies in adaptability, strategic planning and a collaborative approach to development. 


Central Ohio's commercial construction market presents both opportunities and challenges. Mega-projects drive growth, while mid-sized projects struggle with economic pressures. The retail, office and industrial sectors are adapting to new realities, focusing on improvements and strategic investments. The future of Columbus' commercial real estate market looks promising, with strong foundations and a resilient outlook.



Sources: Columbus Business First, Zachary Jarrell

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