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2020

LOCAL | October 23, 2020
Del Haven Water Project Moves Forward

To mitigate salt water leaching from the Delaware Bay into Del Haven wells, Middle Township came up with a plan to provide fresh water for the 1,000+ households in the unincorporated area in the Township (Cape May County). That plan, a new water system based on a water supply and distribution agreement between Middle Township and Lower Township Municipal Utilities Authority, is moving forward, with permit applications submitted to the state. The Township expects the project to go out for bid early in 2021 and be completed by Spring 2022.

LOCAL | October 23, 2020
Wharton Considers 75-Unit Mixed-Use Project

Developer Ashour Investment Group Wharton LLC was scheduled to present its plans to the Wharton Borough (Morris County) Planning Board last Tuesday for a four-story complex on three acres that was formerly an industrial site. The proposal calls for 75 residential units and eight commercial units (7,819 square feet of retail space plus two restaurants) at 170 North Main Street along the Wharton Rail Trail. Residential units would include 54 one-bedrooms, 12 two-bedrooms and nine three-bedrooms.

REGIONAL | October 22, 2020
Federal Reserve Reports Predictable for NJ

Beige Book reports issued yesterday from the Second and Third Districts of the Federal Reserve, covering North and South Jersey, show construction activity remains depressed because of the pandemic. However, across the state, construction activity and leasing in the warehouse and industrial sector remain steady.

NATIONAL | October 20, 2020
Only Eight States Recover Pre-Pandemic Construction Jobs

Only eight states gained back in September the number of construction jobs they recorded in February, before the pandemic shut down construction projects across the US. New Jersey was not one of the eight, nor were any other states in our immediate region. However, while still down 17,900 jobs from February’s total of 166,600, a 10.7% drop, New Jersey showed a promising uptick of 2,500 jobs from August to September. New York added the most jobs in the country for the month, up 5,300 for a 1.5% gain. Also in the region, from August to September, Pennsylvania added 2,400 jobs, Rhode Island added 300 jobs, Delaware gained 100 jobs, and Connecticut lost 500 jobs.

NATIONAL | October 18, 2020
Construction Optimism Up Slightly, Costs Up Sharply

The latest weekly Census Small Business Pulse survey (October 4-12) indicates a small uptick in construction firm optimism across the country: 16.9% report a return to year-ago levels and 52.9% report no supply chain issues. On the other hand, 33.6% believe it will take longer than six months for a return to “normal.” Members are invited to complete AGC’s latest survey, which closes at midday on Monday, October 19 (visit www.agc.org).

Prices on construction goods and services rose 2.5% from August to September and 3.8% compared to September 2019. Lumber and plywood prices shot up 19% for the month, 49% for the year-over-year, the highest hike ever for that index. Prices for aluminum mill shapes rose 6.8% for the month but dropped 3.1% for the year-over-year, and copper and brass mill shape prices rose 3% for the month, 11% for the year period. In contrast, steel mill product prices slid down 0.1% for the month, dropped 10% for the year period, and diesel prices continued the downward trend, falling 2.7% for the month and 14% for the year-over-year.

BLS also announced in late September it will produce a set of “satellite inputs to industry price” indexes that combine domestic producer prices with import prices, which could put a very different spin on the prices. As an example, domestic prices on construction inputs decreased 0.8% from August 2019 to August 2020, while imported goods prices increased 2.6%.

LOCAL | October 16, 2020
Rezoning Considered for Film Studio in Bayonne

The Bayonne (Hudson County) City Council is considering an ordinance that would allow 13 lots along First Street near Avenue A to be used for a film studio and production facilities. Currently zoned industrial, the lots are owned by Chevron, which requested proposals from redevelopers for contemporary use of the land. A potential buyer emerged with the film studio plan that would also include a public access walkway along the waterfront portion of the property. A public hearing on the proposal was on the agenda for the Bayonne Planning Board meeting this past Tuesday; a vote on the zoning change is scheduled for the City Council meeting October 21.

NATIONAL | October 16, 2020
AGC Calls for Nationwide Vaccine Distribution Plan

AGC of America today asked President Trump and former Vice President Biden, the two presidential candidates, to “establish and implement a nationwide plan for the distribution of approved coronavirus vaccines” to lift the burden of responsibility from state and local officials and alleviate confusion, delays and economic hardship. 

“A thoughtful and comprehensive plan…will ensure that the construction industry can continue to provide support for other critical sectors of the economy,” reads the letters to each candidate from AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr. “There is real potential that conflicting and confusing priorities at the state and local level will undermine the distribution process.” Sandherr cites the struggles to get PPE in the early days of the pandemic as an example of difficulties experienced at the state level.

To read the letter to Trump and Biden, visit https://www.agc.org/sites/default/files/Files/Communications/Vaccination_Letter_to_Trump_0.pdf and https://www.agc.org/sites/default/files/Files/Communications/Vaccination_Letter_to_Biden_0.pdf

LOCAL | October 16, 2020
University Hospital Newark Envisions Health Village

In its rebranding plan released earlier this week, University Hospital in Newark includes its vision for a “village surrounding the hospital that can provide wrap-around services, supportive housing, and programmatic efforts that address clinical needs, skills training for entry-level employment, and a physical address from which patients can begin a process of rebuilding and thriving. A patient ‘discharged’ from University Health Village would walk away with the tools to thrive,” read the press release. Read the release online at http://www.uhnj.org/press_room/UH_Vision_and_Branding.pdf

LOCAL | October 14, 2020
Old Parkway Motel Could Become New Avid Hotel

The old Parkway Motel at 925 Lakewood Road in Toms River (Ocean County) could be demolished and replaced with a new four-story, 79-room Avid Hotel on the four-acre lot, proposed to the Toms River Planning Board by Route 37 Americana LLC of Edison. Avid is part of InterContinental Hotels Group; no other Avid Hotels have been built in New Jersey.

LOCAL | October 9, 2020
Rider Gets $2.5 Million Anonymous Donation for Arena

Rider University announced Monday it had received an anonymous donation from two people of $2.5 million as part of its fundraising campaign for a new arena. The Alumni Gym project, estimated at $17.7 million, aims to transform the space into a contemporary NCAA Division I Arena. To date, the campaign has raised $11 million, 62% of the goal.

LOCAL | October 2, 2020
Massive Mixed-Use Proposed for Main Street in Orange 

Orange Township (Essex County) envisions a massive “Health and Wellness and Residential Complex” to be constructed at the intersection of Main and High streets, according to a letter from the Department of Administration. Orange officials would like a developer to buy the land and construct as many as 400 rental units, parking, swimming pools, basketball court, fitness center, commercial kitchen, yoga studios…all built at 395, 401 and 407 Main Street plus 12 High Street. Deadline for developer proposal submissions is October 26.

LOCAL | October 2, 2020
Newark’s Weequahic Property to Become Mixed-Use

Newark Municipal Council authorized last week the sale and redevelopment of property at 256-262 Lyons Avenue at the corner of Clinton Place in the Weequahic section of Newark’s South Ward. Tactical Development Group LLC of Freeman Street in Newark is expected to buy the site and move ahead with its proposed development of 32 residential units, retail space and parking.

NATIONAL | October 2, 2020
Nonresidential Construction Stalls, Spending Drops

Across the country, construction added 26,000 jobs in September, up to 7,245,000, while construction spending gained almost nothing (0.1%) in July. Residential spending (which included a 4.9% jump in multifamily construction spending) had edged up 2.1% over June, but the nonresidential spending drop of 1.2% just about canceled out that gain. Public spending overall slipped 1.3% in July, pulled down by a 3.1% drop in highway and street construction spending, a 3% decline in education construction and a 1.6% slide in transportation facilities.

Private nonresidential construction spending also fell, down a percent from June to July, including a dip of 0.1% in power construction and a drop of 3.2% in commercial construction. Manufacturing construction spending rose 0.2%.

NATIONAL | September 30, 2020
Metro Area Construction Jobs Down Again in August

More than two-thirds of US metro areas, 241 of 358 (67%) showed job losses in August compared to August 2019, slightly worse than July’s year-over-year numbers. New Jersey’s August numbers reflected drops from a year ago in all seven metros, with significant drops in some: Bergen-Hudson-Passaic lost 7,100 jobs, plummeting 22%; Atlantic City-Hammonton lost 1,300 jobs, also a 22% fall; Newark shed 5,500 jobs, an 11% drop; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean shed 2,400 jobs, a 6% loss; Trenton shed 300 jobs, a 5% drop; Camden shed 700 jobs, a 3% loss; and Vineland-Bridgeton shed 100 jobs, also a 3% loss.

LOCAL | September 28, 2020
Deborah Heart & Lung Announces $100 Million Capital Plan

As Deborah Heart & Lung Center in Browns Mills (Burlington County) approaches its 100th anniversary, it has announced a $100 million renovation-and-remake plan to expand and modernize its facilities. First up, three additional floors on top of the existing two floors, with work scheduled to begin in first-quarter 2021. Two of those floors will each house 18 private critical-care rooms; the third will be mechanical/HVAC space. Second phase, renovating existing rooms to make them all private, will commence in 2022 (the 100th anniversary year). A third phase, expanding the staff respite center, will follow, with all work completed in 2024. The hospital hopes to supplement monies from fundraising with a US Department of Agriculture loan. It hosted a public meeting this morning to discuss the capital plan.

LOCAL | September 28, 2020
Avalon Plans Addition to Fire Station

Avalon (Cape May County) Borough Council is making plans to redo its fire station, constructing a second story and expanding and extensively renovating the first floor. The additional 6,400 square feet will allow the station to house new equipment and build new staff quarters. Plans also include elevation compliance under new floodplain rules. A needs report made to the Borough Council last week did not include an estimated cost for the construction.

LOCAL | September 28, 2020
Jersey City Advances Fire Station Plan for Bergen-Lafayette

Tomorrow, the Jersey City Planning Board is scheduled to hear an application submitted by the city for a new fire station to be built at 627 Grand Street in the Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood on a currently vacant lot just under a half-acre, along with an existing side street. Netta Architects of Mountainside designed the two-story station, 11,751 square feet with a brick façade, fiber cement panels on the west side and rear, and a ground face concrete masonry band along the base capped with cast stone elements. The first floor would hold the fire company’s operations area and trucks; the second is planned for a gym, kitchen, Captain’s office and officers’ quarters, with a small balcony at the rear. The site would feature a driveway with landscaping.

LOCAL | September 24, 2020
Monmouth Medical Center Gets $50 Million Donation

Anne and Sheldon Vogel, local philanthropists in Monmouth County, have donated $50 million to Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch. The money will be used to construct a state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly facility to be called Vogel Medical Campus in Tinton Falls (also Monmouth County). Monmouth Medical Center is part of RWJBarnabas Health.

NATIONAL | September 18, 2020
State-by-State, Construction Jobs Picked Up in August

For the month from July to August, 31 states and DC added construction jobs, but the year-to-year numbers were bleak, with 39 states showing job losses in August 2020 compared to August 2019. New Jersey lost jobs in both periods, down 300 jobs for the month, a 0.2% dip, and 13,500 for the year, an 8.4% slide. In the region, New York and Pennsylvania landed in the top five for the month period: New York added 5,200 for the month, up 1.5%, and Pennsylvania added 4,100 jobs for the month, up 1.7%. But New York was in the bottom five for the year period, down 46,00 jobs compared to August 2019, an 11.3% drop. Pennsylvania’s construction jobs were also way down from a year ago with a loss of 16,900 jobs, a 6.5% drop. Connecticut added 200 jobs for the month, ticking up 0.3%, but lost 2,000 jobs compared to last year, a 3.4% drop. Delaware added 100 jobs for the month, up 0.5%, but lost 1,300 for the year, down 5.7%. Rhode Island lost 100 jobs for the month, down 0.5%, and also lost 1,600 for the year period, an 8% drop.

NATIONAL | September 18, 2020
Tariffs Dropped on Canada Aluminum Imports

On Tuesday, the 10% tariffs on aluminum from Canada, imposed last month, were dropped. The White House cited “normal” levels of aluminum imports as the reason the tariffs were ended, after saying last month a surge of imports justified the tax levy. Canada was set to impose retaliatory tariffs on Tuesday.

LOCAL | September 10, 2020
NJ DOT Receives Additional $150 Million in Federal Funds

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) awarded another $150 million to NJ DOT, announced today by Governor Murphy and DOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. It’s the second year in a row the state has received additional federal funding of $100 million or more. The extra funding comes from monies not spent by other states that reverts back to federal control. This year, $4.7 billion was available for redistribution. New Jersey requested and received $150 million, placing the state in the top 10 for most additional funding, and bringing its total to $280 million in extra funding during the Murphy administration. The money will supplement the state’s capital plan budget.

NATIONAL | September 4, 2020
Construction Gains Jobs in Residential, Loses in Other Sectors

Across the country, construction added 16,000 jobs in August but most were in housing; the infrastructure and nonresidential construction sectors lost 11,000 jobs. Here is the breakdown from AGC of America’s Workforce Survey, done in partnership with Autodesk and released Wednesday: residential construction picked up 27,700 jobs in August; nonresidential building added 10,200 jobs but specialty trades lost 15,700 jobs and heavy/civil lost 5,500 jobs. August’s industry unemployment rate was 7.6% with 762,000 construction workers idled, more than double the figures from August 2019. The survey revealed 38% of respondents do not expect an uptick in volume of business for six months or more. And 60% reported project postponements and cancellations, up from 32% in the June survey. Full survey results are available at www.agc.org.

NATIONAL | September 4, 2020
NFIB Expects Good Construction Industry Recovery

While AGC of America’s survey of construction contractors found a pessimistic view of construction because of the pandemic, a Small Business Economy Update released yesterday by the NFIB Research Center has a more positive outlook. The National Federation of Independent Business report, which focused on small business in the construction, manufacturing, retail and service industries, lists key findings that point to overall optimism for the construction industry: demand for new construction remains high, demand for new workers remains high and 24% of respondents plan to increase workforce in the next three months. The NFIB study was based on survey results tabulated in July.

LOCAL | September 2, 2020
Suez Water Announces $640 Million in Upgrades

Suez North America announced today it plans a $640 million investment in New Jersey water systems over the next four to five years, including new mains, removal of lead service lines and improvements to treatment plants. In that total, $135 million was already slated for 170 projects in 68 municipalities in 2020. The project list includes:

  • $25 million to replace 2,500 miles of water mains in 16 towns in Bergen, Hudson, Hunterdon and Ocean counties (East Rutherford, Paramus, Union City, Hackensack, West New York, Oradell, Carlstadt, Tenafly, New Milford, Northvale, Wallington, Leonia, Toms River, South Toms River, Lambertville and Berkeley)
  • $29 million to remove 2,400 lead service lines in Hudson and Bergen counties
  • $55 million in a five-year project to replace water and sewer system in West Milford

NATIONAL | September 1, 2020
Two-Thirds of US Metro Areas Shed Construction Jobs in July

As July construction spending sank across the country, 238 of 358 metro areas (66%) lost construction jobs compared to July 2019. Another 90 gained jobs and 30 held the same. New York City lost the most jobs, down 26,500 (a 16% loss). In New Jersey, every metro area lost jobs compared to a year ago. The most significant declines were in Atlantic City-Hammonton (-1,300 jobs, down 23%) and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic (-6,500 jobs, down 20%). Newark lost 3,900 jobs, down 8%; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean lost 1,700 jobs, down 4%; Camden lost 1,100 jobs, down 5%; Trenton lost 300 jobs, also down 5%; and Vineland-Bridgeton lost 100 jobs, down 3%.

LOCAL | August 31, 2020
Cape May County Approves Long-Term Bridge Repair Projects

Last week, the Cape May County Board of Freeholders agreed to a 15-year plan to repair or replace the county’s 23 bridges plus five toll bridges, a long-term project expected to cost between $603 million and $890 million. The county is relying on state and federal funds to help defray the cost and will bond for the balance. Possibly up first will be the drawbridge into Stone Harbor at 96th Street, which has already gone through extensive, expensive repair and is now operating under reduced speed limits because of structural issues. The country proposes seeking design/engineering proposals in Spring 2021 and begin construction that would last until sometime between 2025 and 2027, at a cost of more than $20 million. Review of the other bridges in the county calls for replacement of four of the five toll bridges plus replacement of bridges at Hand Avenue in Wildwood, Springers Mill in Cape May Courthouse and another Stone Harbor bridge at 104th Street.

LOCAL | August 31, 2020
Hudson Tunnel Replacement Project Delayed Until 2022

The Portal North Bridge just received an installment of federal monies, but another part of the Gateway project, construction of a new two-track Hudson River rail tunnel, has been postponed until 2022, a year delay. At issue:  cost is now estimated at $11.6 billion, up 3% ($275 million), federal contributions remain uncertain and environmental approvals have not been made. A draft environmental impact statement was submitted for final consideration in February 2018 and remains in limbo.

LOCAL | August 28, 2020
AC Electric Proposes $220 Million Smart Grid

On Wednesday, Atlantic City Electric filed a proposal with the NJ BPU to build a Smart Energy Network that would modernize and enhance its energy grid, which spreads across South Jersey. The estimated $220 million project would install smart meters and upgrade the grid with state-of-the-art networking equipment, designed to improve reliability and resiliency, increase options for alternative energy and help the company restore power more quickly in the event of an outage. If the BPU approves the plan, Atlantic City Electric expects to begin construction in 2022 and complete it in approximately 21 months.

LOCAL | August 28, 2020
State Budget Would Restore Stockton Expansion Funds

As we posted in Hot Topics in April, Stockton University’s expansion plans for its Atlantic City campus came to a halt when state funding ceased and the university faced a massive revenue shortfall because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the Governor’s budget, announced Tuesday, revealed the $4.6 million originally promised to Stockton was back in the mix. If it’s approved by the Legislature in September, Stockton Phase II would commence with a $64 million, 400-bed dormitory across from O’Donnell Park in Atlantic City’s Chelsea neighborhood.

LOCAL | August 27, 2020
UPDATE:  Feds Send $280 Million for Portal Bridge Project

New Jersey received $280 million as one of the installments from the federal government to help replace the ancient Portal North Bridge over the Hackensack River in Kearny. As we have posted in Hot Topics, the Portal North rail bridge frequently fails to function, causing lengthy delays on the New Jersey Transit/Amtrak Northeast Corridor. Its replacement is part of the larger Gateway project that has been stalled in the federal approval process. The federal share of the bridge replacement project is approximately $800 million; the rest of the estimated $1.8 billion will come from the state and Amtrak. This recent installment will help fund the ongoing engineering process.

REGIONAL | August 26, 2020
FAA Gives Initial Approval for LaGuardia Rail Link

Last Friday, the FAA gave its initial approval for a $2 billion rail link from New York City to LaGuardia Airport. The Port Authority would build an elevated track that would connect LaGuardia with a subway and train stop at Citi Field in Queens. If final environmental approvals are granted, construction could begin in Summer 2021 and the link completed in late 2025.

LOCAL | August 26, 2020
Prospective Bally’s Owner Plans Capital Improvement

Twin River Worldwide Holdings of Rhode Island, which expects to complete its acquisition of Bally’s Atlantic City by year-end, has plans to restore the city’s third-oldest casino to competitive eminence. Twin River will invest in upgrading and renovating, with immediate focus on refurbishing rooms and adding suites. Next in the plans are new restaurants, gaming products, meeting and convention space, and an “enhanced” spa and pool. Twin River also expects to apply for a sports betting and internet gaming license soon.

LOCAL | August 26, 2020
Assisted Living Development Coming to Smithville

Last Thursday, the Smithville (Galloway Township in Atlantic County) Planning Board approved the final major site plan for a 139-room assisted living complex with 62 one- and two-bedroom apartments and eight single-family, single-story, two-bedroom cottages with garage. The Board also gave preliminary approval for an 80-room, three-story hotel with a first-floor gym and 88 parking spaces, a convenience store and gas station. Other parking would include 74 spaces for the assisted living facility, 131 for the residences and 62 for retail customers. The $20 million development would rise on 18+ acres near Route 9, across from the Smithville Inn, with the store and gas station on a subdivided piece of the same site. Plan applicants are the Towne of Historic Smithville and Windsor Healthcare of Norwood (Bergen County).

LOCAL | August 26, 2020
Former Wildwood Landfill Site Could Open for Development

An old Wildwood (Cape May County) landfill, long closed, could go out to bid by year-end in hopes a developer will express interest in recreating it for residential and/or commercial use. The site, which stretches along the bay between Baker and Garfield avenues, is being reviewed by CME Associates, the city engineer, to determine the condition of the land.

NATIONAL | August 21, 2020
States See Construction Jobs Drop in July

For the month from June to July, the country saw a drop in construction jobs in 26 states and DC, and an increase in 24. For the year-over-year comparing July 2019 to July 2020, 39 states saw a drop in construction jobs while 10 saw an increase, and Arkansas and DC remained unchanged. New Jersey gained 2,400 jobs for the month, up 1.7%, but had 13,000 fewer jobs than a year ago, an 8.2% loss. In the region, New York added the most jobs for the month, up 13,600 for a 4% gain, but was down 50,700 for the year-over-year, a 12.5% drop. Connecticut added 1,000 jobs for the month, up 1.8%, which put it at #5 in the country, but the state was down 2,300 jobs compared to last year, a 3.9% decrease. Delaware added 300 jobs for the month, up 1.4%, but lost 1,500 jobs for the year period, a 6.6% decline. Rhode Island added 400 jobs for the month, up 2.2% for a #4 ranking in the country, but lost 1,500 jobs for the year period, a 7.5% drop. And Pennsylvania lost jobs for both the month and year periods, shedding 1,500 jobs for the month, down 0.6%, and 18,700 for the year, down 7.2%.

NATIONAL | August 21, 2020
July Construction Starts Fall Sharply

Overall construction starts dropped 7% from June to July, plummeted 36% compared to July 2019, and are down 20% year-to-date. The month decline was primarily due to the steep drop in the nonbuilding segment, which fell 31% from June. The decrease in the year-over-year was pushed by a huge 44% free-fall in nonresidential starts in July 2020. And the year-to-date drop was due to private construction plunges in two major categories:  commercial starts dropped 34.6% compared to the first seven months of 2019; industrial starts dropped 77.5% for the same period. Multi-family residential starts were down 34% for the year-over-year and down 22% year-to-date. On the public side, institutional construction starts dropped 15% year-to-date compared to the first seven months of 2019, and engineering (civil) dropped 9.4% for the same period.

On a positive note, nonresidential building starts rose 3% for the month from June to July, an uptick caused by construction activity in the Northeast and West.

LOCAL | August 19, 2020
NJ Rail Infrastructure Rated Worst in Country

24/7 Wall Street ranked New Jersey’s rail infrastructure the most dangerous in the nation, based on train derailments per 100 miles of track from 2015 to 2019. The state had 10.9 derailments per 100 miles of track during the time period, while the US in total had 4.8 derailments per 100 miles of track. New Jersey also ranks worst in combined highway, bridge and rail infrastructure.

LOCAL | August 19, 2020
Bloomfield Middle School Could Be Repurposed Mixed-Use

Last night, the Bloomfield (Essex County) Planning Board was scheduled to hear plans for South Junior High School at 177 Franklin Street to be transformed into a development with 122 residential units, arts spaces, a 9,900-square-foot community auditorium and 171 parking spots. Plans call for renovation of the school building plus construction of a 20,368-square-foot addition to raise the height to five stories on the 3.629-acre site. The developer, Bloomfield South Junior High School Urban Renewal LLC of Los Angeles, estimates construction and site improvements will cost almost $30.8 million and take 12 months. Renderings by Urban Smart Growth of Pawtucket, RI, name the project “Bloomfield Lofts.”

LOCAL | August 19, 2020
Guttenberg Considers Arts District Mixed-Use

A group of properties at 7000 Adams Street in Guttenberg (Hudson County) could become a nine-story residential development with 156 units, two retail spaces, a green roof and an embroidery museum – named in the renderings from Baseline Architecture as the “Museum of Embroidery & Industry of North Hudson, harkening back to an era of thriving embroidery enterprises. The two-winged museum would be situated between the retail spaces. The 25,000-square-foot site, which Baseline named “E-Residences at Arts District,” is located near 70th Street between Bergenline Avenue and John F. Kennedy Boulevard and encompasses parcels on Adams and Jackson streets. According to plans, 130 of the residential units would be one-bedroom or studio apartments, 25 would be two-bedroom units and one would have three bedrooms.

LOCAL | August 14, 2020
Ironbound Mixed-Use Could Be Approved in Newark

Plans to build an eight-story, 56-unit mixed-use on Bruen Street in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood could be approved by the city’s planning board next week. The developer, 53 Bruen LLC (registered out of 109 Bruen Street), is seeking approval for the project at 53-55 and 57 Bruen Street; plans were submitted to the city by The Nader Group of Warren County showing eight balconied units on each of seven floors above two 2,000-square-foot ground-floor retail spaces. Between Lafayette and Hamilton streets, the site on Bruen, which parallels the Newark train tracks, is two blocks off McCarter Highway and approximately two blocks from Newark Penn Station. It sits in the East Ward’s MX-3 zone. The Newark Central Planning Board is scheduled to review the application on Monday during a 6 pm Zoom meeting.

NATIONAL | August 7, 2020
July Sees Construction Jobs Up Due to Residential Growth

Construction employment across the nation rose by 20,000 jobs in July due to increased activity in the residential sector, which added 24,000 jobs. Employment in the infrastructure and nonresidential building sectors, however, slid downward, losing 4,000 jobs. Total construction employment of 444,000 jobs clocked in at 5.6% lower than February’s peak. Drilling down, jobs in heavy/civil construction were 7.4% below February’s total and jobs in nonresidential building and specialty trades construction dropped 6.8% below the February numbers. The industry unemployment rate in July was 8.9% with 870,000 construction workers idled, more than double the number in July 2019 and the highest totals since 2012 and 2013, when the industry was still suffering the effects of the recession.

LOCAL | August 5, 2020
Massive Mixed-Use Proposed for West Windsor

Due to come before the West Windsor (Mercer County) Planning Board tonight at 7 pm is a proposal from Palladium Realty LLC for “Princeton Executive Park” on Meadow Road east of Route 1. Plans include 656 apartments, a hotel, retail and a restaurant, to be built in four phases. Phase 1 would be a 130-room hotel with a liquor license, indoor pool and rooftop bar, expected to be “Element by Westin” owned by the Briad Group. Phase 2 would be 356 residential units in 12 buildings and a clubhouse. Phases 3 and 4 would include 16,000 square feet of retail, a 6,915-square-foot restaurant and the other 300 apartments in 17 buildings. In total, the apartments would include 225 one-bedroom units, 351 two-bedroom units and 80 three-bedroom units. Palladium Realty appears to be part of Mack-Cali Realty Corporation.

LOCAL | August 5, 2020
NJ DOT Releases $161 Million for County Infrastructure

Last Friday, NJ DOT announced it was releasing $161.25 million in County Aid Grants for FY 2021 to help pay for infrastructure improvements. The grants to all 21 counties range from nearly $3.5 million for Cape May County to more than $12.6 million for Ocean County. For the allocation to each county, visit https://www.state.nj.us/transportation/uploads/comm/news/details/comm_np_20200731_113159_FY21_County_Aid_Breakdown.pdf

LOCAL | August 5, 2020
New AC Casino Group Commits $400 Million to Capital Improvements

Eldorado Resorts Inc., the new casino company that took over Caesars Entertainment Corp., has committed to an investment of $400 million in capital improvements over the next 36 months at its three Atlantic City properties – Caesars, Harrah’s and Tropicana. Of that $400 million, a minimum of $150 million will be spent on hotel renovations, gaming upgrades and new food and entertainment offerings at Caesars. Twin River Worldwide Holdings of Rhode Island is negotiating the purchase of Bally’s Atlantic City, but if the deal collapses, Eldorado would spend another $125 million on capital improvements at Bally’s.

NATIONAL | August 4, 2020
Construction Spending Drops in June

The US Census Bureau reports construction spending in June dropped to $1.355 trillion, marking four consecutive months of declines, but still coming in 0.1% higher than June 2019. By sector, the news wasn’t all disaster. New multifamily construction spending rose 3% for the month; private nonresidential construction spending as a whole was up 0.2%; spending on power projects was up 0.7%; spending on warehouse construction was up 0.2%; spending on manufacturing construction rose 1.7%; and even office construction spending was up 0.3%. Commercial construction spending was down 1.3%, with retail as part of that, down 3.4%. Also down for the month – spending on highway and street construction dropped 1.7%, education dropped 2.7% and transportation dropped 0.6%.

LOCAL | August 3, 2020
Paterson Approves Tax Break for Rebuilding Hinchliffe Stadium

Last week, the Paterson City Council approved a tax break for developers to rebuild Hinchliffe Stadium, former home of the New York Black Yankees and New York Cubans of the Negro Baseball Leagues in the 1930s and 40s. Plans include housing for seniors, parking and a restaurant at the site. Groundbreaking is planning for October with construction completed in two years.

LOCAL | July 29, 2020
Fourth Largest Airport Grant Goes to AC

 Atlantic City International Airport has received $11.2 million for runway improvements, the fourth largest grant given out by the US DOT as part of a $273 million package of grants for 184 airports across the country. All 10,000 feet of Runway 13-31 will be repaved; the grant covers 96% of the cost. Two other New Jersey airports also received grants:  $2.7 million for Cape May Airport runway and lighting upgrades, and $1.5 million for Millville Municipal Airport apron expansion.

LOCAL | July 29, 2020
$95 Million I-80/Route 15 Improvement Project Proposed

 NJ DOT has proposed an I-80/Route 15 Interchange Improvement plan estimated at $95 million to ease congestion on Route 15 in North Jersey. The proposal, which was only open for a short time for public comment, would create a connection between I-80 and Route 15 at its most congested section in Rockaway Township, Wharton and Dover (Morris County). Construction will not begin until Spring 2025 and is expected to take four years. Plans include:

  • A new ramp from I-80 East to Route 15 South into Wharton
  • New sidewalks and curb ramps south along Route 15 in Wharton between E. Dewey Ave. (CR 642) and Mt. Pleasant Ave.
  • Replacement of two traffic signals where E. Dewey and Mt. Pleasant intersect with Route 15
  • Extended deceleration lane from I-80 East leading to Exit 34 (Wharton/North Main Street)
  • Replacement of four bridges – I-80 East bridge over the old Mt. Hope Mineral Railroad; Route 15 North bridge over the old railroad; Route 15 North bridge over Green Pond Brook; and Route 15 South bridge over North Main Street Extension
  • Widening of the I-80 East and West bridges over North Main Street (CR 634)

NATIONAL | July 29, 2020
Construction Jobs Up for Month, Down for Year in US Metros

 From May to June, 291 of 358 metro areas (81%) added construction jobs, a positive sign, but compared to June of last year, 225 of 358 lost jobs, a nearly 63% decline. In New Jersey, all seven metros added jobs for the month, and all but one metro lost jobs for the year-over-year period. Atlantic City-Hammonton added 500 jobs for the month, up 13%, but lost 1,200 jobs for the year period, a 21% drop. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 3,000 jobs for the month, up 14%, but lost 6,700 jobs for the year period, a 21% drop. Camden added 900 jobs for the month, up 4%, but lost 1,300 jobs for the year period, down 5%. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 900 jobs for the month, up 5%, but lost 1,900 jobs for the year period, down 4%. Newark added 3,700 jobs for the month, up 10%, but lost 5,600 jobs for the year period, down 12%. Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs for the month, up 4%, but lost 200 jobs for the year period, down 7%. Only Trenton added jobs for both periods, with 600 jobs for the month, up 12%, and 200 jobs for the year period, up 4%.

NATIONAL | July 22, 2020
I-9 Form Document Flexibility Extended 30 Days

Back in March, the US Department of Homeland Security announced easing of the Form I-9 rules requiring in-person inspection of documents for Section 2 of the form, thus allowing employers to comply with I-9 rules while employees worked remotely during the pandemic. DHS has extended this flexibility, which expired Sunday, until August 19, 2020. For the news release, click here:

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-announces-another-extension-i-9-compliance-flexibility-no-more-extensions#wcm-survey-target-id

NATIONAL | July 17, 2020
June Sees Rise Over May in State Construction Jobs

Across the country, construction employment increased in 31 states and DC in June compared to May. For the year-over-year, June 2019 to June 2020, jobs increased in 15 states, decreased in 24 states and DC, and remained the same in one. After suffering the biggest losses, New York realized the biggest gains for the month, adding 42,000 jobs, a 14.2% jump, but the year-over-year losses put New York at the bottom, down 68,300 jobs, a 16.8% fall. New Jersey came in at #7 in the nation for the month, adding 7,100 jobs, a 5.2% hike. But state construction employment was way down from a year ago with the loss of 15,100 jobs, a 9.5% drop. In the rest of the region, Connecticut added 2,800 jobs for the month, a 5.2% increase (tied with New Jersey in the #7 spot), but was down 3,300 jobs for the year period, a 5.5% loss; Delaware was up 200 jobs for the month, a 1% increase, but down 1,900 jobs for the year, an 8.3% drop; Pennsylvania added 11,700 jobs for the month, up 5.1%, but was down 16,900 jobs for the year, a 6.5% drop; and Rhode Island added 100 jobs for the month, edging up 0.6%, but was down 1,900 jobs for the year, a 9.5% fall.

LOCAL | July 10, 2020
Another Plainfield Mixed-Use Approved

The developer, 803 South Avenue LLC (subsidiary of Eden Property Company of Edgewater), gained final approval July 2 from the Plainfield (Union County) planning board for a five-story, 104-unit mixed-use building on a 1.35-acre site near the town’s Netherwood train station (NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley Line). Clad in brick with cement panels, the residential units will include 10 studios, 61 one-bedrooms and 33 two-bedrooms, complemented by internal parking with 115 spaces, a bicycle storage room with space for 52 bikes, a club room and fitness center on the second floor, 870 square feet of commercial space on the first floor facing South Avenue, and a stormwater management basin designed to control up to 7,200 cubic feet of rain runoff. The development lies within Plainfield’s Transit-Oriented Development Netherwood – South Avenue Redevelopment area and is expected to break ground this year.

LOCAL | July 6, 2020
Plainfield Approves Mixed-Use in New Development Zone

Late last week, the Plainfield (Union County) Planning Board unanimously approved a five-story mixed-use structure with 14 apartments and ground-floor retail for a newly designated Transit-Oriented Downtown Development Zone south of the Plainfield NJ Transit station between Central and Watchung avenues. The building, to be located at 522-526 Park Ave., was designed by Taylor Architecture & Design to echo the style of many buildings in downtown Plainfield. Eight two-bedroom apartments and six studio units will be clad in brick veneer and composite cement fiber panels; large windows will show off the ground-floor retail space. Resident amenities include storage, a fitness center, a package room and rooftop terrace. Energy-saving features are also built into the design. The developer is 522-526 Park Avenue Urban Revival LLC. Plainfield has designated more than a dozen development zones near its Plainfield and Netherwood train stations.

NATIONAL | July 2, 2020
US Construction Jobs Pick Up in June But Way Down from 2019

AGC of America reports construction employment ramped up by 158,000 jobs in June across the country, after adding 453,000 jobs in May. The June numbers are 4.4% below June 2019 stats. By construction segment, heavy/civil lost 9,700 jobs in June and 60,100 for the year (down 5.6%); nonresidential building was up by 13,100 jobs for the month but down 47,000 jobs for the year (a 5.5% drop); and nonresidential specialty trades added 71,300 jobs for June but were down by 140,000 jobs for the year (a 5.2% drop). The industry unemployment rate clocked in at 10.1% in June, the highest June levels since 2012 and 2.5 times higher than June of last year.

NATIONAL | July 2, 2020
Construction Spending Nationwide Drops in May

Yesterday, AGC of America reported construction spending across the nation declined 2.1% in May, the third consecutive month of declines. Private project spending dropped sharply, pulling the total spending numbers down despite a rise in public work. Per AGC, total construction spending in May was $1.36 million, the lowest total since June 2019, and total spending has declined 5.9% since February, “the steepest three-month contraction since 2009.” By category, private construction spending dropped 3.3% from April to May, after having slid 3.8% from March to April. Public construction spending rose 1.2% in May over April but had dropped 2.7% from March to April.

LOCAL | July 1, 2020
Paterson Approves Great Falls Visitors Center Project

Yesterday, the Paterson (Passaic County) City Council approved a $48 million Visitors Center and parking garage for Great Falls National Park. Plans call for three phases, to include a $24.5 million visitors center on the overlook facing the falls, a $15.1 million parking deck with 270 spaces plus ground-floor retail, and an $8 million community center at Main and Ward streets. The project now needs approval from the Passaic County Board of Freeholders, Passaic County Improvement Authority and the NJ EDA.

NATIONAL | June 30, 2020
Construction Jobs Rise Again in Most Metro Areas in May

Across the US, 329 of 358 metro areas added construction jobs in May compared to April, nearly 92%, indicating fewer restrictions on construction as states began to reopen for business. In New Jersey, every metro increased jobs for the month. Newark added 6,800 jobs, a 22% jump; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 4,300 jobs, a 24% leap; Camden added 3,200, an 18% hike; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 1,900 jobs, a 5% rise; Atlantic City-Hammonton added 800, another big 24% rise; Trenton added 300, a 7% rise; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 100, a 4% increase.

NATIONAL | June 30, 2020
AGC Survey Reports Highway Work Zone Dangers

In AGC of America’s annual Work Zone Safety Survey, two-thirds of the more than 200 respondents reported “at least one crash involving a moving vehicle” in the past year on the jobsites they operate, and 33% reported five or more. Of the crashes, 17% resulted in injuries to construction workers, 44% in injuries to the drivers or passengers. Workers were killed in 5% of the crashes and drivers or passengers were killed in 15%. For the complete survey results, visit agc.org.

LOCAL | June 19, 2020
UPDATE:  Ocean County Approves New Social Services Complex

In February, we posted in Hot Topics plans for a new social services complex at 1027 Hooper Avenue in Toms River. On Wednesday, the County Board of Freeholders approved an ordinance to construct a three-story, 121,000-square foot building with a new price tag of $56.8 million that will consolidate the six buildings of the current Ocean County social services offices and house the Board of Social Services (approximately 50% of the space). About 18% of the space will be divided among the Office of Senior Services, Consumer Affairs Department, Veterans Services Bureau, Human Services, the Ocean County Adjuster’s Office, the county Medical Examiner’s office, county School Superintendent and the Private Industry Council, with the rest used for common areas, conference rooms and job training classrooms. A parking lot will hold 715 vehicles. The 10-acre site on Hooper Ave., now owned by the county, has four old buildings that will be demolished. The project will be managed by T&M Associates in Toms River; groundbreaking is planned for late 2020 with construction completed in 1Q2022.

LOCAL | June 19, 2020
NJ Governor Announces Offshore Wind Port

New Jersey Wind Port, announced earlier this week by Gov. Murphy, will be the first of its kind in the US, a 200-acre marshalling and manufacturing port for the offshore wind industry, estimated to cost $300-$400 billion when complete. Construction will begin next year with a 25-acre manufacturing site and 30-acre marshalling and staging site in Lower Alloways Creek (Salem County) and is expected to create hundreds of union jobs. In addition to the manufacturing and marshalling space, the port will include heavy-lift wharfs and open access to the Atlantic Ocean, with “short steaming distances to more than 50%” of the country’s offshore wind lease areas. The Governor and EDA’s CEO Tim Sullivan predict the project will support up to $500 million annually in new economic activity.

NATIONAL | June 19, 2020
Construction Jobs Bounce Back in May

After an abysmal April, May construction employment trended up in 45 states and DC. New Jersey added 14,100 jobs, an 11.6% jump, for the month, ranking 7th in the nation. However, the year-over-year numbers for the state showed a loss of 23,400 jobs compared to May 2019, a 14.7% drop. In the region, New York hit rock bottom for the year-over-year, losing 105,300 jobs, a 25.9% decline, but picked up 57,700 jobs for the month, up 23.7% to grab the #5 spot in the nation. Connecticut lost 6,400 jobs year-over-year, down 10.7%, but added 3,200 jobs for the month, up 6.4%. Delaware lost 2,300 jobs year-over-year, down 10%, but added 400 jobs for the month, up 2%. Pennsylvania lost 24,500 jobs year-over-year, down 9.4%, but added 77,400 jobs for the month, up 48.9%, #2 in the nation. Only Rhode Island saw losses for both periods, down 2,400 jobs year-over-year, a 12% drop, and 100 jobs for the month, a 0.6% drop.

LOCAL | June 4, 2020
Amazon Proposes Facilities in Kearny, Teterboro

Last night, Amazon was scheduled to present to the Kearny (Hudson County) Planning Board its proposal for a distribution facility in an industrial park at 670 Belleville Turnpike, seeking Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval. Plans include renovation of an existing 194,642-square-foot warehouse, 18 loading docks and parking. Another Amazon proposal is scheduled to go before the Teterboro (Bergen County) Planning Board on June 9 for renovation of a building at 125 North Street to become a “last-mile delivery station.” And West Caldwell (Essex County) recently approved an Amazon Logistics delivery station at 10 Patton Drive.

NATIONAL | June 4, 2020
Most Metro Areas Lose Construction Jobs in April

 In the month from March to April, 326 of 358 metro areas across the country (91%) lost construction jobs. New York City shed the highest number, down 75,900 (a 49% drop). In New Jersey, all seven metro areas lost jobs. The biggest percentage loss was in Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, which dropped 37% on the loss of 11,400 jobs, and the biggest number of job losses was in Newark, down 14,800 jobs, a 33% drop. Camden lost 4,800 jobs, a 22% drop; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean lost 3,700 jobs, a 9% drop; Atlantic City-Hammonton lost 1,300 jobs, a 24% drop; Trenton lost 700 jobs, a 13% drop; and Vineland-Bridgeton lost 500 jobs, an 18% drop.

LOCAL | May 29, 2020
Edgewater Mixed-Use Could Be Back in the Plans

A mixed-use development on the site of the old Hess plant, 19 acres at 615 River Road along the Hudson River in Edgewater (Bergen County), could move forward if Edgewater Planning Board officials approve the site as an “area in need of redevelopment” in a Zoom meeting scheduled for next Monday evening at 7pm (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83064456357, meeting ID 830 6445 6357). The developers, 615 River Road Partners, a joint venture between The Maxal Group and EnviroFinance Group of Denver, propose approximately 1,200 residential units and up to 20,000 square feet of retail in glass-fronted buildings situated on both sides of River Road. The buildings would be connected by a public skybridge, public parks would flank both sides of River Road and the waterfront area would feature an amphitheater. An upgraded pier on the Hudson would be converted to a new ferry stop into Manhattan and public bus “super stops” would be integrated into the development. Five acres on the western portion of the site would be donated to the town for a new public school.

LOCAL | May 28, 2020
Lavish Water Park Planned at the Showboat

Developer and Atlantic City Showboat owner Bart Blatstein has announced plans to build a $100 million water park between the Showboat and the Ocean Casino Resort, on land at the north end of the Boardwalk that is currently a parking lot but has been slated for redevelopment. Blatstein applied for state tax credit to help finance the project, which he hopes to start in August. If the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approves the site as an entertainment retail district, it could earn an annual tax rebate of as much as $2.5 million in sales tax generated by the water park. Blatstein also seeks tax breaks on construction materials for the project.

LOCAL | May 27, 2020  
Portal Bridge Project Gets $55 Million Federal Grant

Yesterday the Federal Railroad Administration announced a $55 million grant to Amtrak as part of the federal contribution to share the cost of replacing the Portal North Bridge in Kearny. The funds follow the Federal Transit Administration’s raised rating on the bridge project in February, which moved it to medium-high and therefore eligible for more federal monies.

NATIONAL | May 26, 2020
Only South Dakota Sees Uptick in April Construction Jobs

All the rest, 49 states and DC, lost construction jobs in April, due of course to the coronavirus pandemic. New Jersey, despite keeping essential construction projects open, lost 37,600 jobs compared to April 2019, a 23.5% freefall. For the month from March to April, the state shed 43,800 jobs, a 26.4% drop. In the region, Delaware lost 2,000 jobs for the year-over-year, down 8.7%, and 2,100 for the month, down 9.1%; Rhode Island lost 2,800 jobs for the year-over-year, down 13.9%, and 2,700 for the month, down 13.4%; Connecticut lost 11,100 jobs for the year period, down 18.3%, and 10,600 for the month, down 17.6%; Pennsylvania lost 103,000 for the year period, down 39.4%, and 100,900 for the month, down 38.9%; and New York lost 167,900 for the year period, a 41.1% drop, and 166,200 for the month, a 40.8% drop.

LOCAL | May 21, 2020
Capital Improvement Budget Approved in AC

On Tuesday, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved a $15 million capital improvement budget for the remainder of 2020, covering projects inside the AC Convention Center and Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall. A third will go for the $5 million switchgear replacement in West Hall (contract awarded Tuesday).

LOCAL | May 12, 2020
Evesham Approves Assisted Living for Marlton Executive Redevelopment

Last week the Evesham (Burlington County) Planning Board approved construction of a three-story, 76,500-square-foot, 87-unit assisted living facility with 105 beds on just over six acres (three lots) at 5 Executive Drive off Evesham Road. Capitol Senior Housing of Washington DC was named the developer last fall and anticipates construction will begin between November 1, 2020, and January 1, 2021, taking approximately 15 months to complete. Of the units, 60 will be assisted living and 27 will be memory care. Also included in the plans: 30,000 square feet of common space, a common dining room, private dining space, a theater, living rooms, a bistro, hair salon, seating areas, lounges and outdoor gardens featuring a pond.

LOCAL | May 11, 2020
Feds Grant $800,000 for Camden Brownfields Cleanup

A $500,000 grant from EPA will go toward remediation of the old Borden Chemical plant on 2.7 acres on the 1600 block of Federal Street in Camden, which is polluted with heavy metals, semi-volatile and volatile organic compounds. Another nearly $300,000 from the feds, awarded to Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, will be used to assess other possible brownfield sites on roughly 80 acres in North Camden. The city hopes to encourage private development following cleanup at the sites.

NATIONAL | April 29, 2020
More than One-Quarter of Metro Areas Shed Construction Jobs in March

Compared to March 2019, 99 of 358 (nearly 28%) US metro areas lost construction jobs this March, the first month that reflected the shutdowns and project cancellations caused by COVID-19. Nonetheless, 205 metro areas picked up jobs and 54 remained unchanged from a year ago. In New Jersey, four of seven metro areas increased construction employment March to March: Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 2,400 jobs, a 6% gain; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 1,400 jobs, a 5% gain; Newark added 800 jobs, a 2% gain; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 200 jobs, an 8% jump. Atlantic City-Hammonton and Trenton registered no change for the year period, and only Camden lost jobs, shedding 400, a 2% drop.

NATIONAL | April 23, 2020
US Senators Propose $19.5 Billion Water Infrastructure Bill

Draft legislation, proposed by John Barrasso (R-Wyo), chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Tom Carper (D-Del), top Democrat on the committee, would authorize $19.5 billion for Army Corps of Engineers flood protection, ecological restoration and drinking water programs. It’s a two-bill legislative package that includes America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 and the Drinking Water Infrastructure Act. Between the two, $7.5 billion over three years would be allocated for EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Funds, which go toward wastewater treatment projects, and $2.5 billion would be slated for drinking water State Revolving Funds. The senators hope to move the legislation along with highway infrastructure funding once the coronavirus crisis subsides.

LOCAL | April 23, 2020
Stockton Puts a Hold on Dorm Expansion Project

After receiving the first installment of state funds earlier this year, Stockton University was moving ahead on its Atlantic City dorm expansion project. But the coronavirus crisis has put that project on hold. State funding, both specific to the project and regular aid to the university, has stopped. The university also spent $6.3 million in refunds and credits to students who lived on campus, and lost another $2.5 million in revenue from housing, parking and event fees. The result is a spending freeze on “nonessential” expenditures. However, the Atlantic City Development Corp., the project developer, is continuing to advance the permitting and planning of the Stockton project so it can pick up again when funding is restored.

LOCAL | April 17, 2020
Seton Hall Plots Future Student Housing Complex

In the planning stage is a multi-story student housing complex that could include commercial space, proposed for 519 and 525 South Orange Avenue, across the street from Seton Hall University’s South Orange campus (Essex County). A public hearing by phone is scheduled for Monday at 10 am, hosted by the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority.

LOCAL | April 17, 2020
NJ DOT Gets $47.3 Million for Bridge Maintenance

On April 9, NJ DOT announced it received $47.3 million in grants from the state’s Local Bridges Fund for repair, reconstruction and replacement of county-owned bridges across the state that are deemed structurally deficient. The funds are an initiative of the Transportation Trust Fund. For a list of the bridge projects, download: https://www.state.nj.us/transportation/uploads/comm/news/details/comm_np_20200409_103927_FY2020_Local_Bridge_Fund_Grants.pdf

NATIONAL | April 17, 2020
March Construction Employment Indicates Start of Down Trend

Across the US, 20 states and the District of Columbia lost construction jobs in March, showing the beginning of a sharp decrease in jobs as construction was shut down in many states. New Jersey shed 100 jobs for the month, a 0.1% dip, but was strong compared to March 2019 with the addition of 6,900 jobs, a 4% increase. In the region, New York added 1,900 jobs for the month, up 1%, and 3,200 jobs for the year period, also a 1% gain; Connecticut added 700 jobs for the month, up 1%, and 1,000 jobs for the year period, a 2% gain; Pennsylvania lost 5,600 jobs for the month, down 2%, but was up 1,000 jobs for the year-over-year, a 0.4% gain; Rhode Island remained unchanged for the month but added 200 jobs for the year period, a 1% gain; and Delaware remained unchanged for both the month and year.

LOCAL | April 9, 2020
Woodbridge Mixed-Use Project Planned

In January, plans received a public hearing for a seven-story mixed-use development at 10 Main Street off Rahway Avenue in Woodbridge (Middlesex County), being called Modera Woodbridge by the developer, Woodbridge 10 Main Urban Renewal LLC. The existing strip mall and parking lot, across from the Woodbridge Municipal complex and a block from the Woodbridge NJ Transit rail station, would be replaced with 279 residential units and 5,800 square feet of retail space, along with two parking garages, one a two-level and one a three-level. The developer has applied for NJDEP permits and the project was listed on the Township’s February Planning Board agenda as “tentatively scheduled for adoption.”

REGIONAL | April 3, 2020
Pennsylvania Opens Some Construction Sites

As announced on Tuesday, Pennsylvania has opened 61 highway, tunnel and bridge construction projects, a partial reversal of the order that had shut down all construction projects last month because of the coronavirus crisis. The projects are designated “emergency and critically important.”

LOCAL | April 3, 2020
Rowan Guide:  How to 3D-Print Face Masks  

Rowan University has released a how-to guide to producing 3D-printed face masks that can be “washed, disinfected and reused.” Complete with designs and instructions, the guide describes face masks in three sizes. Each has a replaceable filter, can be made of sterile, nonwoven material and, when dipped in hot water, can be molded to the wearer’s face for optimum coverage and protection, although Rowan alerts users the masks are not meant to replace the N95 masks recommended by the CDC for healthcare workers. To download the guide and STL files, visit www.rowan.edu/mask.

NATIONAL | April 2, 2020
AI App Measures Social Distancing on Jobsites

On Monday, Smartvid.io, a provider of construction safety software, will launch a new app for Vinnie, its artificial intelligence interface, that can measure social distancing on construction jobsites. When connected to cameras, Vinnie can become a “virtual safety inspector” and determine the distance between two workers. Reporting can be done in real-time or in daily reports so jobsite supervisors can make adjustments as necessary.

LOCAL | March 27, 2020
Vineland Approves New Industrial Construction 

Last week, Vineland (Cumberland County) approved construction of a 140,000-square-foot, two-level industrial building on 16.5 acres of private land off West Forest Grove and Mill roads between Rts. 55 and 47 near Kroelinger Airport. The developer, B.D.G.S. Inc. of Vineland, plans a 125,000-square-foot ground floor and 15,000-square-foot mezzanine. The Vineland Zoning Board granted a height variance from 40 to 46 feet.

NATIONAL | March 17, 2020
States Add Construction Jobs Before Coronavirus Hits

Compared to January 2019, 32 states added construction jobs in  January 2020, based on BLS data and AGC of America analysis. For the month from December 2019 to January 2020, 33 states added jobs. However, AGC noted the numbers were collected before the coronavirus hit the US, which is expected to hurt job creation in construction and other industries. New Jersey fared well during both periods, adding 1,700 construction jobs for the year-over-year, a 1.1% gain, and 2,000 jobs for the month, a 1.3% increase. In the region, Pennsylvania added 2,100 jobs for the year period, edging up 0.8%, and 4,400 for the month, up 1.7%; New York lost 1,800 jobs for the year period, slipping 0.4%, but gained 4,700 for the month, up 1.2%; Delaware lost 200 jobs for the year period, down 0.9%, but picked up 600 for the month, a 2.7% gain; Rhode Island lost 600 jobs for the year period, a 3% drop, landing in the bottom five states, but held steady with no change for the month; and Connecticut lost 200 jobs for the year period, down 0.3%, and lost 700 jobs for the month, a 1.2% drop.

LOCAL | March 13, 2020
Construction Loan for Elizabeth Apartments

Developers of the old Elizabeth General Hospital site, whose sale we posted in Hot Topics in 2015, just received a $56 million construction loan for a Class A apartment complex called Jersey City Walk. The five-and-a-half-acre site at 901 East Jersey Street will hold two six-story buildings totaling 218,292 square feet, offering 274 studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments and 3,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. A 540-space free-standing parking garage currently on the site will be renovated. Construction on Phase I, already started, is expected to be completed in Spring 2021. Construction on Phase II, also two six-story buildings with 240 apartments, is still in the planning stage. Units average 683 square feet. CMT Developers LLC received the loan from Parkview Financial of Los Angeles.

LOCAL | March 12, 2020
Newark Approves Transit Village Designation Request

On Tuesday, the Newark Municipal Council approved submitting a petition to the state to designate part of the city a transit village. If accepted by the state, a half-mile area around Broad and Market streets would become a Transit Village, eligible for NJDOT grants and priority status for other state monies.

LOCAL | March 12, 2020
New Rule Would Bypass Oversight for Wastewater Projects

The NJ BPU has proposed a rule that could spur the replacement and repair of wastewater infrastructure, creating projects potentially worth tens of billions of dollars, but would also bypass regulatory oversight in order to accelerate the approval process. The rule, called the Wastewater Systems Improvement Charge (WSIC), would allow the 11 regulated wastewater utilities in the state to recover upgrade costs more quickly. It would not apply to the municipal and county authorities.

LOCAL | March 4, 2020
Annex at Kearny Point Gets Financing

Hugo Neu Group, developer of The Annex at Kearny Point, has secured $14.5 million for construction and rehabilitation of The Annex, a 90,000-square-foot building next to Building 78 on the old shipyard site in Kearny (Hudson County). The two-story Annex design includes office space, modern amenities, break-out areas and a craneway lit by floor-to-ceiling windows. Green components include integrated stormwater management, a carbon adaptation garden and carbon sink, and a 1,200-kilowatt microgrid with solar and battery storage.

LOCAL | March 4, 2020
Jersey City to Expand Light Rail and Mixed-Use Development

The “440 connection” would add a 3,200-foot extension of NJ Transit’s Hudson-Bergen Light Rail from the current West Side Avenue terminus to a new terminal along Route 440 on the Hackensack River waterfront, around which the city hopes new development will occur. In addition, the city plans a bridge over Route 440 to connect the terminal to “Bayfront,” the proposed mixed-use development on land owned by Jersey City and Honeywell International. The total proposal is estimated at $220 million.

LOCAL | March 2, 2020
City Advances Hoboken Yard Redevelopment

On February 19, the Hoboken (Hudson County) City Council unanimously approved the latest version of the Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan, allowing commercial development at three sites totaling 1.3 million square feet.

  • Site 1: Near the intersection of Hudson Street and Hudson Place, zoned for 200-300-foot-tall office building
  • Site 2: Two blocks west of Site 1, zoned commercial allowing for 330-foot-tall building but could also include residential with 20% affordable housing
  • Site 3: Observer Hwy & Marin Blvd., where NJ Transit maintenance building is currently located, zoned commercial with 145 feet maximum height (NJ Transit building would be relocated)

Other aspects of the plan include parking requirements (0.125 spaces per 1,000 square feet commercial; 0.25 space for every residential unit), along with renovation of the Hoboken Terminal ferry building and Warrington Plaza that would include new pick-up/drop-off zones for ride-sharing services, taxis and shuttle buses and could include new outdoor market space and a renovated second floor.

LCOR is the designated redeveloper of all the sites.

NATIONAL | March 2, 2020
Coronavirus Impact Lowering Costs of Construction Materials

If there is a silver lining to the coronavirus outbreak…AGC of America reports the costs of some construction materials have begun to fall as part of the impact of the global health issue. Down nearly 25% since the beginning of the year are crude oil prices, likely resulting in further declines in the cost of gasoline, diesel fuel and liquid asphalt. As China’s demand for copper and steel falls, so too are those prices expected to drop. However, commodity price drops may not be felt immediately.

The PPI from January, before the effects of the coronavirus were measured, showed steel mill product prices were up 0.3% for the month but down 15% compared to January 2019; prices for asphalt paving mixtures and blocks were up 7.1% for the month and 1.1% for the year period; and diesel fuel prices were down 8.1% for the month but up 7.2% for the year period.

LOCAL | February 24, 2020
Newark to Consider 40-Story Mixed-Use in Lower Broadway

96 Clay Partnership LLC will seek approval tonight from the Newark Central Planning Board for a 40-story mixed-use development on seven tracts in the Mount Pleasant/Lower Broadway neighborhood – 94 Clay Street, 1239-1241-1243 McCarter Highway (Route 21) and 316-320, 322-326 and 328-330 Mount Pleasant Avenue. The building would include 484 residential units and ground-floor commercial space.

LOCAL | February 21, 2020
NJDOL Issues Stop-Work Order to Subcontractor

REB Construction and Maintenance LLC of Bound Brook was issued a stop-work order on January 31 and fined $19,250 for wage violations while on a Jersey City project at 100 Water Street. REB was cited for failure to maintain records, failure to pay payroll taxes, misclassification of construction workers and failure to carry workers’ comp insurance. NJDOL reports general contractor Katerra has replaced REB on the project.

NATIONAL | February 21, 2020
US DOT Announces $1 Billion in BUILD Grants

On Wednesday, US DOT published a Notice of Funding Opportunity for Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants totaling $1 billion. BUILD grants for surface transportation infrastructure – roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports or intermodal transportation – are awarded on a competitive basis for projects that demonstrate significant local or regional impact. USDOT is hosting a series of webinars to assist grant applicants, with the next webinar scheduled for February 25. Deadline for applications is May 18, 2020. For more information, visit https://www.transportation.gov/BUILDgrants.

LOCAL | February 21, 2020
Burlington Township Approves Elbow Lane Warehouse

In January, the Burlington Township Zoning Board gave final major site plan approval to Johnson Development Associates’ proposal for a 266,966-square-foot warehouse that includes 9,670 square feet of office space. The warehouse will sit on a 59-acre site along Elbow Lane, which runs from Springside Rancocas Road to Mt. Holly Road, passing under I-295. Plans include 156 passenger vehicle parking spaces, 45 loading berths and two landscaped parking areas for future additional parking if needed.

LOCAL | February 19, 2020
Hudson County Courthouse Plans Progress

The Frank J. Guarini Justice Complex, a $345 million project to replace the old Hudson County Administration Building on the other side of Newark Street in Jersey City, will include 24 courtrooms, jury assembly spaces, offices and the Sheriff’s Department. The five-story building, aiming for LEED Silver, will also feature a 75-seat public food court, a self-help law library, a play area for children, training spaces and a 459-space parking garage. Cook Street will be eliminated and other streets realigned to extend Central Avenue to connect with Newark Avenue. The complex entrance will be on Central Avenue; the garage will be near the intersection with Route 139. Last week the Hudson County freeholders awarded a $2.6 million contract for roadwork and passed a resolution to authorize the county to seek bids for construction of the court complex, which is expected to be completed in 2023. Once that work is done, the old building will be demolished, to be replaced by a three-acre public park. The Hudson County Improvement Authority will act as redeveloper on the project.

LOCAL | February 19, 2020
$30 Million Project Proposed for Pleasantville’s Lakes Bay Marina

The marina district, 16 blocks on approximately 25 acres in Pleasantville (Atlantic County), could get a huge upgrade in the form of a dredged marina, 180 market-rate apartments, retail, a restaurant, clubhouse and pool, and public space for art and wine festivals and street fairs. In addition, depending on the DEP’s Green Acres Program rules, Ty Helfrich Field near the old Pleasantville High School could be improved. Scarborough Properties of Marmora, which owns the site, is proposing the $30 million project, which has yet to go through the Planning Board.

LOCAL | February 19, 2020
Possible Warehouses Coming to Mansfield

On February 24, Mansfield Realty North plans to present to the Mansfield (Burlington County) Planning Board a proposal to build 853,000 square feet of warehouses on 82.5 acres along both sides of Route 206. One building, on 62.3 acres between Route 206 and Aaronson Road north of White Pine Road, would be 772,800 square feet, divided into 742,500 square feet of warehouse and 30,300 square feet of office. The second building, 150,000 square feet divided into 135,500 square feet of warehouse and 15,000 square feet of office, would be built on 20.2 acres west of Route 206. Both would include loading docks, trailer spaces, employee parking and stormwater management facilities. Jughandles from Route 206 would be built to access each site.

LOCAL | February 14, 2020
New Social Services Complex for Ocean County

A $47 million social services complex at 1027 Hooper Avenue in Toms River will consolidate the six buildings of the current Ocean County social services offices, offering one location for unemployment, Medicaid, food stamps and other programs. The county freeholder board will pay for the complex from its 2020 capital budget, assuming approval at a meeting scheduled for next Wednesday. The county purchased the land in 2018 and will own the new building. Construction is planned for late 2020 through 2021.

LOCAL | February 14, 2020
More Jersey Voices Seek US Army HQ at Joint Base-MDL

Toms River officials, including the mayor, a retired US Navy rear admiral, passed a resolution expressing their wishes for a new US Army headquarters to be built at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. It would be the fourth Army HQ in the country and would house an operational command post with more than 200 soldiers (meaning they could be deployed overseas in a conflict) and an administrative component for 630 active-duty soldiers. New Jersey’s Congressional delegation and Ocean County officials have also given their support for the project; Joint Base-MDL is apparently among 31 bases being considered for the new HQ.

LOCAL | February 13, 2020
Jersey City Block Moves Toward Redevelopment

A block of 38 attached prefab townhouses on a 1.81-acre in Jersey City could be replaced by a tiered high-rise with 810 rental units, 14,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and a 294-space parking garage. Lennar Multifamily Communities, through the Harsimus Cove Association, detailed plans for the lot bounded by First and Second streets, Marin Blvd. and Grove Street, cut through by two dead-end roads, Saddlewood Court and Laurel Court. Those two streets give the redevelopment its temporary name, Laurel & Saddlewood. As part of the deal, a pre-K through 5th grade school would be built along First Street. Also, Philippine Plaza, which sits on the site, would be nearly quadrupled to 11,400 square feet, preserving the existing memorial and creating a public park. Design elements feature brick with glass on the tower and multiple terraces, green roofs and a stormwater management system. The City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on a resolution to declare the site a “condemnation redevelopment area.” Lennar hopes for redevelopment plan approval in March, followed by formal plan submittal this summer and groundbreaking in September 2021.

LOCAL | February 13, 2020
Union Membership Grows in Jersey

According to the BLS, 15.7% of New Jersey’s wage and salary workers were union members in 2019, compared to 10.3% nationwide and up from 14.9% in 2018. The percentages are based on 642,000 union members out of 4.094 million wage and salary workers in the state.

LOCAL | February 12, 2020
UPDATE:  Portal Bridge Eligible for Fed Funding

On Monday, the Federal Transit Administration raised the rating on the ancient Portal Bridge, which carries NJ Transit and Amtrak trains across the Hackensack River in Kearny, to medium-high, making it eligible for federal funding. The bridge replacement project now awaits the Trump administration’s approval of the grant request and decision on a funding level. In the meantime, the FTA rating on the Gateway Tunnel under the Hudson is medium-low, so it remains ineligible for federal funding.

LOCAL | February 6, 2020
UPDATE: Plans Revealed for East Brunswick Rte. 18 Corridor

In August 2018, we posted in Hot Topics news of East Brunswick’s RFP for developers interested in redeveloping more than 30 acres along Route 18 in this Middlesex County township. This week, township officials revealed plans from River Development Equities LLC of Red Bank for a “pedestrian-oriented” development stretching south from Ruth Street (one street south of Eggers) to Lake Avenue along southbound Route 18. Plans include a bus terminal and commuter parking garage, a “main street” running parallel to Route 18 with a traffic circle, and mixed-use buildings that would contain 800 rental units, retail shops and restaurants for indoor and outdoor dining. A “mixed-use lifestyle center,” the focus of the first phase of building, would include residential, retail, a medical office complex, the bus terminal, a tech center and East Brunswick’s municipal center, which would be relocated from its current site at Civic Center Drive off Ryder’s Lane. Other aspects proposed include indoor and outdoor pet facilities, pedestrian walkways, parks and greenways, and a central public plaza with amphitheater for farmers’ markets and concerts. Currently, most of the property is privately owned and houses partially empty strip malls. The developer plans to purchase the site and start demolition in last summer 2020.

NATIONAL | February 6, 2020
Year-End Metro Construction Jobs Still Swing Up

For the year from December 2018 to December 2019, construction jobs in 211 of the nation’s 358 metro areas grew, a positive 59%, while 73 metro areas lost jobs and 74 remained unchanged. Just as it did last month, New York City lost the largest number of jobs in the country for the year period, shedding 4,500 for a 3% drop. New Jersey metros were mixed. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic gained 2,400 jobs, up a healthy 8%; Atlantic City-Hammonton picked up 300 jobs, a 6% boost; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 400 jobs, up 1%; and Vineland-Bridgeton gained 100 jobs, up 4%. The other three metros lost jobs:  Newark shed 1,700, a 4% decrease; Trenton dropped 200 jobs, also a 4% loss; and Camden lost 1,700 jobs, a 7% drop.

LOCAL | January 31, 2020
Redevelopment and Possible Train Station in Paterson

Last month, the Passaic County Planning Board conditionally approved plans for a 72-unit apartment building at 198-206 Lafayette Street in the Wrigley Park section of Paterson (Fourth Ward Redevelopment Area). 198-206 Lafayette St Holdings LLC, registered at the same address on East 18th Street as Florio Property Management, owns the land, which currently has a vacant building. Plans call for a five-story building on 26,062 square feet and a parking garage with one space per residential unit, plus a new sidewalk in front of the building. Because the site is adjacent to New Jersey Transit train tracks, and redevelopment of a second tract just west of it has been proposed, long-term plans for Passaic-Bergen rail connection would include a rail station at Lafayette Street.

LOCAL | January 31, 2020
PennEast Petition for Eminent Domain Decision Approved by FERC

Yesterday, FERC approved the petition from PennEast Pipeline requesting a declaratory order and expedited action on the Natural Gas Act’s eminent domain authority. FERC’s approval could mean PennEast may continue its plan to build a 120-mile natural gas pipeline from Luzerne County in Pennsylvania, across the Delaware and through six townships in New Jersey. PennEast is still appealing the Third Circuit Court decision, which prohibited the pipeline installation on state land.

LOCAL | January 27, 2020
Hoboken Council Reviews Redevelopment Plans

On January 15, the Hoboken City Council approved Applied Monroe Lender LLC, a subsidiary of Ironstate Development, as conditionally designated redeveloper of a 1.43-acre site at 800-822 Monroe Street. Plans for a tiered mixed-used development, rising to 120 feet at the highest point, include 10 floors with 186 rental units in the highest tiers (and equivalent parking spaces on the ground floor), comprised of one three-bedroom unit, 135 one-bedroom units and 50 two-bedroom units. Some could feature interior-facing private terraces or outdoor space. A third-floor common courtyard would offer two pools, seating and a lounge. A dog run is planned for the roof. Other amenities could include bike storage and a pet cleaning station. A public outdoor terrace would run along 8th Street; 1,900 square feet of retail would flank the corners of Monroe and Jackson streets; and a subsurface stormwater detention system would help mediate flooding. Exterior would be brick and flush cast stone with glass and metal window features. The site is part of Zone 2 of Hoboken’s Northwest Industrial Redevelopment Plan. Remediation of the site, formerly the home of Levolor Blind Manufacturing Company, is expected to be finished in the first quarter of this year; final approvals could come as early as April and construction could begin late in 2020, completed in 2022.

LOCAL | January 27, 2020
UPDATE:  East Orange Brick Church Plaza Slated for Replacement

We posted in Hot Topics in August the Brick Church Plaza in East Orange (Essex County) could be redeveloped into the Crossings at Brick Church Station. Now we report the East Orange Planning Board approved an application submitted by Brick Church Opportunity Zone Fund I LLC for Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval for the project, expected to include 820 residential units and 197,650 square feet of commercial space in two buildings, one nine stories and the other five stories, plus a seven-story parking garage. Per Triangle Equities of Queens, the development would be constructed in three phases, with groundbreaking at year-end 2020 and phase one completed by 2Q 2023. ShopRite could be one of the tenants, with a new store replacing the existing supermarket.

NATIONAL | January 27, 2020
State Construction Employment Up for Year in 34 States

New Jersey was one of 34 states that saw an uptick in construction jobs for the year from December 2018 to December 2019, adding 1,400 jobs, a 0.9% bump. But New Jersey saw a loss for the month, November to December, losing 600 jobs for a 0.4% drop, while 29 states gained jobs for the month. In the region, New York lost 600 jobs for the year period, down 0.1%, but gained 1,100 for the month, up 0.3%; Connecticut lost 3,400 jobs for the year period, a 5.5% drop (which landed it in the bottom five in the nation), but gained 600 jobs for the month, up 1%; Rhode Island lost 300 jobs for the year, down 1.5%, and remained unchanged for the month; Delaware lost 300 jobs for the year period and again for the month, a 1.3% drop for each; and Pennsylvania lost 3,300 jobs for the year period, down 1.3%, plus lost another 1,600 for the month, down 0.6% (which put it in the bottom five across the country).

NATIONAL | January 20, 2020
Infrastructure Grants Available from Federal DOT

Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grants were opened last week, making available $906 million for investments focused on freight movement and encouraging public-private partnerships. Large-project grants must be at least $25 million; small-project grants must be at least $5 million. Applications must be filed by February 25, 2020. For details, visit www.transportation.gov/INFRA.

NATIONAL | January 20, 2020
OSHA Penalties Adjusted for New Year

As mandated in 2015, OSHA penalties may be adjusted annually to match inflation, based on the Consumer Price Index. This year’s increases, up by a multiplier of 1.01764, went into effect January 15. Serious violations may now be charged a minimum penalty of $964 per violation, up to $13,494 per violation. Willful or Repeated violations may be charged $9,639 per violation, up to a maximum of $13,937 per violation. Failure to abate beyond the abatement date could result in a fine of $13,494 per day. For details and charts, visit https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/2020-01/20200110124448588.pdf -- the OSHA memo sent to Regional Administrators on January 10, 2020.

LOCAL | January 17, 2020
UPDATE:  Stockton Phase II Funds Released

As we posted in Hot Topics in late May, Stockton University approved Phase II of its expansion plan in Atlantic City – a $64 million, six-story, 105-unit dorm and complex across from O’Donnell Memorial Park. However, the project was contingent on nearly $5 million in annual state aid. Yesterday, the State Treasury released the remainder of its 2020 spending, including the funding for Stockton’s dorm, $4.6 million.

LOCAL | January 16, 2020
Four NJ Transit Board Members Approved

The State Senate approved four new NJ Transit board members Monday, including Bob Gordon, former State Senator from Fair Lawn, who led oversight hearings on NJ Transit following the fatal train crash at Hoboken Terminal in 2016. He most recently served on the State Board of Public Utilities. Also approved were James D. Adams of West Orange, a civil engineer who worked for the Schools Development Authority and New Jersey Highway Authority; Cedrick Fulton of Hamilton, formerly director of the Port Authority’s bridges, tunnels and terminals; and Robert Maroko, recording secretary and general counsel for the New York Hotel Trades Council and a regular commuter on the Montclair-Boonton line.

NATIONAL | January 16, 2020
Materials Prices Up Slightly at Year-End

For the first time since March 2019, materials prices eclipsed bid prices for the month from November to December, but PPI inputs for construction were up only 1.5% in 2019, far below the 4% increase in 2018. And some prices dropped at year-end 2019: steel mill product prices were down 16% compared to a 19% leap in 2018; gypsum product prices were down 5.2% compared to a 4% rise in 2018; aluminum mill shape prices fell 4.4% compared to a 6.8% rise in 2018; and asphalt paving mixture and block prices slipped 1.3% compared to a 10.5% jump in 2018.

LOCAL | January 16, 2020
Costco Going Up at Old Cherry Hill Racetrack

April will see construction begin on a new 159,000-square-foot Costco on the 212-acre site off Route 70 and Haddonfield Road in Cherry Hill (Camden County) – and the developer, Commerce Center at Cherry Hill LLC, expects it to be completed in four months. The developer is also seeking variances for signage, maximum lot coverage and off-street loading spaces. Another 20,000-square-foot building is planned, scheduled to house a Duluth Trading Co. outlet and another retailer, plus a 3,300-square-foot pad site. The new shopping and residential area is known as Cherry Hill at Garden State Park.

LOCAL | January 16, 2020
Brick Pursues Flooding Mitigation Solutions

Brick (Ocean County) officials have hired ACT Engineers to help solve Brick’s flooding issues, the same company that recommended multiple solutions in Ocean City. Recommendations for Brick could include installing pumping stations to propel water from roadways into the bay, erecting physical barriers to redirect water around residential streets, dredging shallow lagoons, removing silt from inlets, raising roadways and installing new drainage pipes. The town has already committed to installing flapper valves on storm drains, which let stormwater exit but stop bay water from backing up through the drains to the street.

LOCAL | January 16, 2020
Redevelopment in Hainesport Could Include New Warehouse

If approved, a 480,000-square-foot warehouse could be built on a 35-acre lot at Route 38 and Lawrence Boulevard in Hainesport (Burlington County) that is part of both the Highway Commercial Zoning District and the Lawrence Boulevard Redevelopment Area Zoning District. The developer, Bluewater Property Group, is applying for preliminary and final major site plan approval, expected to come up at the Hainesport Joint Land Use board meeting on January 21. The warehouse site is part of a larger lot, for which Hainesport Commerce Center Urban Renewal LLC seeks minor subdivision approval to create two lots; the second lot would be a much smaller 3.5 acres for “future retail.”

LOCAL | January 8, 2020
Applications Open for Library Bond Act Monies

On Monday, Gov. Murphy announced applications are now open for the first round of grants approved by voters in November 2017 under the Library Construction Bond Act. The Act authorized $125 million in state bonds for ADA accessibility, major building renovations and new construction projects. The State Librarian, Mary Chute, is responsible for the administration and oversight of the application process.

NATIONAL | January 6, 2020
Metro Construction Jobs Increase in November

Across the country, 226 of 358 metro areas (63%) added jobs in November compared to November 2018. In New Jersey, four of the seven metros added jobs for the year period, two lost jobs and one, Trenton, remained unchanged from a year ago. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic picked up 2,100 jobs, a 7% jump; Newark added 1,900 jobs, a 4% gain; Atlantic City-Hammonton added 300 jobs, a 6% increase; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, a 4% gain. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean lost 1,000 jobs for the year period, a 3% drop, and Camden shed 500 jobs, a 2% drop. In the region, New York City saw the largest decline year-over-year, shedding 6,900 jobs (down 4%), and Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford recorded the largest percentage drop, down 11% on the loss of 2,300 jobs.

LOCAL | January 3, 2020
$13 Million Upgrades for Long Hill Sewers

New Jersey American Water, which will acquire the wastewater assets of Long Hill Township (Morris County) as approved by voters in November, has agreed to a $13 million-plus upgrade to Long Hill’s sewer system over the next five years. Improvements will include pump station upgrades, sewer main lining and replacements to reduce stormwater infiltration, and treatment plant upgrades to reduce or eliminate release of partially treated wastewater during heavy rains.

REGIONAL | January 3, 2020
NY Trustee to Chair Gateway for 2020

Per its agreed-upon rotation, Gateway Program Development Corp. approved Steven Cohen, trustee for New York State, as its chairman for 2020, succeeding New Jersey trustee Jerry Zaro, who served as chair in 2019. Zaro will become treasurer of the corporation following board approval and Anthony Coscia, Amtrak trustee, will remain vice chairman. The three-member corporation will continue its current structure until the bi-state Gateway Development Commission is full constituted with seven commissioners – three from each state and one from Amtrak.

2019

NATIONAL | December 23, 2019
November Construction Employment Uneven

For the year-over-year, November 2018 to November 2019, 38 states and DC added construction jobs, but only 18 states added jobs for the month from October to November 2019. New Jersey added 3,700 jobs for the year period, up 2.3%, but lost 700 for the month, a 0.4% slide. However, New Jersey still showed best in the region, followed by Rhode Island, which gained 400 jobs for the year period (up 2.1%) and lost the same for the month (down 2%), and then by Delaware, which gained 200 jobs for the year period, up 0.9%, but also lost the same for the month, down 0.9%. New York lost 700 jobs for the year period (down 0.2%) and for the month (down 0.2%); Pennsylvania lost 1,600 for the year period (down 0.6%) and 2,800 for the month (down 1.1%); and Connecticut lost 2,900 for the year period (down 4.8%) and 100 for the month (down 0.2%).

NATIONAL | December 19, 2019
BLS: Construction Fatalities Up But Rate Unchanged

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which released its report on 2018 occupational fatalities this week, 1,003 people were killed on the job in the construction industry, up from 965 in 2017. The rate remained the same, 9.5 per 100,000 full-time workers. Of those fatalities, 731 were in the construction trades. Among the work categories, 259 were laborers, 96 were roofers, 86 were carpenters, 80 were electricians, 39 were operating engineers, 37 were plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters, and 14 were highway maintenance workers. For more information, visit https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf.

NATIONAL | December 18, 2019
OSHA Reminder: Form 300A and Employer ID Number
OSHA reminds employers who electronically submit OSHA Form 300A they must provide an Employer Identification Number as of January 2, 2020. For details, visit https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1904/1904.41.

NATIONAL | December 18, 2019
OSHA Posts Winter Weather Safety Tips
OSHA has posted its annual winter weather safety page at https://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/winter_weather/beprepared.html. The emphasis is on preparedness and covers employer responsibilities to keep workers safe when the weather gets “frightful.”

LOCAL | December 18, 2019
Newark’s NJ Med School Slated for $14 Million Upgrade

The Rutgers board of governors has approved $14 million for design and infrastructure work at the New Jersey Medical School in Newark. The 650,000-square-foot building, more than 40 years old, is slated to get new medical research labs, lab support spaces and faculty work spaces, along with a new fire detection system, alarm systems and elevator upgrade. In addition, plans include an “enhanced” exterior, a new pavilion and reconfigured public spaces on levels B and C.

NATIONAL | December 16, 2019
Construction Materials Prices Continue Slide

While overall inputs to construction inched up a bit – 0.2% for the year-over-year since November 2018 – individual prices dropped sharply, as they had in August, the last quarterly report. Diesel fuel prices were down 16% this November, compared to a jump of 18% last year; steel mill product prices fell 15% this year, after last year’s 21% gain; aluminum mill shape prices were down 5% for the year period, after rising 6.9% last year; and prices for asphalt paving mixtures and blocks dropped 1% for the year period following a 9.2% hike last year.

LOCAL | December 12, 2019
$50 Million Expansion for Ocean County Justice Complex

The Ocean County Board of Freeholders approved a $50 million expansion plan for the main Justice Complex in Toms River (120 Hooper Avenue at Washington Street), a plan that will eliminate all the satellite buildings and leased offices, plus seven of nine security checkpoints. A $5 million design of an additional 150,000 square feet will kick off the project, with construction on an actual 120,000 square feet scheduled to begin in 2023 and be completed in 2025. The expansion will be built on the north side of the complex, south of Toms River High School South. The 30,000 square feet included in the design but not part of the initial construction will allow for future expansion.

LOCAL | December 12, 2019
Essex County Looks to Replace Field House

The field house at Riverbank Park in Newark’s Ironbound section was destroyed by fire in April, and recently the Essex County Board of Freeholders advanced plans to appropriate $1.1 million to replace it “in the exact same footprint.” Final approval review was on the agenda at a meeting last night.

LOCAL | December 12, 2019
UPDATE: Sayreville’s Riverton Development Advances

Pegged at $2.5 billion and, on 400 acres billed as the largest mixed-use development in the state’s history, the Riverton project advanced Tuesday as the Sayreville (Middlesex County) Planning Board approved a revised application to divide the property into seven lots for the first phase. Initial construction will include Bass Pro Shops, a hotel, a bowling alley, a movie theater, other retail and nearly 300 residential units. A concrete pad for Bass Pro Shops will be built first, followed by the outdoor gear store, taking a total of two years to complete. Ultimately, North American Properties expects to develop more retail, restaurants, office space, more hotels, parks, a marina and 2,000 residential units on the site, which is owned by the Sayreville Economic & Redevelopment Agency. Public financing from NJEDA is yet to come.

LOCAL | December 12, 2019
UPDATE: More Funding for Elizabeth’s Vinty Project

We posted in Hot Topics in late November about a construction loan for Vinty, the mixed-use project in Elizabeth with 267 residential units and 37,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. This week, professional services firm JLL announced it has secured $77.75 million in funds for the project’s development. It’s due to be finished in early 2021.

NATIONAL | December 9, 2019
OSHA Allows Limited OK of CIC Crane Operator Certs

Early in December, OSHA issued a temporary enforcement policy that allows crane operator certifications issued before December 2, 2019, by the Crane Institute Certification (CIC) to be accepted. CIC lost its accreditation and OSHA no longer considers its certifications compliant, but will accept CIC certifications issued before December 2.

LOCAL | December 6, 2019
Paterson Joins Community Collaborative Initiative

Old manufacturing sites in Paterson (Passaic County) that surround the Great Falls and its new National Historic Park could get a boost from this NJ DEP program that identifies and helps clean brownfield sites – and then explores redevelopment funding options. The first site under review by the Community Collaborative Initiative is seven acres that belonged to the former Allied Textile Printing, where the buildings are now partially collapsed because of fires. Paterson would also like to see Hinchliffe Stadium and other old factories included in the CCI review.

LOCAL | December 6, 2019
New Site Owner Submits Mixed-Use Plans for Jersey City

Epire, a New York developer and owner of the 10,000-square-foot site at 144 First Street in Jersey City (at Provost Street), last month submitted a Final Major Site Plan for a 12-story mid-rise mixed-use building, 125 feet high, with 81 residential units and 3,959 square feet of ground-floor retail. The units would include eight studios, 39 one-bedrooms, 27 two-bedrooms and seven three-bedrooms; resident amenities proposed include a gym, playroom, lounge and 1,500-square-foot roof deck. Renderings show a masonry-clad exterior. No parking is included in the plans and the developer seeks a height variance.

LOCAL | December 6, 2019
Stratford Bradlees Will Become County Social Services

The old Bradlees in Stratford (Camden County) will be renovated as a new Camden County Board of Social Services, 110,000 square feet in a strip mall off South White Horse Pike near New Road. Construction should begin next year and the project is expected to be finished within 18 to 24 months. The redeveloper is Brandywine Real Estate Management Services Corp. The county’s social services are currently housed in the Aletha R. Wright Administration Building next to City Hall in Camden. Once that building is empty, it will be demolished.

LOCAL | November 27, 2019
New York College Bringing Dorms to Jersey City

Nyack College in Lower Manhattan will construct 72 dorms on three floors at 150 Bay Street in Jersey City, following approval November 12 by the Jersey City Planning Board of the Preliminary and Final Site Plan presented by Bay Street Associates LLC. The dorms, serving 400 students, will be built on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors of the building, a total of 121,041 square feet that will also include nine units for resident advisors, a study lounge, cafeteria and recreation area. Proposed dorm room plans can be viewed at https://nyackinnyc.org/floor-plan/. The college expects the dorms will be ready for Fall 2020.

STATE | November 27, 2019
NJ DOT Awards $161 Million in Transportation Grants

The $161 million will go to 542 towns and cities to cover 545 road, bridge, safety and “quality-of-life” improvement projects. For the complete list of towns and projects, visit https://www.state.nj.us/transportation/business/localaid/documents/FY2020MunicipalAidGrantRecipients_001.pdf

LOCAL | November 27, 2019
Elizabeth Mixed-Use Lands $55 Million Construction Loan

The project, called Vinty, is planned for 2.48 acres at the corner of Union and West Grand streets, across from the NJ Transit station. Citizens Commercial Banking made the $55 million loan to LeCesse Development Corp. and MAS Development Group for the 267-unit mixed-use project, which will include 25 studio apartments, 175 one-bedroom and 67 two-bedroom units on four stories above 37,000 square feet of retail and office space, along with a 274-space parking garage. Amenities include a virtual golf simulator, yoga and cycling studio, community lounge, outdoor summer kitchen and grills, and a dog park. Construction should be completed by the first quarter of 2021.

LOCAL | November 27, 2019
Delco Rail Storage Gets Environmental Permits

The Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission approved environmental permits for NJ Transit’s Delco Lead Storage and Inspection Facility and County Yard Improvement Project, clearing the estimated $370 million project for construction. Located along the Northeast Corridor Line In New Brunswick and North Brunswick (Middlesex County), the facility will allow safe and secure storage for at least 400 rail cars. Work is expected to begin in late 2020 and run through early 2025.

STATE | November 27, 2019
NJ Airports Land Nearly $40 Million In Infrastructure Grants

The US DOT awarded 14 New Jersey airports $39.5 million in grants, announced last Friday by Secretary Elaine Chao. Two of the biggest grants went to Newark Liberty, which received $8.28 million for runway work, and Atlantic City, which received $10 million for a de-icing containment area. For the complete list, visit https://www.faa.gov/airports/aip/aip_supplemental_appropriation_2019/

NATIONAL | November 25, 2019
Metro Construction Employment Steady in October, Up in NJ

Across the country, 231 of 358 metro areas (65%) added construction jobs in October compared to October 2018. In New Jersey, the picture is even brighter – six of seven metros picked up jobs this year and one remained unchanged, in stark contrast to last October when five of seven shed jobs. Once again, Bergen-Hudson-Passaic realized the biggest gain, adding 4,200 jobs, a 13% leap. Newark added 1,600 jobs, up 3%; Camden gained 700 jobs, also up 3%; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean, which has consistently lost jobs recently, added 400, up 1%; Atlantic City-Hammonton added 200 jobs for a healthy 4% increase; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, also a 4% gain. Trenton maintained status quo, neither adding nor shedding jobs for the year period.

REGION | November 21, 2019
Franklin Square PATCO Station Gets Fed Funding

As we posted in Hot Topics as far back as 2015, plans to reopen Philadelphia’s Franklin Square Station, part of the PATCO Hi-Speedline system, have been in the works for a long time. But the Federal Transit Administration announced this week the Delaware River Port Authority, the overseeing entity, was awarded $12.6 million through a 2019 BUILD grant, giving the project half the $25.2 million estimated for upgrading and remodeling. With design and engineering plans 90% complete, the underground station will have a glass-walled, glass-roof entrance building on 7th Street near Race Street in Franklin Square Park, featuring roof vegetation to control stormwater runoff and provide building insulation, wifi and improved handicapped access. Upgrades will be made to the structure, electrical, plumbing, communication, signal and security systems. Construction is expected to start in late 2020 or early 2021 and finish up in 2023. The commuter line runs from Center City Philadelphia to Camden and through South Jersey to its endpoint in Lindenwold (Camden County).

LOCAL | November 21, 2019
Carbon Reduction Facility Coming to Linden

Formally called an anaerobic digestion facility, the wastewater treatment plant in Linden (Union County) will convert organic waste from North Jersey and New York City into bio-methane, which will then be refined to “pipeline-quality” gas – ultimately reducing waste disposal costs and carbon emissions. The project received bridge funding through an agreement between Leyline Renewable Capital of Durham, NC, and RNG Energy Solutions, and is expected to create more than 400 direct and indirect jobs during construction. A similar project under the same agreement will be built in Philadelphia.

STATE | November 21, 2019
Governor’s EO Doubles Wind Farm Production

On Tuesday, Governor Murphy signed an executive order boosting the original projected 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind to 7,500 megawatts by 2035, adding five years to the timeline. Per the Governor, the new goal will meet half the electric power needs in the state, provide enough electricity to power more than 3.2 million homes and generate thousands of union jobs.

LOCAL | November 21, 2019
Cape May Theatre Site to Become Luxury Resort

The old Beach Theatre on Beach Avenue across from Convention Hall in Cape May (Cape May County) has been purchased by ICONA Resorts and will be replaced by ICONA Resort Cape May to become the fourth-largest beachfront hotel in the city. The resort will offer first-floor retail, 100 guest rooms, indoor and outdoor pools, and space for weddings and corporate events.

NATIONAL | November 20, 2019
Year-Over-Year, October Construction Jobs Rise Nationwide

For the period from October 2018 to October 2019, construction employment was healthy, with 41 states adding jobs for the year-over-year. For the month from September to October, 28 states added jobs. New Jersey ranked #11 in the “gain” column, adding 7,700 for the year period, a 4.9% jump, and also registered a small gain for the month, added 300 jobs, up 0.2%. In the region, Pennsylvania added 4,600 jobs for the year period, a 1.8% rise, and 1,900 for the month, up 0.7%; Rhode Island added 400 jobs for the year period, up 2.1%, and 400 jobs for the month, also up 2.1%; Delaware added 500 jobs for the year period, up 2.2%, while its job count remained unchanged for the month; New York added 1,100 jobs for the year period, edging up 0.3%, but lost 3,000 jobs for the month, down 0.7%; and Connecticut ranked near the bottom for the year period, shedding 1,400 jobs, a 2.4% drop, but added 700 for the month, up 1.2%.

NATIONAL | November 15, 2019
Custom-Fitting Safety Harnesses for Women in Construction
OSHA reports falls to be the leading cause of private-sector worker fatalities in the construction industry. Women represent approximately 10% of the overall construction labor force, but not all contractors have the supply of properly fitting safety harnesses needed to better protect women in construction. In a step toward finding a solution, Autodesk and AGC of America are funding a grant program to supply select, in-need member contractors with fall protection harnesses sized for women who work at heights. AGC members can apply for the grants, which will supply approximately 300 harnesses for women, until the application window closes on January 10, 2020. Members can apply for the grant here: https://www.agc.org/industry-priorities/safety-health/agc-autodesk-safety-harness-grant-program

STATE | November 13, 2019
More Pressure for School Construction Funding
The Education Law Center (ELC), has filed a motion in the landmark Abbott v. Burke lawsuit requesting the state Supreme Court direct the NJ Commissioner of Education and the Schools Development Authority to update the SDA’s project portfolio and seek additional funding for k-12 projects. The ELC represents urban school districts receiving state construction funding.

As you may know, the SDA is required to pay for the full cost of school construction in Abbott districts, 31 of the state’s neediest school districts. The state EDA issues bonds for the SDA to pay for the cost of new school buildings and any needed emergency repairs in Abbott districts. It was recently revealed the SDA is out of money for new projects and much needed repairs and plans on seeking reauthorization from the Legislature to bond several billion dollars. 15 Abbott districts lack the necessary building capacity to adequately deliver core curriculum content; ELC’s legal efforts have started the conversation.

NATIONAL | November 13, 2019
Economists Predict Construction Spending for 2020
In their latest economic forecast webinar last week, the chief economists for AGC of America, ConstructConnect and AIA gave their predictions for 2020:

  • Ken Simonson of AGC expressed optimism that construction spending would increase 1% to 5% in the new year, with a gain of 0 to 4% for both private nonresidential and public construction spending.
  • Alex Carrick of ConstructConnect was less optimistic, seeing a 1.6% drop in 2020 overall, although he predicted a slight rise (0.9%) in nonresidential building and a 5.9% gain in heavy/highway construction spending.
  • AIA’s Kermit Baker reported architectural billings, which generally indicate nonresidential construction spending for the near future (9 months to a year), have slowed for many sectors, including multifamily, commercial/industrial and institutional.

In another report, the 2020 Dodge Construction Outlook, released October 31, forecasts an overall slide in 2020 of 4% below 2019, with a drop of 3% for nonresidential building and nonbuilding construction starts.

LOCAL | November 12, 2019
Natural Gas Facility Coming to Mantoloking Road
A 4,758 square foot natural gas regulator station has been approved by Brick Township’s planning board. The facility, located on Mantoloking Road in Brick, will contain a natural gas regulator station consisting of a gas pressure reduction facility, which will include a filter, piping, valves, regulators and related equipment. The entire facility will be surrounded by a fence with security features.

NATIONAL | November 12, 2019
RWJBarnabas Joins Hospitals for Place-Based Investing
14 hospitals and health systems, including RWJBarnabas Health, have joined together to commit more than $700 million for place-based investing to create healthy communities. Place-based investing creates thriving communities by increasing available capital for positive social, economic or environmental impact. The projects to be built will include affordable housing developments, grocery stores for food deserts, childcare centers and federally qualified health centers.

STATE | November 12, 2019
NJ Transit Seeking Public Private Partnership
With the guaranteed influx of crowds and traffic that will accompany the new American Dream Megamall in in East Rutherford, NJ, and the already crowded Meadowlands Sports and Entertainment Complex, New Jersey Transit is seeking private partners to help transport visitors to and from the area. On November 7, NJ Transit held a forum to discuss innovative solutions and systems to move people from the stadium, the megamall and Manhattan as efficiently as possible. NJ Transit Meadowlands rail station features an unfinished track loop for trains to reverse direction. NJ Transit is looking to partner with a firm on the design, build, operating, maintenance and finance of the solution. Ideas being considered include electric light rail, magnetic-levitation monorail and bus rapid transit.

STATE| November 12, 2019
Senators Ask for Explanation for Gateway Inaction
New Jersey Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez called on U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to give reason for the inaction on the critical Gateway project. Chao visited the Hudson River tunnels and the Portal Bridge in April 2018, without members of the Congressional Delegation after multiple formal and informal invitations. The Senators asked for updates and information on the steps the U.S. DOT has taken to advance the Gateway Project.

LOCAL | November 5, 2019
Flood Hazard Mitigation Coming to North Wildwood
The City of North Wildwood and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) are working together to alleviate flooding along the city’s emergency access route. The flood hazard mitigation project will include the construction of a pump station, upgrades to a large portion of the storm damage drainage system and the replacement of several stormwater outfall lines. The NJDEP recently awarded North Wildwood with a $10 million flood resiliency grant, which will help pay for the construction.

LOCAL | November 5, 2019
Westhampton Warehouse Closer to Reality
A proposed 634,000 square-foot warehouse could be coming to Westhampton. In a step toward construction, MRP Industrial LLC is scheduled to present a preliminary and final major site plan to the land development board for consideration and possible approval on Wednesday. The facility would be built along Hancock Lane at the end of Western Drive. It would be used as a warehouse, distribution and office facility with 288 car parking spaces, 171 tractor-trailer spaces, 114 loading berths and guard houses.

LOCAL | October 31, 2019
NJ Transit Adds a New Station to Middlesex County
NJ Transit and Middlesex County Improvement Authority (MCIA) have reached a memorandum of understanding and will enter a public-private partnership with Millburn-based Garden Homes Development for the for the 200-acre complex dubbed Main Street North Brunswick. A new NJ Transit train station will be built in New Brunswick in a mixed-use, transit-friendly community. The $50 million project will be funded through the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund.

NATIONAL | October 31, 2019
Metro Construction Jobs Slide Going into Fall

In the year from September 2018 to September 2019, 244 of 358 metro areas (68%) added construction jobs, a slight downward slide from August. In New Jersey, five of seven metros saw growth. Again, Bergen-Hudson-Passaic realized the biggest gain, adding 4,000 jobs, a 13% jump, even larger than last month’s year-over-year numbers. Camden picked up 2,200 for the year period, up a healthy 9%; Newark added 2,400 job, up 5%; Vineland-Bridgeton added 2,900 jobs, up 4%; and Atlantic City-Hammonton added 100 jobs, a 2% increase over September 2018. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean continued to lose jobs, down 800, a 2% drop; and Trenton lost 200 jobs, a 4% drop.

LOCAL | October 30, 2019
Atlantic City Saying Hello to Demolition and Goodbye to Eyesores
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has allocated another $1 million toward demolition of rundown properties. Atlantic City has now received $6.15 million toward city demolition. Currently, $4 million of the funded demolition has been used in the tourism district.

LOCAL | October 30, 2019
UPDATE: Ørsted, PSEG to Become a Team
As previously reported, BPU granted an award to Ørsted and PSEG for their proposed 1,100-megawatt Ocean Wind project, an offshore wind farm to be built 15 miles offshore from Atlantic City and expected to generate enough electric power for about half-a-million homes. The two companies have entered negotiations under which PSEG would acquire 25 percent of Ocean Wind. The pending deal is subject to negotiations and any required regulatory approvals.

LOCAL | October 29, 2019
International Company to Find New Home in Vineland
Italy-based company Rovagnati is setting up shop in the United States with a new meat processing facility in Vineland. The company plans to expand their facility space over the next five years for a total of 500,000 square feet. The site is just less than 26 acres and near the Vineland Industrial Park.

LOCAL | October 29, 2019
Atlantic City Proposed Design Competition for Bader Field
As part of Atlantic City’s long-term revitalization, state and local officials are looking at the development potential for Bader Field. After several offers and bids for the land have been turned down, the Atlantic City Executive Council has proposed the creation of a design competition for the 142.55-acre lot.

LOCAL | October 28, 2019
Another High Rise Coming to Jersey City’s Skyline
Adding to Jersey City’s vertical building boom is a proposed 68-story sky-high development, that if approved would be one of the tallest in the state. The mixed-use project would feature 680 residential units along with 18,662 square feet of commercial space. The developers, VIII & IX Associated LLC, a subsidiary of Mack-Cali’s Roseland Residential Trust, plans to develop a current 169,000 square-foot surface parking lot located at 242 Hudson Street and 3 Second Street.

LOCAL | October 28, 2019
Updates Coming to Middlesex Water Treatment Plant
Middlesex Water Company is investing $70 million to upgrade the Carl J. Olsen Treatment Plant in Edison. The changes will help guarantee compliance with drinking water quality regulations.

LOCAL | October 28, 2019
Out with the Old in with the Five-Story Development in Newark
The Newark Central Planning Board has approved the demolition of a Downtown Newark building with plans to replace it with a five-story development. The structure at 1010-1014 Broad Street will now be host to 111 apartments, a 1,000 square-foot art gallery, 3,500 square feet of retail space and amenity space on the ground floor.

STATE | October 25, 2019
UPDATE: New AirTrain and Path Construction Approved by Port Authority
We reported in January that Governor Murphy asked the Port Authority to pay for a new AirTrain – the monorail at Newark Liberty Airport – at a cost of $2.1 billion, rather than continue to pay for repairs and maintenance. In an update to the request, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Board of Commissioners authorized the request and then some. Last month, PANYNJ approved toll and fare hikes to pay for some of the costs.

The construction will take place over a 10-year span. Plans include new AirTrains to Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport at $2.05 billion each. Contracts are expected to be awarded in 2021 with construction wrapping up in 2024. This construction is in addition to the new Terminal One at JFK, bringing the total for New York and New Jersey airport construction to $30 billion. The PATH System will see $78.6 million of improvements to Exchange Place, Grove Street, Newark Penn and Journal Square. PATH system work will take place throughout 2022.

LOCAL | October 24, 2019
$42M Jail Coming to Cumberland County
Cumberland County officials have broken ground on the new Cumberland County Jail in Bridgeton. The $42 million project will take over for the current jail with plans for it to be more cost and energy efficient. The project will be located on Burlington Road next to South Woods State Prison and will replace the downtown facility.

LOCAL | October 24, 2019
Yet Another Highrise Coming to Jersey City
Over the summer the Jersey City urban development company Ironstate submitted plans for a 25-story, 19,000 square-foot high rise. The 341 units would also include 2,607 square feet of café space on the ground floor. The plans encompass five current parking lots at 532 Summit Avenue and 571-577 Pavonia Avenue. A date has not been set yet to hear the proposal.

LOCAL | October 21, 2019
Updated Plans Submitted for Jersey City Redevelopment Project
A currently unused Jersey City warehouse could soon become office and retail space. The Warren at Bay project was approved nearly five years ago, with plans to rehabilitate the structure in the Powerhouse Arts District. KABR Group purchased the property in 2016 and submitted plans for renovation, which they recently resubmitted with hopes of adding two extra stories for a total of six floors. If approved, the property will be host to 11,900 square feet of restaurant space, along with 10,700 square feet of retail. The additional five floors will be home to 85,000 square feet of office space.

STATE | October 21, 2019
Second Phase of $40M NJ Transit Project to be Awarded in 2021
NJ Transit plans to award Phase Two of the Hoboken Rail Yard project in 2021. The $40 million construction project aims to make improvements to the railyard damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The second phase will install six new tracks over the filled canal to service three Americans with Disabilities act-accessible, high-level boarding platforms above expected flood levels.

LOCAL | October 15, 2019
Fall Construction Work for NJ Train Stations

Today Governor Murphy, Amtrak Board Chairman Tony Coscia and NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett announced the beginning of fall 2019 construction work at four NJ train stations – New Brunswick, Elizabeth, Trenton Transit Center and Princeton Junction. The announcement brings hope for an improved customer and travel experience throughout New Jersey and signifies a new positive relationship between NJ Transit and Amtrak.

The work is expected to take place through early 2020. Specifics of the projects at each station is as follows:

  • New Brunswick Station – Improvements to the elevator system; an extension of the eastbound platform for extra boarding capacity; significant rehabilitation of the station’s exterior brick façade; installation of new lighting, windows, HVAC system, and escalator; and a paint refresh.
  • Elizabeth Station – Upgrades include the addition of two new elevators; updating the existing two elevators; the addition of ADA-complaint ramps; and building new high-level platforms, which will also increase the platform area for passengers.
  • Trenton Transit Center – Replacement of damaged timber boards located past the yellow warning strip on the platform to improve customer safety.
  • Princeton Junction Station – General platform repairs to improve customer safety, including the refresh of platforms that have deteriorated for decades from exposure to weather and de-icing agents. This includes reinforcing the platform supports, patching concrete, repainting the yellow warning strip, and general repair of the stairs and handrails.

LOCAL | October 14, 2019
Potential Rehabilitation Project for Former Vineland ShopRite 

A North Jersey company will potentially buy and repurpose Vineland’s former ShopRite at 215 N. Delsea Drive. The 75,000 square foot property has been vacant for more than six years. The property would be purchased and converted into an indoor, self-storage facility. Vineland Ventures LLC, potentially, would build an additional 75,000 of storage on site in a second phase. New construction would occur in the parking lot of the approximately 8.33-acre property.

LOCAL | October 14, 2019
$10M Intersection Project in the Works for Passaic County 

A $10 million project is in the works to improve the intersection of Alps Road and Hamburg Turnpike in Wayne, NJ. The project will include the construction of two jughandles, installation of new traffic lights and widening of Hamburg Turnpike. Final drawings for the project will be presented for approval by NJDOT, with a contract being awarded as early as the spring.

LOCAL | October 14, 2019
Brick's Bayside Park to be Reconstructed 

Bayside Park, located across Route 35 from Brick Beach III, will be completely rebuilt after damage from Hurricane Sandy left parts off limit to visitors. The Brick Township Council voted in favor of seeking bids for part of the work that will go into the park, which will start with a new boardwalk.

LOCAL | October 9, 2019
UPDATE: Coast Guard Makes Portal Bridge Restrictions Permanent

In March, we posted in Hot Topics the Coast Guard’s agreement to temporarily restrict passage of marine traffic under the Portal Bridge in Kearny to avoid opening the 110-year-old swing bridge during certain busy commuter train times. On Monday, regulations were posted in the Federal Register making those restrictions permanent. Thus, most marine traffic on the Hackensack River will not be able to cross under the bridge between 5 and 10 am and 3 and 8 pm.

LOCAL | October 7, 2019
Gateway Development Commissioners Announced

This morning, New Jersey and New York governors announced the commissioners for the Gateway Development Commission who will oversee construction of the Hudson Tunnel Project. New Jersey Governor Murphy’s nominees include Janine G. Bauer, Partner at Szaferman Lakind and an expert on environmental issues, and Balpreet Grewal Virk, PhD, Director of Community Engagement in the Department of Population Health at Hackensack Meridian Health. Both must be confirmed by the New Jersey Senate. Once confirmed, they will serve with Jerry Zaro, Chairman of the Gateway Program Development Corporation. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez, Thruway Authority Project Director Jamey Barbas, and former Secretary to the Governor Steven M. Cohen. For the official press release issued by Governor Murphy’s office, which contains bios on all the commissioners, visit https://www.state.nj.us/governor/news/news/562019/approved/20191007a.shtml

LOCAL | October 7, 2019
NJ Transit Eyes Development of More Real Estate Assets

NJ Transit is hoping to attract developers to propose ideas for 21 stations in 15 towns along the light-rail River LINE between Camden and Trenton. Such transit-oriented developments could include homes, stores and offices or other work spaces along the 37 miles of the line, and would primarily be planned for the station parking lots, which are generally vacant.

NATIONAL | October 2, 2019
Metro Construction Jobs Continue Summer Growth

In the year from August 2018 to August 2019, 252 of 358 metro areas (70%) added construction jobs, continuing the positive growth we saw all summer. In New Jersey, only Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean saw a loss, shedding 800 jobs for the year period, a 2% drop. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic realized the biggest gain, adding 3,600 jobs, an 11% jump. Camden picked up 1,900 for the year period, up a healthy 8%, and Newark gained 3,400 jobs, a 7% boost. Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs for a modest 3% gain. And Atlantic City-Hammonton and Trenton both held even for the year period.

LOCAL | October 2, 2019
UPDATE:  Brick Reviews Possible VA Medical Clinic

Last week, the Brick Planning Board was scheduled to review a proposed 74,999-square-foot building project, to be developed by Kamson Corporation as a medical facility on a 409,028-square-foot triangular site bordered by Route 88, Jack Martin Blvd., and Burrsville Road. The project could be a Veterans Administration outpatient clinic, as it is one of three sites being considered by the VA. The site has undergone other proposal reviews, most recently as a mixed-use complex (posted in Hot Topics, April 2018).

LOCAL | October 2, 2019
Apartments Proposed for Bordentown Mixed-Use

The Cranberry Park redevelopment project in Bordentown City (Burlington County) could include 296 apartments on East Park Street, perhaps to be called Cranberry Lofts, along with a 2,800-square-foot clubhouse and pool and 611 parking spaces that would include 40 garage and 40 driveway spaces. Developer Modern Recycled Spaces is expected to present preliminary and final site plans to the planning board next Monday. The redevelopment proposal also includes demolition of a 480,000-square-foot facility that was part of the original Ocean Spray Cranberries complex and renovation of a 65,300-square-foot building into office, retail or commercial space.

LOCAL | September 27, 2019
FHWA Awards $100 Million in Extra Funding to NJDOT

Yesterday, Governor Murphy announced an additional $100 million from the Federal Highway Administration was awarded to NJDOT, which will cover 28 projects in 19 counties. For a list of the projects funded, visit: https://www.state.nj.us/governor/news/news/562019/docs/20190926a_FY19Funds.pdf

NATIONAL | September 27, 2019
Scalia Confirmed as US Labor Secretary

Yesterday the US Senate confirmed Eugene Scalia, age 56, as Secretary of the US Department of Labor. A partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and a member of the Washington law firm’s labor and employment practice group, Scalia is the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He served as solicitor of the Labor Department from 2002 to 2003 under President George W. Bush, and earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia and his law degree at the University of Chicago Law School.

LOCAL | September 24, 2019
Ørsted Chooses Next-Gen Turbines for AC Wind Farm

The 1,100-megawatt Ocean Wind offshore wind farm will use 90 new 12-megawatt turbines to generate power, produced by GE Renewable Energy. Each of these next-gen turbines has a rotor diameter of 722 feet; each blade is 351 feet long; and total “sweep” area is 409,000 square feet. The project, approximately 15 miles off the coast of Atlantic City, will be the third-largest wind farm in the world and is expected to go into construction in 2020 and open in 2024.

NATIONAL | September 23, 2019
August Construction Jobs Hold Steady

In the year from August 2018 to August 2019, 39 states added construction jobs, one less than July’s year-over-year, but 29 states added jobs for the month from July to August, a gain of four over last month. New Jersey was strong for the year-over-year, adding 8,800 jobs for a 5.6% hike that placed it 12th in the nation. The month saw a drop of 400 jobs in the state, a 0.2% dip. In the region, New York added 10,600 jobs for the year period, up 2.7%, and 3,000 for the month, up 0.7%. Pennsylvania added 7,300 jobs for the year period, a 2.9% gain, and 500 for the month, up 0.2%. Rhode Island added 700 jobs for the year period, up 3.7%, but shed 200 for the month, a 1% loss. Delaware also added 700 jobs for the year period, a 3.2% gain, but dropped 100 for the month, a 0.4% slip. Connecticut lost 1,000 jobs for the year period, a 1.7% drop that placed it in the bottom five nationwide, but picked up 500 for the month, a 0.9% bump.

NATIONAL | September 19, 2019
New OSHA Construction Director Appointed

After serving as deputy director since February 2017, Scott Ketcham has been appointed as the new director of OSHA’s Directorate of Construction. For 19 years, Ketcham was an OSHA compliance officer and manager, assistant area director, area director and then acting deputy regional administrator in the Seattle, Dallas and Philadelphia regions. Before joining OSHA, he was a staff industrial hygienist for five years with the US Army Medical Activity at Bassett Army Hospital, Ft. Wainwright, Alaska. He retired from the Army after 24 years of active and reserve duty. Ketcham earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and his master’s in Public Administration from the University of Alaska. He is a Certified Safety Professional.

LOCAL | September 18, 2019
Prevailing Wage Violator: Stop Work Orders Issued

NJ DOL announced yesterday it had issued its first Stop Work Orders following Governor Murphy’s July expansion of enforcement authority at DOL. The Stop Work orders were issued August 22 to Three Sons Construction LLC of Union for “failure to pay prevailing wage, unpaid and late wages, and failure to keep accurate certified payrolls” at jobsites at Maurice Hawk Elementary School in West Windsor and Bayonne Fire House, Engine 6 in Bayonne. A Stop Work Order was also issued to Three Sons Construction’s offices in Union. On September 4, the Stop Work order was lifted at the Bayonne Fire House but continued at the West Windsor school.

LOCAL | September 17, 2019
New EMS Building Scheduled for Mount Laurel

Catalyst Experiential of Pennsylvania was designated as redeveloper of three sites in Mount Laurel (Burlington County), one of which will be a new EMS facility at Route 73 and Howard Blvd. The 7,860-square-foot building will have four drive-through accessible bays, two offices, a lounge and kitchen, two bunk rooms, showers, lockers, training space and a laundry room. With a futuristic design, the front “tip” of the building will be glass; the other exterior siding will be aluminum panels and stone. Two 700-square-foot screens on the front of the building will function as digital billboards. The EMS facility will be built in conjunction with two promotional, monument-style digital displays on Route 38 and I-295 that welcome visitors to Mount Laurel.

NATIONAL | September 17, 2019
After Big Increases Last Year, Construction Materials Prices Drop in August

AGC of America’s analysis of producer price indexes from BLS show construction materials slid down 0.2% from July to August, and crept up only 0.4% compared to August 2018, when they had jumped 6.4%. For the year-over-year period, diesel fuels fell 18%, compared to a 35% leap last year; lumber and plywood dropped 12% after a 6% hike last year; steel mill products were down 11% after last year’s 18% jump; gypsum products were down 8.4% after last year’s 7.5% increase; and aluminum mill shapes were down 5.2% after last year’s 15% jump.

LOCAL | September 16, 2019
Jersey City Building State’s Largest Movie Studio

Caven Point Studios will open next spring at 21 Caven Point Avenue, an industrial area in Jersey City. Criterion Group LLC is building a 135,000-square-foot complex with three sound stages (70,000 square feet will be devoted to studio and sound stages) and other spaces to suit “large-scale” productions that may be filmed in Jersey City.

LOCAL | September 16, 2019
Misclassification Enforcement:
Violator to Pay Back $1.25 Million

Eagle Intermodal Inc., a national trucking company based in Chicago and charged by NJ DOL 13 years ago with misclassifying drivers, has agreed to pay $1.25 million in back unemployment and disability contributions to the state. The company will make the pay-back during the next year, with the first payment due in 30 days, and agreed to future NJDOL audits.

LOCAL | September 16, 2019
Springfield Eyes Old Saks Fifth Ave Store for Mixed-Use

After 25 years sitting vacant on Millburn Avenue in Springfield (Union County), the old Saks Fifth Avenue building may be demolished and the nine-acre site transformed into a mixed-use complex with 223 rental apartments, 47 rental townhomes, street-level retail and parking. Developer Springfield 92 Millburn Avenue Urban Renewal LLC, conditionally designated as the redeveloper, filed an application with the Township Planning Board for Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval, scheduled to be on the board agenda last Thursday. Most of the site lies in Springfield Township, but a piece of it on Millburn Avenue sits in Millburn (Essex Township) – and the entire site is currently owned by Stop & Shop’s parent company.

LOCAL | September 16, 2019
Pemberton Approves Construction of Large Warehouse

International supply-chain company Seldat Distribution Inc. will build a 509,000-square-foot warehouse at the corner of Birmingham and South Pemberton roads in Pemberton Township (Burlington County) that will rise as high as 66 feet in some sections. Plans call for visibility screening and light protection to be provided by a setback and berm. Preliminary and final major site plans and variances for height of building and light poles were approved by the Pemberton planning board earlier this month, and construction is expected to begin within weeks.

LOCAL | September 10, 2019
Palisades Park Proposes $63 Million Schools Upgrade

If the residents of Palisades Park (Bergen County) approve it by ballot in November, the town will start substantial upgrades to three schools, at a cost of $63.14 million, of which $17.24 million would be funded by a state grant. Charles Lindbergh Elementary School, built in 1927, would get a three-story addition, 12 more classrooms and a new recreation center. The Junior/Senior High School, built in 1968, would get a two-story addition, eight new classrooms, renovations in the science labs, auditorium, gym and weight room, various replacements throughout the building, and HVAC and electrical upgrades. The Early Childhood Center, built in 2006, would see replacement of its roof and windows, restroom renovations, and HVAC, lighting and electrical upgrades (budgeted for $3.8 million of the total).

LOCAL | September 10, 2019
Stratford to Replace Laurel Mills Shopping Center

The Stratford (Camden County) Joint Land Use Board approved redevelopment of the Laurel Mills Shopping Center, a dilapidated and nearly empty 7.4-acre site at Warwick Road and Longwood Drive. The plan includes 80 townhomes – one-, two- and three-bedroom units, of which 16 would be affordable housing, and 14,000 square feet of new retail, all to be developed by Laurel Mills LLC of Jersey City, which owns the property. Townhome construction could commence once a redevelopment agreement is completed with the borough; retail construction would not start until the developer signs an anchor tenant.

LOCAL | September 5, 2019
Schiff Foods Plans Expansion with New Acquisition

Schiff Foods Products Co. plans to expand and upgrade its Totowa facility following its purchase of Morris J. Golombeck Inc. of Brooklyn. Both companies are purveyors of herbs and spices. Schiff Foods’ current plant includes a 300,000-square-foot warehouse, of which 30,000 square feet is temperature-controlled and another 15,000 square feet is a designated production area.

LOCAL | September 4, 2019
Stevens Institute Lands $270 Million for Student Structures

The $270 million in bonds approved by the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority will finance construction of two student residential towers for 1,000 students, 19 and 21 stories with single and double and suites, and an adjacent three-story, 75,000-square-foot university center with multi-purpose event space, dining facilities, retail, a fitness center, study lounges, game rooms and other spaces. The project, located on Stevens Institute of Technology’s Hoboken campus, is designed to achieve LEED Silver certification.

NATIONAL | September 4, 2019
Metro Construction Employment Holds Steady in July

Since April, construction employment in the nation’s 358 metro areas has held steady, with approximately 70% of the metros adding jobs each month for the year-over-year period. July reflected the same as 255 metros added jobs (71%) compared to July 2018. New Jersey’s metros, however, continued to show uneven numbers. As it did in June, Atlantic City-Hammonton lost jobs in July, shedding 300, a 5% drop compared to July 2018. Trenton also lost jobs in June and again in July, down 200 (-4%) this month compared to July 2018. And Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean, which had marked a 1% increase in June for the year period, lost 600 jobs in July, a 1% decrease compared to July 2018. In contrast, Bergen-Hudson-Passaic bounced upward from its 8% gain in June to an 11% gain in July, adding 3,500 jobs over July 2018’s number. Camden also noted an 11% boost, adding 2,600 jobs for the year from July to July. Also for the year period, Newark saw a 4% gain with the addition of 2,000 jobs and Vineland-Bridgeton had a 3% gain with 100 jobs.

LOCAL | August 23, 2019
Fort Monmouth Could House $31.5 Million Research Park

OPort Partners LLC, owned by Denholtz Properties of Matawan, has proposed investing $31.5 million to transform Fort Monmouth’s old post office and warehouse district in a research park. There are currently seven buildings on the 20-acre site in the Oceanport section of Fort Monmouth; the developer would demolish them and build nearly 150,000 square feet of space for offices, research and storage for the medical, biotechnical and software R&D industries. OPort, which will pay $1.95 million for the properties, is in the middle of the due diligence phase of the contract and will complete demolition and begin site improvement within four months of closing. The contract calls for the redevelopment to be finished within 22 months. The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority expects the project to create 264 full- and part-time construction jobs.

LOCAL | August 23, 2019
ShopRite May Bring Oasis to AC’s Food Desert

The Atlantic City CRDA voted to designate Village Supermarkets LLC, owner of 29 ShopRites in three states, to develop and operate a $13.5 million, 40,000-square-foot ShopRite on a four-acre site at Indiana and Baltic avenues. The site is owned by CRDA and currently holds a parking lot and a groundwater filtration plant that is no longer in use. Atlantic City was named a “food desert” with only one other chain market in the city.

LOCAL | August 23, 2019
Trenton Seeks Developer for Roebling Block II

A tour of the abandoned Roebling Block II and a community clean-up are two activities Trenton officials hope will bring in a developer to revitalize the property. The city would like that developer to restore rather than demolish the historic buildings in the complex.

LOCAL | August 22, 2019
Weehawken Ponders Hartz Mountain Proposal

Two 18-story towers with 344 rental units linked by a tiered base would rise more than 200 feet above the Lincoln Harbor waterfront in Weehawken (Hudson County), according to a proposal by site owner Hartz Mountain. It would also include 398 indoor parking spots, retail space on the ground floor, a rooftop pool and a public dog park along Harbor Blvd. Weehawken officials scheduled a seventh hearing August 20 on the project as they work through legal issues, including whether giving the planning board authority to determine allowable building heights, lot coverage and number of units complies with New Jersey’s Municipal Land Use Law. In addition, part of the site crosses into Hoboken; thus, the project may require approvals from Hoboken officials.

LOCAL | August 22, 2019
East Orange Reviews Brick Church Station Complex

Last night, a hearing was scheduled for a proposed 820-unit residential and 197,500-square-foot commercial complex at the site of the existing Brick Church Plaza near NJ Transit’s Brick Church Station in East Orange (Essex County). Named the Crossings at Brick Church, the complex would include two buildings, a five-story structure with 400 units and a nine-story structure with 420 units, located on Main Street/Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. between Halsted and South Harrison streets. The application for Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval was filed by Brick Church Opportunity Zone Fund I LLC.

LOCAL | August 21, 2019
USDOT Awards $18.4 Million to Newark Penn Station

Per an announcement yesterday from New Jersey’s US Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, along with US House Representatives Albio Sires, Donald Payne Jr. and Tom Malinowski, US DOT has awarded $18,445,000 to rehab New Jersey Transit’s Newark Penn Station. The project includes repairing Platform D, which serves Tracks 3 and 4, replacing “structurally compromised reinforcement…applying a corrosion-resistant membrane on the platform surface…rebuilding platform edges, installing new tactile strips and timber rub rails, repairing and/or replacing the overhead canopy and lighting fixtures…(and replacing) deck joints throughout the platform.” Sen. Menendez is the ranking member of the Senate’s mass transit subcommittee; Congressmen Sires, Payne and Malinowski are members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

LOCAL | August 20, 2019
Alleviating Border Traffic – Brick and Toms River

Traffic along the border of Brick and Toms River in Ocean County can bottleneck, so Ocean County engineers will conduct a study of the traffic on the border roads, Brick and Hooper avenues, as they run from Beaverson Blvd. in Brick to Church Road in Toms River, in hopes of finding a way to ease the congestion. The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority will join the county in deciding alleviation solutions.

LOCAL | August 20, 2019
UPDATE:  Vineland Approves Cold Storage Facility

In May, we posted in Hot Topics news of a $6 million, 38,000-square-foot warehouse at 3490 N. Mill Road in Vineland Industrial Park-North, expected to open in 2020. Last week, the Vineland Planning Board gave its unanimous approval to the final site plan – specifically, a 37,372-square-foot building at 3546 N. Mill Road for KRES Cold Storage, targeted for a Spring 2020 opening. The board also gave preliminary approval for a second, 72,132-square-foot building on the 10.48-acre site; no construction schedule has been determined. KRES Cold Storage president is Ray Cronk II; the site plan applicant is Cronk Curcio Realty LLC.

LOCAL | August 20, 2019
USDA Gives Woodbine More Water Project Funding

USDA – Rural Development awarded nearly $1.9 million to Woodbine (Cape May County) in loans and grants, adding to the nearly $2 million previously awarded for critical repairs and improvements to the town’s existing water treatment plant and distribution system. Upgrades will include the well house, filtration system, garage and related facilities, and extension or replacement of water mains.

NATIONAL | August 19, 2019
Construction Employment Up in 40 States in July

In the year-over-year from July 2018 to July 2019, 40 states added construction jobs, but only 25 states added jobs from June to July 2019. New Jersey added a healthy 9,000 jobs for the year period, a 5.8% bump that placed it 12th in the nation, and 500 for the month, a 0.3% increase. In the region, Rhode Island added 1,000 jobs for the year period, up 5.2%, and 200 for the month, up 1%; Pennsylvania added 7,700 jobs for the year period, a 3% rise, and 1,100 for the month, up 0.4%; and New York added 7,600 jobs for the year period, a 1.9% rise, and 600 for the month, up 0.1%. Delaware added 900 jobs for the year period, a 4.1% increase, but lost 100 for the month, a 0.4% dip. And Connecticut landed in the bottom five nationwide, shedding 1,500 jobs for the year period, a 2.6% drop, and losing 300 for the month, down a half-percentage point.

LOCAL | August 15, 2019
Ocean County Looking for Redesign of Brick Township Road

Burnt Tavern Road in Brick will be redesigned to correct a difficult merge where the road intersects with Greenbriar Blvd. at the Greenbriar II entrance as well as Van Zile Road. The existing acceleration lane, into which traffic is channeled as it turns left from Greenbriar onto Burnt Tavern Road, will be eliminated so that traffic can safely proceed straight on Burnt Tavern or turn right on Van Zile. In addition, traffic on Burnt Tavern Road approaching Greenbriar will be stopped to allow vehicles to make that left out of Greenbriar Blvd. Ocean County will combine the redesign project with repaving Burnt Tavern Road. No construction date has been announced.

NATIONAL | August 12, 2019
Bid Prices Rise, Materials Prices Slow in June

In June a year ago, construction materials prices jumped 7.9% across the nation, but this June the PPI edged up only 0.1% in comparison, while bid prices rose 5.6%. Bid prices in the US were strong for office and healthcare building construction (up 4.% for the year-over-year), warehouses (up 5.4%), industrial buildings (up 6.6%), and schools (up 7.1%). In contrast, prices for lumber and plywood, which had jumped 16% in June 2018, fell 16% this June. Diesel fuel was down 14% for the year period, compared to its 43% leap last year; steel mill products dropped 7.5% this year-over-year period after a 12% rise last year; aluminum mill shapes fell 4.9% this year period after a 17% jump last year; and gypsum products fell 7.3% this year period following a 4.9% rise last year. Architectural coatings, however, rose 7.8% for the year period, following a 4.6% increase last year.

LOCAL | August 7, 2019
Jersey City Plans New Police Station in The Heights

Last week, Jersey City officials saw plans for a new North District police station to replace the current one at 282 Central Ave, which was built in 1901. Totowa architects Coppa Montalbano LLC showed a preliminary site plan for a six-story, 31,000-square-foot building facing Central Avenue, down the street at 269-273, along with a six-story parking garage with 190 spaces for police vehicles, to be accessed from Sherman Place. Jersey City is now seeking comment from residents.

LOCAL | August 7, 2019
UPDATE: Florence Mixed-Use Progresses

As we posted in a lengthy Hot Topic in June, Florence anticipates a mixed-use development at the junction of Route 130 and Cedar Lane, approved by the township and waiting NJDOT approval. That approval seems to be likely and perhaps imminent, as the Department backs developer Weiss Properties’ plan to fund and construct a $1 million roundabout on Cedar Lane at Hunts Circus Drive that will replace the existing jughandle. The land surrounding the jughandle is owned by NJDOT; the agency must approve Weiss’ purchase of the property to continue the project.

LOCAL | August 7, 2019
Library Funding Creeps Closer

The $125 million Library Bond Act was approved by voters nearly two years ago, but the proposed regulations to implement the bond issue were just released for comment through August 30. If approved, the spending per square foot for new construction would be capped at $350 and at $200 for renovations, with the state funding half the cost of approved projects and the library paying for the other half. Nearly 300 county, municipal and joint libraries could apply for funding to purchase new technology, comply with ADA, add public meeting spaces and make safety repairs, in addition to public services. The proposed regulations could be adopted after September 30, followed by applications through the rest of the year; funding is not expected to be available until spring.

LOCAL | August 6, 2019
DOT Releases $161 Million in County Aid

Last week, NJ DOT announced it is releasing $161.25 million in FY2020 County Aid grants for infrastructure improvements, funded through the TTF. Counties receiving $10 million or more include Bergen ($13,617,122), Burlington ($10,219,162), Middlesex ($10,963,208), Monmouth ($10,140,896) and Ocean ($12,722,128). For the list of grants to all 21 counties, visit https://www.state.nj.us/transportation/about/press/2019/FY_2020_County_Aid_Allotment.pdf.

NATIONAL | August 6, 2019
OSHA Considers Revising Silica Standard

OSHA is considering revisions to Table 1 in the construction standard for silica. As you know, construction contractors who follow Table 1 aren’t required to monitor employee exposure to silica, nor are they subject to PEL limits. Last week, OSHA submitted a draft Request for Information to OMB; if approved, OSHA will publish the RFI in the Federal Register and determine from responses if revisions to Table 1 are appropriate. Per the RFI, OSHA seeks information “on the effectiveness of control measures not currently included for tasks and tools listed in Table 1. The Agency is also interested in tasks and tools involving exposure to respirable crystalline silica that are not currently listed in Table 1, along with information on the effectiveness of dust control methods in limiting worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica when performing those operations.”

LOCAL | July 30, 2019
Middlesex County Towns Discuss Shared Sewage Pumping Station

Metuchen and Edison may execute a Shared Service Agreement for the design and construction of a sewage pumping station. The Metuchen Borough Council met last night to discuss a resolution authorizing the agreement; the Edison Municipal Council had met July 24 for the same purpose. The new single-pump station would replace the Edison Pump Station and the Metuchen Jersey Avenue Pump Station and would include equipment to pump sewage to the Middlesex County Utilities Authority.

LOCAL | July 29, 2019
Hoboken Eyes Large Mixed-Use for Madison Street Site

Plans are evolving for a mixed-use on the site of an old factory at 1200-1318 Madison Street in Hoboken, now owned by Hoboken Western Edge LLC with an address linked to Pegasus Partners, already designated a Hoboken redeveloper. The mixed-use would include 351 residential units (including 10% affordable housing), 224,000 square feet of commercial/office space and 48,000 square feet of retail (no height specified). At its July 10 meeting, the Hoboken City Council awarded a contract to CBRE to provide consulting for negotiating a redevelopment agreement for the Madison Street project. No timelines for the agreement, approvals or construction have been announced.

NATIONAL | July 29, 2019
Federal SBA Raises “Small Business” Size

The US Small Business Administration announced last week it issued an interim final rule detailing new revenue thresholds for companies to be classified as small businesses (published in the July 18 Federal Register). SBA says thresholds will rise approximately 8%, set to take effect August 19, and will allow 90,000 more companies to qualify as small businesses, increasing federal small-business contracts up to $750 million and small-business loans. The SBA had also recently proposed a longer lookback period for revenue-averaging, from three to five years (published in the June 24 Federal Register). Both moves were applauded by AGC of America.

LOCAL | July 23, 2019
$8 Million Buys an Asbury Park Boardwalk

Developer iStar has agreed to replace a four-block section of Asbury Park boardwalk it removed last fall, a project that will cost iStar $8 million for the 25-foot-wide wood section stretching from Convention Hall to the city’s border with Loch Arbor at the north end. The project will also include stormwater catch basins architecturally designed to be “rain gardens.” Plans must still receive approval from the City Council and a CAFRA permit from NJ DEP. The expectation is the new boardwalk will be finished by the beginning of Summer 2020.

LOCAL | July 22, 2019
AC Could Build $4.5 Million Hangar for Charter Plane Operation

If an unnamed company specializing in charter plane maintenance and repair decides to make a home at the Atlantic City International Airport, the South Jersey Transportation Authority will build it. Last Thursday, the Authority approved a resolution to negotiate a ground lease with the Atlantic County Improvement Authority, which would finance the project if county freeholders agree. The hanger, 22,500 square feet, would be built between existing Hangars 1 & 2, on “developable” land, per the FAA’s master plan.

LOCAL | July 22, 2019
New York Announces Offshore Wind Projects

Last Thursday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced it has awarded two offshore wind projects totaling 1,700 megawatts to Equinor, a Norwegian developer with a US unit, and a joint venture of Ørsted, the Danish company that was awarded New Jersey’s offshore wind project, and Connecticut’s Eversource Energy. Each project is estimated to cost $3 billion and will be built with a union PLA. Equinor’s 816-megawatt project, expected to be operational in 2024, will include 60 to 80 wind turbines of approximately 10 megawatts each, set on gravity-based foundations in an 80,000-acre lease area in the New York section of the New York/New Jersey Bight, which extends from Cape May Inlet to Montauk Point. Ørsted’s 880-megawatt project, on which construction will start in 2021 and be operational in 2022, will have turbines of approximately 8 megawatts each; turbine builder is Siemens Gamesa.

NATIONAL | July 22, 2019
42 States See Rise in Construction Employment for Year

In the year from June 2018 to June 2019, 42 states added construction jobs, while 30 added jobs in the month from May to June this year. New Jersey added jobs in both periods, gaining 8,000 (up 5.1%) for the year, 700 (up 0.4%) for the month. In the region, Pennsylvania added 6,600 for the year period, a gain of 2.6%, but lost 300 for the month, a 0.1% drop; New York gained 5,700 for the year period, up 1.4%, but lost 100 for the month (not measurable as a percentage); Delaware gained 800 jobs for the year, up 3.6%, but lost 100 for the month, down 0.4%; and Rhode Island added 700 jobs for the year, up 3.6%, remaining unchanged for the month. Connecticut hit the bottom for both periods, losing 1,000 jobs for the year, a 1.7% loss, and 1,100 for the month, a 1.9% drop.

LOCAL | July 18, 2019
Three State DOLs Sign Alliance to Protect Workers

On July 9, the labor departments in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware signed a reciprocal agreement to share information and enforcement efforts that will help ensure employer compliance with labor laws in all three states. The agreement allows the states to strategically share data, refer cases across state lines and jointly investigate cases. The goal of the alliance is to foster more efficient investigations of, among other things, wage claims, worker misclassification and workplace safety issues. This kind of interstate cooperation is one of the recommendations of the Stockton University studies on the underground construction economy as well as the Task Force established in New Jersey by executive order in 2018 to combat misclassification.

LOCAL | July 17, 2019
Future DOT Work Announced for Route 9 in Ocean County

NJDOT is planning work – beginning in 2022 – on 6.9 miles of Route 9 between Indian head Road in Toms River and Hurley/Central Avenue in Lakewood. Here are some of the improvements planned:

  • In Toms River…
    • New turn lanes and signals added at the Whitty Road intersection
    • Bypass lane and right-turn lane added at Church Road
  • In Lakewood…
    • Road-widening at Locust and Honey Locust and the addition of left and right turn lanes
    • Three lanes added at Chestnut Street (left, right and straight) on both sides of Route 9
    • Realignment of Chateau Drive to improve crossover into Broadway; both streets will get a left-turn lane
    • Road-widening of Route 9 to three lanes, including turn lanes, at Oak Street
    • Dedicated left-turn lanes added at Spruce Street
    • Realignment of Pine Street to flow into James Street
    • Redesign of Hurley Avenue/Central Avenue intersection, eliminating southbound left-turn lane from Route 9 along with several turn lanes
    • Addition of a concrete island at First Street to prevent turns

LOCAL | July 17, 2019
Local Freight Impact Fund Grants to Improve Truck-Traffic Safety

Yesterday, NJDOT announced $30.1 million in grants to help counties and towns improve safety for large-truck traffic. Of the 59 applications NJDOT received for the competitive grants, 25 were awarded in 24 towns in 13 counties. Projects include one Bridge Preservation; three Truck Safety and Mobility; two New Construction; and 19 Pavement Preservation, falling into the four categories eligible for funding. For the complete project list, visit https://www.state.nj.us/transportation/about/press/2019/Local_Freight_Infrastructure_Fund-Grants.pdf

LOCAL | July 17, 2019
AC School Board Offices Could Move to Boardwalk Hall

Yesterday, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority gave preliminary approval for $10.4 million to renovate part of Boardwalk Hall so the Atlantic City School Board could use it as rent-free office space. Total project cost is estimated at $12.5 million; the School Board could contribute $2.1 million. Next step is a public hearing and then a final CRDA Board vote.

LOCAL | July 16, 2019
UPDATE: Camden Transit Hub Receives NJ Transit Grant

NJ Transit granted $7 million to the Walter Rand Transportation Hub in Camden, to be used to construct a pedestrian bridge over the six-lane Martin Luther King Boulevard, connecting the transit building (PATCO and commuter parking) to Broadway businesses and Cooper University Hospital. Construction on the bridge will begin in 2021. As we posted in Hot Topics in March 2018, the design of the pedestrian bridge and other upgrades at Walter Rand was covered by a $2 million federal grant through the Transportation Improvement Program.  

LOCAL | July 16, 2019
UPDATE: Banquets Permitted for Proposed Mantoloking Restaurant

The Brick Township Board of Adjustments won’t make a final decision for months on whether to allow a 45,000-square-foot, 78-foot tall restaurant and banquet hall on 25 acres near the Mantoloking Bridge, but officials did approve the site for banquets, negating the need for a use variance. As we posted in May Hot Topics, the owners, brothers Barry and Joseph Maurillo and partner Vito Cucci (plus restaurateur Chip Groboski) want an upscale wedding/event and restaurant venue with outdoor and rooftop decks, dock-and-dine slips, raw and traditional bars, steak-and-seafood restaurant, cocktail room and large reception room with vaulted ceiling, along with an adjacent smaller building for restrooms and a ship’s store for marina customers. In addition to township approval, a permit from DEP (under CAFRA – Coastal Area Facilities Review Act) would be required before construction could begin.

LOCAL | July 15, 2019
Vineland Hospital Redevelopment Back in Play

In a Hot Topic posted way back in 2015, we told you of a redevelopment proposal for Newcomb Hospital in Vineland (Cumberland County), which had already been closed for more than a decade. Now approaching two decades empty, the old hospital is being demolished and Vineland Development Corp. has reclaimed ownership of the property from developer A.J. Danza. Plans for the site could include an assisted-living facility; two senior high-rise apartment buildings (the high-rises, approved in April, are under the direction of developer Hans Lampart of Eastern Pacific Development in Vineland); the city’s Emergency Medical Services Division, due to open this year; and the Inspira Health Network’s medical office building, already occupied.

LOCAL | July 15, 2019
Westampton Warehouse Project Slated to Replace Proposed Residential

On 43 acres originally designated for 456 multi-family rental units in Westampton (Burlington County), MRP Industrial NE LLC plans to build a 610,000-square-foot logistics center or warehouse with office space, more than 150 loading docks, 181 trailer parking storage spaces and 214 parking stalls. The redeveloper was approved last week by the Township Committee for the property at 50 Western Drive off Burlington-Mount Holly Road, behind the Towne Crossing Shopping Center and just west of the Turnpike. Next step is approval of the new redevelopment plan and a redevelopment agreement, which could occur at the Township Committee meeting scheduled for August 20.

NATIONAL | July 12, 2019
US DOL Secretary Acosta Resigns

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta announced his resignation today, effective in one week, following news coverage of and backlash from a 2008 secret plea deal he made with Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire financier who at the time was accused of sexually abusing more than 40 young girls. Acosta was then serving as the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; the plea deal resulted in Epstein serving 13 months in jail, paying settlements to the victims and registering as a sex offender. Without the plea deal, Epstein could have been sentenced to life in prison. Federal prosecutors in New York recently filed similar sex-abuse charges against Epstein. Acosta was sworn in as Labor Secretary in 2017.

LOCAL | July 12, 2019
DEP Preps Communities on Two-River Flood Resiliency

On July 3, NJDEP officials met with Monmouth County residents who live in the Two Rivers region in the northeastern section of the county to discuss the department’s “Two Rivers, One Future” plan to make the coast more resilient against flooding. Towns residing on the peninsula that marks the  confluence of the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers include Eatontown, Fair haven, Highlands, Little Silver, Long Branch, Middletown, Monmouth Beach, Ocean Township, Oceanport, Red Bank, Rumson, Sea Bright, Shrewsbury Borough, Tinton Falls and West Long Branch. Plans proposed by the DEP include raising roads and homes, fortifying levees, raising sea walls, elevating railroad bridges, relocating marinas and even designing a new “inland coast” with public access to the waterfront.

LOCAL | July 10, 2019
Port Authority Releases 30-Year Plan

The Port Authority’s 30-year master plan details how its shipping facilities in New York and New Jersey will remain vital and able to handle the huge cargo volumes predicted. Issues reviewed in the plan include security, cybersecurity, environmental impacts and alternative energy sources, land use in a time of rising sea levels, integrating port facilities into a transportation network, infrastructure delivery and quite a few others. Download the 38-page PDF at http://www.panynj.gov/port/pdf/port-master-plan-2050.pdf.

NATIONAL | July 9, 2019
US Again Slaps Mexico with Steel Tariffs

Yesterday, the US Commerce Department announced tariffs on fabricated steel imports from Mexico, effective immediately. The American Institute of Steel Construction had requested the department investigate government subsidies given to companies exporting fabricated steel from Mexico, China and Canada; the Commerce Department found in a preliminary determination exports from Mexico and China warranted tariffs.

NATIONAL | July 3, 2019
Nearly 70% of Metros Gain Construction Jobs for Year

For the year from May 2018 to May 2019, 249 of 358 metro areas added construction jobs, nearly 70%. In New Jersey, five of seven metros added jobs, but Atlantic City-Hammonton dropped 1,000 jobs, a whopping 15% decrease that placed it second-from-the-bottom among all metros across the country. Trenton lost 100 jobs, a 2% decrease. Camden picked up 2,700 jobs, a 12% jump; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 2,400 jobs, an 8% hike; Newark added 1,900 jobs, a 4% increase; and Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 200 jobs, a 1% increase. Vineland-Bridgeton remained unchanged for the year period.

LOCAL | July 2, 2019
NJ Transit Asset to Become Somerville Station

Somerset Development has purchased 31 acres in Somerville (Somerset County) from New Jersey Transit and will transform it into Somerville Station, a mixed-use complex with two apartment buildings housing 371 units, 156 townhomes in 14 buildings, two parking garages, 4,000 square feet of retail, a 4,000-square-foot community/civic center and a road that connects the development to Route 206. The community/civic center will offer rooms for borough council and municipal board meetings. More than 300 trees will be planted along the residential streets in Somerset Station. Construction, to be rolled out in phases, will begin this summer on a parking deck that will replace the current commuter parking lot adjacent to the train station, a stop on NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley line. The development is expected to be finished in 2023.

LOCAL | July 2, 2019
Mercedes Montvale Redevelopment Advances

The old Mercedes HQ in Montvale (Bergen County) will become Tri-Boro Square, a $150 million mixed-use redevelopment that will include five buildings encompassing 139,500 square feet of retail, 40,500 square feet of office, 308 residential units, a 150-room hotel and a built-to-suit mixed-use office and retail building. The developer, S. Hekemian Group of Englewood, was approved in June to redevelop the site, which lies just off the Garden State Parkway at Exit 172, near the New York State line.

LOCAL | July 2, 2019
Saint Peter’s University Plans Dorms in Jersey City

The university has proposed a six-story student dormitory with 72 units, 151 beds, at 762 Montgomery Street in Jersey City, a property owned by the university in the McGinley Square neighborhood. The application was filed with the Jersey City Zoning Board seeking Preliminary and Final Site Plan Approval with variances for use, rear-yard setback and height; it was scheduled to be considered last week.

LOCAL | June 26, 2019
NJ Treasury Adopts Changes for DVOB Certification

The New Jersey Treasury Department is adopting changes to the certification processes for Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (DVOBs):

  • $100 registration fee waived
  • Government reporting by department required
  • Administrative code change specifies set-aside goals apply to all types of contracting, including goods and services, as well as construction
  • The DVOB 3% set-aside law includes the ability to comply with the law at the subcontractor level. Historically, the law was only focused on prime contracts but now departments such as NJ DOT can get credit for their 3% goals by subcontracting to DVOBs.
  • Streamlined application and certification

LOCAL | June 25, 2019
AC Marina District Redevelopment Plan Approved

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority last week approved Atlantic City’s Marina District Redevelopment Plan, which allows multifamily housing in addition to redevelopment agreements and tax incentives. As we posted in Hot Topics in May, MGM and Boraie Development had announced plans to build 200 luxury condos on 14.72 acres of waterfront next to the Golden Nugget in the Marina District, pending CRDA and Army Corps approval. MGM also owns 69 acres between Harrah’s and Borgata, part of which is a remediated and capped city dump with monitored vents. Because the area is wetlands, the Army Corps would have to issue permits for development.

LOCAL | June 24, 2019
BPU Award Goes to Ørsted for Offshore Wind Farm

On Friday, NJ BPU granted an award to Ørsted and PSE&G for their proposed 1,100-megawatt Ocean Wind project, an offshore wind farm expected to generate enough electric power for about half-a-million homes. Ocean Wind would be built 15 miles offshore from Atlantic City. The now-closed B.L. England generating station in Upper Township (Cape May County) could be the first land connection point. The two firms hope to have Ocean Wind operational in 2024, but the project must still obtain federal and state permits.

NATIONAL | June 24, 2019
US DOT Announces $292.7 Million Funding Program for Ports

Last week, US DOT launched a Port Infrastructure Development Program, backed by $292.7 million in funding opportunities to improve safety, efficiency and reliability as ports move goods into the US. The first round of funding will be based on a competition for projects at coastal seaports OR projects that directly relate to port operations or intermodal connections to ports. Projects will be evaluated on these criteria:  use of federal funds; geographic diversity; costs and benefits; outcomes; readiness; and domestic preference. A minimum award of $10 million has been set aside for selected projects, and federal costs may not exceed 80% of any project.

NATIONAL | June 24, 2019
More than Three-Quarters of States Add Construction Jobs in May

From May 2018 to May 2019, 39 states and DC added construction jobs, while 31 states added construction jobs from April to May 2019. New Jersey had the strongest showing in the region for the year period, ranking #16 among all states with the addition of 8,000 jobs (up 5.1%). Delaware was a close second for the year period, ranking #17 with the addition of 1,100 jobs, a 5% jump. Rhode Island, ranked #22, added 700 jobs for a 3.6% hike for the year, followed by Pennsylvania at #23 with the addition of 8,300 jobs, a 3.3% gain. Connecticut and New York tied at #34 for the year period; Connecticut added 800 jobs, a 1.4% increase, and New York added 5,400 jobs, also a 1.4% increase. For the month period, New Jersey added 800 jobs, a half-percentage point gain. Rhode Island added 200 jobs for the month, up 1%; Delaware also added 200 jobs, up 0.9%; and Pennsylvania added 100 jobs, which left it statistically the same from April to May. Connecticut and New York landed in the bottom five among all states for the month period. Connecticut lost 900 jobs, a 1.4% drop, and New York shed 5,500 jobs, a 1.3% drop.

LOCAL | June 24, 2019
UPDATE: Stockton Slated for Extra $4 Million

If the New Jersey Legislature’s proposed budget is a go, Stockton will get an extra $4 million, which would help the university move forward on plans for Phase II of its Atlantic City campus. As we posted in Hot Topics on May 31, the Stockton Board of Trustees approved expanding its AC presence, but the growth was predicated on more state aid. Plans include a $64-million, six-story, 405-bed (105-unit) dorm and complex across from O’Donnell Memorial Park.

LOCAL | June 20, 2019
Jersey City Considers Four-Tower Mixed-Use Community

Four towers with 2,360 rental units (20% designated affordable housing), retail space and indoor parking for 1,180 vehicles are proposed within a five-block area along the I-78 Turnpike extension in Jersey City. The site, part of the Bates Street Redevelopment Area, lies between Center and Bates streets. Manhattan Building Company, the Master Redeveloper, proposes a 50-story tower; three other towers would reach 23 to 46 stories. Some would feature a tiered, “slender” design. The development would include open green space and possibly a walkable corridor under the I-78 extension to connect to Gateway Field, along with several community amenities to be funded by developer fees paid into an Open Space Trust. In addition, infrastructure improvements estimated at $15 million would include raising four blocks of roads, including Center Street, to mitigate flooding; separating an existing combined sewer into two systems; removing combined water lines; and building new stormwater and sanitary systems. The developer was slated to present plans at another community meeting last night.

LOCAL | June 20, 2019
Bloomfield Eyes New Mixed-Use Complex

The Bloomfield (Essex County) Planning Board is considering this week Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan approval for a new mixed-use complex on eight sites in Bloomfield Center proposed by Royal Urban Renewal LLC. The plan consists of new construction with 210 apartments, 7,283 square feet of retail, 15 townhouses and a parking garage with 311 spaces (24 less than required) at 610-612, 616 and 622 Bloomfield Avenue, 55A and 81-85 Washington Street, 10 and 18 Ward Street, and 7 Farrand Street. Of “varying heights,” the building will be eight stories and just over 96 feet at the highest point. Parking garage construction would be paid for by the Township of Bloomfield. 

LOCAL | June 20, 2019
AC Electric Plans Upgrades in 2020

Atlantic City Electric has announced its Atlantic City/Brigantine Community Reliability Project, implementing upgrades to the Brigantine and Atlantic City energy grid, with work planned for Fall 2020 through May 2022 during “off-season” times. The resiliency/reliability project will replace a Brigantine substation on Bayshore Avenue (on an expanded 1.5-acre lot at the current location), elevating it several feet above flood zone to protect against power outages. It will also rebuild 3.4 miles of transmission lines with modern equipment, both underground and above-ground, starting from the substation on North Arkansas Avenue in AC, running along Route 187 (Brigantine Blvd.) and ending at the new Brigantine substation. Steel poles designed to withstand hurricane-force winds up to 120 miles per hour will replace existing wood poles on sections of Route 30 and Route 187 and along Brigantine Blvd. from the Brigantine Bridge to 38th Street. For further details, visit www.atlanticcityelectric.com/reliability.    

LOCAL | June 18, 2019
NJ Transit Proposes Natural Gas Power Plant in Kearny

A 140-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant in Kearny (Hudson County), says NJ Transit, would keep the electricity flowing during bad weather and power outages, electrifying the tracks and operating controls. The plant would be located on 227 acres comprised of two old industrial sites on the former Kopper Koke peninsula that juts into the Hackensack River, near two substations that serve the Morris & Essex Line and Northeast Corridor. From there, transmission lines and infrastructure would extend to substations in the county to support limited and emergency operations on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, the Northeast Corridor between New Brunswick and New York Penn Station, and the Morris & Essex Line between Maplewood and Hoboken. The power plant is part of the NJ TransitGrid Project, which received a $546 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration to build reliability and resilience in mass transportation following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. NJ Transit will hold two public hearings on the power plant today in Jersey City.

LOCAL | June 18, 2019
Meadowlands Landfill Site Sold to Developers

The 718-acre Kingsland Tract, formerly the EnCap landfill that ran through Lyndhurst, Rutherford and North Arlington in Bergen County, will be converted into Kingsland Meadowlands, a development of logistics and e-commerce operations. As many as six buildings will offer more than three million square feet of industrial space, with the first building expected to be completed in late 2021. Developers are Russo Development and Forsgate Industrial Partners, who purchased the site for $42.5 million.

LOCAL | June 18, 2019
Cape May County Redevelopment Initiative to Aid Towns

The Municipal Redevelopment Initiative will kick off with a two-year pilot program partnership to help with the redevelopment of certain towns identified as having “economic challenges” and lacking the resources to improve distressed areas on their own. The partnership will include the county, each specified town, private business and the Atlantic County Improvement Authority. The first project will focus on parts of downtown Wildwood’s Pacific Avenue corridor.

LOCAL | June 18, 2019
Elizabethtown Gas Announces $300 Million Infrastructure Upgrade

Authorized by the New Jersey BPU and beginning July 1, Elizabethtown Gas will invest in a $300 million, five-year infrastructure improvement program, replacing 250 miles of old cast iron and bare steel mains and installing excess flow valves on the new service lines. The goal is to enhance safety and reliability, reduce emissions and create jobs.

LOCAL | June 18, 2019
New Patient Tower Planned for South Jersey

Jefferson Washington Township Hospital (Gloucester County) is slated to receive a new 90-bed patient pavilion, an 822-car parking garage and a helipad from Thomas Jefferson University, one of several large construction projects Jefferson announced this week. Jefferson said it plans to borrow more than $400 million in municipal bonds for the projects but didn’t attach cost estimates to any specific project.

LOCAL | June 12, 2019
Voorhees Golf Land Site Could Offer Upscale Mixed-Use

Talk of development at the Golf Land site at 801 Haddonfield-Berlin Road (County Rte. 561) in Voorhees (Camden County) has been building for a long time. Now the township zoning board is set to consider a proposal from developer Hartford Properties LLC to construct a nearly 100,000-square-foot complex with upscale restaurants, cafes and retailers in six buildings on 12.3 acres. The Shoppes at Voorhees project is scheduled to be on the zoning board agenda for tomorrow night’s meeting.

LOCAL | June 12, 2019
RWJBarnabas and Rutgers Cancer Institute Announce More Plans

As we posted in Hot Topics last July, RWJBarnabas Health and the Rutgers Cancer Institute announced a P3 agreement with the intent to spend $1 billion on new facilities. Last week, the two groups announced plans for a $750 million free-standing cancer center, the Cancer Pavilion, to be constructed in New Brunswick in partnership with New Brunswick Devco. The facility will feature outpatient services including chemotherapy and radiation, major diagnostic modalities, inpatient cancer services, and research labs that will provide clinical assessment, feedback on clinical trials and fast, efficient collection of research data. The four-year construction schedule will start with a groundbreaking in the summer of 2020. The precise location has not been specified, but the Cancer Pavilion will be adjacent to RJW University Hospital and the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

LOCAL | June 4, 2019
Florence Mixed-Use Approved But Awaits Other OKs

The Florence (Burlington County) Planning Board approved a mixed-use development at the intersection of Route 130 and Cedar Lane, which would create 240 apartments in 10 three-story, 24-unit buildings (eight units per floor), a 104-room Marriott and an adjacent retail store or restaurant. The residential units are specified in the plan as 92 one-bedrooms, 140 two-bedrooms and eight three-bedrooms; 15% of the units would be affordable housing. Other proposed features are a clubhouse, retention pond and recycling center. Planned entrance and exit would be along Route 130 Northbound and Cedar Lane at the roundabout, with a low median down the middle to block left turns into the Wawa on Cedar Lane, crosswalks at all the ingress and egress points, and a four-foot-high “decorative” wall along Cedar Lane. NJ DOT would be asked to install a mid-block crosswalk near the Wawa entrance.

The deal is contingent upon NJ DOT allowing the developer, Weiss Properties of New Brunswick, to acquire the part of the property owned by NJ DOT, eliminate the existing jughandle and install a roundabout on Cedar Lane at Hunts Circus Drive to replace the jughandle. It’s not a new idea. Last July, we posted in Hot Topics an NJ DOT plan to replace the northbound Route 130 jughandle at Cedar Lane with a roundabout and widen the southbound jughandle to two lanes – a project that wasn’t expected to go into construction for a couple of years.

If NJ DOT approves the land purchase and roadwork, the project would be developed in phases, beginning with the roundabout, followed by construction of five of the apartment buildings. Phase 2 would include construction of the hotel, retail site and the other five apartment buildings.

LOCAL | June 3, 2019
Princeton Gift Will Consolidate Computer Science Studies

Eric and Wendy Schmidt’s gift will allow Princeton University to consolidate its computer science programs, now located in nine buildings, into a single space in the center of the campus. Guyot Hall, built in 1909, will be renovated, preserving the architectural details of the exterior, and renamed the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Hall. A new building with the Guyot name and supporting Princeton’s environmental science programs will be built elsewhere on campus. Construction, which will increase the square feet of the computer science department, is expected to run from early 2024 to mid-2026.

LOCAL | May 31, 2019
More Airport Money – $7.4 Million To Morristown and AC

On Friday, Senators Menendez and Booker announced another $7,422,115 in FAA grants for improvements at Morristown Municipal Airport and Atlantic City International Airport. Most of it, $7,021,659, will go to runway safety improvements at Morristown. The other $400,456 will go to AC, adding to the $8 million announced in May for a de-icing facility.

NATIONAL | May 31, 2019
Metro Construction Jobs Up in US, Uneven in NJ

Nearly 70% of the nation’s metropolitan areas saw an uptick in construction jobs in April compared to April 2018. However, New Jersey showed an uneven pattern metro-to-metro. In the plus column, Camden’s job growth hit 12% with the addition of 2,700 jobs year-over year; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic also added 2,700 jobs, a 9% jump; and Newark added 2,800 jobs, a 6% hike. In the minus column, Atlantic City-Hammonton plummeted 13% with the loss of 800 jobs year-over year, which put it in the bottom five percentage drops in the country; Vineland-Bridgeton fell 4% with the loss of 100 jobs; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean dropped 3% with the loss of 1,200 jobs; and Trenton slid 2% with the loss of 100 jobs.

LOCAL | May 31, 2019
MTA Wants Engineers, Contractors to Cut Fees 10%

To close a $1 billion operating deficit, New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority wants a 10% fee cut from engineers, contractors and other vendors on current projects (mid-contract). The MTA notified vendors via letter; the 10% cut was due to be applied to all invoices beginning April 1. In other MTA rule changes, all major projects must be design-build and all contractors whose project goes more than 10% over budget and schedule will be disbarred.

LOCAL | May 31, 2019
Stockton Approves Phase II of AC Campus

Wednesday, Stockton University trustees authorized the Atlantic City Development Corp. to go ahead with planning a $64-million, six-story, 405-bed (105-unit) dorm and complex across from O’Donnell Memorial Park. The site, bounded by Atlantic, South Hartford and South Providence avenues, holds the former Eldridge Building, which will be converted into the new residential complex. The site plan was approved this month by the CRDA, which has oversight of the Tourism District in which Stockton is located. AC Devco has already applied for a Coastal Area Facilities Review permit from the state and will ask the CRDA for a $10 million loan for construction. However, the project is contingent upon another $5 million in annual state aid to Stockton in its 2020 budget.

LOCAL | May 29, 2019
Mixed-Use Plan for Newark Broad Street Station Area

Broad Street Urban Renewal LLC has proposed construction of two five-story buildings at 349-377 and 379-397 Broad Street with a combined 255 residential units, “community gallery” retail space, two pocket parks on Broad Street, an outdoor dining area, parking for 268 vehicles on the ground floor, and roadways to connect the development with State Street. The NJ Transit station is across Interstate 280; the proposed site lies between House of Prayer Episcopal Church and a Burger King. Along with preliminary and final site approval, the developer is seeking variances with the Newark Central Planning Board. The properties are owned by 349 Broad Street New LLC of Edison.

LOCAL | May 29, 2019
UPDATE: Developer Has MOU to Redevelop US Pipe Site

In April, we posted in Hot Topics developer and auto dealer Tom Maoli had proposed an entertainment venue on 46 acres in Burlington City (Burlington County) that was home to the US Pipe and Foundry factory and is currently owned by the city. Latest news is Maoli has a Memorandum of Understanding with Burlington City, with expectations the $200 million “Burlington Dream Park” project will offer market-rate multifamily housing with 400 units, a 75,000-square-foot water park, resort hotel and corporate banquet center, promenade along the Delaware River, farmer’s market and performing arts space. Maoli estimates construction could begin in 18 months to two years, following all the necessary financing and filing.

NATIONAL | May 28, 2019
AGC Releases Highway Work Zone Survey Results

In its 2019 highway work zone survey, AGC of America found 67% of the nearly 400 road contractors surveyed reported vehicles had crashed into their construction work zones during the past year.

  • 70% of those reporting crashes said drivers or passengers were injured
  • 28% of the crashes resulted in a driver or passenger fatality
  • 28% of the crashes injured construction workers
  • 8% of the crashes killed construction workers
  • 73% of contractors report risk of highway work zone crashes is greater now than a decade ago

AGC of America is launching a nationwide campaign through radio and social media to urge drivers to use more caution and be alert as they pass by or through highway work zones.

To view the national results:

https://www.agc.org/news/2019/05/23/2019-highway-work-zone-safety-survey

For results in the Northeast: https://www.agc.org/sites/default/files/Files/Communications/2019_Work_Zone_Survey-Northeast.pdf

LOCAL | May 22, 2019
Update: Details on Plan for Bayonne Military Terminal Redevelopment

If more redevelopment of the Bayonne Military Ocean Terminal actually happens in this latest proposal, here’s what we might see: Developer Mahalaxmi Bayonne Urban Renewal would use 12 lots in the Harbor Station South Redevelopment Plan Area along Goldsborough Drive for a 218-room hotel and a 4,500-unit residential component with 80,906 square feet of retail space. This would be in addition to the retail, industrial and residential construction already expected. The new proposal must be approved by the Bayonne Planning Board.

LOCAL | May 21, 2019
Kearny Point Nabs First Jersey Opportunity Zone Grant

The US Economic Development Administration is giving a $3 million grant to Kearny (Hudson County) to upgrade and improve Hackensack Avenue between Routes 1 & 9 and Eastern Road, a main access road into the Kearny Point business center development. Expected to be matched by $1.3 million in local funds, it’s the first Opportunity Zone grant in New Jersey, designed to help the development of Kearny Point, a 130-acre business community plan to be comprised of five buildings with 2 million square feet of light manufacturing, office and coworking space on the peninsula that marks the confluence of the Passaic and Hackensack rivers.

NATIONAL | May 21, 2019
US to Lift Canada’s Tariffs

Last Friday, the President announced the US will lift the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed on Canada last year. Canada will withdraw retaliatory tariffs in return.

LOCAL | May 21, 2019
NJDOT Releases Flood Mitigation Plan for Route 40

As we posted previously in Hot Topics, the elevation of a one-mile stretch of Black Horse Pike, aka Route 40, in Egg Harbor Township (Atlantic County) will undergo a $27.5 million uplift to ease flooding on what is a main evacuation route out of Atlantic City. Last week, NJDOT explained the plans in a public forum, beginning with the raising of Route 40 by 2.5 feet on that mile from Naples Avenue to Bayport Drive. Crews will excavate three feet of soil below the pavement and replace it with lightweight fill and new pavement to keep the roadway from sinking. Plans also call for new storm drains and installation of a new outfall pipe on Venice Avenue; the pipe will be six inches wider and hold a flap to prevent water from spewing back out during severe flooding. NJDOT expects construction to start in 2022 and be completed by 2025, during which the two westbound lanes on Route 40 will remain open but the eastbound side could be reduced to one lane at times. Because NJDOT wants to expedite construction, the agency expects the project will require a high number of craftworkers.

NATIONAL | May 20, 2019
Most States Add Construction Jobs in April Year-over-Year

Construction jobs ticked up in 43 states this April compared to April 2018, including New Jersey, which saw a 3.9% increase with the addition of 6,100 jobs. The month from March to April of this year wasn’t as strong, with 32 states adding construction jobs. New Jersey lost 400 jobs for the month, a 0.2% drop. In the region, Connecticut had one of the steepest percentage losses for the month, a drop of 3.7% as the state shed 2,300 jobs, but for the year-over-year, Connecticut added 1,900 jobs, a 3.3% hike. Delaware added 1,200 jobs for the year period, up 5.5%, and 100 jobs for the month, up 0.4%. New York added 14,000 jobs for the year period, a 3.5% rise, but lost 700 for the month, down 0.2%. Pennsylvania added 6,500 jobs for the year period, up 2.6%, but lost 1,300 for the month, down a half-percentage point. Rhode Island added 700 jobs for the year period, up 3.7%, and 100 jobs for the month, up a half-percentage point.

LOCAL | May 16, 2019
South Jersey Airports Win $8.4 Million to Fund Upgrades

Announced Tuesday, Atlantic City International Airport and Ocean County Airport (Berkeley and Lacey Townships) will receive $8.4 million from the FAA to fund repairs and improvements. The biggest chunk, $8 million, will pay for construction of a de-icing facility at the AC airport. The other $400,000 will pay for a new beacon at the Ocean County Airport.

LOCAL | May 16, 2019
$31 Million Going to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor Projects

From the $182 million New Jersey Transit paid in back rent to Amtrak, $31 million will be invested in railroad infrastructure along the Northeast Corridor.

  • Newark Penn Station: Block tie replacement (wood to concrete ties) on Tracks 1 and 4 beginning May 20 through July 7
  • Portal Bridge: Total timber deck replacement on Tracks 2 and 3 this summer (more than 500 ties per track)
  • Trenton Interlocking: Total rebuild replacing machines that move track switches and electric track heaters; replacement of 350 wooden switch ties with concrete ties
  • West Windsor Interlocking: replacement of wooden ties with concrete ties
  • New Brunswick/South Brunswick: New constant-tension overhead electric wires on four tracks between the stations
  • New York Penn Station: renovation of a joint NJ Transit-Amtrak waiting area off the main concourse

LOCAL | May 16, 2019
Luxury Condos Announced for AC’s Marina District

MGM Resorts International and Boraie Development LLC plan to build 200 luxury condos in Atlantic City’s Marina District, on 14.72 acres owned by MGM Resorts. Plans include retail, dining space, fitness and recreation areas plus a multistory building for timeshares. The proposal must be approved by the Army Corps of Engineers and the CRDA.

LOCAL | May 15, 2019
Local Law 196 Safety Training Deadline Pushed Back

The deadline for construction workers to complete an OSHA 30-Hour Construction Health & Safety Course per New York’s Local Law 196 has been pushed back six months from June 1, 2019, to December 1, 2019. For updates, check the Service Updates page of the New York City Buildings Department at https://www1.nyc.gov/site/buildings/business/service-updates.page.

LOCAL | May 9, 2019
AC Approves Ducktown Revitalization Plan

Ducktown, the only Atlantic City neighborhood whose borders are within the federal opportunity zone, is eligible for tax credits for rehabilitation and development. And because it also falls in the AC Tourist District, it could receive Casino Reinvestment  Development Authority funding. How the rehab and development might occur over the next decade was presented in a 185-page Ducktown Neighborhood Revitalization Plan approved by the AC Planning Board this week. Ducktown, 184 acres, is bordered by Texas Avenue, the Bay, the AC Expressway/Arkansas Avenue and the Boardwalk. According to the plan, 98 acres are considered “readily developable and redevelopable properties.” Recommendations in the plan, to list a few:

  • Parks (currently no public parks in the neighborhood)
  • Summer recreation centers
  • Walkable streets
  • Rehabbing vacant/abandoned homes
  • Designing and installing new, resilient infrastructure

Because 70% of Ducktown residents live within a half-mile of the Atlantic City Train Station (due to begin operations again next week), the plan recommends Atlantic City pursue “Transit Village” designation for Ducktown, which would make it eligible for additional funding for high-density development. The plan is available for download at http://cityofatlanticcity.org/?p=21071.

LOCAL | May 6, 2019
Vineland to Get New Cold Storage Warehouse

We posted Hot Topics of other cold storage facilities being constructed in Vineland (Cumberland County), and here is word on the latest:  a $6 million, 38,000-square-foot warehouse at 3490 N. Mill Road in Vineland Industrial Park-North, expected to open in 2020. KRES Cold Storage will occupy a 5.05-acre site between N. Mill Road and Route 55 that was the home of GraphiColor Inc. In April, Vineland City Council approved approximately $1.6 million for the project, to come from the city’s Urban Enterprise Zone loan fund. Ocean First Bank and private sources supplied the rest of the funding.

LOCAL | May 6, 2019
ResinTech Building New HQ in Camden

A new $138 million, 385,000-square-foot ResinTech complex – headquarters and two manufacturing plants – will be built on 27 acres, currently a vacant lot near Federal Street and River Avenue in East Camden. A $138.8 million EDA tax incentive granted in October 2016 allowed the company to make plans to move from its original home in West Berlin; ResinTech expects to bring 400 jobs to Camden and move manufacturing on-shore when the new complex opens in 2020.

LOCAL | May 6, 2019
Medford Lakes to Improve Sewer System

The original sewer system in Medford Lakes (Burlington County), built in the 1930s and upgraded in the 1960s and 70s, is due for a $6.5 million rehab and repair, replacing non-PVC pipe in about 90% of the system. Work includes installing interior lining of about 110,000 linear feet of 8” and 12” sanitary sewer piping; repairing 500 manholes with interior lining and new grout; testing and sealing roughly 1,350 4” and 6” lateral connections; open-cut replacement of approximately 5,000 linear feet of 8” and 12” sanitary sewer pipe and up to 20 4’ diameter sanitary sewer manholes. Replacement of the infrastructure will be done in the same trench as the existing infrastructure. Details of the plan can be found in a Fact Sheet on the Medford Lakes website: https://www.medfordlakes.com/DocumentCenter/View/295/Medford-Lakes-Borough-Sewer-Lining-Fact-Sheet

LOCAL | May 2, 2019
Mantoloking Ponders Waterfront Restaurant

Caterers in the Park (owned by brothers Barry and Joseph Maurillo and partner Vito Cucci) has proposed a high-end restaurant at the foot of the Mantoloking Bridge at Barnegat Bay Marina in Manoloking Borough (Brick Township, Ocean County). The developer, which also has upscale restaurant and wedding venues in Florham Park (Park Savoy) and East Brunswick (Park Chateau Estate and Gardens), revealed plans for a four-story building, 82 feet high (requiring a variance), with first-floor outdoor deck, dock-and-dine slips, and raw and traditional bars; second-floor indoor steak and seafood restaurant; and a wedding/event venue on the top floor with a 270o bay view, a cocktail room and a large reception room with vaulted ceiling. Included in the plans are a rooftop deck, “ample” parking and a separate, smaller building for restrooms, a ship’s store and amenities for marina customers. The developer presented the plans to the Brick Township zoning board, which will continue to review the proposal at its July 10 meeting.

LOCAL | May 1, 2019
Paramus Mall to Become Major Mixed-Use

Garden State Plaza in Paramus (Bergen County), one of the top 10 best-performing malls in the US, will become a major mixed-use development with office space, 300 luxury apartments, gym space and yoga studios, a hotel, high-end restaurants and more than three acres of public green space (parks, gardens and open space). Owned by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and located at the intersection of Route 4 and Route 17, the mall’s renovation is expected to be complete in 2022.

NATIONAL | May 1, 2019
Metro Area Construction Jobs Healthy in March

Of the 358 metro areas in the US, 218 (61%) added construction jobs in March compared to March 2018. New Jersey overall held onto some semblance of health, but Atlantic City-Hammonton tanked in the bottom five of all US metros with a 17% drop on the loss of 1,000 jobs. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean lost 300 jobs, a 1% slide. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic clocked a 9% gain, on the other hand, adding 2,700 jobs; Camden saw a 7% gain with 1,500 new jobs; Newark picked up 1,900 jobs for a 4% gain; and Trenton edged up 2% with 100 new jobs. Vineland-Bridgeton showed no change in the year-over-year.

LOCAL | April 29, 2019
Possible Funding for Joint Base Route 539 Overpass

The Route 539 Interconnector Project, proposed three years ago, would create an overpass for Route 539 in Ocean County, under which large convoys of military vehicles could travel across the 42,000 acres of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst protected from public traffic. Estimated at $15 million, funding for the overpass has been uncertain. At a recent meeting of officials from Burlington, Ocean and Monmouth counties, funding was proposed that would have each of the three counties contribute an equal sum, along with a contribution from the State Transportation Trust Fund, for a total of half the $15 million, with the other half coming from the feds. Nothing is finalized yet, but one possible source of federal funding is the new Defense Community Infrastructure Program, authorized in the 2018 annual National Defense Authorization Act, to be used for infrastructure improvements that directly benefit military installations.

NATIONAL | April 22, 2019
Construction Materials Prices Rise, Month and Year

PPI for construction materials rose 1% for the month and 2.6% for the year-over-year. Energy prices leaped 12% for the month, up 1.1% for the year period, with diesel fuel soaring 13% for the month, 9.2% for the year period. Other big jumps were seen in steel mill products, edging up 0.1% for the month but jumping 10% for the year period; asphalt felts and coatings were down 2.8% for the month but climbed 8.2% for the year period; paving mixtures and blocks were down 0.8% for the month but up 5.1% for the year period; architectural coatings remained unchanged for the month but were up 9.7% for the year period; and lumber and plywood were up 0.1% for the month, 10% for the year period. Prices on gypsum products were down, dropping 1.2% for the month and 8.6 for the year; copper and brass mill shapes rose 2.2% for the month but dropped 4.6% for the year. Construction machinery and equipment prices remained unchanged for the month but rose 5.6% for the year.

NATIONAL | April 22, 2019
More Than a Third of States Add Construction Jobs for the Year

Across the country, 38 states, including New Jersey, added construction jobs for the year from March 2018 to March 2019, and 29 states, also including New Jersey, added jobs for the month. New Jersey’s construction employment increased by 4,300 jobs for the year period, a 2.7% rise, and 1,300 for the month, up 0.8%. In the region, Connecticut gained 2,500 jobs for the year period, up 4.3%, but lost 900 for the month, down 1.4%. Delaware gained 1,200 over last year, up 5.5%, and 400 for the month, up 1.7%. New York gained 14,300 over last year, up 3.6%, and 2,700 for the month, up 0.7% -- and New York again recorded a record high in construction employment. Pennsylvania gained 7,400 over last year, up 2.9%, but lost 1,800 for the month, down 0.7% -- the biggest state loss for the month. Rhode Island gained 200 over last year, up 1%, and 100 for the month, up 0.5%.

LOCAL | April 18, 2019
Port Authority Outreach to MWDBEs for Newark Terminal One

On Tuesday, the Port Authority announced it has opened a new office to help Newark-area, minority-owned and women-owned businesses find contracting opportunities with the Terminal One Redevelopment Program, the $2.7 billion project at Newark Liberty Airport. The Newark Community Outreach Office will be the central resource to assist in recruiting certified MWDBEs. Among other events, the office will offer certification workshops and job fairs. The office is located at 89 Market Street, Fourth Floor, Newark; reached by phone at 973.961.6944 and online at https://www.ewrredevelopment.com/. Click on Jobs & Contracting Opportunities in the top nav bar and then scroll that page to the MWSDBE Registration button.

LOCAL | April 18, 2019
CRDA Donates Land, Funding for Medical Building

Following preliminary news we posted in January Hot Topics, Atlantic City’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority granted final approval to donate land worth $3 million and provide $15 million in funding for a three-story, 65,000-square-foot medical building at Ohio and Atlantic avenues across from AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center. The building, estimated at $38 million, will house classrooms for undergraduate medical students and graduate medical residents; AtlantiCare’s Maternal/Fetal Medicine Program; an urgent care center for uninsured and under-insured residents; and a floor for dialysis provided in partnership with Fresenius Kidney Care Boardwalk.

NATIONAL | April 16, 2019
Carpenters Rally Against Tax Fraud on Tax Day

We know how devastating the underground construction economy is in New Jersey. Yesterday, “Tax Day,” along with the New Jersey Locals, others from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters took up the rallying cry for similar harmful effects in New York City and Rochester, Providence RI, Los Angeles and San Diego, Charleston WV, Springfield and Framingham MA, Columbus OH, Richmond VA, Seattle, Canada…the list goes on across North America. The protesters called attention to payroll fraud, cash under the table and worker misclassification – which defraud federal, state and local governments of $66 billion a year.

LOCAL | April 11, 2019
Burlington City Industrial Site May Get Makeover

Tom Maoli, who owns a Whippany (Morris County) car dealership and Real Estate Opportunity Investments LLC, has proposed redeveloping a crumbling industrial site in Burlington City (Burlington County) into an entertainment venue with a 75,000-square-foot indoor water park, resort hotel, apartments, condos, riverfront promenade with outdoor dining and shopping, and an “arts and culture district” with galleries, museums, a farmer’s market and performing arts space. The 46-acre site holds the former US Pipe foundry between New Pearl Street and the Delaware River; most of it is now owned by the township. The plan divides the site into six acres for the Riverwalk, six for the arts area, 14.5 for residential and 18 for the hotel and other amusement areas. No estimate or timeframe for the project is available yet.

LOCAL | April 11, 2019
Walmart Plans Renovations for 13 NJ Stores

Yesterday, Walmart announced an estimated $96 million for renovations on 13 stores in New Jersey, including remodeling, relocation or expansion. The 11 store remodels are scheduled for Brick, Clinton, Freehold, Hackettstown, Hammonton, Millville, Piscataway, Rockaway, Somerdale, Watchung and Williamstown. In addition, construction plans include nine Walmart pickup towers.

NATIONAL | April 11, 2019
AGC Seeks Response on Highway Work Zone Safety Survey

AGC of America seeks member response to its annual survey on the state of highway work zone safety in the US. The survey collects information on the number and severity of highway work zone crashes, along with impacts and potential solutions. The information will be used as the focus of a media and public education campaign to be launched before Memorial Day, the traditional start of the summer driving season, which of course is also a busy highway construction season.  AGC asks members to use this link to complete the survey by May 15: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6ZRY9VG

LOCAL | April 10, 2019
New Brownfields Loan Program Launched

NJ EDA yesterday launched a new Brownfield Loan Program to offer low-interest bridge financing for remediation of brownfield sites. Potential purchasers or current owners of vacant or underutilized brownfield sites can receive up to $5 million to cover the costs of site investigation, assessment and remediation, demolition of structures and asbestos removal. For eligibility details, see the NJ EDA press release at https://www.njeda.com/brownsfieldsrelease.

LOCAL | April 10, 2019
NJ EDA Creates Business Network for Offshore Wind

In other EDA news yesterday, Gov. Murphy announced the new NJ EDA Business Network for Offshore Wind, a free online portal for investors to find New Jersey firms with which to partner in offshore wind projects. The portal will contain the Offshore Wind Supply Chain Registry for New Jersey companies looking for new opportunities to benefit from offshore wind development.

LOCAL | April 9, 2019
Carney’s Point Looks Forward to Huge Warehouse

A warehouse complex measuring 1.284 million square feet was approved last month in Carney’s Point (Salem County). To be located along Route 40 near the McLane Distribution Center (the Wawa fulfillment center), and developed by Arbok Partners and Panattoni Development Company, the warehouse will be close to the New Jersey Turnpike’s last exit before the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Township officials plan to install a traffic light at the intersection of Route 40 and Courses Landing Road, the road that leads into the development.

LOCAL | April 8, 2019
Governor Announces $161 Million NJDOT Grants

On Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy and NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti announced 537 (95%) municipalities will receive Municipal Aid grants, a total of $161.25 million. The grants will be used for road, bridge, safety and “quality-of-life” improvement projects. For a list of the FY 2019 Municipal Aid Grant Recipients (by county), visit http://d31hzlhk6di2h5.cloudfront.net/20190405/30/b1/35/00/e99bce171db111d47ebb3b9e/FY2019_Muni_Aid_Grant_Awards_by_county.pdf

LOCAL | April 5, 2019
More Details Uncovered on Rutgers-Newark Development

As announced last year, an 18-story high-rise plus an adjacent new four-story apartment building are planned for Rutgers University-Newark campus at 155 Washington Street, with L+M Development Partners partnering with the university. New details include an estimated cost of $73 million, approximately 220 apartments in the high-rise – an array of studios (50%), one-, two- and three-bedrooms, retail on the first floor, plus terraces, a lobby, a bike room and storage space for tenants. Along with the first-floor retail space, 4,000 square feet of institutional space in the high-rise will be dedicated to the Rutgers-Newark admissions office, which will have 33 parking spaces and electric-vehicle charging stations. Description of the exterior reads “clad in black veneer, with metal panel, fiberglass cornice, and other accent pieces on the storefronts…” Another 29 apartments are planned for the four-story structure. A “pedestrian mews” between the two buildings will be landscaped and accented with installed artwork. The existing two-story structure on the site will be partially demolished. Work has not begun on the project, but it has gone through planning approvals and tax abatement.

LOCAL | April 5, 2019
Phase 2 of Stockton University’s AC Campus Up for Approval

Phase 2, estimated at $62 million, will bring a six-story, 105-unit structure to the Stockton Atlantic City campus on nearly an acre bound by Atlantic, South Hartford and South Providence avenues. AC Devco will present the plan to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority on April 18 for site plan approval, although there will be no signed agreement between AC Devco and Stockton until funding is secured. AC Devco would like to begin construction this fall.

LOCAL | April 5, 2019
Matawan Looks for Transit Hub Development

Matawan (Monmouth County) and NJ Transit are planning a mixed-used development near the train station off Atlantic Avenue, on seven acres that runs along the New Jersey Coast Line tracks. The town and transit group hope development will comprise residential units, office and retail space and public areas to create a walkable community. Seeking developers, NJ Transit has opened its request for qualifications of interest.

LOCAL | April 5, 2019
Industrial Demand Continues Strong in NJ

According to Cushman & Wakefield’s quarterly report, first-quarter industrial leasing is up nearly 20% compared to first quarter of 2018, bringing the vacancy rate to 3.5%. Seven industrial buildings totaling more than 2.5 million square feet were delivered in the quarter, with more than 54% of that pre-leased. More than half of another 5.7 million square feet currently under construction has been pre-leased. Industrial rents also continued to rise during the quarter. In sum, demand for Class A industrial space will remain strong in the near future as occupancy and rents reach historic highs.

LOCAL | April 1, 2019
UPDATE: Toms River Downtown Remake

As we posted previously in Hot Topics, Toms River (Ocean County) approved a downtown redevelopment plan that could bring a VA clinic, a new post office, a new fire department substation and multifamily housing to a 22-acre site off Hooper and Caudina avenues. In the latest news, the town proposes closing the post office at its current location on West Water Street and building a new 20,000-square-foot postal facility at Seacourt Pavilion, part of the redevelopment site. It would be the first project in the planned redevelopment. The VA clinic could be 60,000 or 80,000 square feet, with 400 to 480 parking spaces, and would be adjacent to an office park that is the site of a planned Ocean County project to construct a new Office of Veterans Affairs. The multifamily component would most likely be 50 townhomes.

NATIONAL | April 1, 2019
New FHWA Administrator Approved

Last week, the US Senate approved Nicole Nason to serve as the 26th Federal Highway Administrator. Nason had been Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration under George. W. Bush and assistant secretary at US DOT. Most recently she served as Assistant Secretary of State under the current administration.

NATIONAL | March 29, 2019
Kentucky Bans Government-Mandated PLAs

Last week, Kentucky became the 25th state to block state and local government agencies from requiring PLAs on public works projects. According to Construction Dive, 88% of Kentucky’s construction industry is open-shop.

LOCAL | March 27, 2019
Route 22 in Union Could See New Hotel, Wawa and More

Paramount Union LLC, a developer, has proposed a new commercial complex at 1650, 1720 and 1740 Route 22 East near Vauxhall Road in Union Township (Union County), to include a Wawa store and gas station, a Fairfield Inn by Marriott, a CubeSmart Self Storage and a restaurant. The application is scheduled to be heard tomorrow night by the Union Township Planning Board.

NATIONAL | March 25, 2019
State Construction Jobs Strong for Year, Weaker for Month

From February 2018 to February 2019, 37 states added construction jobs, including New Jersey, which added 3,600 jobs for the year-over-year, a 2.3% gain. But only 16 states added jobs for the month from January to February, and New Jersey was one that lost jobs, down 300 for a 0.2% drop. In the region, Connecticut gained 3,500 jobs for the year period, up 6%, but lost 100 for the month, down 0.2%. Delaware picked up 1,000 jobs for the year period, a 4.6% gain, but lost 700 for the month, down 3% (at the bottom percentage-wise across the country). New York added 8,100 jobs for the year period, a 2% gain, but lost 300 for the month, down 0.1%. In a reverse showing, Rhode Island lost 100 jobs for the year period, a 0.5% drop, but picked up 100 for the month, a 0.5% gain. Pennsylvania, which reached a state record-high number of construction jobs with 265,200, was the only state in the region to add jobs for both periods, up 8,200 for the year-over-year, a 3.2% gain, and 1,300 for the month, a 0.5% gain – landing in the top five across the country.

LOCAL | March 22, 2019
Valley Hospital Plans Under Review

Last night, the Paramus (Bergen County) Planning Board heard initial testimony on plans for a new Valley Hospital to replace the Ridgewood facility. Plans call for the new hospital to be located on a 40-acre lot near Winters Avenue, Valley Health Plaza and E. Ridgewood Avenue, with seven stories, 362 beds, single-patient rooms, a five-story parking garage with 1,500 spaces plus 1,319 outdoor spots, and four acres of greenery with a park-like setting near Winters Avenue. Hospital and garage would have green roofs. The proposal seeks variances, including minimum building setback, rooftop mechanical setback, access driveways distance and parking. Another hearing is on the Planning Board agenda for April 18.

LOCAL | March 19, 2019
Coast Guard Agrees to Marine Traffic Restrictions for Portal Bridge

The Portal Bridge in Kearny (Hudson County) will not open for marine traffic between 5 am and 10 am and between 3 pm and 8 pm, with limited exceptions. The US Coast Guard agreed to halt traffic that requires the bridge to open during those times to ease commuter train flow and decrease the risk of a bridge failure. The restrictions went into effect last Thursday, March 14.

LOCAL | March 19, 2019
Route 40 Elevation to Reduce Flooding

A one-mile stretch of Route 40/322 in Egg Harbor Township (Atlantic County) – Naples Avenue to Bayport Drive – will be raised by as much as two-and-a-half feet to mitigate flooding, an NJ DOT project expected to take three-and-a-half years and cost approximately $27.5 million. Construction, not expected to start until 2022, will include new pavement, new curbs and sidewalks, relocation of aerial and underground utilities and new drainage.

NATIONAL | March 15, 2019
Metro Construction Jobs Up for Year

AGC of America’s analysis of BLS construction data revealed 275 metro areas, nearly 77% of the 358 areas, added construction jobs between January 2018 and January 2019. In New Jersey, the year period was particularly positive for Camden, which saw an 11% leap in construction employment with the addition of 2,300 jobs. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 2,400 jobs, an 8% jump; Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, a 4% rise; Newark added 1,300 jobs, a 3% gain; and Trenton added 100 jobs, a 2% gain. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean remained unchanged for the year period. Only Atlantic City-Hammonton experienced a loss, shedding 200 jobs, a 4% drop.

NATIONAL | March 14, 2019
AGC First Signature Sponsor of National Construction Safety Week

AGC of America is the first-ever Signature Sponsor of the industry-led Safety Week, May 6-10, and encourages all member firms and chapters to get involved: http://www.constructionsafetyweek.com. The theme for the 2019 National Construction Safety Week is “Safe by Choice,” reflecting the commitment of the industry and our members “to do whatever it takes to ensure our safety programs are best-in-class.”

LOCAL | March 14, 2019
Pool Club and Beach Bar Coming to Seaside Heights

Developer Seaside Ocean Terrace LLC has received approval from the borough planning board for a 17,000-square-foot permanent beach bar and 28,000-square-foot pool club on the oceanfront in Seaside Heights (Ocean County), along Ocean Terrace from Dupont Avenue to the Seaside Park border (Porter Avenue). Also proposed and awaiting approval is a 10,700-square-foot entertainment venue designed to seat 1,000 to 2,000 people. Planning board review for the venue is scheduled for March 27. Construction will be in two phases, beginning with the bar and club.

LOCAL | March 14, 2019
If AC Becomes Center for Climate Change Research…

Mostly speculative right now, but there is movement on the county and state levels to make Atlantic City “an international center on global warming and change.” Here’s what’s envisioned: agricultural research facilities not too far from a storm system test center in Venice Park, a public art installation on the Boardwalk depicting predicted sea-level rise and, most promising, Stockton’s $41 million Marine and Environmental Science Center, a 600,000-square-foot building on Bader Field with docks and ramps accessing the ocean and bays. A feasibility study is currently underway for the Stockton project.

LOCAL | March 12, 2019
Multi-Family Housing Proposed for Secaucus Industrial Site

The industrial site at 1631 Paterson Plank Road along the Hackensack River in Secaucus (Hudson County) could be the new home of a single-building multi-family housing development with 116 units, 23 of which (20%) would be reserved for “low- and moderate-income households.” The developer, Secaucus Riverside Urban Renewal LLC, applied for a zoning certificate for a new residential project from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority that could include a public walkway connected to the river’s footpath, along with common space and amenities. Unit specs in the application call for five three-bedroom affordable units, 58 studio and one-bedroom units at market rate, 35 two-bedroom units at market rate, and four studio and one-bedroom units at unspecified rates (presumably affordable rates). The application also requests 163 parking spaces, which the agenda of the Secaucus Zoning Board noted as “insufficient.” The Board was scheduled to hear the application last night.

NATIONAL | March 11, 2019
Construction Employment Up in January

In the year from January 2018 to January 2019, 44 states added construction jobs, while 33 states added jobs for the month from December 2018 to January 2019. In the region, New York and Connecticut were in the top five for the year-over-year period, adding 16,400 jobs (up 4.2%) and 6,300 (up 11%) respectively. Construction employment hit a record high in New York in January. Both states also made the top five in monthly gains, adding 5,200 jobs (up 1.3%) and 2,300 jobs (up 3.8%) respectively. As for New Jersey and the other states in the region:

  • New Jersey started off the year on the plus side, adding 6,900 jobs (up 4.4%) for the year period and 1,900 jobs (up 1.2%) for the month
  • Delaware added 1,700 jobs (up 7.8%) for the year period and 300 jobs (up 1.3%) for the month
  • Pennsylvania added 8,700 jobs (up 3.4%) for the year period and 1,800 (up 0.7%) for the month
  • Rhode Island added 900 jobs (up 4.9%) for the year period but landed in the bottom five for the month with the largest percentage decline, down 1.1% on the loss of 200 jobs

NATIONAL | March 7, 2019
Construction Materials Prices Rising and Unpredictable

Construction materials prices rose 3.3% from January 2018 to January 2019, which wasn’t as great an increase as the midyear point in 2018, when prices were up 8% over the same period the year before. And some prices have dropped precipitously recently, including lumber and diesel fuel. Most frustrating for builders, however, is the unpredictability of prices. Lumber, for example, dropped to $327 per thousand board feet in January, down from May 2018’s high of $582, a result of demand that started strong and fell sharply, plus Canadian lumber tariffs, plus oversupply from a build-up during the price hikes. In the same vein, the price of diesel fuel dropped 13% in January but, reflecting the volatility, had risen 18% from January to November 2018, and could rise again if the US imposes new sanctions on Venezuela. Steel prices are spiking because of the 25% tariff – steel mill product prices leaped 19% from January 2018 to January 2019.

LOCAL | March 4, 2019
NJ Natural Gas Proposes $507 Million Investment

Last week, New Jersey Natural Gas filed a $507 million investment program with the BPU to upgrade its delivery and IT systems over the next five years. Projects in the Infrastructure Investment Program would include replacing natural gas transmission and distribution systems, along with tightening IT security and improving customer service systems, billing, asset management work orders and accounting.

LOCAL | February 26, 2019
Woodbridge P&G Plant Sold

A closed Procter & Gamble factory in the Avenel section of Woodbridge Township (Middlesex County) was sold in November to IPT Avenel DC Urban Renewal LLC of Denver. The firm shares the same address as Black Creek Group, a real estate investment management company whose website states it is a major Walmart stores developer, along with hundreds of commercial and multifamily properties in North America. The former P&G plant at 100 East Essex Avenue manufactured fragrances and chemicals on the 5.5-acre site.

LOCAL | February 25, 2019
South Jersey Labor Unions Poised to Build Offshore Wind Farm

The South Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council – 23 unions and 25,000 members – signed a memorandum of understanding with Orsted, the Danish company that has proposed a 1,100-megawatt wind farm 15 miles off the coast of Atlantic City. Orsted says the project, called Ocean Wind, would create more than 1,000 construction jobs and take two to three years to complete. Orsted and the other firm that proposed a wind farm will hear from the state in July which company will receive ratepayer subsidies to proceed.

LOCAL | February 25, 2019
Special School Construction Vote Scheduled for March in Florence

A $24.1 million referendum question for school construction in Florence (Burlington County) will come up on the March ballot. The two-part question will ask for voter approval of $21.5 million in HVAC, roof, flooring and bathroom upgrades and repairs, parking lot improvements, and new security vestibules and interior doors at Roebling Elementary and Riverfront Middle schools. In addition, the elementary school (1330 Hornberger Avenue, Roebling), would get a new nurse’s suite, new fire alarm system and reconfigured main office. The middle school (500 E. Front Street, Florence) would have its home economics and wood shop areas converted into five classrooms, along with a renovated auditorium, media center, gym and locker rooms. Florence Township Memorial High School (1050 Cedar Lane in Burlington) would get a bus transportation center, A/C and bathroom upgrades, and parking lot improvements. The second part of the ballot question, worth $2.6 million and contingent upon passage of the first part, proposes construction of pole barns for storage at the elementary and high schools and improved irrigation systems for athletic fields at the middle and high schools.

LOCAL | February 25, 2019
UPDATE:  Rio Grande Kmart Conversion Moves Ahead

In December, we posted in Hot Topics news of a $24.1 million bond issue in Cape May County to purchase and rehab the former Kmart building in Rio Grande. Having purchased the building, finalized in January for $5.75 million, the county freeholders have now hired architects Buell Kratzer Powell of Philadelphia to proceed with the renovation, estimated at $6 million to $7 million. Plans include county offices, state social services offices and a veterans’ clinic. The VA will contribute $1.3 million toward the renovations and then pay rent for use of the clinic space. The Cumberland County Improvement Authority is the coordinator for the project in Cape May County.

LOCAL | February 20, 2019
NJCU Arts Center Plans Revised Upward

The University Performing Arts Center, expected to anchor Jersey City’s West Side development known as University Place, was originally planned as a six-story building with a 500-seat theater and 160 residential units. However, with the Joffrey Ballet relocating to the new PAC, Strategic Development Group, the developer, has updated its proposed renderings to a 10-story height and 320 residential units. No date released yet for groundbreaking, but the developer announced the Joffrey will relocate by 2021.

LOCAL | February 15, 2019
Gateway Gets Some Fed Funding

Yesterday’s federal funding bill, passed by Congress, includes $650 million for Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, some of which will be dedicated to the Gateway project, plus another $130.1 million in transit grants that can be used for Gateway.

LOCAL | February 7, 2019
New OceanFirst HQ Approved in Toms River

Last night, the Toms River Planning Board approved construction of a seven-story (97 feet tall), 79,000-square-foot OceanFirst Bank headquarters building, just south of but on the same property as the existing HQ, 975 Hooper Ave. The new site is undeveloped and will get 200 new trees and 875 new plants, plus have an existing tree barrier shored up. The building project includes reapportioning the existing parking lot to add more spaces; 2,700 square feet of retail banking space;13,000 square feet dedicated to a cafeteria and an employee gym with lockers and showers; and new lighting. Variance was granted to allow the bank’s logo on the façade above the top floor.

NATIONAL | February 5, 2019
Metro Construction Up in December in New Jersey

Finally, after months of dismal news, metro construction employment grew in New Jersey in December, along with the other 272 metro areas that reflected growth (76% of 358 metros). Only one NJ metro lost jobs – Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean saw a decrease of 1,300 jobs, down 4%. Atlantic City-Hammonton gained 900 jobs, a whopping 16% increase from a year ago. Camden picked up 1,100 jobs, up 5% over last December; Newark gained 1,600, up 4%; Vineland-Bridgeton added 100, up 3%; Trenton also added 100, up 2%; and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 400, edging up 1%. In the meantime, AGC of America reports construction employment in January climbed to an 11-year peak across the country, up 338,000 over January 2017 for a total 7,464,000.

NATIONAL | February 5, 2019
FAA Proposes Relaxed Drone Rules

If the FAA’s proposed drone rules are ratified, more drone night-flights and over-people flights would be permitted without waivers. The new regs would sync with the FAA’s Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, an agency app that provides almost instantaneous approval or denial to fly in an airspace the drone operator designates. The proposed regs also authorize a pilot program – Unmanned Traffic Management Pilot Projects – three sites that will work to develop automated communications among drones to avoid collisions. The proposal is open for public comment until March 14.

NATIONAL | February 5, 2019
President’s EO Expands “Buy American” to Federal Infrastructure Work 

The President’s Executive Order, signed last Thursday, follows up on an earlier EO that asked federal agencies to “buy American” whenever possible. This one covers infrastructure projects receiving federal financial assistance – loans, grants and interest subsidies – “encouraging” contractors to use American iron, steel, aluminum and cement, among other American products and materials. Read the EO at https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-strengthening-buy-american-preferences-infrastructure-projects/

LOCAL | January 29, 2019
$2 Billion Could Get Us a New AirTrain at Newark Liberty

Last week, Governor Murphy asked the Port Authority to pay for a new AirTrain – the monorail at Newark Liberty Airport – at a cost of $2.1 billion, rather than continue to pay for repairs and maintenance (for which $380 million was included in the Port Authority’s 2017-2026 capital budget). The monorail, nearly a quarter-century old, carries 33,000 people a day, 11 million a year, and breaks down frequently. It was originally designed with only a 25-year lifespan.

NATIONAL | January 29, 2019
New Acting Construction Chief at OSHA

Scott Ketcham has been named acting chief of OSHA’s construction directorate, succeeding Dean McKenzie, who passed away in November. Ketcham has served as deputy director since 2017 and is a former OSHA area director.

LOCAL | January 29, 2019
$7.7 Million Replacement Coming for Route 47 Bridge  

The Route 47 bridge over I-295, which runs through Westville and Deptford (Gloucester County), will be demolished and replaced in a $7.7 million project. Utility work has already begun on the project, and construction will follow, to be done at night to minimize traffic impact. Per NJDOT, the concrete deck, parapets and superstructure will be replaced and the bridge will be raised from 14 feet, 4 inches to 16 feet, 6 inches.

LOCAL | January 23, 2019
AtlantiCare Announces $38 Million Medical Services Facility in AC

Following preliminary approval of a grant from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority for land and some funding, AtlantiCare has announced it will construct a 65,000-square-foot medical facility to expand services to Atlantic City residents. The building, estimated to cost $38 million, will house classrooms for undergraduate medical students and graduate medical residents; AtlantiCare’s Maternal/Fetal Medicine Program (which will move from its current location at 1401 Atlantic Ave.); an urgent care center for uninsured and under-insured residents; and a floor for dialysis provided in partnership with Fresenius Kidney Care Boardwalk. The new facility will be located at Ohio and Atlantic avenues across from AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center. The site was given to AtlantiCare through the CRDA grant, along with $15 million toward construction of the project.

LOCAL | January 22, 2019
Rutgers Study Shows Smooth Pavement Helps Environment

Rutgers’ School of Engineering has released a study demonstrating pavement preservation cuts greenhouse emissions, notably carbon dioxide. An asphalt overlay of up to two inches will reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 2%, the study found. The asphalt overlay was more effective at cutting emissions than chip seal, slurry seal and crack seal preservation. Regardless of method, the study also pointed out smoother pavement can cut transportation agency spending by 10% to 30%, along with reducing driver costs – lower fuel consumption and maintenance costs, less tire wear and vehicle repair. The study, Quantifying greenhouse gas emission of asphalt pavement preservation at construction and use stages using life-cycle assessment, was published January 11 in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation.

LOCAL | January 22, 2019
Willingboro Hospital Could Become Drug Treatment Center

If Virtua Health and Lourdes Health merge as planned, Virtua would turn Lourdes Medical Center in Willingboro (Burlington County) into a specialty hospital for behavioral health and addiction treatment. Currently it’s a full-service hospital with 173 beds on Sunset Road. Also as part of the merger, Virtua would convert Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Camden into a cardiac care center. The merger is under review by the state Attorney General’s office.

LOCAL | January 21, 2019
Letter to US DOT Seeks Enviro Review Completion for Gateway Tunnel

A letter to US DOT Secretary Elaine Chao from Gateway Program Development Corp. Chairman Jerry Zaro requests immediate completion of the environmental review and record of decision, both required for the Gateway Project to proceed and both, per the One Federal Decision, due within specified, expedited times (two years for the environmental review, 90 days for the record of decision following the review). Because of the federal government shutdown, the USDOT agencies involved in the review process – the Federal Railroad Administration had reviewed it and turned it over to the Federal Transit Administration – have ceased work. Through his letter to Chao, Zaro asked the FRA to “issue a positive Record of Decision on the Hudson Tunnel Project that would also serve as the Final EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) and Record of Decision for the FTA.”

NATIONAL | January 18, 2019
Construction Employment Ends 2018 on the Upside

For both the month and the year, state construction employment across the country was positive, with 43 states and DC adding jobs between December 2017 and 2018, and 36 states adding jobs between November and December. After a long year of construction job losses, New Jersey ended on a positive note, up 100 jobs for the year period, a 0.1% blip, and 400 jobs for the month, a 0.3% increase. In the region, Connecticut came out strong with the highest percentage gain for the year-over-year, leaping 16.9% on the addition of 9,700 jobs, and in the top five percentage increases for the month, up 3.3% with 2,100 new jobs. Rhode Island did well for the month, coming in fourth in percentage gain at 4.1% with 800 new jobs. For the year, Rhode Island added 900 jobs, a 4.8% increase. Delaware added 1,600 jobs for the year period, a 7.1% jump, and 300 for the month, up 1.3%. New York added 14,600 jobs for the year, up 3.8% – bringing total construction employment to a new record high for the state – and 1,500 for the month, up 0.4%. Pennsylvania added 900 jobs for the year, a 0.4% gain, but lost 1,200 for the month, down 0.5%.

NATIONAL | January 18, 2019
EPA Plan for More Local Water Autonomy Signed into Law

The 2012 EPA plan, approved by Congress in December, was signed into law this week, allowing municipalities to come up with their own plans to lawfully gain permits for combined sewer overflows, management of sewer collection systems, and stormwater/wastewater discharges. These so-called integrated plans may include water reclamation, recycling, reuse and “green infrastructure” – an option the EPA is now bound to promote. A municipal ombudsman, established in the legislation, will assist municipalities with integrated planning options and Clean Water Act compliance.  

NATIONAL | January 16, 2019
December Materials Prices Drop But Are Up Overall in 2018

Construction costs spiked nearly every month in 2018, according to AGC of America’s analysis of Labor Department data, so December was a small respite at year-end. Diesel fuel prices dropped sharply in December, down 12.1% for the month but up 5% for the year. Also per the PPI, steel pipe and tube costs slid 0.9% in December but were 21.3% higher than December 2017, fabricated structural metal costs edged down 0.3% for the month but were up 12% for the year, asphalt paving mixtures and blocks remained the same for the month, up 10.2% for the year, and aluminum mill shapes dropped 0.4% for the month, up 6.3% for the year.

LOCAL | January 9, 2019
Redeveloper Purchases Closed PSE&G Coal Sites

Hilco Redevelopment Partners, based in Chicago, purchased two closed PSE&G coal sites in New Jersey with plans to redevelop the sites as state-of-the-art industrial parks with warehouse distribution centers. Hudson Generating Station in Jersey City and Secaucus (Hudson County) and Mercer Generating Station in Hamilton Township (Mercer County) were closed in 2017.

LOCAL | January 7, 2019
Downtown Camden Roads to Get $10 Million Makeover

NJ DOT awarded a $10 million grant to Camden County to improve roads in the city of Camden. The Federal and Market Streets Feeder Road Improvements Project will redesign both roads to accommodate two-way traffic between Haddon and Delaware avenues (Federal is County Route 537 and Market is County Route 537 Spur). Other improvements on these roads in downtown Camden include replacement of traffic signals, installation of dynamic message signs and reconfiguration of the interchange at Flanders Avenue and Federal Street. That interchange, providing access to and from Route 30, will be realigned and reconstructed while the westbound Route 30 on-ramp from Flanders will be moved 500 feet west to the other side of Federal to improve access to Route 30 westbound.

LOCAL | January 7, 2019
UPDATE: Newark’s Riverfront Square to Have Seven-Phase Development

We have posted in Hot Topics proposals for Newark’s Riverfront Square and now report construction of the massive mixed-use development will proceed in seven phases, completed within three years per an agreement approved in late October 2018 between the City of Newark and developer LEG 450 Broad Street LLC. The developer, which owns some of the properties on the site, has been designated “exclusive redeveloper” and will construct all infrastructure improvements.

  • Phase 1, in the middle of the site, will include 700 to 750 apartments and 30,000 to 50,000 square feet of retail, with construction scheduled to begin within four months after footing and foundation permits are issued. An option for Phase I is a performance venue, 15,000 to 30,000 square feet, that is dependent upon finding a tenant.
  • Phase 2 along McCarter Highway near the train tracks calls for a parking garage with up to 2,000 spaces.
  • Phase 3 along Atlantic Street will bring perhaps half-a-million square feet of office space and more retail.
  • Phase 4 will add 550 to 600 apartments, 25 to 35 live/work units, more retail and parking, all along McCarter Highway.
  • Phase 5 brings a massive high-rise to the former Lincoln Motel site (422 Broad Street), with up to 1.5 million square feet of office space, 20,000 square feet of retail and up to 1,000 parking spaces.
  • Phase 6, adjacent to the high-rise, will be a 300-room hotel and conference center.
  • Phase 7 near the Newark Light Rail tracks will put 500 to 550 apartments and retail in another high-rise.

LOCAL | January 3, 2019
New Chair at Gateway Development Corp.

Jerry Zaro takes over from Steven Cohen as new chairman of Gateway Program Development Corp., the nonprofit in charge of replacing the Portal Bridge, constructing a new two-track rail tunnel under the Hudson and rehabilitating the North River Tunnel, infrastructure projects estimated at $20 billion to $30 billion. In addition to Zaro and Cohen, the other corporation trustee is Anthony Coscia.

LOCAL | January 2, 2019
Ørsted Wind Applies for Wind Farm Off AC

Last Friday, Ørsted US Offshore Wind announced its application to build and operate a wind farm 15 miles off the coast of Atlantic City that would provide enough electricity to power more than 500,000 homes. The application states 1,000 construction jobs would be created during the two or three years of the project build.

2018

NATIONAL | December 27, 2018
Construction Jobs Increase in Three-Quarters of US Metros

Of the 358 US metros, 265 (74%) saw an increase in construction jobs for the year-over-year period from November 2017 to November 2018. Another 45 realized a loss and 48 held the status quo. In New Jersey, three metros added jobs for the year period, three lost jobs and one, Vineland-Bridgeton, remained unchanged. Adding jobs were Atlantic City-Hammonton, up 600, an 11% jump; Camden, up 400, a 2% increase; and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, up 200, a 1% gain. Losing jobs were Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean, down 2,400, a 6% drop that put the metro in the bottom five nationwide; Newark, down 900, a 2% loss; and Trenton, down 200, a 4% drop.

LOCAL | December 27, 2018
Preliminary Plans Emerge for AtlantiCare HealthPark in AC

AtlantiCare has proposed a $38 million HealthPark adjacent to its campus in Atlantic City that could include a maternal and child health clinic and a dialysis unit. The proposed site on Ohio Avenue is owned by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority; AtlantiCare applied to CRDA this year for a grant to help in building the HealthPark.

LOCAL | December 27, 2018
Evesham Ponders “Vision Plan” for Downtown Redevelopment

Evesham (Burlington County) officials are considering plans for a new Main Street that might include more parking, outdoor seating and a pedestrian bridge over Route 73. Ideas for the redevelopment came from the town’s master plan and community input, with a goal of focusing downtown around the town’s main intersection. Plans already approved include moving the historic Harvest House to the front of its property at 52 E. Main Street and building a 52-unit apartment building with attached garages behind it. Harvest House would be renovated to offer 1,000 square feet of commercial space and two apartments. At 63 E. Main Street, a 23-unit apartment building with nearly 4,000 square feet of non-residential space has also been approved.

NATIONAL | December 26, 2018
State Construction Jobs Up for Year – Except in NJ

It’s becoming a refrain – New Jersey lands near the bottom in high job-loss totals for the year compared to the other 49 states and DC. This time it’s for the year-over-year period from November 2017 to November 2018. New Jersey ranked 48th with a loss of 2,200 jobs, a 1.4% drop. On the positive side, the state added 1,800 construction jobs for the month, a 1.2% increase over October’s numbers. In the region, Connecticut was a big gainer for the year period, adding 6,400 jobs, an 11% jump that put the state in the #5 spot. Connecticut also added 700 jobs for the month, up 1.1%. Delaware’s showing was strong as well, up 1,700 jobs for the year period, a 7.7% rise, and 200 for the month, a 0.8% increase. New York added 13,000 jobs for the year period, up 3.4%, and 100 for the month, too small an increase to measure a percentage. Pennsylvania added 4,900 jobs for the year period, up 1.9%, and 1,900 for the month, up 0.7%. Rhode Island’s numbers reflected no change for the year period and a loss of 700 jobs for the month, down 3.6%.

LOCAL | December 19, 2018
AC Plans First New Supermarket in 14 Years

Atlantic City’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has contracted with Uplift Solutions, a grocery story development consulting firm, and is considering a site on Baltic Avenue near the Convention Center for a new supermarket, the first since 2004. As the CRDA and Uplift review funding options, they hope construction can start in the next year.

LOCAL | December 18, 2018
NJIT Plans Major Expansion in the Heights

NJIT’s November Board of Trustees meeting agenda reveals plans to purchase 15 properties in University Heights for $6 million and hold the lease on it for up to four years while the college decides what to build on the site. Some of the properties are owned by Frederick Mueller Family LLC and are listed as these addresses:  11-21 Sussex Avenue, 311 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 156 Central Avenue and 129 Bleecker Street. The Sussex Avenue property includes a large warehouse at Sussex and Summit Street; Mueller Supply Company and Mueller Brothers Florists form a complex at the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Central Ave. Mueller Brothers will most likely lease the property from NJIT for the interim. Another site NJIT may acquire is the three-story Tau Kappa Epsilon frat house at 317 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., which could become college property through eminent domain.

LOCAL | December 18, 2018
Delaware Bridge Receives Federal BUILD Grant

Along with the Toms River Road Project we posted last week in Hot Topics, the Delaware Memorial Bridge is another local project that received a federal BUILD grant. The grant, $22 million, will cover half the cost of building a floating concrete fender system that will protect the bridge should an out-of-control ship collide with it. Eight 80-foot-wide floating cylinders will be anchored to the riverbed flanking the suspension bridge towers, positioned to deflect ships away from the bridge or absorb an impact. They are required by a federal mandate that calls for enhanced protection around critical bridges. Designed by Modjeski and Masters of Mechanicsburg, PA, to protect against ships weighing up to 156,000 tons and traveling at seven knots, the fenders will be manufactured and installed by 2023.

LOCAL | December 18, 2018
Brick Approves Land Split for Superdome Sports Complex Project

Last week the Brick (Ocean County) Planning Board approved subdividing the 10.9-acre site on Route 70 proposed for a 75,000-square-foot sports complex, a 96-seat restaurant and retail space. Currently an empty parking lot that used to be home to a Foodtown, the site may be developed by HFZ Superdome, based in New York City and owned by developer Peter Tasca of Point Pleasant, and M&M at Route 70, based in Piscataway (Middlesex County) and led by developer Jack Morris. On half the lot, HFZ’s plans for the sports complex include indoor climate-controlled basketball courts and a turf field for year-round football, soccer and lacrosse, possibly a wave pool, rooms for fitness classes, a ballet studio, space for physical therapy, party rooms and other activities. Around the exterior, HFZ envisions a turf area, a walking path and two beach volleyball courts. M&M would develop the other half of the site with a restaurant and two new buildings with nearly 30,000 square feet of retail space. The planning board gave preliminary approval to the development plan and the town must now complete the sale of the property to M&M for $5 million. The developers also need DEP permits to build under CAFRA because the site is immediately adjacent to Forge Pond.

LOCAL | December 18, 2018
Cape May County Bond Would Lead to New Dept. of Social Services

Cape May County freeholders introduced a $24.1 million bond ordinance last week to purchase and rehab the former Kmart building at 3801 Route 9 South in Rio Grande ($15.7 million) and recreate it into a new Department of Social Services. Funding will cover demolition, reconstruction and improvements to parking and access roads. State funds will cover state portions of the Social Services offices and the US Department of Veterans Affairs will contribute to a new 11,000-square-foot clinic. The new complex will house other county departments, including the Department of Human Services. In the bond, $3.9 million is slated for improvements to other county buildings, including the Day Care at Crest Haven Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center, the jail and the Health Department lab, plus the purchase of modular lab space for Mosquito Control and installation of a pole barn at the Police Academy. Just over $1 million will be used by the County Prosecutor’s Office to purchase the lot at 372 Court House-South Dennis Road and demolish the site’s existing 3,318-square-foot building or reconstruct it into a Child Advocacy Center. A second reading and public hearing on the bond is scheduled for December 26 in Court House.

LOCAL | December 18, 2018
Judge Says PennEast Pipeline May Take Property Along Route

On Friday, a US District Judge ruled PennEast Pipeline Co. may take land via eminent domain along the New Jersey portion of the route the 116-mile pipeline will travel. The pipeline will originate in Luzerne County, PA, cross the Delaware River and travel through Hunterdon County to Mercer County in New Jersey. New Jersey landowners will receive compensation for their property. The company received a ruling in Pennsylvania two weeks ago allowing it to survey the land it needs along the route; Pennsylvania’s law requires a separate process to take land via eminent domain and compensate landowners. PennEast plans to begin construction in mid-2019.

LOCAL | December 13, 2018
Paterson Granted Tax Credit for Development Near Train Station

NJ EDA gave preliminary approval on Tuesday for Paterson (Passaic County) to use $30 million in tax credits for transit-oriented housing, offices, retail and a new parking garage around the Paterson train station at Ward Street and Memorial Drive. The tax credits are part of the $130 million granted years ago to Paterson by the state Legislature; all applications must be filed before the grant package sunsets next June 30. The current parking garage holds 735 spaces. The Paterson Parking Authority will oversee the part of the project that will include a new 940-space garage, along with office and retail space. Demolition could start in February. The city will seek proposals for housing around the train station from private developers.

NATIONAL | December 13, 2018
Federal BUILD Grant Goes to Toms River Road Project

Yesterday, USDOT announced $1.5 billion in BUILD grants (the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grants replaced TIGER grants under the current administration) for 91 projects, including $5,660,000 for the Downtown Toms River Loop Road Project (Ocean County). The project will elevate Herflicker Blvd. and reconfigure it as a one-way street, convert Water Street to a one-way and create a loop from the Garden State Parkway to the waterfront business district. It also includes improvements and upgrades on connecting streets. Elevating Herflicker will limit flooding and allow the road to be used as an evacuation route. Total project cost is estimated at $21,018,046; the BUILD grant will contribute approximately 27%.

NATIONAL | December 10, 2018
Fed Report Calls for Major Interstate Upgrade

Last Thursday, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a study, mandated by Congress, recommending $45 billion to $70 billion per year in state and federal spending over 20 years to improve the nation’s interstate highway system. That would be $20 billion to $45 billion more than the current combined annual spending of $25 billion. The report, “Interstate Renewal and Modernization Program (RAMP),” calls for rebuilding pavements, foundations and bridges, making the system better able to cope with extreme weather and climate change effects, and adding capacity, tolling capabilities and other demand-management techniques. The report doesn’t include the costs of adding resiliency to the roadways or reconfiguring and rebuilding the system’s 15,000 interchanges, and the authors note the estimated spending levels are not enough to cover those much-needed fixes. To help pay for the major overhaul, the report recommends an increase in the federal gas tax and allowing more tolling. To read the news release announcing the study, visit http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=25334&_ga=2.200882345.60904912.1544460574-1112485382.1544460574

LOCAL | December 6, 2018
UPDATE: Voorhees Mall Sold, Redevelopment Plans May Progress

The former Echelon Mall in Voorhees (Camden County) will be sold to developer Brandywine Financial Services Corp., meaning the town won’t have to pursue eminent domain to seize the property from current owner Namdar. Brandywine is expected to present new redevelopment plans next week, a mixed-use design for the 51-acre site at Somerdale and Burnt Mill roads that combines townhouses and senior housing along with entertainment venues that could include microbreweries, restaurants, arcades and sports bars. Boscov’s, the only anchor store still open, will most likely remain.

LOCAL | December 6, 2018
In $82 Million Project, Wildwood to Overhaul Water and Sewer Lines

A massive $82 million project in Wildwood (Cape May County) will overhaul water lines, sewer lines and drainage systems to alleviate flooding. The phased plan will most likely begin on the west border at Ottens Canal and run between Park/Delaware avenues and New York Avenue, and will progress through Districts 1-5.

NATIONAL | November 29, 2018
NJ Metros Still Shedding Construction Jobs in October

AGC of America released its analysis of BLS data today, indicating five of seven New Jersey metros lost jobs in the year-over-year from October 2017 to October 2018. Compared to the other 357 metros in the US, Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean lost the largest number of jobs for the period, down 3,900, and measured the largest percentage drop (down 10%). Camden, which lost 1,100 jobs, a 5% drop, also landed in the bottom five. Newark lost 1,000 jobs, a 2% drop. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic and Trenton each lost 100 jobs, down 0.3% and 2% respectively. Vineland-Bridgeton remained unchanged for the period. Only Atlantic City-Hammonton added jobs for the year-over-year, picking up 700 jobs for a healthy 13% increase.

LOCAL | November 27, 2018
Inspira Launches Capital Campaign for Mullica Hill Medical Center

Inspira Health Network wants to raise $20 million in its capital campaign to help fund construction of Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill (Gloucester County), estimated to cost $350 million. The medical center will offer a cancer center, state-of-the-art surgical suites, a pediatric ER and other high-tech facilities. Launched last week, the campaign has already received $17 million in pledges.

LOCAL | November 27, 2018
DRPA Approves $178 Million Capital Budget

The Delaware River Port Authority approved a 2019 budget that includes $43 million of the estimated $159 million for the multi-year PATCO rail yard refurbishment at the PATCO terminus in Lindenwold (Camden County). The 2019 work will replace 50-year-old rail, signals and the communication system. Other monies in the budget include $11 million for elevator installation in PATCO stations and $1.5 million for the final design for reopening the Franklin Square Station in Philadelphia, a five-year project expected to cost $26 million.

NATIONAL | November 19, 2018
In NJ, Construction Jobs Way Down for Year, Way Up for Month

In the year from October 2017 to October 2018, New Jersey shed more construction jobs than any other state, dropping 3,800 jobs, a 2.5% loss. Across the country, only five other states and DC lost jobs for the period. However, for the month from September to October this year, 36 states and DC added jobs – and New Jersey was in the top 10, with 1,800 jobs added for a 1.2% gain! In the region, New York was in the top five for the year-over-year, picking up 15,600 jobs, a 4.1% boost, a new record high. For the month, New York was again in the top five, gaining 2,500 jobs, a 0.6% increase. Connecticut added 3,900 jobs for the year period, up 6.6%, and remained unchanged for the month. Delaware picked up 1,300 jobs for the year, a 5.9% hike, and 100 for the month, up 0.4%. Pennsylvania added 6,300 jobs for the year, up 2.5%, and 1,900 for the month, a 0.8% increase. Rhode Island gained 1,100 jobs for the year, a 6% jump, and 300 for the month, up 1.6%.

LOCAL | November 15, 2018
GoBrands Lands $39.1 Million Tax Credit

With a 10-year, $39.1 million tax credit from NJ EDA’s Grow NJ Program, GoBrands Inc. will construct a $43 million, 299,750-square-foot facility in Gloucester County that will consolidate the software company’s logistics, data analytics, R&D, warehouse and distribution operations. The facility will be located in Glassboro Borough and Harrison Township and will be completed by February 11, 2020, per the agreement between EDA and GoBrands.

LOCAL | November 15, 2018
Harrah’s Gets Facelift in $56 Million Upgrade

Caesar’s Entertainment Corp. announced plans for a $56 million upgrade of Harrah’s Coastal Tower, to include renovation of 507 rooms and suites. The multi-phase project should be completed by next summer.

LOCAL | November 15, 2018
NJ Eyes Sale of Salem County’s Memorial Hospital

Community Health Care Associates (CHA) of Bloomfield plans to buy The Memorial Hospital of Salem County in Mannington Township. Last week, state officials heard specifics of the proposal, which include renovation of a “substantial portion” of the hospital and “significant upgrades” in medical equipment and IT. CHA also seeks a modification of the hospital’s license to allow fewer medical/surgical beds and add adult acute psychiatric beds and 30 long-term care beds. Total investment is expected to be between $30 and $60 million. A final agreement with the state could be reached by year-end.

NATIONAL | November 15, 2018
Materials Costs Still Rising Faster than Bid Prices

AGC of America’s analysis of October Labor Department data reveals contractor bid prices are rising but not as fast as the cost of construction materials. The Producer Price Index for construction inputs edged up 0.6% in October, making the 12-month PPI 6.6% higher. In the year-over-year from October 2017, diesel fuel prices jumped 27%, steel mill products climbed 18.2%, asphalt paving mixtures and blocks rose 11.6% and aluminum mill shapes increased 8.2%.

NATIONAL | November 9, 2018
OSHA Publications Available as eBooks

OSHA has a handful of publications downloadable as eBooks for easy reading on smartphones and tablets. Of interest to construction professionals are the Fall Prevention Training Guide, Employer Rights and Responsibilities Following an OSHA Inspection, Hazard Communication and Ladder Safety. To order these free eBooks, visit https://www.osha.gov/pls/publications/publication.athruz?pType=Types&pID=10412.

LOCAL | November 8, 2018
NJ Asks Coast Guard to Eliminate Rush-Hour Portal Bridge Openings

Gov. Murphy and Senators Menendez and Booker sent a joint letter to the US Coast Guard asking for a halt to Portal Bridge openings during rush hour. While the Portal Bridge, which has a tendency to stick in the open position, causing massive delays for commuters, isn’t supposed to open for maritime traffic during rush hour, a loophole in the regulations allows the Coast Guard to open it with a one-hour advance notice. The letter seeks to eliminate the loophole “to mitigate this ongoing commuter crisis.”

LOCAL | November 8, 2018
Red Bank Redevelopment Approved

The Red Bank Planning Board has approved preliminary and final site plans for a Denholtz Associates proposal of a four-story mixed-use at 101-107 Oakland Street, adjacent to the NJ Transit Red Bank train station. The proposal for The Rail @ Red Bank Station on 1.25 acres includes 57 apartments (1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units) and 6,275 square feet of ground-level retail in the four-story building and 30,000 square feet of office space in an existing building at 116 Chestnut Street, along with a two-level parking garage and 95-spot parking lot, two open-air courtyards and a 568-square-foot café. Construction work, projected to begin next Spring, will involve demolishing two existing structures.

LOCAL | November 5, 2018
Bowling Alley Site to Become Cherry Hill Drug Rehab

The site of the former Baker Lanes on Cuthbert Boulevard in Cherry Hill will become home to a $27 million, 90-bed inpatient substance abuse center for Cooper University Health Care, to be operated by Advanced Recovery Systems. Located between Route 70 and Route 38 in an industrial/office park area, the 22,000-square-foot facility will have 20 detox rooms and 36 rehab rooms, and also offer a yoga room, indoor basketball and volleyball courts and a large gym.

NATIONAL | October 30, 2018
Year-Over-Year, Construction Employment Falls in NJ Metros

While construction jobs increased in 278 of 358 metro areas in the US year-over-year, nearly 78%, they declined in four of seven New Jersey metros, with three metros landing at the bottom. Largest job losses in the country for the year from September 2017 to September 2018 were in Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean, which dropped 4,000 jobs, a 10% fall, followed by Newark (down 3,000 jobs, a 6% drop) and Camden (down 2,500 jobs, an 11% hit). Bergen-Hudson-Passaic also lost jobs, down 100, a 0.3% drop. On the up side, Atlantic City-Hammonton picked up 700 construction jobs, a 13% jump; Trenton added 200 jobs, a 4% hike; and Vineland-Bridgeton also added 200 jobs, a 7% increase.

NATIONAL | October 25, 2018
Studies Show How to Reduce Silica Dust

NIOSH funded two studies to determine ways to reduce worker exposure to silica dust. The first demonstrates using electric drills to cut concrete can greatly reduce the amount of silica dust – a pneumatic drill generated 444 times the OSHA permissible exposure level, while an electric drill generated 11 times the PEL. Also, the pneumatic drill produced much higher vibration and noise. The second study determined sharp, carbon-tipped drill bits produce less dust, noise and hand vibration than dull bits when drilling into concrete – and dull bits take more time to cut, increasing the exposure. In a related matter, OSHA’s top fine levied during the May to October 2018 period ($304,130) was for silica dust exposure and included citations for improper eye/face protection, not providing proper training for workers, not using appropriate wet methods and respiratory protection, not assessing potential employee exposure, and providing insufficient respiratory equipment and medical evaluations. The NIOSH studies may be found in its October 2018 Research Rounds: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/research-rounds/resroundsv4n4.html

LOCAL | October 24, 2018
UPDATE: Ocean County Mall Redevelopment Plan Approved

In August, we posted in Hot Topics plans to remake Ocean County Mall on Hooper Avenue in Toms River. On Monday, the Toms River Planning Board approved the Simon Property Group’s proposal, which includes demolishing the empty Sears store and replacing it with 97,679 square feet of retail space for perhaps a dozen new tenants, plus creating a new mall entrance and adding new landscaping. Construction will begin once all permits are obtained and take approximately 18 months.

NATIONAL | October 19, 2018
New Jersey Construction Job Numbers Plummet

While 45 states and DC added construction jobs for the year-over-year period from September 2017 to September 2018, New Jersey lost a seemingly inexplicable 9,600 jobs (down 6.1%), including a loss of 1,500 jobs (down 1%) for the month. New Jersey’s losses were by far the greatest in the country. In the region, New York added the most jobs for the year period with a gain of 11,700 (up 3%) and Pennsylvania added the most for the month, a gain of 3,700 (up 1.5%). New York added 100 jobs for the month, which didn’t register a percentage change, and Pennsylvania added 4,000 jobs for the year-over-year, a 1.6% gain. Connecticut fared well with 5,000 jobs gained in the year period, up 8.6%, and 1,000 jobs in the month, up 1.6%. Delaware added 1,600 jobs for the year period, up 7.3%, and 300 for the month, up 1.3%. And Rhode Island added 900 jobs for the year period, up 4.9%, including 200 for the month, a 1% rise.

LOCAL | October 18, 2018
Mixed-Use May Rise at Hoboken/Jersey City Border

In a hearing scheduled for tonight in front of the Jersey City Zoning Board, a developer operating as 2 Hoboken Avenue LLC is proposing a 13-story, 161-unit mixed-use on Harrison Street between the Hoboken Business Center and the NJ Transit tracks (on the block between Observer Highway and Jersey Avenue/Newark Street), at the border between Jersey City and Hoboken. Plans include commercial space on the ground floor, bike-sharing, sidewalk improvements and a parking garage. The developer seeks Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval with variances for height and use.

LOCAL | October 18, 2018
UPDATE: Jersey City Approves Bond for Bayfront Land Purchase

We have followed the progress of Jersey City’s huge planned development along the Hackensack River, and the latest update is approval by the city council last week to bond for $170 million to proceed with the Bayfront portion of the project. The approval designates $90 million to purchase Honeywell’s 60 acres of the Bayfront property, a former Superfund site that lies between Route 440 and Kellogg Street. The city will then become the master developer, install infrastructure ($71 million of the bond), demolish some structures ($6 million) and sell parcels to developers. Expectations call for 8,000 residential units, of which 35% could be affordable housing.

NATIONAL | October 10, 2018
Construction Materials Prices Jump in September

Construction materials prices rose 7.4% overall in September compared to September 2017. AGC of America Chief Economist Ken Simonson warns the September figures may be skewed low since they were reported before new tariffs were in place. Per the producer price index, diesel fuel prices soared 29.3%, steel pipe and tube costs leaped 22.1%, fabricated structural metal climbed 11.7%, asphalt paving mixtures and blocks rose 11.2% and aluminum mill shapes rose 10.7%.

LOCAL | October 9, 2018
EPA Announces $332 Million Clean-Up of Berry’s Creek

Berry’s Creek, a Hackensack River tributary, originates at Teterboro Airport, runs for about 6.5 miles through Teterboro, Wood-Ridge, Moonachie, Carlstadt, Rutherford, East Rutherford and Lyndhurst, all in Bergen County, and purportedly has the highest mercury levels of any freshwater wetlands in the country. It’s also highly contaminated with PCBs and chromium. After studying the Berry’s Creek area since the 1970s and declaring it part of the Ventron/Velsicol Superfund site in 1984, the EPA will finally begin phased clean-up of the creek and marshlands. Download a PDF Fact Sheet at https://semspub.epa.gov/work/02/550178.pdf  

LOCAL | October 9, 2018
Freight Bridge Between Newark and Kearny May Be Replaced

The Point-No-Point swing span crossing, owned by Conrail and used by CSX and Norfolk South freight rail lines, was built in 1901, making it even older than the passenger rail Portal Bridge. Conrail has applied to NJ DEP for permits to begin the process of replacing the bridge, which crosses the Passaic River between Newark in Essex County and Kearny in Hudson County, roughly paralleling the New Jersey Turnpike crossing. Plans call for building a bascule bridge between the existing bridge and the Turnpike, plus an access road, with construction beginning in 2020 or 2021, should the project permits and financing fall into place.

LOCAL | October 9, 2018
Rutgers Camden Plans New Business School Building

Rutgers plans to build a new Business School, perhaps at the intersection of Fifth and Market (C.R. 537) streets in Camden, although the university does not yet own the property. However, Rutgers Camden expects the acquisition and design to be completed by Spring 2019, using $9 million in state funds. The construction estimate is $70 million or more.

NATIONAL | October 9, 2018
FAA Reauthorization Approved for Five Years

Last week, during a one-week extension of the previous FAA reauthorization period, the Senate passed a five-year reauthorization bill that holds grant authorizations for the Airport Improvement Program at the current $3.35 billion per year but includes a new discretionary airport infrastructure grant program with $1.02 billion in FY 2019. The new grant funding would rise annually to a maximum of $1.11 billion in FY 2023; federal share would cap at 80%. The Passenger Facility Charge, which funds airport infrastructure, remains unchanged. AGC of America expressed concern about the lack of guaranteed appropriations after 2019.

LOCAL | September 28, 2018
Governor’s EO Forms Partnership for Revitalizing Trenton

Recognizing Trenton’s historical importance and the state’s huge investment in property and employees in the city, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 40 establishing the New Jersey State Capital Partnership to advise Trenton on how best to realize its master plan, Trenton250, and redevelop parts of the city. The Partnership, effective immediately, is under the direction of the Treasury Department and will include representatives from DCA, DEP, DOT, NJ Transit, EDA and the Department of Law and Public Safety. Its focus will be on redevelopment of state property in downtown Trenton and around transit centers supporting mixed-use development, along with market-rate housing initiatives, Capital Park and the waterfront, public safety, attracting private capital to grow Trenton’s Opportunity Zones, workforce development strategies, and promoting Trenton’s arts and cultural assets. An infrastructure component will work toward getting federal grant funding for Trenton’s infrastructure plans.

LOCAL | September 28, 2018
AC’s CRDA Zoning Office to Reside at City Hall

Responding to state recommendations, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority in Atlantic City will move its Zoning Enforcement Office from Pennsylvania Avenue to City Hall on Bacharach Avenue in an effort to close the gap between planning and development processes of the CRDA and the city. Public land-use hearings, for example, will now be scheduled at City Hall. The move should be completed by the end of October.

NATIONAL | September 28, 2018
Hearings for New PBGC Head Canceled Yesterday

Last spring, the President nominated Gordon Hartogensis to replace W. Thomas Reeder as director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the group that oversees multi-employer pension plans. Hartogensis is the brother-in-law of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (married to McConnell’s wife’s sister). Confirmation hearings were scheduled but canceled yesterday within the Senate Finance Committee. We will continue to track the outcome.

NATIONAL | September 27, 2018
New Jersey Metro Areas Shed Most Construction Jobs in August

Of the 358 US metro areas, 287 gained construction jobs in the year-over-year period from August 2017 to August 2018. But three New Jersey metros landed at the bottom, losing more construction jobs than most other metros: Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean lost 4,500 jobs, an 11% drop; Camden lost 2,600 jobs, also an 11% drop; and Newark lost 2,400 jobs, a 5% drop. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic also shed jobs, down 100 (no percentage registered). Atlantic City-Hammonton was the bright spot, gaining 700 jobs, a healthy 13% increase. Trenton and Vineland-Bridgeton also picked up jobs for the year period, 200 (up 4%) and 100 (up 3%) respectively.

LOCAL | September 24, 2018
PATCO’s Franklin Square Station in Philly Gets Redesign

The project, estimated at $26 million, will re-open the PATCO Hi-Speedline station at Franklin Square in Philadelphia, which closed in 1979. The Delaware River Port Authority saw new design concepts for the station last week. Still in infancy, the design calls for a building at street level with four glass walls encasing a lobby and fare gates, an angled roof along Seventh Street and a main entrance on Race Street. Escalators from the lobby would carry passengers down to the train platform. DRPA applied for a $13.9 million US DOT grant to help pay for the new building and has also allotted part of its annual Federal Transit Administration grants toward the project. Targeted construction start date is April 2020 with a completion date in December 2022.

NATIONAL | September 24, 2018
NJ Again Loses Construction Jobs While Most States Gain

New Jersey again came in at the bottom of all 50 states and DC, one of only three states that lost construction jobs between August of 2017 and August of 2018. Down 6,600 jobs, a 4.2% decline, New Jersey did gain 200 jobs for the month from July to August, a tiny 0.1% increase. Across the country, 45 states and DC added jobs for the year-over-year, and two remained unchanged, including Pennsylvania, which did lose 1,900 jobs for the month, a 0.7% decrease. Elsewhere in the region, Connecticut picked up 3,700 for the year period, up 6.3%, and 500 for the month, up 0.8%; Delaware added 1,400 jobs for the year period, up 6.5%, and remained unchanged for the month; New York added 12,900 jobs for the year period, a 3.4% increase, and 800 for the month, up 0.2%; and Rhode Island added 700 for the year period, a 3.8% gain, although it lost 100 jobs for the month, a 0.5% drop.

LOCAL | September 19, 2018
UPDATE:  Redeveloper Selected for Voorhees Mall

Updating the Hot Topics we have posted on the former Echelon Mall at Somerdale and Burnt Mill roads in Voorhees (Camden County), the township chose Brandywine Financial Services Corp. as the conditional redeveloper of the mall property. Expectations are Brandywine will turn the site into a mixed-use development with housing, retail and entertainment. Plans will not be finalized until Voorhees and Brandywine reach a formal redevelopment agreement.

LOCAL | September 19, 2018
Mixed-Use Coming to 440 in Jersey City

A strip mall at 682 Route 440 in Jersey City will be converted to a 12-story mixed-use development with ground-floor retail and 120 residential units, under the direction of Myneni Properties. The executive board of the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency approved the developer to build and operate the property, which sits across 440 from Hudson Mall.

LOCAL | September 18, 2018
Merchantville Downtown Eyes New Housing and Retail

The Merchantville (Camden County) downtown redevelopment area could undergo a major transformation, per a proposal from Viking Group of Cherry Hill. Two apartment buildings (48 feet in height or less), retail space and pedestrian walkways would be constructed on a two-acre triangular site bordered by Centre Street, East Park Avenue and Chestnut Avenue, in a project estimated between $14 and $19 million. Plans include renovation of the old PNC bank building, owned by the town, and demolition of another borough-owned building that houses Eclipse Brewing, which would be moved elsewhere within the triangle. The apartment buildings would house 55 and 33 units respectively, with the former offering ground-level parking. Retail space would range from 15,000 to 16,000 square feet. Two walkways would bisect the triangle in a T, one from Centre Street to the middle of the site and the other from East Park to an existing biking/walking trail that parallels East Chestnut. A pocket park and landscaping are also planned. The proposal is available with sign-in at https://www.scribd.com/document/388536399/Merchantville-Downtown-Redevelopment-Area-proposal#download

LOCAL | September 18, 2018
Stockton Considers $41 Million Science Center

A 15-acre piece of Atlantic City’s 140-acre Bader Field could become the site of a new Marine and Environmental Science Center for Stockton University, estimated to cost $41 million. Atlantic City and the university received a $100,000 state grant to conduct a feasibility study on the proposed facility.

LOCAL | September 17, 2018
Trenton Receives Grant for Innovation Campus

A Trenton Production and Knowledge Innovation Campus is planned for North Broad Street near Mercer County Community College’s James Kerney Campus, thanks to a $100,000 grant to cover architect fees and other related planning costs. The goal is to create a collaborative hub and a research/commercialization nexus for people to develop their ideas, concepts, products and businesses, led by Mercer County’s five colleges and universities:  Mercer County Community College, Princeton (Princeton), Rider (Lawrence Township), The College of New Jersey (Ewing) and Thomas Edison State University (Trenton). Still in concept stage, the Innovation Campus would most likely depend on state and college funding for construction.

NATIONAL | September 12, 2018
Construction Materials Rise Again in August

Year-over-year construction materials costs were up 6.2% in August over August 2017, although they declined 0.8% from July to August of this year. In the year-over-year comparison, diesel fuel was up 33.9%, steel mill products were up 18.6%, aluminum mill shapes were up 14%, asphalt paving mixtures and blocks were up 9.2% and gypsum products were up 8.2%.

LOCAL | September 10, 2018
UPDATE:  Jersey City Mixed-Use to Include Synagogue

In March, we posted a Hot Topic about a multi-tower mixed-use plan for Van Reipen Avenue and Cottage Street in Jersey City, which included a “reconstruction” of Congregation Sons of Israel’s synagogue at 35 Cottage Street. The latest update reports the 27-story tower planned for the site will include ground-floor space for the synagogue, along with 329 residential units, a preschool, a banquet hall, two floors of office space and ground-floor retail.

LOCAL | September 10, 2018
UPDATE:  Jersey City Industrial Site Sold for Mixed-Use

In January, we posted a Hot Topic about industrial property in Jersey City’s Ward B that was up for sale and potential development. Latest update:  the property was sold in August to 400 Claremont Urban Renewal LLC, which plans a mixed-used development. The project will include a five-story building with 600 residential units and ground-floor commercial space, along with parking. The proposal has yet to be reviewed by the Jersey City Planning Board or Zoning Board.

LOCAL | August 21, 2018
Developer Proposes Mixed-Use Buildings for Ironbound

Developer Emmet Mulberry LLC of Lakewood (Ocean County) proposes two new five-story mixed-use buildings at 529-531 Mulberry Street in Newark’s Ironbound section in the East Ward that would hold 16 residential units and commercial space, along with parking. The site is currently a private, gated surface parking lot that used to belong to the Ace Tool & Manufacturing Company and is now owned by Emmet Mulberry. The same developer also proposes transforming the three-story Ace Tool building at 526 and 528-532 Mulberry, across the street, into a four-story, 28-unit residential development. On the corner of Mulberry and Emmet Street, that property also has a 164 Emmet Street address.

NATIONAL | August 20, 2018
Only Five States Lost Construction Jobs in July – One Was NJ

Compared to July 2017, 45 states and DC added construction jobs in July 2018. But in New Jersey, which shed 6,000 jobs, a 3.9% drop, the job loss was the steepest, both in numbers and percentage, among the five states that lost jobs. The New Jersey news wasn’t good for the month from June to July either, as the state lost 1,000 jobs, a 0.7% drop. In the region, Connecticut added 3,200 jobs, up 5.5%, for the year-over-year, and 400 jobs, a 0.7% gain, for the month. Delaware picked up 1,300 jobs for the year period, up 6%, and 300 for the month, up 1.3%. New York added 12,800 jobs for the year period, up 3.3%, although it slid back 0.1% for the month on the loss of 300 jobs. Pennsylvania added 2,500 for the year period, up 1%, but also lost jobs for the month, down 1,600 for a 0.6% drop. Rhode Island gained 900 jobs for the year period, up 4.9%, but lost 100 for the month, a 0.5% drop.

LOCAL | August 17, 2018
Bidding Open for Route 18 Corridor Redevelopment

East Brunswick (Middlesex County) has released a Request for Proposals for developers interested in redeveloping more than 30 acres along Route 18 as a mixed-use transit village – the NJ DOT designation for areas that combine public transportation access, residential, retail and commerce. The site runs west of Route 18 from Ruth Street, just south of the Turnpike ramp to Exit 9, to Lake Avenue, and includes two shopping areas, 18 Center and Loehmann’s Plaza, along with the jughandle access to Old Bridge Turnpike and Edgeboro Road. The shopping areas, which are mostly vacant, were previously designated Areas in Need of Development. The township would like the redevelopment to include a third commuter parking garage and other structures that incorporate retail and commerce on the ground floors and residential units on the floors above. It would have a central boulevard and access to Route 18 via a traffic circle at the center of the village.

LOCAL | August 15, 2018
New Ownership in Store for Downtown Newark Properties

Two neighboring lots in downtown Newark could soon be under new ownership and slated for mixed-use development. The lots, located between Washington and Military Parks at the corner of Central Avenue and Broad Street, were recently listed for $5.5 million and are already “under agreement,” indicating a potential new owner. The development opportunity is amid a significant number of other projects in the area that have recently been completed, are under construction, or are set to begin construction in the near future.  Despite the demand for mixed-use spaces, there are still vacant sites on major corridors, waiting for a new purpose.

LOCAL | August 15, 2018
New 8-Story Building Coming to Jersey City’s Five Corners

A developer is planning an eight-story, mixed-use building for 614 and 616 Summit Avenue in Ward C of Jersey City’s Journal Square neighborhood. The building plans include 32 residential units as well as retail space on the first floor. The project was proposed by Alan Cancro, an individual who owns multiple properties in Jersey City and is seeking Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval. The Jersey City Planning Board was scheduled to meet last night to hear the plans.

NATIONAL | August 9, 2018
July Prices for Construction Materials Soar Over Last July

The good news, as reported by AGC of America’s Chief Economist Ken Simonson, is the prices for construction materials and services remained unchanged overall from June to July of this year. The bad news is the year-over-year price index on construction goods and services leaped 8.1% (July 2017 to July 2018). Some of that increase is a result of rising materials costs and some is due to rising service costs, including the delivery of materials and equipment to construction sites, hauling away dirt, debris and equipment, and operating diesel-powered equipment. Diesel fuel prices soared 43.6% for the year-over-year; aluminum mill shape prices shot up 17.8%; steel mill product prices increased 12.4%; and lumber and plywood prices climbed 16.3%. Truck transportation and freight prices were up 8.2% over the year.

LOCAL | August 9, 2018
Stockton’s Intent to Purchase Atlantic Club Approved

The Stockton University Board of Trustees has approved the university’s plan to negotiate the purchase the former Atlantic Club casino, a couple of blocks up the Atlantic City boardwalk from campus, from current owner TJM of Florida. Stockton plans to expand its Atlantic City campus housing, now at almost 100% capacity, and could use the Atlantic Club property for that expansion. The site has 11 upland lots, one beach lot, a nine-level parking garage with 550,000 square feet, approximately 50,000 square feet of office space and a 23-story hotel tower, which TJM would demolish as part of the sale. At least some of the funds from Stockton’s recent sale of the Seaview Resort in Galloway Township to KDG Capital LLC of Florida will be used for the Atlantic Club purchase. No timeline for acquisition or development has been announced.

LOCAL | August 9, 2018
Woodbridge Power Plant Owner Seeks Second Woodbridge Plant

Competitive Power Ventures, which owns a 725-megawatt natural gas plant in Keasbey, Woodbridge Township (Middlesex County), wants to build another power plant next to it. The project was scheduled to go before the Woodbridge Planning Board last night.

 

LOCAL | August 8, 2018
Second Shaq Tower Approved in Newark

Announced in April, a second mixed-use tower developed by Shaquille O’Neal and Boraie Development (operating as the Newark Plaza Urban Renewal Company LLC) was approved by the Newark Planning Board this week. Plans call for a 33-story building with 370 residential units (studios and one- and two- bedroom apartments), 14,495 square feet of ground-floor retail and a 222-space parking garage above the retail space. Amenities include a pool, artscapes and landscaping on top of the parking garage. The site, currently a parking lot owned by the developer, is 769-781 McCarter Highway between Market Street and Edison Place, about half-a-block from Newark Penn Station. Project completion is projected sometime next year.

LOCAL | August 8, 2018
Five New Towers Proposed for Newark’s West Side

New West 1 LLC of Ramsey (Bergen County) has proposed five residential and mixed-use buildings for sites west of Newark’s downtown. The plans are due to go before the Newark Planning Board next week.

  • 708-710 Springfield Avenue on the corner of South 20th Street: 16-story mixed-use residential and commercial
  • 186-188 South 12th Street between 11th and Central avenues: 12-story residential-only building
  • 364-370 South Orange Avenue at the corner of South 10th Street: 16-story mixed-use residential and commercial
  • 132 and 134-136 South 8th Street: 14-story residential-only building
  • 488-490 South 16th Street: 12-story residential-only building

LOCAL | August 8, 2018
Ocean County Mall Proposes Re-Make

Simon Property Group, which owns Ocean County Mall on Hooper Avenue in Toms River, plans a remake of the mall. Simon bought the Sears building last year, and Sears closed in April, leaving a 104,000-square-foot building that Simon would like to demolish and replace with a new parking lot. Other changes include constructing two buildings, separate from the mall, the first of which would be 34,000 square feet with a single tenant and the second with five tenants in spaces ranging from 2,805 square feet to 28,000 square feet, with the goal of creating a center of shops, restaurants, entertainment and fitness venues. Two additions to the mall itself would have two and three tenants respectively, the first addition with spaces of 3,100 square feet and 6,248 square feet, and the second with spaces ranging from 2,335 square feet to 2,840 square feet. Already approved at the mall is a new 9,947-square-foot BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse with a patio. Simon’s plans go before the Toms River Planning Board in October.

NATIONAL | July 31, 2018
June Construction Employment Up in Three-Quarters of US Metros

AGC of America’s analysis of BLS data shows construction employment rose in 272 of 358 metros (76%) from June 2017 to June 2018. It fell in 44 metro areas and remained unchanged in 42. New York City made the top five, adding 8,300 jobs for the year-over-year, a 5% increase. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean in New Jersey had the largest job losses, however, shedding 3,400 jobs for an 8% drop. Newark was second from the bottom, losing 2,800 jobs, a 6% drop. As for the rest of the New Jersey metros:  Camden dropped 1,600 jobs, a 7% loss; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 600 jobs for a 2% increase; Vineland-Bridgeton added 200 jobs, a 7% rise; Trenton added 400 jobs, an 8% rise; and Atlantic City-Hammonton added 6,500 jobs, a 16% leap, which placed it in the #6 top spot.

LOCAL | July 31, 2018
Credits Could Fund Offshore Wind Projects

Last week, NJ BPU proposed the Offshore Renewable Wind Energy Certificate rule that would allow an offshore wind project, once it started generating electricity, to receive funds, known as ORECs, from New Jersey ratepayers through their electric distribution companies, which the wind farm could then use to pay back those firms that financed the project. The wind farm would sell electricity to the grid; all revenue would go to ratepayers. The proposed rule had not yet been published in the New Jersey Register.

LOCAL | July 26, 2018
Plans Emerge for Mixed-Use on Jersey City’s Erie Street

A parking garage currently sits at 170 Erie Street in Jersey City, but developer Silverman, who is also the garage owner, has plans to replace it with a 10-story mixed-use that combines two retail spaces totaling 10,000 square feet, a 50-car parking garage with a triple-stack system on the first and second floors, and 20,158 square feet of office space on each of the third and fourth floors with rear-facing terraces. Above all that, the next five floors will house 59 residential units and the two top floors will offer a roof deck, lounge, business center, media room, bar, gym and a multipurpose space. The proposal must be approved by the Jersey City Planning Board.

LOCAL | July 25, 2018
Cumberland County Jail Project Expected to Get Financing

In August, Cumberland County officials expect to secure financing and go out to bid on the new jail, estimated at $65 million. To be located on 30 acres owned by the Cumberland County Improvement Authority and adjacent to South Woods State Prison on South Burlington Road in Bridgeton, the new jail is still expected to open sometime in 2020. CCIA will handle bonding and financing and will lease the jail back to the county when construction is complete. The old jail on West Broad Street in Bridgeton will be demolished and replaced by a 15,000-square-foot holding center, attached to the adjacent Cumberland County Courthouse, with the rest of the site available for further development.

LOCAL | July 25, 2018
Mixed-Use Complex Proposed for Jersey City’s Emerson Radio Site

A part of the Jersey Avenue Park Redevelopment Plan in Jersey City may get an adaptive reuse project that could include three high-rises and a two-acre park built around the old Emerson Radio industrial complex. The brick complex, nearly 100 years old, originally housed the Continental Can Company and could be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The whole property sits between Coles and Monmouth streets, north of I-78 and Route 139, and is currently used as a Statco warehouse. Statco Development Group LLC owns the property. Plans include demolishing part of the factory between 14th and 15th streets and adaptively reusing the part between 15th and 16th, creating 1,000 residential units (134 studios, 338 one-bedrooms, 263 two-bedrooms, 182 three-bedrooms and 83 four bedrooms), 526 parking spaces, 44,000 square feet of retail and 23,900 square feet of public-use space that could become a Jersey City police station. To be built in four phases, the first phase would be a new 26-story, 304-foot-tall tower at the corner of Coles and 14th streets with 350 residential units, 307 parking spaces, 10,040 square feet of retail and the public-use structure, along with Coles Street Park on city land that runs between 16th and 18th streets. Part of the 305 Coles Street development, the park could include new playground equipment, walkways, benches, grassy areas, sculpture artworks, an elevated sundeck of composite wood and perhaps a train car set with tracks. At Monmouth and 15th streets, phase II would be on the opposite corner of the first structure, another 26-story building linked to the first by a six-story section, with 300 residential units and 159 parking spaces. Phase III turns the old radio factory into 150 apartments, 60 parking spaces and 34,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor, plus new windows throughout. Phase IV adds a third 26-story tower on Monmouth between 15th and 16th streets with 200 residential units. The new construction is planned in brick and steel to match the industrial look of the old building. Rooftop terraces are proposed for the three towers and the old building could have rooftop amenities such as a pool, firepits, a projection screen for movies, greenery areas and an outdoor TV. Existing water towers on the roof would be preserved and painted with murals. Redevelopment of the site itself includes relocating utilities and subdividing three lots into eight, of which four would become streets. The Jersey City Planning Board has approved three redevelopment applications for the project with conditions. No construction timeline has been announced.

LOCAL | July 25, 2018
RWJBarnabas to Invest $1 Billion in P3 with Rutgers

As part of a 20-year plan, RWJBarnabas will first spend $100 million on a new clinical and research building for the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, plus a new ambulatory care center, both in New Brunswick and both expected to open in 2020. While remaining separate entities, RWJBarnabas and Rutgers will form a joint committee for strategic planning and oversight of their shared academic health system.

LOCAL | July 23, 2018
Possible Manufacturing Plant on Old Roebling Steel Site

In January, we posted a Hot Topic reporting the former Roebling Steel site in Florence Township (Burlington County) was partially reclaimed and ready for redevelopment, according to the EPA. Now it’s possible Kampack, a manufacturer in Newark that turns paper into cardboard, will purchase 37 acres of the 240-acre site and build a new plant – proposing 500,000 square feet of commercial and industrial space to be constructed in two phases. The property is still a Superfund site, under the purvue of the EPA with restrictions on excavation and groundwater use, and the Kampack proposal must be approved by the Florence Planning Board.

NATIONAL | July 20, 2018
Construction Employment Up in Most States for Year – Falls Hard in NJ

For the year from June 2017 to June 2018, construction employment rose in 43 states and DC, but of the six states that lost industry jobs, New Jersey was hardest hit. For the year-over-year period, New Jersey lost 4,800 jobs, a 3.1% drop. However, for the month from May to June 2018, New Jersey picked up 300 jobs, a 0.2% increase. In the region, New York had the largest one-month gain, adding 3,700 jobs, up 0.9%, and the state added 14,800 jobs for the year period, up 3.9%. In addition, construction employment reached a record high in New York. Connecticut added 1,200 jobs for the month, up 2%, and 2,100 for the year, up 3.6%. Rhode Island also added jobs for both periods, with 200 new jobs for the month, up 1.1%, and 1,200 new jobs for the year, up 6.6%. The number of Delaware construction jobs remained unchanged for the month, but rose by 700, up 3.2%, for the year period. Pennsylvania lost 1,900 jobs for the month, a 0.7% drop, but gained 3,400 jobs for the year period, up 1.4%.

LOCAL | July 20, 2018
New Jersey’s Prime Warehouse Rents Rise

Prime logistics rents – the highest rates commanded by high-quality warehouses and distribution centers – rose 9.5% in New Jersey for the year ending March 31. Driving the rent increases, of course, is the demand for warehouse space, and New Jersey is one of three US locations among the top 10 in the world that measured the highest gains in prime logistics rents.

LOCAL | July 19, 2018
Three-Building Mixed-Use Proposed for Elizabeth

In a U-shaped site bordered by 1166-1236 East Broad Street, 1130-1154 Chestnut Street and 230-238 Jefferson Avenue in Elizabeth (Union County), part of the East Broad Street Redevelopment Plan Area, a proposal scheduled to be heard tonight by the Elizabeth Planning Board could bring three nine-story buildings. The buildings would house 300 one-bedroom and two-bedroom residential units, offices, stores and restaurants, including a top-floor restaurant. Existing structures on the site would be demolished. Developers seeking Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval are C&L East Broad Realty LLC and C&L 1130-1150 Chestnut Realty LLC.

LOCAL | July 18, 2018
UPDATE:  Monmouth Mall Redesign Approved

The Eatontown Planning Board gave final approval to the latest plan to redesign Monmouth Mall into a mixed-use residential, retail and office complex. Known as “The Heights at Monmouth,” the project includes 700 apartments, of which 85 will be affordable housing, and 1.62 million square feet (enlarged from the existing 1.54 milion) of leasable space for shops, restaurants and entertainment, and medical offices. The existing two-story indoor corridor will be opened up as outdoor and entertainment space. The buildings owned by JC Penney, Lord & Taylor and Macy’s will remain the same. Next step: a developer’s agreement (with construction timeline) between Kushner Cos., which owns the mall, and the Eatontown Borough Council.

LOCAL | July 17, 2018
Mixed-Use Proposed for Jersey City’s McGinley Square

Close to the middle of what is known as McGinley Square in Jersey City is a triangle formed by Fairmount, Monticello and Fairview avenues. Owner and developer Monticello Equity Properties LLC proposes to build a 10-story mixed-use complex, “Monticello Triangle,” that would cover nearly the entire site, with 199 residential units, an underground parking garage, a 2,065-square-foot gym, self-storage units and an outdoor terrace for residents. A triangular plaza and two retail spaces (5,275 square feet and 4,435 square feet) would be for public use. The project has yet to be reviewed by the Jersey City Planning Board.

LOCAL | July 17, 2018
JCP&L Seeks Approval for Rate Increase to Fund Upgrades

JCP&L wants BPU to approve $400 million via a rate increase to upgrade its electric grid. The utility’s upgrade plan includes strengthening the resiliency of overhead wires, replacing underground distribution cables and transformers, installing new equipment to reduce outages as well as identify and fix them faster, managing vegetation to reduce the risk of trees falling on lines, and increasing substation protection with flood mitigation and upgraded equipment. JCP&L filed its request with BPU on Friday, July 13.

LOCAL | July 16, 2018
NJ Transit Gets Extension on Portal Bridge Funding Application

The FTA gave NJ Transit a six-month extension to file all necessary information in NJ Transit’s quest for funding to replace the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River. The funding would come through the “New Starts” program, a Capital Investment Grant. The original deadline was this past Saturday, July 14. NJ Transit now has until January 31, 2019.

NATIONAL | July 12, 2018
Construction Costs Continue to Rise in June

AGC of America’s recent analysis of Labor Department data shows construction costs were up again in June compared to a year ago, some reflecting the impact of tariffs. From June 2017 to June 2018, prices jumped 20% for aluminum mill shapes, 17.4% for copper and brass mill shapes, and 12.3% for steel mill products. Prices also rose 52.8% for diesel fuel, 18.3% for lumber and plywood, 7.5% for asphalt felts and coatings, 5.5% for ready-mixed concrete, and 5% for paving mixtures and blocks. Overall, the cost of construction materials rose 9.6% for the year-over-year period, which AGC notes is the steepest increase since October 2008.

LOCAL | July 10, 2018
RWJBarnabas Plans Campus at Fort Monmouth

RWJBarnabas Health has plans to build a medical campus on 36 acres in the Tinton Falls portion of the former Fort Monmouth, on the site of the former Myer Center, known informally as the Hexagon building. The focus of the campus will be a cancer center, perhaps 100,000 square feet, along with an ambulatory care center, a business office, and room for more than 500,000 square feet of medical offices.

LOCAL | July 10, 2018
Towns in Atlantic County with Redevelopment Plans

As in other counties in New Jersey, townships in Atlantic County have designated or are exploring designation of “areas in need of development,” hoping to attract developers and ideas to boost business ventures, both new and existing. Here is a short list:

  • Galloway Township has three prospects, at Jimmie Leeds Road and Chris Gaupp Drive, which form a triangle with Route 30 (White Horse Pike); on Route 30 itself, which parallels the town’s southwest border; and the Seaview area in the eastern section of the township, where the Stockton Seaview Hotel is more than a century old.
  • Egg Harbor Township has two prospects, along the section of Black Horse Pike that includes the Howard Johnson’s motel (6817 Black Horse Pike), where an adult healthcare and assisted living facility plus professional offices were recommended; and the Farmington redevelopment area, with proposals for redevelopment coming up this month before the Township Committee.
  • Hamilton Township, which is looking into the Atlantic City Race Course property as a possible area in need.

LOCAL | July 9, 2018
Jersey City Approves Resolution to Buy Honeywell Site for Redevelopment

Jersey City has approved a resolution that would allow the city to buy out Honeywell International’s share of a former Superfund site for the Bayfront Redevelopment Project. Part of the larger Hackensack River Waterfront redevelopment, Bayfront plans call for transforming approximately 100 acres of old industrial properties into mixed-use residential, commercial and industrial space. The site, of which the city owns about 40 acres and Honeywell owns 60 acres, runs along the east shore of the Hackensack river in Jersey City’s West Side, with Route 440 as its eastern boundary and Kellogg Street as the southern border. Jersey City officials plan to become the master developer of the site and create a mixed-income community with as much as 35% affordable housing. Next step is to get bond issues approved to purchase Honeywell's share of the site.

LOCAL | July 6, 2018
Formula 1 Track Proposed Near Liberty State Park

A sports complex that would include a 100,000-seat Formula 1 racetrack and a cricket stadium has been proposed for a tract of land near the toll booths of the I-78 New Jersey Turnpike Extension, just outside Liberty State Park in Jersey City. The project would also need 25 acres of public land in the park, land that is currently part of the planned 240-acre restoration project. The developer is Liberty Rising (apparently not the group by the same name that proposed a casino near Liberty State Park). Included in the proposal is a rail stop, location to be determined but most likely within the park, along with possible incentives like funding for the restoration project and new playgrounds throughout Jersey City. NJ DEP has the power to approve or reject the proposal.

LOCAL | July 6, 2018
Wastewater Treatment Plant Gets Funding from Feds and State

Since Superstorm Sandy damaged septic tanks along the Delaware Bay, Downe Township (Cumberland County) has planned to build a wastewater treatment plant. Now it has approximately $6.5 million state and federal funding and has started engineering work for the Fortescue/Gandy’s Beach Wastewater Project, which will ultimately cost as much as $15 million. The balance of the funding will come from bonding through the county. The plant will be located in Fortescue, with sewage from Gandy’s Beach pumped in for treatment.

LOCAL | July 5, 2018
Gateway Project Revised with an Eye Toward Federal Funding

The Gateway Project to build tunnels under the Hudson and a new Portal Bridge in New Jersey has been revised to address federal concerns as the Port Authority seeks federal funding. The project has been divided into smaller pieces under various authorities, with the Port Authority overseeing tunnel construction and rehab work on existing tunnels and New Jersey covering the cost of replacing the local portion of the bridge over the Hackensack River. The revised plan now goes to US DOT for review.

NATIONAL | July 2, 2018
May Construction Spending Hits Record on Uneven Investment

Construction spending across the nation in May rose 0.4% over April’s spending and 4.5% over May 2017, hitting a record high of $1.309 trillion. For the month, private nonresidential spending slid down 0.3%, but grew a modest 1.8% for the year-over-year period. Within the category, the year-over-year spending was uneven:  multifamily construction spending rose 4.2%; power construction spending dropped 0.7%; commercial construction spending (retail, warehouse, farm buildings) gained 2%; manufacturing construction spending dropped 11%; private office construction spending rose 9.7%.

LOCAL | July 2, 2018
Route 130 Roadwork in Burlington County Aims to Ease Traffic

It’s two years away and will take 18 months to complete, but Burlington County officials expect its $12.5 million plan will ease congestion along Route 130, particularly at the intersection of Florence-Columbus Road. That upgrade will include replacing the jughandle with a larger one, adding a northbound ramp from County Road 656 to Route 130, and adding double left lanes. The county will provide $10 million in funds initially, but expects to be paid back, as the state has committed a $9 million award from the TTF for those improvements. The intersection of Route 130 and Cedar Lane, included in the project, would see replacement of the Route 130 North jughandle with a roundabout, as well as widening of the Route 130 South jughandle to two lanes. Also in the project is the intersection at Neck Road and Dutty’s Lane; to proceed with those plans – easing the curve on Dutty’s Lane as it approaches the intersection and creating a double left turn to Route 130 North – the county and Burlington Township would have to trade jurisdictions of the two roads.

LOCAL | June 29, 2018
UPDATE 2: Four Developers Offer Options for Voorhees Mall

Our Hot Topic postings on the former Echelon Mall in Voorhees (Camden County) are becoming monthly (April 10, May 17) as the township has moved quickly to approve eminent domain with the intent to seize the property and solicit redevelopment ideas. Four developers recently proposed various plans for the 665,000-square-foot mall at Somerdale and Burnt Mill roads, including building microbreweries, entertainment venues, a hotel, housing, amphitheaters, a rock-climbing wall, parks, gardens and more. All four plans focus on a walkable environment. Redevelopment would not include the freestanding Boscov’s or municipal offices adjacent to the mall. The township committee has also approved creation of a business improvement district that encompasses the mall site, funded by a tax on the mall owner. The current owner is Namdar Realty Group of Long Island.

LOCAL | June 28, 2018
UPDATE: 12-Story Mixed-Use Approved for Ironbound

We posted in Hot Topics on May 23 the proposed Ironbound project that has now been approved (Monday). It will be the first development under Newark’s new measure establishing an MX-3 district – Mixed-Use 3 Residential and Commercial Zone. Newark’s Planning Board approved construction of a new 12-story building with 403 units, 3,300 square feet of retail and 196 parking spaces. The 1.25-acre site lies at 28-50 McWhorter Street, 51-57 Union Street and 108 Hamilton Street near Newark Penn Station and is currently a fenced parking lot. The developer is 28 McWhorter Street LLC, registered at the same address as J&L Parking Corporation in Roseland; Jose Lopez, president of J&L Companies, owns the site.

NATIONAL | June 27, 2018
Supreme Court Strikes Down Public Union Dues Requirement

In a 5-4 decision this morning, the US Supreme Court declared it is “unconstitutional” (a violation of the First Amendment) for public-employee unions to require public workers who don’t join the union to pay dues. The decision overturns the 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education that ruled states could allow public-employee unions to collect fees from non-members to cover the cost of workplace negotiations but not the union’s political activities.

LOCAL | June 26, 2018
Tech Village Planned for Cape May County Airport

Cape May County will work with the Atlantic County Improvement Authority to construct a “tech village” for firms that develop drones. Planned for the 14-acre site of the old Everlon building at Cape May County Airport, an initial building will be 20,000 square feet and house four high-tech firms. Other buildings could be in the works down the road. The plans are now with the Lower Township Planning Board, which expects to return them to the Lower Township Council for approval by July 2. The Atlantic County Improvement Authority will provide project oversight if plans are approved.

NATIONAL | June 26, 2018
May Construction Employment Rose in Three-Quarters of Metro Areas

In 263 of 358 metro areas in the US (73%), construction employment rose between May 2017 and May 2018, dropped in 47 and was unchanged in 48. Unfortunately, three of New Jersey’s seven metro areas saw losses that put them in the bottom five nationwide. Newark lost more jobs than any metro area for the year period, shedding 3,900 jobs for an 8% loss. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean was second-lowest, down 3,300 jobs, also an 8% drop. And Camden took the fourth-lowest spot on the loss of 2,100 jobs, a 9% drop. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic was also in the negative column, losing 600 jobs, a 2% decline. On the positive side, Atlantic City-Hammonton gained 1,100 jobs, an enormous 20% leap; Trenton added 500 jobs, a 10% jump; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 300 jobs, an 11% gain.

LOCAL | June 26, 2018
Renderings Released for Redevelopment of Newark Bears Stadium

Riverfront Square, planned for a 12-acre tract between Broad Street and McCarter Highway in Newark on the site of the former Newark Bears Stadium, now has full-site renderings designed by four different architects that show three development phases of commercial and residential use. Phase I consists of three office buildings attached by atriums, forming the nation’s “largest timber office complex,” along with two residential components and a 2,923-space parking garage. One residential building features a curved design, the other is four rectangular buildings linked by courtyards. Phase II will build two structures along the railroad tracks that run perpendicular to Broad, one for offices and the other a 240-room hotel. Phase III is a tall, thin residential tower decked in glass on Broad Street. In total, Riverfront Square will offer 2,526 residential units, 48 live/work units, more than 2.2 million square feet of office and commercial space, the hotel, 102,144 square feet of retail space and five acres of open space. The property is owned by Lotus Equity Group. No construction timeline was released.

LOCAL | June 22, 2018
Logan Township to Get New Logistics Space

Logan North Industrial Park at 2858 Route 322 in Logan Township (Gloucester County), a 415-acre site being developed by F. Greek Development and Advance Realty, will include 3.3 million square feet of new warehouse and distribution space. The plans specify 11 buildings ranging in size from 90,000 square feet to 1.1 million square feet with build-to-suit options. Other specs include maximum ceiling heights of 40 to 45 feet; slab-on-grade construction with live floor loads that exceed 500 pounds per square foot; and trailer parking and loading ratios that meet top industry standards.

LOCAL | June 19, 2018
Growth Zone for AC Airport Moves Through Committees

A modified Garden State Growth Zone bill has passed through the state Assembly and Senate budget committees and now heads to a vote by the full Legislature. The bill would create a Growth Zone around the Atlantic City International Airport in Egg Harbor Township, allowing businesses to apply for tax incentives if they relocated within a mile of the airport. The original bill was vetoed in January by outgoing Gov. Christie; this new bill was narrowed in scope to create a Growth Zone specifically for the AC airport.

LOCAL | June 19, 2018
Possible Boraie Development Coming to Newark’s Waterfront

Newark Waterfront Associates LLC, registered out of the same office as Boraie Development in New Brunswick, plans to buy two lots on Newark’s waterfront in the Central Ward and construct a mixed-use project, which could include 200 residential units, retail and/or office space and onsite parking, and be as high as 25 stories. The two properties, 930 McCarter Highway and 10-18 Passaic Place, are currently owned by the Newark Housing Authority, which will sell the lots to the City of Newark, which will in turn sell them to Newark Waterfront Associates, listed as the properties’ exclusive redeveloper.

NATIONAL | June 15, 2018
While Most States Gained Construction Jobs, NJ Lost the Most

For the year-over-year period from May 2017 to May 2018, 42 states and DC added jobs in construction, but New Jersey came in dead last, losing 4,600 jobs, a 3% drop. New Jersey also came in at the bottom for the month from April to May, losing 2,900 jobs, a 1.9% drop. In the region, Connecticut gained 400 jobs for the year period, a 0.7% rise, but lost that much for the month; Delaware gained 800 jobs for the year, up 3.7%, and remained unchanged for the month; New York added 12,300 jobs for the year, a 3.2% increase, and 3,000 for the month, a 0.8% rise that put it in the top five in the nation; Pennsylvania added 9,300 for the year period, a 3.7% rise, and 1,900 for the month, a 0.7% gain; and Rhode Island added 900 for the year period, a 4.9% hike, plus 600 for the month, up 3.2%.

LOCAL | June 15, 2018
UPDATE: Newark’s Maple Street School Project Expands

As we posted in March Hot Topics, developer Hanini Group’s 33 Maple LLC affiliate announced plans to turn Newark’s Maple Street School into multifamily housing. While the historical renovation of the 62,010-square-foot building is still in the works, 33 Maple LLC also plans a 3,300-square-foot expansion on the property for a total of 57 residential units and 27 on-premise parking spaces. The project was on the Newark Zoning Board agenda for last night’s meeting, seeking Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan approval with variances for excessive front yard setback, insufficient parking and insufficient parking lot lighting. The Newark Central Planning Board was authorized in April to determine if the school’s Weequahic neighborhood (South Ward) is an area in need of redevelopment.

LOCAL | June 15, 2018
Amazon’s Ninth NJ Warehouse to Land in Burlington

Scheduled to open in 2019, Amazon’s ninth New Jersey warehouse will spread across one million square feet on the 1100 block of New Pearl Street in Burlington. No specific timeline for construction has been announced.

LOCAL | June 15, 2018
Downtown Sea Isle City Slated for Development

Property that includes the LaCosta Lounge & Deck Bar, the Coast Motel, the Casino Steaks & Pizzeria and a parking lot on Landis Avenue in Sea Isle City (Cape May County) has been sold to local developers Christopher Glancey and Bob Morris for potential mixed-use development. The lease for the LaCosta Lounge extends through October 2019; no timeline or specific plans for a project on the 1.25-acre property have been released.

NATIONAL | June 13, 2018
Construction Costs Jump Again in May

AGC of America’s analysis of May construction costs showed another jump when compared to costs from a year. Some hit the double-digits, a growing concern when contrasted with the 4.2% rise in the price index for new construction. From May 2017 to May 2018, the producer price index for aluminum mill shapes leaped 17.3%; 13.9% for lumber and plywood; 13.8% for copper and brass mill shapes; and 10.5% for steel mill products. Diesel fuel was up 44.5%; asphalt felts and coatings were up 8.9%; ready-mixed concrete was up 6.5%; and paving mixtures and blocks were up 5.2%. The impact from the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed on imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, which went into effect May 31, was not measured in these increases.

LOCAL | June 13, 2018
NJ Proposes $600 Million Bond Issue to Replace Portal Bridge

The Murphy administration has proposed issuing a $600 million bond to cover New Jersey Transit’s share of the cost of replacing the nearly 110-year-old Portal Bridge across the Hackensack River near Secaucus Junction (Hudson County). Replacing the bridge, which is owned by the federal government, is estimated at $1.5 billion. A sizable New Jersey contribution could be the catalyst to obtain matching federal funds. Yesterday the NJ EDA board approved a preliminary bond resolution and funding agreement with NJ Transit.

LOCAL | June 12, 2018
Plans Underway for Mixed-Use with Hotel in Ocean Grove

An empty lot bordering Asbury Park on the north end of Ocean Grove (an unincorporated area within Neptune Township in Monmouth County) may be turned into a mixed-use site with a 40-room hotel, condos, single-family homes, restaurants, shops and parking. The land owner is Michael Badger, President of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, who formed Ocean Grove North End Development LLC to develop the site. No timeline has been established for the project.

LOCAL | June 12, 2018
Elizabeth Mixed-Use Gets Tax Credit and Phase II

The Elizabeth (Union County) City Council plans to grant a tax break to 190 Union Redevelopment Urban Renewal LLC, developer of the Vinty mixed-use project on city-owned land at 190 Union Street between West Union and West Jersey streets. The plans call for 267 residential rental units, parking, a café, restaurant, greenhouse, retail spaces and an outdoor courtyard with pool. Phase II, a new building to be located at 100-134 Price Street and 69-73 West Jersey Street, also on city-owned property across the street from the first Vinty building, will include 63 market-rate rental units, 1,000 square feet of retail space and 72 parking spaces for residents. River Trail Park, a half-acre recreational area along the nearby Elizabeth River, is also planned.

LOCAL | June 12, 2018
Busy Ports Mean Warehouse Demand – and Central Jersey Can Take It

Central Jersey is one section of the state seeing strong demand for and a limited supply of state-of-the-art warehouse facilities because of increased port activity and online shopping. CBRE, the commercial real estate firm, released a report in late May stating projected rents for warehouse space in Central Jersey indicate the area could support more warehouses and distribution centers. Based on the 21% gap between rental rates on new warehouse construction and the rent needed to cover overall development costs in Central Jersey, CBRE reports warehouse development would remain profitable.

NATIONAL | June 12, 2018
Flashing Blue Lights Make Work Zones Safer

According to a study from the Florida Department of Transportation, highway work zones that use blue flashing lights on stationary police vehicles are safer, as the lights caused drivers to slow down three to four miles-per-hour as they approached the work zone. The lights also reduced speeding (more than 65 mph) by 10 to 20%. In addition to the speed reduction, drivers were also slightly more likely to change lanes and move away from the work zone when they noticed the blue flashing lights.

LOCAL | June 6, 2018
Newark’s Springfield Ave Could Get Three-Story Mixed-Use

Waleed Mohammad and Muhmood Ahmadi of Livingston have proposed a three-story mixed-use for 478-482 Springfield Avenue between Holland and Blum streets, three tracts in Newark’s Central Ward that are part of the Kent/Brenner/Springfield Redevelopment Area. The proposal, for 14 one-bedroom apartments on the upper two floors and three commercial spaces plus one residential unit on the ground floor, must be approved by the Newark Zoning Board; the owners/developers seek a variance for the ground-floor apartment. A vacant three-story building currently sits on part of the site.

LOCAL | June 5, 2018
New Health Science Building for Cumberland County Tech Ed Center

Cumberland County Technical Education Center will get a new $25 million healthcare science building to meet student demand for the school’s Health Science and Medicine program. With construction tentatively scheduled to begin in the fall, the 55,000-square-foot building will be constructed on the current site of the Cumberland County College softball field, adjacent to the CCTEC building off College Drive and connected via a hallway extension. The Cumberland County Improvement Authority is in charge of design and construction services for the project; plans are currently under DOE review.

NATIONAL | June 5, 2018
OSHA Crane Regs Eliminate Crane Lifting Capacity Requirement

The requirement, proposed in 2010 but never put into effect, stated the crane operator be certified for specific lifting capacity. The latest proposed rule eliminates it and, according to the OSHA press release, “would expand the type of certification programs for crane operators.” It more clearly determines crane operator certification requirements and reinstates the employer responsibility to ensure qualified crane operators. The operator certification compliance date was extended until November 10, 2018, and this latest proposed rule is open for comment until June 20. For details, visit www.osha.gov.

LOCAL | June 4, 2018
Deal Between Newark and Developer Could Mean New Mixed-Use

Sale of property owned by the City of Newark to a private developer, AC and J Restoration Group of Newark (836 South 19th Street), could mean that seven congruent parcels of land will become the site of Scott Towers, a mixed-use development with 90 affordable and market-rate residential units, 35 parking spaces and one retail space. The lots, currently vacant and gated, are listed as 333, 337 and 339 Mulberry Street, and 17, 19, 21 and 23 Scott Street in the Central Ward. The Newark Central Planning Board and the Newark Zoning Board of Adjustment must approve the proposal. If approved, the project must begin within three months of the sale and be completed within two years.

LOCAL | June 4, 2018
Developer Receives Site Assessment Funding for Atlantic City Property

Through Atlantic City’s site assessment program to spur development of contaminated property, Asbury Park developer Patrick Fasano has received a grant to assess land he would like to turn into a mixed-use development. The beach block between New York Avenue and Saint James Place, now vacant, could become a food court and 40 apartments. The brownfield assessments are funded through a $300,000 EPA grant announced in January.

LOCAL | May 31, 2018
Fishermen’s Energy Up Again for Offshore Wind Pilot

As we posted in Hot Topics in recent years, Fishermen’s Energy had twice tried for approval of its pilot, 24-megawatt offshore wind project, and twice had the project rejected by BPU, despite securing federal funds for it. Now Fishermen’s Energy will reapply and has agreed to allow the project to be purchased by EDF Renewable Energy, a global firm with corporate headquarters in San Diego and grid-scale wind projects across the US.   

NATIONAL | May 31, 2018
Construction Employment Remains High in Most Metros

Nearly 72% of metro areas – 256 of 358 – saw an increase in construction jobs this April compared to a year ago. The tally in New Jersey, however, continues to be uneven. Atlantic City-Hammonton landed in the top five metros, adding 1,000 jobs for a 19% jump. Vineland-Bridgeton also fared well, adding 300 jobs for the year period, a healthy 12% gain, and Trenton added 400 jobs, an 8% gain. The other four New Jersey metros lost jobs for the year-over-year:  Bergen-Hudson-Passaic shed 700 jobs, a 2% dip; Camden lost 800 jobs, a 4% drop; Newark lost 2,000 jobs, also a 4% drop; and Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean lost 2,900 jobs, a 7% drop.

NATIONAL | May 29, 2018
AGC Releases Results of Work Zone Safety Study

AGC of America released the results of its annual work zone safety survey last week, announcing 54% of the 550 contractors who completed the survey report motor vehicles had crashed into their construction work zones during the past year. Of those, 48% said motor vehicle operators or passengers were injured, 24% of the crashes resulted in a driver or passenger fatality, 25% of the crashes caused injuries to construction workers and 3% resulted in the death of a worker. In addition, 53% of the responding contractors reported crashes delayed highway work for at least one day.

In response to the latest survey results, AGC of America has launched a new targeted mobile advertising campaign, urging those who regularly commute through highway work zones to be watchful and careful, reaching drivers in Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Birmingham, AL, and Evansville, IN. The ads appear when the mobile phone user opens a web browser or an app with ads – and won’t appear unless the user can safely use the phone. During the first three weeks of the campaign, 1.5 million motorists have seen the ads and several thousand have clicked on an ad to view more highway work zone safety tips.

LOCAL | May 23, 2018
12-Story Mixed-Use Proposed for Ironbound

Newark’s MX-3 district – Mixed-Use 3 Residential and Commercial Zone – in the Ironbound could lead to construction of a new 12-story building with 403 units, 3,300 square feet of retail and 196 parking spaces. The 1.25-acre site lies at 28-50 McWhorter Street, 51-57 Union Street and 108 Hamilton Street near Newark Penn Station and is currently a fenced parking lot. The owner/developer is 28 McWhorter Street LLC, registered at the same address as J&L Parking Corporation in Roseland.

LOCAL | May 23, 2018
EarthCam at American Dream Project

With 1,500 craftworkers on the American Dream jobsite at least five days a week in the Meadowlands, there is a lot of construction activity. The public can watch it real-time live on the EarthCam:  https://www.earthcam.net/projects/americandream/meadowlands/

NATIONAL | May 21, 2018
Tariffs on Steel Halted for China

After talks between the US and China, both countries have halted proposed tariffs. The US had threatened steel and aluminum tariffs, China had in return threatened tariffs on aircraft, soybeans, cars, pork, wine, fruit and nuts. An agreement to reduce the trade deficit, in which China would buy more US goods, resulting in both sides backing off from punitive tariffs.

LOCAL | May 21, 2018
Utility Relocation Project Moves Gateway Program Forward

Although funding for the massive Gateway program hasn’t been finalized, a relocation project to move utilities out of the path of Section 3 of the Hudson Yards Concrete Casing project will secure a critical concrete construction path for a future tunnel under Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West Side. The project involves Long Island Railroad’s emergency services building and was planned by the Port Authority in collaboration with LIRR and the Related Cos. working on the Hudson Yards project.

LOCAL | May 21, 2018
Sports Arena Slated for Brick

Brick Township (Ocean County) has approved a 79,000-square-foot multi-use indoor sports complex on Route 70 at Brick Blvd., site of the long-vacant Foodtown shopping center. The complex, a sports dome, will include training facilities for baseball, basketball, field hockey, football, lacrosse, soccer, surfing and volleyball, feature an arcade, host birthday parties and could be expanded for other entertainment and recreation. A commercial complex will screen the front of the facility and could include pads for retail stores and a restaurant. According to Brick officials, the owner wants to open the sports facility by November.

LOCAL | May 21, 2018
New Engineering and Manufacturing Center at County College of Morris

Because of partnerships with various manufacturers, County College of Morris will build a $10 million, 30,000-square-foot engineering and manufacturing facility to expand its education and workforce development programs, scheduled for a Fall 2019 opening. Plans include an electronics assembly lab and webinar technology. The building that currently houses the manufacturing and engineering equipment will be dedicated to health sciences and get its own expansion – a state-of-the-art virtual hospital. Funding for the new center comes from the county, state and private donors.

NATIONAL | May 21, 2018
States Add Construction Jobs for Month and Year

Construction jobs ramped up in 29 states for the month from March to April and in 38 states for the year-over-year period, April 2017 to April 2018. New Jersey added 700 jobs for the month, a 0.5% increase, but lost 500 for the year period, down 0.3%. In the region, Connecticut lost 200 jobs for the month, a 0.3% drop, but gained 1,200 for the year period, up 2.1%. Delaware also lost jobs for the month, down 400 for a 1.7% drop, but added 500 over last year, up 2.3%. Pennsylvania dropped 700 jobs for the month, a 0.3% loss, and 10,000 for the year period, a 4.1% slide. Rhode Island shed 200 jobs for the month, down 1.1%, but added the same number for the year period, a 1.1% gain. Only New York picked up jobs for both periods, adding 900 jobs for the month, up 0.2%, and 9,500 for the year, up 2.5%.

LOCAL | May 21, 2018
Mixed-Use Coming to Hoboken Residential Street

A five-story mixed-use with three residential units and 881 square feet of ground-floor retail at 630 Adams Street in Hoboken will replace the existing three-story single-family built in 1901 and now owned by developer 630 Adams LLC, registered out of Hoboken City Real Estate. The new mixed-use will include an elevator to the three residential units – two duplexes and a simplex – and a green roof.

LOCAL | May 17, 2018
UPDATE: Voorhees to Use Eminent Domain for Mall Property

Following up on our Hot Topics posting on April 10, the Voorhees (Camden County) Township Committee will use eminent domain to seize the Echelon Mall property with the expectation of revitalizing it. The Committee designated parts of Voorhees Town Center as “condemnation redevelopment areas,” which allows the town to seek a court ruling to force the sale of the mostly vacant mall, owned by Namdar Realty of Great Neck NY.

LOCAL | May 17, 2018
UPDATE: More on Newark’s Amazon Bid

As we posted in Hot Topics on May 2, Newark released its application to Amazon for the HQ2 project. In the application, letters from various developers reveal plans for Newark.

  • Fidelco Realty Group of Milburn proposes two projects:
    • Mixed-use in downtown with 200 residential units, including 60 to 70 affordable units that would be reserved for The Actors Fund of Manhattan, plus ground-floor retail.
    • 2,200-space structured parking garage with 250,000+ square feet of office space above that could be a partnered project with Rutgers-Newark.
  • L+M Development Partners of Larchmont NY states it expects to build at least 600 units in downtown Newark but didn’t provide details.
  • Boraie Development of New Brunswick mentions a 200-unit project, perhaps planned for a location near Penn Station.

LOCAL | May 17, 2018
Approved Jersey City Project Never Built, Now for Sale

Avenir, a project planned for 1072 and 1075 West Side Avenue in Jersey City, was approved in 2016 by the Planning Board as a mixed-use with 486 units, 384 parking spaces and 25,242 square feet of retail. It was never built, and now the owner, Amerestate Holdings, has listed the 3.35-acre property for sale for $50 million. The existing approvals mean construction could start immediately after the sale. Jersey City officials hope to construct a PATH Station in the same neighborhood.

LOCAL | May 17, 2018
Former Cherry Hill Racetrack Could Become OTB Parlor

Per the terms of the US Supreme Court ruling on Monday, the former Garden State Park racetrack could be home to a new sports betting facility. The 10-acre site at Route 70 and Garden State Blvd. in Cherry Hill (Camden County), owned by Pennwood (a partnership between Penn National Gaming and Parx), still has the brick-and-wrought-iron gate of the former racetrack.

LOCAL | May 15, 2018
Construction Financing for East Orange Five-Story Residential

Meridian Capital Group has landed a $7.6 million construction loan for a new five-story, 58-unit residential building at 51 North Walnut Street in East Orange (Essex County). The property is located within a couple of blocks of the East Orange and Brick Church train stations.

LOCAL | May 14, 2018
New Brunswick Hub Development Gets OK from NJ EDA

Last Friday, the NJ EDA approved an agreement with Devco, the New Brunswick Development Corp., to establish up to four million square feet of commercial development on a 12-acre site known as The Hub in downtown New Brunswick. EDA also approved a $2 million limited partnership investment in Edison Properties IX, a group formed earlier this year to support technology firms with revenues between $5 and $25 million and 40 to 50 personnel at the time of the initial investment.

LOCAL | May 14, 2018
Another Mixed-Used Proposed for Jersey City Neighborhood  

A 16-unit residential building with two retail spaces on the ground floor has been proposed for 327 Communipaw Avenue, at the northwest corner of Pine Street, in the Morris Canal Redevelopment area of Bergen-Lafayette in Jersey City. The developer is 327 Communipaw Ave. LLC, approved as redeveloper by the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency in March. A two-story building has been on the site for many years; the proposal did not specify the number of floors planned for the new construction.

LOCAL | May 14, 2018
Groundbreaking Held for Five-Story Mixed-Use in Hackensack

Last Thursday, a ceremonial groundbreaking kicked off a planned five-story, 119,000-square-foot mixed-use project at 389 Main Street in Hackensack that will hold 82 contemporary residential units and 3,500 square feet of retail space. The structure is a key part of Hackensack’s Rehabilitation Plan, which calls for 389 properties on 163 acres. The mixed-use is scheduled to be completed this fall. The Hampshire Cos., NAI James E. Hanson Inc. and Claremont Cos. are the real estate redevelopers.

LOCAL | May 14, 2018
Camden County College Could Build New Arena on Blackwood Campus

The Camden County Improvement Authority is seeking bids for a feasibility study to determine if Camden County College should construct a new indoor athletic complex on the Blackwood Campus “that could provide additional revenue streams.” The arena might include seating that falls somewhere between the 2,400 seats of the campus’ current Joseph Papiano Gymnasium and large arenas like the 10,000-seat Liacouras Center at Temple University in Philadelphia.

LOCAL | May 14, 2018
Camden’s Kroc Center Plans Expansion

The Kroc Center at Cramer Hill in Camden plans a $2.5 million project that would include a 4,400-square-foot combination gym and multipurpose room plus a turf field for soccer games and shade structures for the existing pool and play areas. The addition would be available for community rentals; expected completion for both the field and addition is by year-end.

NATIONAL | May 10, 2018
April Construction Costs Jump

Construction materials costs rose in April at the fastest year-over-year rate since 2011, according to AGC’s analysis of US DOL data released yesterday. The producer price index for inputs to construction increased 1% for April and 6.4% over the 12 months since April 2017, and the PPI for nonresidential construction increased 1.1% for the month and 4.2% year-over-year, indicating that costs are quickly outpacing contractor profit margins. Year-over-year materials cost increases:  11.9% jump for aluminum mill shapes; 11% rise for lumber and plywood; 7.4% bump for steel mill products; 41.6% leap for diesel fuel; 10.5% increase for copper and brass mill shapes; 7.5% rise for gypsum products; 6.9% rise for ready-mix concrete; and 6% rise for freight transportation.

LOCAL | May 10, 2018
Hoboken to Get Five-Story Mixed-Use

Next to the West Side Plaza shopping center, the address is 313 Jackson Street between 3rd and 4th streets in Hoboken, a 2,500-square-foot site that currently holds a three-story single-family home with a separate two-car garage. As approved by the Planning Board on April 3, developer Kore Realty LLC of Montville (Morris County) plans a five-story building with 16 residential units (four each on the top four floors) and 831 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. All apartments will be three bedrooms; the highest unit will have a private deck. Bike rack and garbage area will be included.

LOCAL | May 10, 2018
Mixed-Use in Two Million Square Feet Coming to Newark’s Broad Street

A JV between SJP Properties and Aetna Realty of NYC has proposed building office and retail space, a hotel and residential units, and a large public plaza in as much as two million square feet on a 3.7-acre site next to NJ Transit’s Newark Broad Street Station. New York architect Gensler has been tapped to design the space.

LOCAL | May 10, 2018
Cherry Hill Approves Apartments Overlooking Cooper River Park

A blighted eight acres on Route 70 and Park Blvd (North Park Drive) in Cherry Hill (Camden County) that formerly held America’s Best Value Inn, Palace of Asia restaurant and Living Faith Christian Academy will be transformed into apartments overlooking Cooper River Park. The 192 units will include 29 affordable units; 176 will be garden-style apartments and 16 will be stacked flats. The developer will likely be CHLA, an affiliate of First Montgomery Group.

LOCAL | May 10, 2018
Lower Township Ponders $14 Million Aquatic Center

A new $14 million aquatic center could be built at the Cape May County Airport, based on a feasibility study presented to the Lower Township Council this week. It could feature a 25-meter swimming pool, an ADA-compliant physical therapy pool, locker rooms, administrative office space and a social hall. The township is considering shared-service options and is applying for a $15 million grant from the Cape May County Open Space Board to fund the project.

LOCAL | May 10, 2018
Turnersville Hospital Gaining $205 Million Expansion

Jefferson Washington Township Hospital on Hurffville-Cross Keys Road in Turnersville (Gloucester County) ceremoniously broke ground yesterday on its $205 million expansion. In the first of two phases, the project will include a $23 million eight-level parking garage with 800+ spaces, plus another 340 surface parking spaces. Phase two, scheduled to begin in March 2019, will be construction of a seven-floor patient tower with 60 private rooms, plus space for another 60 private rooms if needed. In the tower:  a new main entrance to the hospital; a two-story, light-filled lobby; a cafeteria with outdoor seating; a same-day surgery unit and recovery room; and a new central processing distribution center.

LOCAL | May 8, 2018
Colgate-Palmolive Site to Become Mixed-Use Redevelopment

The 64-acre Colgate-Palmolive site that runs across Morris Township and Morristown in Morris County will become a residential/retail mixed-use complex with a 150,000-square-foot shopping center, 143 townhomes and 60 rental apartments. Most of it will be situated in Morris Township; a second phase will be in Morristown. JMF Properties of Whippany (also Morris County) owns the property and will develop it, expecting to break ground soon. The buildings have all been razed.

LOCAL | May 8, 2018
Mahwah Site Approved for Redevelopment

Onyx Equities will redevelop a 7.8-acre site at 440 Franklin Turnpike in Mahwah (Bergen County), currently holding a vacant office building. With redevelopment site approval from the township, the developer plans to build a 120,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility with 6,000 square feet of mezzanine office space. Project completion is expected sometime in 2019.

LOCAL | May 8, 2018
Feds Award $9.9 Million Grant to Port Authority

The grant, from the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Authority, will be used for infrastructure needed to improve access for vessels as they are repaired in dry dock at the former Marine Ocean Terminal in Bayonne. Included in the plans:  demolition and rebuild of two existing platforms, E1 and E2, categorized as failing. The project is expected to create 75 jobs and generate $19.5 million in private investment.

LOCAL | May 8, 2018
Renovation Planned for Bergenfield Borough Hall

A $12 million renovation of Bergenfield’s municipal center at 198 North Washington Avenue is slated to begin in September, with a completion date in early 2020. The project will gut the entire three-story-plus-basement interior but preserve the exterior of the building, which was built in 1925. Proposed plans include repairs to the parking lot; exterior masonry repairs; window replacement; front canopy repairs; interior reconfiguration of space; replacement and repair of interior finishes; bathroom upgrades; ADA compliance upgrades; new stair towers; mechanical/electrical/plumbing system upgrades; and structural repairs.

NATIONAL | May 3, 2018
President Postpones Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

On Tuesday, the White House announced it would postpone for a month its decision to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union – the three largest suppliers of steel to the US. The tariff exemption on the three was set to expire at midnight on Tuesday. To date, South Korea has won a permanent exemption, and exemptions for Australia, Argentina and Brazil appear to be in the works.

NATIONAL | May 3, 2018
Construction Employment Up in 68% of Metros for March

Of 358 metro areas in the US, 245 (68%) added construction jobs for the year between March 2017 and March 2018, while 67 shed jobs and 46 remained at the same level of construction employment. New Jersey’s picture was uneven for the year-over-year period, with Atlantic City-Hammonton picking up 600 jobs for a whopping 12% gain and Vineland-Bridgeton adding 300 jobs for an impressive 13% gain. Other increases were seen in Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, which added 600 jobs for a 2% rise, and Trenton, which added 400 jobs, a comfortable 8% jump. However, three other New Jersey metros had substantial job losses for the period: Newark lost 1,700 jobs, a 4% drop, which put it in the bottom five in the country; Camden lost 1,500 jobs, a 7% drop; and Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean lost 1,300 jobs, a 4% drop. While many firms across the country were concerned about the impending impact of steel and aluminum tariffs, it’s also worth noting that in New Jersey we suffered three snowstorms during March, which undoubtedly affected construction projects and employment.

LOCAL | May 2, 2018
Lidl #2 Proposed for Gloucester Township

As we posted in Hot Topics, a Lidl supermarket has been approved for the former Nike missile base on Berlin-Cross Keys Road in Gloucester Township. Now the German chain proposes a second one – 25,400 square feet on 3.3 acres at the Commerce Plaza II complex on Blackwood-Clementon Road (between the existing Cherrywood Liquors and the closed Friendly’s restaurant). The vacant shopping center on the site would be demolished and much of the existing parking lot repaved while a 100’x230’ pad would be seeded. The Gloucester Township Planning Board will review the proposal on May 8 when Lidl seeks Final Major Site Plan Approval and variances.

LOCAL | May 2, 2018
Apartment Complex Approved in Toms River

The Woods at Toms River, a 141-unit apartment complex on Route 9 between Sunset Avenue and Church Road in Toms River (Ocean County), was approved by the town’s Planning Board. The building will be a mix of 113 market-rate apartments and 28 affordable units. However, the 32,000-square-foot retail building next to the apartments, which was planned for 12 to 15 stores, was not approved. The project developer is 1606 Lakewood Road LLC.

LOCAL | May 2, 2018
Newark Gives Us a Peek at Amazon Bid

Until this week, Newark officials (at the request of Amazon) have refused to release details of its bid for the Amazon HQ2. Now they have opened up some details while redacting six pages of financials that explain the $7 billion tax incentives. Here are the proposals revealed:

  • Six sites in two districts – Newark Penn Station and Broad Street Station in downtown Newark – with a total of 15 million square feet of office space
    • Washington Park Campus (two sites at 33 Washington Street and 520 Broad Street with 250,000 square feet and 350,000 square feet respectively)
    • Lotus Riverfront (12 acres, construction-ready, replacing Bears Stadium; could include retail and 2,000 residential units)
    • Matrix Riverfront (five acres with four buildings in two locations; up to 1 million square feet of office space)
    • Gateway Center (650,000 square feet move-in ready)
    • Mulberry Commons
    • SoMa (owned by RBH Group; nine acres with historic buildings that would be rehabilitated)
  • A move split into three phases, with the first move into existing space and the second and third into new structures

LOCAL | April 26, 2018
Mixed-Use Proposed for Newark’s University Heights

NJIT and Newark officials announced the start of a redevelopment project in the University Heights section of Newark that will produce a new mixed-use apartment and retail building. Gateway MLK, being developed by PRC Group, involves remediating and razing a building at 240 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., and replacing it with a new building with 99 market-rate apartments, 1,300 square feet of ground-floor retail and 100 parking spaces. Asbestos abatement and demolition will begin in early 2019, and construction on the new building will begin in spring 2020.

NATIONAL | April 23, 2018
States Add Construction Jobs for Year, but Month Gains Weaker

While 38 states and DC added construction jobs for the year-over-year period, March 2017 to March 2018, only 29 added jobs for the month from February to March. Pennsylvania leaped to the top five for the year period with 13,600 jobs, a 5.6% gain, while New Jersey fell among the bottom five for the same period, losing 1,800 jobs, a 1.2% drop. New York lost the most construction jobs for the month, down 5,200 jobs, a 1.3% drop, and New Jersey and Rhode Island were also among the bottom five for the month, shedding 1,400 jobs, a 0.9% dip, and 500 jobs, a 2.6% drop, respectively. But Rhode Island added 300 jobs for the year-over-year, edging up 1.6%. New York showed a strong year-over-year gain of 8,200 jobs, a 2.1% rise, and Pennsylvania remained positive for the month period, adding 200 jobs for a 0.08% rise. Connecticut and Delaware added jobs for both periods: Connecticut gained 500 jobs for the month, a 0.8% increase, and 1,000 jobs for the year-over-year, a 1.7% rise; while Delaware gained 100 jobs for the month, a 0.4% increase, and 800 jobs for the year-over-year, a 3.6% jump.

LOCAL | April 23, 2018
Bridge and Road Upgrades Planned for Cape May Towns

Last week, bridge and road experts in Cape May County presented proposals for to repair or replace three bridges, depending on cost. The three bridges, built in 1939 along 2.75 miles of Ocean Drive between Exit 0, Route 109 in Lower Township and Madison Avenue in Wildwood Crest, are showing serious aging issues:

  • Mill Creek Bridge, rated in fair condition, has deteriorating railings and exposed reinforcement bars
  • Upper Thorofare Bridge, also in fair condition, has “critical scouring” (sand and gravel supporting underwater abutments have eroded)
  • Middle Thorofare drawbridge also suffers erosion problems and has sustained damage from vessel collisions

In addition, Ocean Drive’s roadbed would be raised to address flooding and add protection against “100-year” storms like Sandy. The four phases of the proposed plan would each take at least two years to complete. Public meetings are planned for May.

LOCAL | April 20, 2018
Five-Story Apartment Building Proposed for Jersey City Street

Front Street in Jersey City lies between Journal Square and McGinley Square, a short, dead-end block on which a developer, 16 Front Street LLC (registered out of Freehold Township in Monmouth County at the same address as MYK Builders), has proposed building a five-story, 25-unit apartment building on a single-family lot with 13 bicycles spots but no parking spaces for cars. The lot is included in the Journal Square 2060 Redevelopment Plan Area and the Palisades Preservation Overlay District. The developer, which owns the property, has asked for Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval with a variance for front yard setback. The project is on the Jersey City Planning Board agenda for the April 24 meeting.

LOCAL | April 20, 2018
UPDATE:  Monmouth Mall Redesign Hearing Reviews Architectural Designs

The Monmouth Mall Planning Board held another hearing on the redesign plan, in which the owners presented architectural plans for the mixed-use structure that would hold 700 apartments. Eatontown Monmouth Mall LLC, made up of Kushner Cos. and Rouse Properties, wants board approval for new retail, recreational and commercial uses for the mall, in addition to the residential component. The proposed architecture is podium-style, using multiple stories of wood over an elevated concrete slab and giving the appearance of multiple buildings with varying heights of 47, 54, 65 and 75 feet. A bridge connects the elements to form a continuous building. At the next hearing, scheduled for May 7, the board requested the developer to present apartment floor plans and a drawing of the buffer design with leafless (winter) trees.

LOCAL | April 18, 2018
Update:  American Dream “On Target” to Open Next Year

The latest opening date from American Dream Meadowlands developer Triple Five is March 2019. The mall/entertainment destination is expected to offer an 8.5-acre Nickelodeon Universe theme park, two roller coasters, an indoor ski and snowboard park (billed as the first in North America), a Ferris wheel, an ice rink and a 1,400-seat movie theater, plus more than 450 retailers, including Century 21, European Primark and Microsoft.

LOCAL | April 18, 2018
AC to be Free of Some State Supervision

Gov. Murphy announced this week that the state will end Jeffrey Chiesa’s oversight of Atlantic City within 30 days. Per a statement from the Governor’s office:

  • Government functions will revert back to the Department of Community Affairs.
  • Some litigation matters will remain with the law firm of Chiesa, Shahinian and Giantomasi PC. All others will be handled either by the Attorney General’s office or, where appropriate, by new outside counsel.
  • Business development efforts will be handled by state agencies. 

LOCAL | April 18, 2018
New Office and Retail Space Planned in Lakewood

Cedarbridge in Lakewood (Ocean County) will get a new four-story, 75,000-square-foot office building, a Chase Bank and a 23,000-square-foot retail operation, a total of three structures plus 600 parking spaces that received initial approval from the Township Planning Board this week. Developers are listed as Ave of the State Office LLC and AOTSR LLC, affiliated with Empire State Holdings. The site, on the corner of Cedar Bridge Avenue and Avenue of the States, is part of the 86 acres that holds FirstEnergy Park (home of the Lakewood BlueClaws).

LOCAL | April 16, 2018
Possible Power Plant in North Bergen

The North Bergen (Hudson County) Liberty Generating Project, proposed by Diamond Generating Corp. of Los Angeles (a subsidiary of Mitsubishi), would be a $1.5 billion natural gas plant in the Meadowlands. Generating 1,200 megawatts of electricity, the plant would transport the power via underground cable to Manhattan. The proposed site is 15 acres between Railroad Avenue and Bellman’s Creek already zoned for a power plant. With connections to the Transco pipeline for natural gas and the Bergen County Utilities Authority in Little Ferry for treated wastewater to cool the plant, the 6.5-mile underground cable would run from the plant through North Bergen, Fairview, Cliffside Park and Edgewater, cross the Hudson and end at ConEdison’s 49th Street substation. The company is seeking NJDEP permits.

LOCAL | April 16, 2018
Union Packaging Lands $10.6 Million in EDA Tax Breaks

Union Packaging LLC could relocate from Yeardon, PA, to Camden if it takes advantage of an EDA-approved Grow New Jersey tax incentive of $10.6 million. In return, the company would purchase a former commercial laundry building on Broadway in the 2200 block and build a 35,100-square-foot addition, making a capital investment of $10.6 million with plans to occupy the site in May 2019.

LOCAL | April 16, 2018
Walmart to Invest $68 Million In New NJ Store, Upgrades for 12

Walmart plans to spend $68 million over the next year to open a new store and expand and remodel 12 other stores in New Jersey, along with adding instore and online money-saving programs. Plans include a new “Supercenter” in Mount Laurel (Burlington County), expansions in North Brunswick (Middlesex County), Cinnaminson (Burlington County) and Rio Grande (Cape May County), and remodels in Cinnaminson, Lumberton (Burlington County), Marlton (Burlington County), Rio Grande, Turnersville (Gloucester County), Kearny (Hudson County), Woodbridge (Middlesex County), North Brunswick, Brick (Ocean County), Howell (Monmouth County) and Boonton (Morris County).

LOCAL | April 16, 2018
Brick Developments:  Proposed and Re-proposed

Three projects are waiting for approval in Brick Township (Ocean County); all three were proposed previously and presented again in new versions:

  1. Laurelton Plaza, with a Wawa, bank and 124-seat restaurant on Route 88 at Jack Martin Blvd. Developer is JSM at Jack Martin Blvd LLC of Piscataway.
  2. In the triangle formed by Route 88, Jack Martin Blvd. and Burrsville Rd., Bay Pointe Village would be a mixed-use on 9.4 acres with 92 apartments (66 studios, 26 one- and two-bedroom) over 48,431 square feet of retail. Board of Adjustment hearing is scheduled for June 20.
  3. On a privately owned section of Camp Osborn that held 30 summer cottages destroyed during Superstorm Sandy, Osborn Estates would offer seven three-story, single-family homes near Cummins Street with bottom-floor storage and garage space. Developer is RTS IV LLC of Totowa, which seeks a density variance for the 1.4 acres along with lot size. Board of Adjustment hearing is scheduled for April 25.

LOCAL | April 10, 2018
AC Casino Profits Jumped in 2017

Yesterday, the state Division of Gaming Enforcement released data on Atlantic City casino profits showing a 22.5% jump in gross operating profits and a 5% rise in net gaming revenue in 2017, compared to 2016. The seven casinos reported nearly $133 million more for a total of $2.67 billion, including online gaming, which picked up more than $25 million in 2017. Borgata came in at #1 as usual, reporting more than $290 million in profits, up 19.5% over last year. Tropicana had the biggest percentage increase, up 71% with profits of $92 million. Adding to the positive trend, AC’s casino hotels enjoyed higher occupancy rates and average room rates compared to 2016.

LOCAL | April 10, 2018
Voorhees Could Use Eminent Domain to Redevelop Mall

In late March, Voorhees (Camden County) officials voted to allow the town to take over and redevelop the Echelon Mall – now called Voorhees Town Center – at Somerdale and Burnt Mill roads. While no future plans currently exist for the 665,000-square-foot complex on 40 acres, the move makes eminent domain a possible lure for developers to propose a redevelopment plan. The mall is roughly 50% occupied and includes the now-vacant Macy’s. The current owner is Namdar Realty Group of Great Neck NY.

NATIONAL | April 9, 2018
Nearly Three-Quarters of US Metros Add Construction Jobs in February

For the year-over-year from February 2017 to February 2018, 257 of 358 metropolitan areas in the US added construction jobs, about 72%, reflecting strong demand for construction across the country. In New Jersey, however, only four of seven metros saw an uptick in construction employment for the period. Vineland-Bridgeton saw a 13% jump with the addition of 300 jobs; Trenton followed with an 11% hike from 500 new jobs; Atlantic City-Hammonton’s healthy 8% increase was based on 400 new jobs; and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic noted a 3% rise on 800 new jobs. Declines were recorded in Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean, with a 5% drop on the loss of 1,700 jobs; Camden, with a 3% slide on the loss of 600 jobs; and Newark, with a 2% drop on the loss of 900 jobs.

LOCAL | April 2, 2018
Newark’s Paramount Theater Slated for Mixed-Use Redevelopment

RBH Group, the developer that spearheaded Newark’s Teachers Village and proposed the Four Corners Millennium Project, would like to begin construction on the Paramount Theater in 2019. The project at 193-195 Market Street is expected to preserve and restore the theater’s façade and build a new structure behind it that would hold 220 residential units with 23,900 square feet of retail or commercial space on the street level and another 25,828 square feet for retail or commercial on the second floor. A residents’ lobby and parking are also included in the proposal.

LOCAL | April 2, 2018
Revised Hoboken Hilton Proposed

KMS Development Partners of Philadelphia and Hoboken officials have agreed on a new design for the proposed Hilton Hotel, which will now rise 17 stories instead of 20. Plans also include a rooftop bar, 15th-floor banquet hall and parking garage. The proposal originally called for the hotel to be built in conjunction with the US Post Office, which owns the waterfront property on Sinatra Drive between 1st and Newark streets; plans remain in place to build a larger enclosed loading dock for the Post Office at 1st and River streets, renovate the existing Post Office and add an underground parking garage. Next step is designating KMS as the redeveloper, on the agenda for the April 4 City Council meeting. Specific plans and a redevelopment agreement will need to follow before construction can start.

LOCAL | April 2, 2018
Jersey City Landfill Site Could Become Commercial Development

The four-tract site, at 309 and 325 Routes 1/9 Truck in Jersey City’s Ward B, could be transformed into a retail or commercial project, as proposed by M & M Realty Partners LLC. Leadership of M & M includes Jack Morris, president and CEO of Edgewood Properties in Piscataway, and Joe Marino, head of ACCNJ member Century 21 Construction of Clifton. The land, owned by Jersey City, is part of the PJP Landfill Superfund Site, now described by the EPA as no longer contaminated. Plans for the site still need approval from the Jersey City Planning Board.

LOCAL | April 2, 2018
West New York Warehouse Part of Redevelopment Plan

The $29.99 Tennis Shoes Wearhouse, located in the building at 530 52nd Street between Bergenline Avenue and JFK Blvd. in West New York (Hudson County), could become part of a residential redevelopment proposed by Amir Elsherbini of West New York Luxury LLC of Hillsborough. The proposed structure would be five stories with 24 units on the top four floors, parking on the ground floor with 22 resident spaces. The developer is seeking variances for use, lot area, building height and parking.

LOCAL | April 2, 2018
Early Plans for Morristown Children’s Museum

Still in concept stage, a new Children’s Museum could become part of Morristown, within walking distance of public transportation. Sara Sorenson of Bernards Township and Nicole Pittaluga envision “dig! Children’s Museum of New Jersey” with a STEM theme, occupying 40,000 square feet of new or renovated space.

LOCAL | April 2, 2018
Amazon Plans West Deptford Fulfillment Center

Planned for 240 Mantua Grove Road near I-295 and Route 130 in West Deptford (Gloucester County), Amazon’s distribution center would be 650,000 square feet. Approved by the West Deptford Planning Board last fall, the project has no construction or opening dates yet.

LOCAL | April 2, 2018
Middle Township Moves Ahead on Redevelopment Plans

Last week, Middle Township (Cape May County) approved ordinances that establish redevelopment plans for commercial areas in the township. One site is land off Route 47 North that holds a former concrete factory; the other covers all land along Route 9 in Court House and commercial areas just east of Route 9. Also included in the ordinances are parcels on the north side of Stone Harbor Blvd. east of the Garden State Parkway; retail areas at Dennisville Road and Route 9 (Acme and Big Lots are located in shopping areas at that intersection); land in Rio Grande North on Route 9 and Rio Grande South from Route 9 to Fulling Mill Road; sites in Burleigh around the former Lamonica clam processing plant; land along Wildwood Blvd.; and certain lots on Indian Trail Road between Route 9 and Shunpike Road. All the properties are zoned commercial. The Township hopes to attract private investment and could offer tax abatements.

LOCAL | March 28, 2018
Linden Land Could House Class A Warehouse

A 350-acre tract in Linden (Union County), recently purchased by a partnership of Advance Realty and Greek Development, could become home to Class A warehouse space. The land is off Trembly Point Road, which roughly parallels the Rahway River, and is located less than 10 miles from the Port of New York and New Jersey. Real estate experts expect the larger container ships coming through the ports since the raising of the Bayonne Bridge will increase the demand in New Jersey for warehouse space of all kinds.

LOCAL | March 27, 2018
Six-Story Residential Could Replace Jersey City Gas Station

On the agenda for the March 22 meeting of the Jersey City Zoning Board of Adjustment, developer 350 Pavonia Group LLC is asking for Preliminary and Final Site Plan Approval for a six-story residential building with 45 one- and two-bedroom units and 21 parking spaces at 348 Baldwin Avenue between Washburn Street and the Divided Highway (Hoboken Ave and Route 139). An operating Delta gas station currently resides on the site. Renderings show the building could include a bike area in the parking deck, plus an amenities room and residential lobby.

LOCAL | March 27, 2018
Five-Story Multifamily Proposed for West New York

A five-story multifamily building with 14 units and 14 parking spaces is proposed for a lot at 6000-6002 Jefferson Street in West New York (Hudson County) at the corner of 60th Street, where two single-family homes now stand. The developer, 6000-60002 Jefferson Street LLC, based in Moonachie (Bergen County) is seeking Preliminary and Final Site Plan Approval with variances (lot coverage, density and lot area).

NATIONAL | March 27, 2018
State Construction Employment Rises for the Month and Year

In 38 states, construction firms added jobs for the month from January to February, and in 35 states and DC, they added jobs for the year-over-year period from February 2016 to February 2017. New Jersey landed in the top 10 states for the month, adding 2,100 jobs for a 1.4% gain, but slid to the bottom 10 for the year period, losing 1,200 jobs for a 0.8% drop. In the region, Connecticut added 1,500 jobs for the month, a 2.6% hike that was the highest monthly percentage jump in the nation, but lost 100 jobs year-over-year, a 0.2% slip. Delaware added 300 jobs for the month, up 1.3%, and 1,100 jobs for the year period, up 5%. New York added 7,700 jobs for the month, the highest of all states, up 2%, and 11,000 jobs for the year period, a 2.9% rise. Pennsylvania added 3,800 jobs for the month, up 1.5%, and 10,800 for the year period, up 4.4%. Rhode Island added 100 jobs for the month, a 0.5% increase, and 400 for the year period, a 2.1% rise.

LOCAL | March 20, 2018
Governor Calls for Innovation Hub in New Brunswick

Governor Murphy yesterday announced he is looking for a New Brunswick (Middlesex County) site to be transformed into an innovation hub for research and start-ups. The land, off Easton Avenue next to the NJ Transit rail station, is owned by the city, managed by DevCo and approved for up to four million square feet of commercial development. The Governor has asked EDA to begin a planning and implementation study and identify potential partners for “The Hub.”

NATIONAL | March 16, 2018
Metro Construction Employment Up in January – Except in Some NJ Metros

Across the country, construction employment posted gains in 248 of 358 metro areas (nearly 70%), fell in 68 and remained the same in 42 from January 2017 to January 2018. Some New Jersey metros didn’t fare well in the year-over-year period, however, as Camden came in among the bottom five with the loss of 1,700 jobs, an 8% plummet; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean lost 1,500 jobs, a 4% drop; and Newark lost 600 jobs, a 1% decline. On the upside, Vineland-Bridgeton added 200 jobs for the year-over-year, a 9% jump; and Atlantic City-Hammonton and Trenton each picked up 200 jobs, a 4% rise for each.

NATIONAL | March 15, 2018
OFCCP Standardizes Notices of Employment Discrimination

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs recently issued Directive 2018-01 to standardize the use of Predetermination Notices (PDNs), letters that inform federal contractors of preliminary findings of employment discrimination. While OFCCP regional and district offices have had discretionary power to issue PDNs prior to Notices of Violation, the new directive specifies a uniform protocol for OFCCP staff, who now must issue a PDN at the conclusion of a compliance evaluation if the contractor has not provided adequate explanation for discrimination findings. The PDN gives contractors an additional 15 days to rebut the findings. The directive also orders staff to withhold a Notice of Violation until a PDN has been issued to allow a contractor the additional 15 days to respond to preliminary findings. The directive went into effect February 28, 2018. For more information, visit www.dol.gov/ofccp.

LOCAL | March 14, 2018
Judge Determines 155,000 Affordable Housing Units in Two Towns

Last week, Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson ruled in Mercer County that Princeton and West Windsor must ensure 155,000 affordable housing units are built during the next decade. Her ruling could set a precedent for more than 100 other towns whose disputes over affordable-housing obligations are currently or will be under court review. Meanwhile, 190 municipalities or more have already settled with the courts, which determined their affordable-housing obligations. Last week’s ruling could be appealed.

LOCAL | March 14, 2018
Six-Story Mixed-Use Proposed for Jersey City’s Newark Avenue

Tonight, the Jersey City Planning Board is scheduled to hear plans for a six-story mixed-use development at 155 Newark Avenue near Erie Street, along the Newark Avenue Pedestrian Mall. The building would house 17 residential one-bedroom units, a penthouse level on top of the six stories and commercial space on the ground floor and possible the basement level. The penthouse level could contain three duplexes, each with a private outdoor deck and two or three bedrooms. Shulammite LLC of Palisades Park (Bergen County) owns the property and is proposing the development; the site, which is bordered on one side by Christopher Columbus Drive, currently holds an unoccupied two-story building.

NATIONAL | March 14, 2018
Construction Materials Prices Rise in February

AGC of America reports prices on many construction materials jumped in February, and told contractors to expect even higher prices when the steel and aluminum tariffs go into effect next week. Overall, the producer price index for inputs to the construction industry, including all goods and services, rose 0.6% in February, a significant one-month hike, with a 4.4% jump over 12 months. The index rose 4.2% for all of 2017 and only 0.9% in 2016. Here’s a list of the increases year-over-year on the index for several products:

  • Aluminum mill shapes, up 11.6%
  • Steel mill products, up 4.8%
  • Copper and brass mill shapes, up 10%
  • Diesel fuel, up 38.5%
  • Lumber and plywood, up 13.2%
  • Gypsum products, up 8%
  • Plastic construction products, up 4.9%

LOCAL | March 14, 2018
New Plans for Montclair’s Lackawanna Terminal Reviewed Tonight

The Montclair (Essex County) Planning Board is scheduled to review new plans for the redevelopment of Lackawanna Station tonight, the latest in a series of proposals for 1 Lackawanna Plaza in Montclair. HP Lackawanna Office LLC and Lackawanna SPE LLC have applied for Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval with variances and design waivers including parking, height and setback, with plans to turn the parking lot across Grove Street from the station, called “East Parcel,” into a four-story residential development with 154 apartments and an outdoor pool above a 130-space parking garage, plus another 100 parking spaces surrounding the building. The “West Parcel” plans call for renovation of the 43,495-square-foot space that formerly held Pathmark, with hopes another supermarket would move in. Also included in the proposal:  removal of the interior of the existing shopping mall and retail space and the addition of two more floors with 18,060 square feet of office and medical space. Some of the original train station features would be preserved.

NATIONAL | March 14, 2018
Recent OSHA Updates:  Silica and Beryllium

In the last two weeks, OSHA issued announcements on silica and beryllium rule compliance:

  • OSHA plans to expand its list of 18 safe construction practices (Table 1) that protect workers from silica exposure. The latest rule for construction, which limits exposure to 50 micrograms per cubic meter, went into effect September 23, 2017, and the courts upheld the exposure limit in a decision December 22, 2017.
  • OSHA has pushed back the enforcement date for its beryllium exposure rule from March 12 to May 11, affecting construction firms along with shipyard and general industry sectors. It’s the third delay since the rule was issued in January 2017, just before President Obama left office.

For details on both rules, visit www.osha.gov.

LOCAL | March 14, 2018
Small Mixed-Use Proposal for Newark’s Ferry Street

On a 0.124-acre triangle of land bordered by Ferry Street, Cortland Place and Fleming Avenue in Newark’s East Ward, PM Consulting LLC wants to build a four-story mixed-use development that would house 1,307 square feet of commercial space on the first floor and 10 residential units on the three floors above. The developer has applied for Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval with multiple variances, including density, insufficient lot area and excessive number of signs; a public hearing is scheduled for tomorrow night by the Newark Zoning Board. Currently the lot, listed as 520-526 Ferry Street, contains an unoccupied single-story structure.

NATIONAL | March 13, 2018
Construction Employment Rises in 35 States for the Year

For the January 2017 to January 2018 year-over-year, 35 states added construction jobs, and 32 states plus DC added jobs for the month from December 2017 to January 2018. New Jersey fell in the middle, losing 1,600 jobs, a 1% drop for the year-over-year but gaining back 1,800, up 1.2% for the month. In the region, New York construction employment remain unchanged for the YOY, and picked up 5,100 jobs, a 1.3% gain, for the month; Pennsylvania added 8,200 for the year, a 3.4% increase, but was a big loser for the month, shedding 4,300 jobs, a 1.7% drop; Connecticut didn’t fare well, losing 1,400 jobs, a 2.4% drop, for the year, and 300 for the month, a 0.5% drop; and Delaware, which gained 700 jobs for the year, a 3.2% increase, lost 100 for the month, a 0.4% drop. Only Rhode Island saw increases both periods, adding 600 jobs for the year, a 3.3% rise, and 300 for the month, a 1.6% increase.

LOCAL | March 13, 2018
Hotel Proposed for Jersey City’s Bergen-Lafayette Neighborhood

Landmark Developers’ Frank Cretella has proposed a seven-story, 120-room hotel for 269 and 273 Communipaw Avenue in Jersey City, close to Liberty Science Center, Liberty State Park and the Hudson-Bergen Liberty State Park Light Rail Station. The vacant lot is owned by New Jersey Transit and must be purchased by the developer, who also developed Liberty House Restaurant at Liberty State Park and other local projects. The proposed Morris Hotel project would also include parking, a restaurant and a coffee shop.

LOCAL | March 13, 2018
Newark Could Get Its Tallest Building

If approved by the Newark Central Planning Board, a proposal to build a 42-story high-rise on Broad Street would create Newark’s tallest building. It would offer 480 residential units (with 20% designated as affordable housing) above 9,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor, with a rooftop amenity space for residents.

LOCAL | March 13, 2018
Pompton Lakes Commercial Building Could Become Mixed-Use

Pompton 5 Associates Urban Renewal would like to turn a brick three-story commercial building known as Towne Center at 223 Wanaque Ave. in Pompton Lakes (Passaic County) into a five-story mixed-use residential and retail development with 20 apartments ranging from 750 to 1,800 square feet. The street level and lower back level would be retail space. Currently there is one tenant in the building.

LOCAL | March 13, 2018
Adaptive Reuse Proposed for Summit Theater in Union City

Built in 1905, the two-story Summit Theater at 1212-1216 Summit Avenue in Union City (Hudson County) closed in 2013. Its current owner, Hung Fat Inc. of West New York, has applied for Site Plan approval with height-related variances to expand and adaptively reuse the theater. Plans include converting the quadplex theater into an indoor basketball court for a non-profit organization and adding two floors with 10 residential units. The application was scheduled to be reviewed by the Union City Zoning Board of Adjustment last week.

LOCAL | March 9, 2018
Eight Miles of West Milford Roadwork in Eight Years

Eight miles of NJDOT roadwork on Route 23 in West Milford (Passaic County) will go out for bid next month, expected to take eight years to complete. The first project includes renovation of two bridge decks near Oak Ridge Reservoir between Doremus and Reservoir roads (carrying north- and southbound traffic), a two-year, $5 to $10 million repair. The bridges are determined structurally deficient and will get new decks, walls, curbs and approach slabs, and possibly repairs to rocker bearings and concrete piers that hold the span above the railroad tracks. The project will be conducted in stages to minimize traffic impact.

Other planned projects:

  • Beginning in 2020, a $3.5 million replacement of the 50-year-old, 47-foot bridge that crosses the Pequannock River on northbound Route 23 south of Canistear Road, a year-long project that during the first six months will use temporary barriers to shift traffic to the southbound side between Canistear and Reservoir roads
  • In 2021, a two-year, $56 million replacement of the 84-year-old functionally obsolete four-lane bridge (59 feet wide) over Hamburg Turnpike at the Kinnelon border, requiring a temporary three-lane bridge; the new bridge will be widened to allow for 30-foot lanes
  • Beginning in 2024, a two-year project requiring milling, paving and reconstruction to resurface, regrade and widen Route 23 between High Crest Drive and the Macopin River in an effort to ease banking and visibility issues along the “S turns”

LOCAL | March 6, 2018
Costco to Build New Store in Bayonne

Costco plans to build a warehouse and gas station on a site in Bayonne’s former Military Ocean Terminal Base, with expected groundbreaking coming this spring. Costco bought a parcel of land from the city that sits between Route 440 and Chosin Few Way, across from Bayonne Fire Station 5.

LOCAL | March 6, 2018
PSE&G Halts Funding for Salem Nuclear Capital Projects

PSE&G and Exelon, owners of the Salem nuclear power plant in South Jersey’s Salem County, has halted funding for all capital projects at the plant until legislation is passed that “sufficiently values” nuclear energy, according to the SEC filing. The bill to approve as much as $300 million per year for PSE&G’s New Jersey nuclear plants, S-877, stalled last week when the State Senate postponed a vote.

LOCAL | March 6, 2018
Mount Laurel Plans School Expansions

The Mount Laurel (Burlington County) School District has started plans to add classrooms at the Larchmont and Fleetwood Elementary Schools. Proposed expansions include a 4,384-square-foot addition at Larchmont and a 5,757-square-foot addition at Fleetwood. NJDOE still must approve final estimated costs and determine eligibility for state funding. The district’s capital funds will also cover some of the cost.

LOCAL | March 5, 2018
Vineland Industrial Park Started with Land Sale

John Ruga, president of Northeast Precast of Millville who lives in Vineland, is in the process of purchasing a 280-acre site off Lincoln Avenue near Route 55 along the Millville border in Vineland (Cumberland County), with plans to expand his business and develop an industrial park to attract other businesses. The City Council approved the sale and development with Ruga, who is operating as NEP Real Estate of Vineland Urban Renewal for the project. When the sale is complete this month, construction will begin on Phases I and 1A, a 120,000-square-foot steel and multi-use shop, plus installation of a concrete batching plant and the opening of two access driveways from Lincoln Avenue – all to be completed within two years. Phase 2, which could begin at the same time, includes construction of a 400,000-600,000-square-foot master production building, again to be completed within two years. Phase 3, expected to kick off later in 2019 and be completed within five years, calls for construction of corporate offices, and Phase 4, beginning in early 2019 and completed with five years, includes site preparation and building pads for other prospective tenants. Also included in the development plans:  10 acres reserved for expansion of the Vineland Municipal Electric Utility (the Clayville Substation fronts the property on Lincoln Avenue).

LOCAL | March 5, 2018
Cooper University Hospital Seeks Conference Center

Cooper University Hospital in Camden has applied to the city planning board for a 10,000-square-foot conference center next to the 10-story Roberts Pavilion that would include a single level of executive offices and meeting rooms currently residing in the Pavilion.

LOCAL | March 5, 2018
Florham Park Proposal Gets New Design

The Rockefeller Group, developer of The Green at Florham Park (Morris County), hired architect Gensler to redesign its proposed office complex, 110 Park Avenue, part of the 268-acre The Green. The new design includes two connected buildings and a central plaza and could offer up to 300,000 square feet of office space. Materials could include timber and cast-in-place concrete, according to the design, which also adds outdoor space on the second and third floors and a large open café.

LOCAL | March 5, 2018
Muhlenberg Hospital to Become Residential and Medical Arts

Muhlenberg Hospital in Plainfield (Union County), closed since 2008, will become a mixed-use combination of residential units and medical facilities, as approved by the city council in early January. The 186,000-square-foot medical arts component could include primary and specialty care, women’s healthcare, a diagnostic lab and an ambulatory surgical center. The residential portion – 39 one-bedroom units and 81 two-bedrooms with high-end finishes – will also feature a grand lobby, multipurpose rooms, a fitness center and a business center, bike storage and a rooftop terrace. Plainfield expects the project to create 200 construction jobs and 600 permanent jobs, along with approximately $10 million in Community Benefit Payments and a PILOT agreement. The developer is Community Healthcare Associates, doing business as Muhlenberg Urban Renewal LLC; Community Healthcare Associates also repurposed Barnert Hospital in Paterson, Greenville Hospital in Jersey City and the William B. Kessler Memorial Hospital in Hammonton.

LOCAL | March 5, 2018
Feds Give $2 Million to Camden Transit Hub

The preliminary design portion of the Walter Rand Transportation Center at Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. and Broadway in Camden will be covered by a federal Transportation Improvement Program grant of $2 million. When it’s upgraded (Coopers Ferry Partnership estimated the project at $18.5 million five years ago), the hub is hoping to get an adjacent six to 12 stories of offices, apartments and hotel space, a relocation of the bus loading and drop-off areas into a 25-berth sheltered terminal, a 280-space parking deck above the bus terminal, perhaps more stories above the parking garage, and an enclosed bridge that connects the terminal with the PATCO train station across Broadway.

LOCAL | March 5, 2018
Multifamily High-Rise Planned for East Orange

Developer 256-260 Urban Renewal LLC, an affiliate of real estate firm Blackstone 360, plans to turn the two sites at 256-260 South Harrison Street in East Orange (Essex County) into an 18-story multifamily with 201 rental units (a mix of studios, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms, some with studies or balconies), 200+ parking spaces, an indoor “amenity” space and a green roof. The lots are located diagonally across from Clay Street, halfway between Melrose and Central avenues. One is vacant, the other has a five-bedroom, single-family vacant house built in 1892 that will be demolished. The developer is seeking Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan approval from the East Orange Zoning Board of Adjustment with variances for density, yard setback and lot coverage. If plans are approved at the board’s March 14 meeting, construction could begin this spring with an 18-month schedule.

LOCAL | March 5, 2018
Newark Elementary School Slated for Residential Development

Hanini Group of Newark would like to conduct a historical restoration of the Maple Avenue Elementary School in Newark’s South Ward and convert it into a residential multifamily with a mix of one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, along with parking. The three-story school at 33-47 Maple was built in 1924. The development proposal must be approved by the Newark Central Planning Board; no date is scheduled.

LOCAL | March 1, 2018
More Jersey City High-Rises Proposed

Project proposals come fast-and-furious for Jersey City. Here are two more, both planned for neighborhoods that currently hold two- and three-story buildings:

  1. Last week we posted a Hot Topic on the development of a parking lot at 693-701 Newark Avenue that opens at the other end at 30 Cottage Street. This week, the Namdar Group of Great Neck, LI, announced it proposes a three-tower plan for a stretch of land running between Cottage Street and Van Reipen Avenue (one block the other way from Newark Ave.). Plans include constructing a pedestrian plaza called the Homestead Walkway (perhaps an extension of Homestead Place, which ends at Van Reipen), and then building three residential high-rises containing approximately 750 units on the surrounding properties. Phase 1 involves “reconstruction” of the Congregation Sons of Israel and construction of a 27-story building with 350 units. Phase 2 is a 25-story building with 220 units at 26 and 28 Van Reipen, and phase 3 plans call for a 20-story building with 180 units and 26 and 28 Cottage Street. All three would include ground-floor retail space. The Cottage Street site currently holds two multi-family buildings; the Van Reipen site is a vacant lot. The proposal awaits a hearing before the Jersey City Planning Board.
  2. Mercer Jordan LLC, owned by Sequoia Development Group of Brooklyn, has proposed “The Rise,” a 16-story mixed-use tower at 711 Montgomery Street near where it intersects with Jordan Avenue in McGinley Square. The building will replace a private parking lot and hold 272 residential rental units divided into 103 studios, 137 one-bedrooms, 26 two-bedrooms and six three-bedrooms (20% to be designated affordable housing). Amenities include a gym, community room, parking, and rooftop space for residents. Approximately 5,000 square feet of retail is planned for the ground floor. A 16-month construction schedule is expected to start before the end of this year.

LOCAL | March 1, 2018
JCP&L to Invest $357 Million in Reliability Work

Jersey Central Power & Light plans to boost reliability across its network – 13 counties in North and Central Jersey – with a $357 million investment this year, mostly in replacing remote-controlled substation equipment and 34.5 kilovolt substation circuit breakers. Other projects include upgrading distribution circuit breakers and 90+ circuit upgrades, enhancing security systems, replacing cable and more.

LOCAL | March 1, 2018
Trenton Looks to Spur Development with Two Entertainment Districts

By proposing two entertainment districts, one in downtown Trenton and the other in the Roebling neighborhood (both in the North Ward), Trenton hopes to encourage economic development in the city. As defined by the city, the downtown district is a triangle bounded by Route 1, East State Street and Route 29 along the river, with South Broad and South Warren as focal points; the Roebling neighborhood is bordered by Route 1, South Broad Street and Hudson Street. Still in its infancy, the entertainment district plan needs to be approved by ordinance of the City Council.

LOCAL | February 27, 2018
Governor Announces $161 Million in Municipal Aid Grants

Late last week, Governor Murphy announced $161 million in municipal aid grants, the highest total awards in NJDOT history and more than double last year’s awards, made possible by the gas tax increase. The grants will go to 505 communities in the state for local road and bridge safety improvement projects. For the list of towns and awards (listed by county), visit www.state.nj.us/transportation/about/press/2018/pdf/2018MuniAid.pdf

LOCAL | February 27, 2018
Toms River Development: Two Projects

Two Toms River (Ocean County) projects are in the works:

  1. Kaplan Companies plans 128 apartments on 17 vacant acres behind Seacourt Pavilion shopping center, near the intersection of Bay and Hooper avenues and across from Ocean County Mall. Eight buildings, an in-ground pool, a community center, “tot lot” and dog park are part of the proposal.
  2. A 40,000-square-foot office and retail center landed a $6.5 million construction loan that represents two-thirds of the total project cost. Located on 10 acres near the intersection of Hooper Avenue and Yorktown Blvd., the project will also include a 4,140-square-foot pad site. Spots in the complex are already pre-leased to Ocean Cuts LLC, Buy-Rite Liquors and a Keller Williams brokerage office, and project completion is expected this summer.

LOCAL | February 27, 2018
High-Tech Planned for Newark’s New “Vibe” Tower

At an estimated $80 million, Vibe will be a 17-story glass tower with 260 luxury rentals and luxurious amenities on top of retail at the intersection of Halsey and William streets in Newark’s “Living Downtown” Redevelopment Area. Planned in 179,760 square feet of residential space are 54 studios (each 450 square feet), 154 one-bedroom units (each 650 square feet) and 52 two-bedroom units (each 950 square feet). The rest of the total 300,470 square feet will include garage parking with 156 spaces, two restaurants at street level, a coffee bar in the lobby, a state-of-the-art fitness center and indoor/outdoor Pilates and yoga studios on a residential level, plus a rooftop pool, whirlpool spa and outdoor dining area with grills and fire pits. The list of amenities goes on and on…concierge, party room with chef’s kitchen and bar, conference room equipped with A/V, a game room, a covered dog run and a children’s play area. WiFi and Alexa will be built into all apartments and common areas, along with app-based apartment entry, temperature control and package notifications.

LOCAL | February 22, 2018
Morristown Condo Development Secures Financing

Diversified Realty Advisors and a private investor that formed a joint venture called DRA 30 Court LLC have secured $24.8 million in financing for a 58-unit condo development in Morristown. The 30-month construction loan will cover The Residences at 30 Court’s planned two-bedroom units and for-sale homes ranging from 1,276 to 1,939 square feet, plus a two-story, 131-space parking garage. The site is located a mile from NJ Transit’s Morristown Train Station, within walking distance of the Morristown Green and six miles from I-287 and I-80. Expected completion is 2019.

LOCAL | February 21, 2018
Jersey City Public Parking Lot Faces Redevelopment

The Jersey City Redevelopment Agency has issued RFPs to “qualified developers” for ideas to remake the public parking lot at 693-701 Newark Avenue and 30 Cottage Street near the Five Corners in Journal Square (Ward C). The legal notice states agency is looking for proposals that “maximize the site’s potential and benefit and complement the surrounding area” and the RFP encourages developers to submit proposals with a “boutique hotel component.” Site visit for interested developers is scheduled for tomorrow, and proposals are due March 16.

NATIONAL | February 21, 2018
Cost of Construction Materials and Services Expected to Rise This Year

AGC of America’s Chief Economist Ken Simonson warns contractors will pay 4% to 5% more overall this year than last for materials and services. Futures prices for March delivery of softwood lumber are already up 25% over January and February. Steel is rising in response to government policy. Copper, aluminum and diesel fuel prices have all seen large increases. The bump in diesel fuel could result in higher prices for truck transportation and leasing.

LOCAL | February 12, 2018
Proposal Seeks to Reinvent Downtown Toms River

Toms River’s downtown could become a walkable area with apartments, condos and shops, restaurants, craft breweries and micro-distilleries. The new downtown proposal, incorporated in the town’s revised master plan, would require changes in building height limits so multifamily structures, for example, could rise as high as eight to ten stories. The township would like to see developers provide shuttle service from downtown to NJ Transit’s bus station on Highland Parkway. Plans could include a redesigned, relocated post office, which could move from West Water Street to the corner of Irons and Water and become a three-story facility topped by six more stories of residential units. If a “transit village” design is adopted, multifamily housing could be built next to the bus station and traffic patterns revised to allow better circulation – such as extending Herflicker Blvd. to Highland Parkway but making it one-way eastbound, while making Water Street one-way westbound from Irons to Highland. At that juncture, motorists could connect via a new ramp to the northbound Garden State Parkway. Despite all the plans, redevelopment will probably not begin until 2020 or 2021, when the cleanup of the old coal gasification site near the post office on Adafre Avenue is expected to be complete. In the meantime, Toms River officials plan to purchase the 50-room Red Carpet Inn at Main and Water streets and demolish it. Public hearings on that prospect begin this week.

LOCAL | February 15, 2018
Holmdel Approves Rooftop Hotel for Bell Works Redevelopment

Last week, Holmdel (Monmouth County) officials approved a 200-room hotel on the roof of the former Bell Labs office building. It’s the latest phase in the redevelopment of the giant office building into a mixed-use complex, known as Bell Works. The rooftop hotel rooms will line the perimeter, leaving intact the 60,000-square-foot photovoltaic skylight that occupies the entire length of the building. The developer is Somerset Development, which has not yet selected an operator for the hotel.

LOCAL | February 15, 2018
Old A&P in Clark Could Be Condemned

The old A&P supermarket on Westfield Avenue in Clark (Union County), empty since 2006, could be taken over by the town through eminent domain and condemned. The private owners of the 24,500-square-foot building, RBD Clark LCC, have been unresponsive to township requests for redevelopment, and the town has now rezoned the area for mixed-use redevelopment, allowing apartments above businesses. Some 15 to 20% would be affordable housing; the other rental units would be listed at market rate. The next step for the town council would be to authorize the planning board to investigate if the area can be classified as one in need of redevelopment.

LOCAL | February 15, 2018
NJDOT Wins ENR New York’s Owner of the Year

ENR New York announced it has chosen New Jersey Department of Transportation as its Owner of the Year for 2017. The publication pointed to multimillion dollar projects like the $480 million Wittpenn Bridge replacement (Contract 4 was awarded in June 2017) and the latest phase of the $920 million I-295/State Route 42/I-76 intersection (Contract 3 was awarded to ACCNJ member South State Inc. with a bid of $192.2 million). ENR New York notes a complete description of NJDOT’s infrastructure projects will appear in its print edition of March 19-26.

NATIONAL | February 6, 2018
Construction Employment Rises in 75% of Metros in December

December 2017 construction employment rose in 269 of 358 US metros (75%) compared to December 2016, riding a wave of private projects as public work lagged, according to AGC of America. But New Jersey didn’t fare as well as much of the rest of country. Two New Jersey metros tanked in the bottom five: Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean lost 1,200 jobs, down 3% compared to last year, and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic lost 1,100 jobs, down 4% for the year. Also in the loss column for the year-over-year:  Newark lost 900 jobs, a 2% drop; Camden shed 800 jobs, a 4% drop; and Trenton lost 300 jobs, a 6% drop. Atlantic City-Hammonton construction employment remained flat for the year-over-year. Only Vineland-Bridgeton showed an uptick, adding 100 construction jobs for a 3% gain.

LOCAL | February 6, 2018
AG Nixes PennEast Land Proposal

Last Friday, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal denied a proposal from PennEast to use state-controlled land for that part of its 120-mile natural gas pipeline that would run through New Jersey. Also last Friday, NJ DEP rejected PennEast’s application for water permits. PennEast has received permitting approvals from the federal government and from Pennsylvania for the portion of the pipeline that would run across the northeastern part of that state.

LOCAL | February 6, 2018
Tallest Buildings Coming to Bayonne

Two 22-story high-rise towers are coming to Bayonne, representing the largest, tallest mixed-use development in the city. Each building at 26 North Street between Avenue C and Kennedy Blvd. will hold 170 residential rental units, mostly one- or two-bedroom apartments, plus 25,020 square feet of commercial space – possibly a high-end gourmet grocery retailer – and another 4,200 square feet for a daycare center or restaurant. A garage with 725 spaces is planned for four underground floors. The site is close to the Bergen Light Rail Station, Route 440, the Bayonne Bridge and the Broadway business district. Lance Lucarelli of The L Group LLC (Bayonne) and John Cali of Cali Futures LLC (Cranford) are listed as developers. Construction is expected to be completed in early 2020.

LOCAL | February 6, 2018
New Construction on Jersey City’s Journal Square

Mostly vacant lots at 51, 55 and 57 Newkirk Street between Summit and Baldwin avenues on the edge of Journal Square in Ward C are slated for a six-story, 42-unit building, approved by the Jersey City Planning Board last week. Ash Street LLC of Hackensack (Bergen County) is the developer of the sites, which total just under 20,000 square feet and are part of the Journal Square 2060 Redevelopment Plan Area. A two-family house sits on one corner of the 51 Newkirk lot; its fate wasn’t determined in the proposal.

NATIONAL | February 2, 2018
With New Metrics, BLS Reports Productivity Gains in Construction

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released “Measuring Productivity Growth in Construction” in January, a report that uses new metrics and, because of the new metrics, reveals gains in production in various construction sectors. As the study states, economists have “found it exceptionally difficult to develop reliable output price deflators to convert observed revenues into meaningful measures of output growth over time.” This study used specific output indexes to measure productivity in four construction sectors:  single-family residential; multifamily residential; highways, roads and bridges; and industrial. Three of the four showed productivity gains; only highways, roads and bridges did not. For the report, visit
https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2018/article/measuring-productivity-growth-in-construction.htm

LOCAL | February 2, 2018
Murphy EO Releases Wind Energy Act

The Offshore Wind Energy Development Act, signed into law in 2010 by then-Governor Christie, didn’t develop into anything much, as offshore wind energy developers were not able to receive BPU approvals. But Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 8, issued Wednesday and effective immediately, directs BPU to implement the Act, develop an Offshore Wind Strategic Plan that will reduce costs, spur job growth and supply-chain businesses, promote workforce development, establish data collection, ensure “appropriate siting of facilities” and protect natural resources. Once BPU and the State Treasury Department come up with a Pricing Plan for the Act’s Offshore Renewable Energy Certificate program, known as OREC, BPU is directed to issue a solicitation for proposals “for the generation of 1,100 megawatts of electric power, the nation’s largest such solicitation to date.” The BPU has 60 days to begin the rulemaking process that will establish the proper flow of payments for ORECs from suppliers to offshore wind developers. In addition, BPU is ordered to reach out to other states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to discuss possible collaboration.

NATIONAL | February 1, 2018
Waters of the US Rule Delayed Two Years

The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers declared yesterday the Clean Water Rule, or Waters of the US rule, won’t be implemented until 2020. In the next two years, the federal government plans to replace it and specify the waters subject to federal regulation.

LOCAL | January 25, 2018
Somerdale Church to Transform into Housing and Restaurant

The long-vacant Our Lady of Grace Parish on White Horse Pike in Somerdale (Camden County) – church, school and rectory – is slated to become a mixed-use development, as proposed by Somerdale Borough officials. The “Reserve at Grace,” estimated at as much as $10 million, could include 30 to 40 “active adult” apartments, 40 to 50 market-rate apartments, 7,00 to 9,000 square feet of retail, a clubhouse, a restaurant that would occupy the 5,000-square-foot first-floor interior of the 63-year-old church, a community center on the lower level and space in the building for the currently operating food bank. Thus the church would be preserved but the site transformed with the hope it spurs development in Somerdale. Billed as a “public/private initiative,” the project is considered a “conceptual arrangement” with developer Urgentcare RE LLC. The town is looking for completion in 2019.

LOCAL | January 25, 2018
US EPA Claims Roebling Steel Superfund Site is Cleaned Up

Appearing on a list of 31 sites announced by the EPA last week, the 200-acre Roebling Steel site in Florence (Burlington County) apparently is ready for redevelopment. It has been on the EPA’s Superfund list since 1983, and cleanup began in December 1985, now partially completed. The site currently holds the Roebling Museum, a 37-acre park and an NJ Transit light rail station, and is zoned for general manufacturing and recreational uses. However, new development will be prohibited from using groundwater and excavation on the site will be limited.

NATIONAL | January 23, 2018
Private-Sector Demand Bumps Up State Construction Employment

From December 2016 to December 2017, 42 states added construction jobs, while 32 states and DC added jobs for the month from November to December 2017. AGC of America attributed the overall national expansion to demand from the private sector. While New Jersey added jobs for the year, up 2.3% with 3,400 new jobs, the state came in dead last for the month in both numbers and percentage, shedding 4,300 jobs for a 2.7% drop. Elsewhere in the region, Pennsylvania made a strong showing in both time periods, adding 4,800 jobs for year-over-year, a 1.9% increase, and a whopping 13,100 jobs for the month, a 5.4% bump. New York construction employment was flat for the year period but rose 2.7% for the month with the addition of 9,900 jobs. Delaware had modest increases, adding 300 jobs for the year, a 1.4% rise, and 500 for the month, a 2.4% rise. Rhode Island lost 200 jobs for the year, a 1% drop, but added 2,100 for the month, an 11.3% leap. Connecticut fared poorly in both periods, down 1,000 jobs for the year, a 1.8% drop, and 1,900 for the month, a 3.3% loss.

LOCAL | January 22, 2018
Andover Township to Get Glass Recycling Plant

Pace Glass will open a glass recycling plant in Andover Township (Sussex County), to be built in a former quarry on Limecrest Road, a site that measures nearly 85 acres. The plant will handle up to 1,500 tons of glass gathered from regional sorting facilities. Pace also plans to extend a spur from an adjoining railroad to carry both inbound and outbound product. Construction is scheduled to begin after winter weather moves out.

LOCAL | January 22, 2018
Proposed $12 Million Rehab for Paterson Art Factory

David Garsia, an owner of The Art Factory in Paterson, a group of 25 former industrial buildings, plans to transform the complex into a 269,483-square-foot mixed-use attraction with a new food hall, art galleries, a restaurant and café, boutiques and a hotel with 19 rooms for film crews. Currently the property is used for film shoots, workshops, weddings and coworking spaces. The $12 million rehabilitation project has been approved by the Paterson Historic Preservation Commission (some of the buildings date back to the 19th century) and the Paterson Planning Board. The Art Factory also plans to augment its 20 parking spaces with a new public transportation system with two free trolley bus lines that would connect to the Great Falls and the Paterson Train Station.

LOCAL | January 22, 2018
AC Grants Available to Cut Development Costs

Atlantic City has grants available to ease economic development, including one from the federal EPA and two from the state EDA. The $300,000 EPA grant will allow developers to fund remediation assessments at no cost to themselves. The EDA funding expands the target area for business improvement to include Atlantic and Pacific avenues from Massachusetts to Albany avenues and Albany Avenue from Pacific to West End. The Downtown Loop is also included. Grants are designed to assist development of new and expanding retail and services at street level.

  • One EDA program provides grants up to 50% of project cost, to a maximum of $20,000, for improvements made to the first floor of an existing business.
  • A second EDA program offers reimbursement of 15% of the annual lease payments for two years to for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations that lease 500 to 5,000 square feet of new or additional market-rate, first-floor office or retail space for a minimum of five years.

Applications for the EPA and EDA grants are being accepted now. Ben Kaufman, acting director of the Atlantic City Department of Planning and Development, can provide additional information to applicants and can be reached at 609.347.5404.

LOCAL | January 22, 2018
UPDATE:  PennEast Pipeline Approved by Feds

Just before the federal government shutdown last Friday, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the PennEast Pipeline Project, a 116-mile line providing natural gas to from Luzerne County in Pennsylvania, through Carbon, Northampton and Bucks counties, and then across the Delaware into Hunterdon and Mercer counties in New Jersey. The PennEast Pipeline Company had planned to begin construction this year pending FERC approval."]

NATIONAL | January 22, 2018
Latest Federal Reserve Reports for Price Inputs, Office Availability

According to recent Federal Reserve reports, input prices in the Second District (New York area) have increased in manufacturing, wholesale, transportation, education & health, and leisure & hospitality sectors. Office availability rates have climbed some in New York City but edged down in North Jersey. Asking rents for office space remain flat. Vacancy rates for industrial properties remain very low, pushing rents up. The retail market is soft, with vacancy rates rising and rents mostly flat.

LOCAL | January 22, 2018
Press of Atlantic City’s Former Building Sold for Development

The old Press of Atlantic City building at 11 Devins Lane in Pleasantville (Atlantic County) has been sold and will be partly demolished, making way for a tax decrease on the property and possible redevelopment. A 30,000-square-foot building, also on the 9.7-acre site but facing Washington Avenue, will remain intact and could be transformed into a warehouse or offices. The purchaser is RGC 3 LLC of Egg Harbor Township, owned by James DiNatale, president of Site Enterprises Inc. A case of water contamination remains ongoing with DEP; RGC 3’s agreement states Abarta, former owner of the Press of AC, is responsible for remediating the contamination. As we posted in Hot Topics, DiNatale’s RGC 1 bought the former Lenox China plant in Galloway in 2014, now home to Barrette Outdoor Living.

LOCAL | January 19, 2018
More Development Plans in Jersey City

Two plans for more Jersey City reveal the emphasis on development and redevelopment continues. In Ward C, 39 New York Avenue, the NRP Group of Ohio, in partnership with the Hoboken Brownstone Company of Jersey City, plans a five-story residential building on a 1.288-acre property. Construction is expected to start this summer on 131 units – 28 studios, 57 one-bedrooms and 46 two-bedrooms – with an underground, 82-space garage, a ground-floor leasing office and a second-floor outdoor deck. Spring 2020 is the targeted completion date.

        In Ward B, properties near Hudson-Bergen Light Rail’s West Side Avenue Station could be redeveloped as residential and mixed-use. The site at 400 Claremont Avenue, 2.73 acres, has been listed for sale since December. It houses a large industrial complex last used by Elementis, which sold its US colorants business in March 2017 to Chromaflo Technologies, but is being marketed as a potential residential/retail development, subject to the state’s Industrial Site Recovery Act. An RFP to potential developers has been issued.

LOCAL | January 17, 2018
UPDATE: Kushner Cos. Submits New Site Plans for Monmouth Mall Redevelopment

As we’ve been tracking in Hot Topics, Kushner Cos. continues its ongoing efforts to redevelop Monmouth Mall, submitting a new site plan application in late 2017. The plans for the Eatontown property, which is being referred to as “The Heights at Monmouth,” will not be presented by the Planning Board for hearings until March. The plans call for 700 new apartments and a mix of commercial retail spaces. The construction of the 104-acre property would create 1,064 jobs.

LOCAL| January 16, 2018
Apartments and Retail Space Coming to Paterson

The Paterson Planning Board recently approved construction of a four-story building on Park Avenue by Jersey City developer Novus Equities. The building near Straight Street, estimated as a $6 million project, will contain 67 new apartments and three retail spaces.  No start date has been announced.

LOCAL | January 15, 2018
Proposal Addresses Flooding in Bergen County

Construction for the “New Meadowlands” project could begin as early as 2020 to decrease chronic flooding that has occurred since Hurricane Sandy. Five Bergen County towns — Little Ferry, Moonachie, Carlstadt, South Hackensack and Teterboro — have experienced an increase in flooding from rain since Sandy. The plans include flood mitigation through improvements to existing water channels, improving public parks and increasing vegetation to soak up rain water. All improvements and changes were originally estimated at $850 million, but the US Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded only $150 million so plans were revised downward to address only flooding. Improvements will include:

  • Adding pump stations and a water main to the East Riser Ditch in Carlstadt as well as parks to act as wetlands
  • Installing a pump station at Starke Road, also in Carlstadt, to move water down the ditch
  • Elevated boardwalks and rehabilitated natural wetlands for parks in the area
  • Permeable paving and plants along sidewalks to retain water around municipal and public buildings

The project is under the direction of NJDEP’s Office of Engineering & Construction, which would like to see completion by 2022.

LOCAL | January 15, 2018
High-End Loft Apartments Coming to Passaic

An old warehouse in Passaic will be converted into a $20 million river-facing commercial space with 63 loft aparments. Noam Newman, founder of Venture Equity Partners, has spearheaded the project and has gained approval from the City Council of Passaic. Newman has partnered with developer Steven Gelbtuch of Stonegate buildings, and the project is scheduled to be completed by 2019.

LOCAL | January 11, 2018
Camden Mixed-Use Parking Garage Plans Changed

Plans for a retail and parking garage originally proposed for a site near Camden’s waterfront have been significantly revised. A $30.8 million, 217,000-square-foot structure with 20,000 square feet of retail and 740 parking spaces will go up next to the Rand Transportation Center on a 1.5-acre lot at South Broadway and Federal Street, across from the Camden County Aletha Wright Administration Building. The garage project, aided by $14 million in funding from NJ EDA, is under the direction of the Camden Parking Authority, which owns the lot.

LOCAL | January 10, 2018
Adaptive Reuse in Jersey City: From Old Church to New Residences

Approved by the Jersey City Zoning Board on December 12, the 130-year-old St. Bridget’s Roman Catholic Church at Montgomery and Brunswick streets in Ward F will be converted into a residential property with 38 units (17 studios, 19 one-bedroom apartments, and one two-bedroom and one three-bedroom units). Developer and property owner SBJC, LLC, received Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan approval and will preserve much of the existing interior and exterior of the church, including most of the stained glass. An addition behind the church covered in terracotta panels will hold mechanical equipment, an elevator and stairwell. If approved, the basement could be converted to commercial space.

LOCAL | January 10, 2018
Six-Story Residential Building Proposed for Jersey City’s Ward B

Maa Lalita Westside LLC, a Jersey City developer, plans to construct a six-story residential building with 60 units and 46 parking spaces at 271-277 Sip Avenue on the corner of Whitman Avenue in Jersey City’s Marion neighborhood (Ward B). Currently, the site holds a vacant two-story industrial building and fenced grassy lot. The proposal was granted Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan approval on December 7 by the Jersey City Zoning Board.

LOCAL | January 8, 2018
Pero Family Farms Expanding in Vineland

Approved in December for an NJ EDA tax incentive of nearly $19 million over 10 years, Pero Family Farms of Delray Beach, Florida, wants to invest $13 million in a new 118,400-square-foot facility at the corner of North Mill and Weymouth roads in Vineland (Cumberland County). The 110-year-old company produces fresh vegetables and sells them whole, as side dishes and as snacks to Walmart, Target, Wegmans, Whole Foods and other retail stores. No construction timeline has been announced.

LOCAL | January 5, 2018
NJ Transit Director Stepping Down

Yesterday, NJ Transit Director Steven Santoro announced he is stepping down from the position on a date to be announced. Santoro has worked for NJ Transit for 18 years, serving as director since October 2016.

LOCAL | January 2, 2018
Redevelopment Planned for Route 18 Retail Site in East Brunswick

Plans are underway for the former East Brunswick Kmart at 645 State Route 18 to be redeveloped. TFE Properties, LLC recently acquired the 150,000 square-foot building and plans to break the space up into several retail spaces. No construction dates have been announced.

December 2017
LOCAL | December 27, 2017

New Residential Properties Coming to East Rutherford

A massive, multifamily residential development is coming to Southern Bergen County. The previously industrial 7.339-acre property will soon be renovated into seven buildings with 208 rental units at 10 and 20 Oak Street in East Rutherford between Paterson Avenue and Central Avenue. The project will be developed by Livingston-based Sterling Properties’ Oak and Central Developers, LLC.

LOCAL | December 27, 2017

Local Businesses See the Advantages of GROW NJ Tax Incentives

With the support of Cumberland County’s Improvement Program, three area businesses will receive a combined total of $27.5 million in tax incentives as part of the GROW NJ Program. The three companies that have been granted the tax breaks are Vineland’s Richland Glass, Legacy Cold Storage, LLC, and Rosenhayn’s F&S Produce. Legacy Cold Storage plans to rehab an existing facility and construct 42,000 square feet of new cold storage space. F&S Produce will renovate the old General Mills plant in Vineland.


NATIONAL | December 27, 2017
Economic Expansion Boosts Construction Jobs Across the Nation

From November 2016 to November 2017, 40 states added construction jobs, while 39 states added jobs for the month from October to November. AGC of America attributes the strong growth to economic expansion, which should continue to improve with new tax cuts and regulatory reforms. In the region, New York and Pennsylvania were in the top five states adding jobs for the year-over-year period. New York posted a gain of 12,600 jobs, a 3.4% increase, and Pennsylvania recorded 12,000 new jobs, a 4.6% jump. Rhode Island showed the second-highest percentage increase for the year, a 13% hike with the addition of 2,400 jobs. All three appeared in the top five for the month period as well: New York added 5,300 jobs, a 1.4% bump; Pennsylvania added 3,400 jobs, a 1.4% rise; and Rhode Island added 500 jobs, a 2.5% increase. New Jersey was in the plus column for both periods, adding 7,400 for the year-over-year, a healthy 4.5% increase, and 900 jobs for the month, edging up 0.6%. Delaware had modest growth for both periods, adding 400 jobs for the year, up 2%, and 200 for the month, up 1%. Connecticut didn’t fare as well, shedding 1,000 jobs for the year, a 1.7% loss, and 1,300 jobs for the month, down 2.2%, which put it among the bottom five states.

NATIONAL | December 21, 2017
BLS Releases Latest Occupational Fatalities Report

Construction jobsite fatalities in the US rose 5% in 2016 on private-sector projects, climbing from 937 in 2015 to 991 in 2016, based on the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The industry rate remained at 10.1 per 100,000 full-time-equivalent workers. By segment, specialty trades recorded 631 fatalities, building construction reported 182 fatalities and heavy-civil construction reported 159 fatalities. Falls remain the number one killer in construction, with 388 fatalities in 2016 due to falls, 36% of the total jobsite deaths, up from 367 in 2015. Even more detailed numbers reveal fatal falls increased more than 25% in 2016 for roofers, carpenters, and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers. In New Jersey, 19 people died in construction jobsite incidents (19% of the 101 workplace fatalities in the state), of which 11, more than half, were the results of falls.

LOCAL | December 19, 2017
Update:  Flemington’s Union Hotel Redevelopment Approved

Recently we posted in Hot Topics news of Georgian Court University’s plans for a new academic building in Flemington (Hunterdon County), part of Flemington’s downtown redevelopment. In the latest move, the Flemington Borough Council voted on December 11 to approve the Union Hotel redevelopment plan, which would be the center focus of the Courthouse Square complex. Redeveloper Jack Cust, currently working to complete his purchase of the Union Hotel, wants the 300,000-square-foot complex to include a 100-room hotel, 200+ residential units, a parking garage, a restaurant with liquor license and retail space.

LOCAL | December 19, 2017
Proton Therapy Facility Planned for Virtua Voorhees

Penn Medicine and Virtua have partnered to build a new proton therapy facility on the Virtua Voorhees (Camden County) campus. Estimated at $35 million, the new center is expected to open by 2020, allowing cancer patients to undergo proton therapy in single-room treatments and access clinical trials.

LOCAL | December 19, 2017
Rowan University Plans 300-Acre Sports Complex

Rowan University plans to lease to developer Elite Development Program 300 acres on Route 322 in Harrison Township (Gloucester County) for a sports complex. Called the West Campus Fields project, the complex will include a 4,500-seat arena, an indoor training center, 50 athletic fields, facilities for tennis, baseball and outdoor track, and a hotel. Eventually the West Campus Fields will serve as the site of the university’s sports fields and the original fields on the main Glassboro campus will be used for new academic buildings.

LOCAL | December 15, 2017
Update:  Cherry Hill’s Hampton Road Redevelopment

Following up on an earlier Hot Topic, the original redevelopment plan for the 20-acre site in Cherry Hill (Camden County) that lies between Hampton Road and Cuthbert Boulevard has been substantially changed. Apartment buildings holding 252 units (rather than 300) and two wooded tracts of about three acres came about as part of a compromise with residents whose homes lie adjacent to the site. Cherry Hill Land Associates (owner of Woodcrest Country Club in Cherry Hill) will likely be the developer, but groundbreaking is not expected anytime soon.

LOCAL | December 15, 2017
More Mixed-Use Development Planned for Hackensack

A six-and-a-half-story multifamily residence with 235 units is planned for 439 Main Street in Hackensack (Bergen County) near the corner of Anderson Street. Waypoint Hackensack Urban Renewal LLC was granted Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan approval last month; the developer appears to be Waypoint Residential of Stamford CT. That project is in addition to plans for redevelopment of Continental Plaza on Route 4, as we posted in Hot Topics in September, plus a 60-unit building on West Camden Street, a 377-unit mixed-use development on Zabriskie Street and another mixed-use with 82 residential units and retail space at Main and Ward streets, 30 warehouse lofts, 254 residential units along the Hackensack River and conversion of a Main Street bank to 127 residential units. Making Hackensack particularly desirable for commuters is New Jersey Transit’s move to operate passenger rail service between Hackensack, Paterson and Hawthorne, and possibly North Bergen.

LOCAL | December 15, 2017
Palisades Park Approves 14-Story Residential Building

Finalized November 20, Palisades Park (Bergen County) granted Preliminary and Final Site Plan approval with variances to developer Berkeley Palisades Park LLC for a 14-story, 121-unit building on eight lots just east of East Edsall Blvd. and west of Edsall Blvd. Currently a wooded wetland known as Long Swamp, the site is just clear of the Fort Lee borough limits on the Palisades, an undeveloped piece of land surrounded by homes and other residential high-rises.

LOCAL | December 15, 2017
Rutgers Gives Go-Ahead on $15 Million Campbell’s Field Redevelopment

Rutgers University and the City of Camden will jointly finance redevelopment of Campbell’s Field, creating a new complex of athletic facilities for baseball, lacrosse and field hockey. It will be owned by Camden, operated by Rutgers and open to Rutgers students and the public. With site approvals from the city pending, and Rutgers’ men’s baseball team using the field in Spring 2018, a date for construction to begin is as yet undetermined.

LOCAL | December 15, 2017
Boraie Development Bringing Union Apprentice Program to AC

Boraie Development, developing the Beach at South Inlet with 250 apartments, is partnering with Project IMPACT to bring a union apprenticeship and job-training program to Atlantic City in January. Similar Project IMPACT programs have had success in Jersey City, Elizabeth and Newark, Boraie’s hometown. Approved by the unions, the program will offer classes, qualifying tests and interviews for eligibility into the Carpenters, Laborers, Plumbers & Pipefitters, Electricians and Painters.

LOCAL | December 15, 2017
Long Branch Reaches Deal for Development of Lower Broadway

Long Branch Partners (based in Millville, Cumberland County), which owns 54 sites on 10 acres along Lower Broadway in Long Branch (Monmouth County), will build 590 apartments or multifamily residential units, 99,500 square feet of commercial space and 1,255 parking spots on that corridor – creating a walkable community estimated at $175 million. Lower Broadway, only a block from the beach, encompasses four blocks between Second Avenue and Liberty Street and Union and Belmont avenues. As part of the deal with the city, the developer will either develop or contribute to a fund to develop 30 affordable housing units in another location in Long Branch. The city will fund Broadway road improvements and two parking garages, providing a $5 billion redevelopment area bond for the street improvements.

LOCAL | December 12, 2017
Woolwich Retail Center Plans Summer Sewer Construction

In 2015, we posted in Hot Topics news that Logan Township (Gloucester County) had agreed to expand its sewer treatment facility to accommodate the Woolwich mixed-use project at Kings Highway and Route 322. In Summer 2018, after nearly three years of considering route options, Woolwich will begin sewer construction for that project, with pipes running down Route 322, a tie-in at a pump station in Bridgeport and then connection to the Logan infrastructure. Public water will be installed at the same time for cost-efficiency. To finance design and construction of the sewer and water infrastructure, Woolwich is waiting on a loan from the NJ Environmental Infrastructure Trust.

In the meantime, the project, now called Kings Landing at Woolwich, faces more decisions from township, county and state officials regarding traffic flow, sidewalks, crossings, road repairs and other pedestrian-friendly improvements. Ultimately, Kings Landing will encompass half-a-million square feet of retail and 3,000 to 4,000 new residential units.

LOCAL | December 12, 2017
Nearly $500 Million More to be Spent on Newark Terminal A Redevelopment

The Port Authority has added another nearly $500 million to the $2.3 billion Terminal A Redevelopment Program at Newark Liberty Airport, slated for major projects as the program constructs a new million-square-foot terminal. In addition, another $250 million will go toward two new concurrent projects:  $175 million to pave 40 acres to create aircraft parking; and $75 million for foundation work on new terminal frontage in preparation for a future AirTrain alignment.

LOCAL | December 12, 2017
Approval Pending for $5 Million Addition to Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Project

When the agency meets this week, NJ Transit could approve a $5 million contract amendment that would cover an engineering study on extending the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to Route 440 in Jersey City. As Jersey City revitalizes the western side of the city, the extension would offer a mass-transit option for the Bayfront development on the Hackensack River and connect the Hudson and Hackensack River waterfronts. The 100-acre Bayfront is expected to include more than 8,000 residential units plus parks, retail and other commercial properties. The contract amendment is on the agenda for NJ Transit’s meeting scheduled for tomorrow, December 13.

LOCAL | December 6, 2017
Connecticut Raises Project Threshold for Prevailing Wage Rates

In the state budget signed into law October 31, Connecticut raised the project value on prevailing wage jobs from $400,000 to $1 million, effective immediately. The threshold had not been changed since 1991. However, a new provision in the budget now requires that prevailing wage rates be paid on construction projects valued at $1 million or more if they are financed by Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development, including private-sector projects that are financed by grants and loans. The prevailing wage threshold for public renovation projects remains at $100,000.

LOCAL | December 6, 2017
Tax Incentive Bill for Garden State Growth Zones Proceeds to Full Legislature

Awaiting votes in the State Assembly and Senate is an ACCNJ-supported bill that would provide tax incentives to businesses in Garden State Growth Zones – and establish a new zone around the Atlantic City airport, including the Stockton Aviation Research Park and the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center. Five New Jersey cities are already established as growth zones – Atlantic City, Camden, Passaic, Paterson and Trenton – which allows firms in those zones to receive tax credits up to $35 million.

LOCAL | December 6, 2017
Jersey City Ponders Development in Non-Waterfront Areas

Jersey City waterfront development has been substantial, but it’s not the only part of the city where municipal planners want to see success. Tier-3 Zones, such as Bergen-Lafayette (west-southwest of downtown) and Greenville (the southern section bordering Bayonne) come with a 20-year tax abatement for developers. City officials would like to see Bergen-Lafayette become a high-density, transit-oriented community focused on families.

LOCAL | December 6, 2017
Mars Wrigley to Build New HQ in Newark, Renovate Hackettstown Facility

Mars Wrigley Confectionery will build a $25 million, 110,000-square-foot headquarters at Ironside Newark, a 450,000-square-foot commercial and retail center adjacent to Mulberry Commons Park that is itself undergoing extensive renovation. Approximately 130 new jobs will be created, and the headquarters will also accommodate about 300 personnel from the candy company’s Chicago global headquarters and another 100 from Hackettstown (Warren County). In November, Mars Wrigley received $31 million in EDA’s Choose NJ tax credits for the Newark relocation of its US operations, plus a $1 million capital project grant for the Hackettstown renovation, which is expected to cost $54 million.

LOCAL | December 6, 2017
Georgian Court University Plans New Building in Flemington

Announced in a press conference yesterday, Georgian Court plans to open a new academic building in Flemington (Hunterdon County) in early 2019. Part of a redevelopment project along several blocks in downtown Flemington that includes the historic Union Hotel, Georgian Court’s building will occupy 30,000 square feet on Courthouse Square (to be situated approximately at Main and Court streets). The entire redevelopment project comes up for vote at the December 11 Flemington Borough Council meeting and the developer, Jack Cust, Jr., hopes to break ground soon after final project approval.

NATIONAL | December 4, 2017
AGC Expresses Support for FHWA Environmental Streamlining Proposals

AGC of America commented favorably on three Federal Highway Administration regulatory proposals that streamline the environmental review process under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).

  1. Support for Arizona taking responsibility for part of the NEPA review process, eliminating the need for federal review.
  2. Support for allowing states to substitute their own environmental laws and procedures.
  3. Support for revisions to the NEPA process and historic preservation requirements, which would allow all US DOT agencies to use the same criteria to determine how extensive an environmental review should be and classify certain historic steel and concrete bridges, rail and transit lines as exempt from cumbersome review.

The proposals implement various provisions of the MAP-21 and FAST Acts. For more information, visit www.agc.org.

NATIONAL | December 4, 2017
OSHA Extends Compliance Date of Record-Keeping Rule

OSHA has extended the compliance date to December 15, 2017, for the electronic reporting of injury and illness. The move was made to allow employers more time to become familiar with the new electronic system. For details, visit www.OSHA.gov.

NATIONAL | December 4, 2017
Metro Construction Employment and Spending Rise for the Year

Nearly 68% of the nation’s metropolitan areas realized construction employment gains in October compared to October 2016 – 243 of 358 metros. New York City was in the top five gainers, adding 10,100 jobs, a 7% jump. However, New Jersey’s Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean metro was in the bottom five, losing 2,300 jobs for a 6% drop. Trenton also lost jobs, down 300 (a 6% drop), as did Atlantic City-Hammonton, losing 200 jobs (a 4% drop). Two other NJ metros gained jobs: Camden picked up 1,100 for a 5% hike and Newark added 1,100 for a 2% gain. Vineland-Bridgeton construction jobs remained the same as last year. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 100 jobs but that wasn’t enough to reflect a percentage increase.

At the same time, construction spending hit a record high in October based on public and private outlays, but public infrastructure spending was down from last year. By sector, public spending on highway and street construction dropped 4.3%; transportation spending edged down 1.6%; sewage and waste disposal spending plummeted 15.9%; and water supply construction spending dropped 9.6%.

LOCAL | December 4, 2017
Redevelopment of National Lead Site in Sayreville Estimated at $2.5 Billion

North American Properties announced in mid-November it plans to build a 418-acre waterfront development on the site of the former National Lead Industries on the Raritan River in Sayreville for $2.5 billion. The project, called “Riverton,” will be a mixed-use of retail, restaurants, offices, hotels, parks and a marina, all built on one of the largest brownfield remediation projects in the state. The developer’s managing partner, Mark Toro, now based in Atlanta, comes from Belvidere and is a Rutgers graduate.

October 2017

LOCAL | October 25, 2017
Stockton Students Could Get Bayfront Housing in AC

If Light House Properties’ development proposal goes through, Stockton students on the Atlantic City Gateway campus will have more than 100 beds in off-campus housing on North Trenton Avenue facing the bay. Light House Properties is currently acquiring properties at 106, 108 and 110 North Trenton, one of which is vacant, one holds just a foundation and the third has an occupied residential building. The plan is for a four-story, eco-friendly structure off Sunset Avenue, adjacent to the Wonder Bar, with waterfront views on two sides and a front-facing view of the Gateway. The first floor would be a common lobby while furnished residential units of 350 to 400 square feet would populate the three floors above. A green roof, kayak and paddle-board launchings and surveillance are some of the planned amenities. Off-street parking is also planned. The project has yet to be presented to the AC Planning Board and will require permitting, including a Coastal Area Facilities Review Act permit from NJ DEP, which could take six months. However, the developer hopes for a January 2019 opening.

NATIONAL | October 20, 2017
States Add Construction Jobs But Numbers Likely Affected by Hurricanes

The number of construction jobs in September rose in 35 states compared to September 2016, but the monthly totals from August to September, showing only 26 states added jobs, were likely affected by the devastating hurricanes that hit the South and the Caribbean. In the region, Rhode Island was in the top five, adding 2,500 jobs in the year-over-year period, a 13.7% gain. But Rhode Island lost 400 jobs for the month, down nearly 2%. Connecticut was down in the bottom five for both periods, losing 2,500 jobs for the year (down 4.3%) and 1,500 jobs for the month (down 2.6%). New York was also in the bottom five for the month, losing 2,900 jobs, a 0.8% drop, and lost 3,800 jobs for the year-over-year, a 1% drop. Delaware lost jobs in both periods, down 300 for the month (a 1.4% drop) and down 400 for the year (a 1.9% drop). New Jersey gained 4,900 jobs for the year, up 3.2%, but lost 400 for the month, a 0.3% drop. Only Pennsylvania showed all positive numbers for the region, gaining 8,700 jobs for the year, a 3.7% hike, and 4,000 for the month, a 1.7% increase.

LOCAL | October 19, 2017
Paterson Pita Plant Offered $30 Million in Tax Credits

If Kontos Foods, which makes pita bread in Paterson, decides to stay in the state rather than move to a better plant in Bethlehem, PA, it will receive up to $30 million in EDA tax credits over the next 10 years. In return, Kontos will invest $8.5 million to expand its plant, save 166 existing jobs and add 45 new jobs.

LOCAL | October 19, 2017
PSE&G Announces Three New Transmission Projects for Three Counties

PSE&G will begin work on three transmission projects totaling more than $300 million, part of the $12 billion in sustainability investments planned for the next three years.

  1. $197 million in Union County will upgrade existing substations in Springfield and Union; build a new 11-mile, 69-kilovolt line running along Front Street through the County.
  2. $21 million in Bergen County will construct five miles of 69-kilovolt lines between Hasbrouck Heights and Carlstadt.
  3. $98 million in Gloucester County will construct 15 miles of 69-kilovolt lines between Hilltop and Woodbury.

LOCAL | October 17, 2017
Cape May Bridge Work Could Include Big Projects

In addition to E-ZPass, due to be completely installed by next spring on the five Cape May County Commission bridges, the Commission is considering significant upgrade projects. The first could be replacement of the Townsends Inlet Bridge that connects Avalon and Sea Isle City, built in 1940 – it was already shut down for two months of emergency repairs after a crack was found in one of the supporting piers. The Commission is also considering upgrades to the other four, which include the Ocean City-Longport Bridge, originally built in 1927 but mostly torn down and reconstructed in 2002, the Middle Thorofare Bridge between Cape May and Wildwood, built in 1940, the Grassy Sound Bridge between North Wildwood and Stone Harbor, also built in 1940, and the Corsons Inlet Bridge between Strathmere and Ocean City, built in 1946. All have had work done through the years.

LOCAL | October 17, 2017
Gloucester County to Replace Almonesson Lake Bridge and Dam

Gloucester County will replace the Cooper Street Bridge and Dam, both declared functionally obsolete, at Almonesson Lake in Deptford Township. Both structures are 90 years old. The work could take two-and-a-half years and county officials will apply for federal funds to pay for the project.

LOCAL | October 17, 2017
Middle Township Plans Economic Rehab and Redevelopment

Middle Township (Cape May County) has designated five areas that need rehabilitation and redevelopment, including Cape May Courthouse, Rio Grande, Stone Harbor Boulevard, the site of the former Lamonica Oyster Processing plant, and Cape Harbor. Average age of the buildings in those areas is 80 years, and parts of the sewage infrastructure are older than 80. Plans could include walkable, mixed-use residential and retail areas. To proceed, the township will hire a redevelopment lawyer and possibly apply for state and federal grants.

LOCAL | October 17, 2017
AC Property Auction Brings In More Than $1.1 Million

Last week, Atlantic City auctioned off 29 city-owned properties for $1,173,500 in the Northeast Inlet and Midtown South. Most of the sites were vacant or parking lots, many sold in bundles. Eight of the listed properties didn’t sell and could be put up for auction again.

NATIONAL | October 9, 2017
Federal DOT Ends Local Hire Rule

On Friday, DOT officially ended the local hire pilot program and withdrew the proposed local hire rule that allowed states to require contractors to meet local hiring mandates on federal highway and transit projects. AGC of America had opposed the rule since it was proposed in 2015 and had reiterated its objections to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao earlier this year.

LOCAL | October 9, 2017
More Mixed-Use Planned for Aetna Street in Jersey City

Argent Ventures, based in Manhattan, announced a third proposal last month for Aetna Street in Jersey City’s Ward F, following its proposals earlier this year for the same street. The mixed-use development of 5, 26 and 36-44 Aetna Street, plus adjoining property on Jersey Avenue, would include approximately 280 residential rental units, parking and ground-floor retail space. The Jersey City Redevelopment Agency approved the proposal in September. The site currently holds abandoned industrial buildings and vacant lots overgrown with scrub plants.

NATIONAL | October 9, 2017
AGC of America Partners with EPA on Rules Review

AGC of America met with senior EPA officials last week to launch the “Smart Sectors” program, an aggressive attempt to eliminate or improve rules that have harmed contractors or hampered economic growth. The partnership with EPA means AGC of America will have a direct point-of-contact in the EPA Office of Policy and the opportunity to effect outcomes in AGC’s regulatory agenda. One initiative that may see early success is AGC’s request for EPA to revive the Sector Strategies program, through which AGC worked with EPA to develop the online Construction Industry Compliance Assistance Center and a toolkit for developing an environmental management system. For more information and updates, visit www.agc.org.

LOCAL | October 4, 2017
Upgrades Planned for Bergen Regional Medical Center

Bergen County will invest more than $50 million in capital improvements at New Jersey’s largest public hospital, Bergen Regional, now renamed New Bridge Medical Center. The 1,070-bed hospital in Paramus provides long-term care, acute medical services, and expertise in behavioral health and substance abuse. Upgrades will include operating room renovations and expansions of the acute and ambulatory care facilities, along with technology and equipment upgrades. The hospital is operated by Care Plus Bergen Inc., a partnership of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Integrity House and Care Plus NJ Inc.

LOCAL | October 2, 2017
Funding Secured for Newark Public Schools Headquarters

A $13.5 million loan will provide funding to renovate 765 Broad Street in Newark and create a new headquarters for the Newark Public Schools. The seven-story, 214,172-square-foot building, built in 1960, has a basement and ground-level retail space, part of which is leased by Wells Fargo Bank. Newark Public Schools will take over three floors and part of the ground-floor retail for its new community outreach center. The Schools administration expects to occupy the new offices by the end of the year.

LOCAL | October 2, 2017
Affordable and Senior Housing Proposed for Jersey City

The Community Outreach Team, founded by the Heavenly Temple Church of God in Christ, has proposed a new mixed-used development in the Greenville section of Jersey City that would include 225 affordable and senior apartments and 223 parking spaces. Planned for property on Martin Luther King Drive (1, 11, 14, 15-19 and 21), Warner Avenue (129 and 131) and McAdoo Avenue (30 and 32), all in Ward A in the Jackson Hill Redevelopment Area, the development will also offer a 12,600-square-foot multipurpose community center, an 11,320-square-foot employment training center and gym, and another 21,200-square-foot space that could be for commercial or medical use. The apartments will have one, two or three bedrooms, with 85 available at market rates, 70 at affordable-housing rates and 70 for senior citizens. Currently the sites have gated parking lots, a church and community center, a one-story industrial building, two abandoned houses and a vacant lot. The Community Outreach Team, COT, will serve as redeveloper.

September 2017

NATIONAL | September 27, 2017
Metro Construction Employment Better Than State Numbers

Construction jobs increased in more than three-quarters of the country’s metro areas from August 2016 to August 2017, showing more positive results than the state figures for the same time period. Of the 358 metros, 274 added jobs, 52 lost jobs and 32 remained the same over the year period. In New Jersey’s seven metros, however, the picture was not so rosy. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean was in the bottom five in the nation, losing 1,900 jobs, a 5% loss. And Trenton was in the bottom five percentage-wise, marking a 9% drop on the loss of 500 jobs. Atlantic City-Hammonton experienced a 5% drop on the loss of 300 jobs. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, on the other hand, picked up 2,600 jobs for the year-over-year period, an 8% gain. Newark added 1,600 jobs, a 3% uptick, and Camden added 300 jobs for a 1% bump. Vineland-Bridgeton’s numbers remained the same as a year ago.

NATIONAL | September 15, 2017
State Construction Employment Not Growing as Fast as Demand

Most parts of the country are experiencing a rising demand for construction, reports AGC of America, but only 34 states added construction jobs in August compared to a year ago, and only 30 added jobs since last month, indicating a shortage of craftworkers. In our region, Rhode Island came out on top with the highest percentage of new construction jobs in the nation this past year, up 17.6% with the addition of 3,200 jobs. Rhode Island was also up for the month, adding 1,100 jobs, a 5.4% hike. New Jersey was up 4.3% for the year with 6,300 new jobs, and up 0.8% for the month with 1,300 jobs. Pennsylvania also looked healthy, up 2% with 4,700 jobs for the year and 0.7% with 1,700 jobs for the month. The rest of the region did not fare as well. Delaware edged up 0.5% for the year on 100 jobs, but fell 0.9% for the month, losing 200 jobs. New York slid 0.4% for the year, losing 1,400 jobs, and was down 0.7% for the month, losing 2,600 jobs. Connecticut lost 1,200 jobs for the year, a 2% drop, and 900 jobs for the month, a 1.5% drop.


LOCAL | September 14, 2017
Hackensack Approves Redevelopment of Route 4 Office Complex

Plans aren’t yet proposed, but Continental Plaza, a three-tower, 650,000-square-foot office complex off Route 4 in Hackensack (Bergen County), has been approved for redevelopment. The City Council voted last month to convert the property to mixed-use, which could include residential units, retail space, a hotel and public open space. It’s owned by Capstone Realty Group and JD Companies.


LOCAL | September 14, 2017
State Grants $7.1 Million to Turn Perth Amboy Brownfield into Park

Because of $7.1 million in state grants, Perth Amboy will convert a brownfield into the 2nd Street Park, a 6.1-acre public park with an area for performances, a skate park, a bike course and spray ground, access to the Raritan River, a coastal landscape, floating wetlands, a stormwater forest and community gardens. Remediation of the brownfield site near Robert N. Wilentz Elementary School, the first phase of the project, will begin in early 2018 with $2.5 million from NJ DEP’s Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund. Phase two will be funded by $4.6 million from Natural Resource Damages settlements secured by the DEP.


NATIONAL | September 7, 2017
Construction’s Multiemployer Pension Plans Mostly in Green Zone

Several recent surveys of multiemployer pension plans reveal 65% of all plans are in the Green Zone, and plans in the construction industry are healthier than most. Of the 788 construction industry plans, 30 (about 4%) are in “critical and declining” status (failure anticipated within 15 years), affecting approximately 29,000 participants. The other 96% are expected to remain solvent. Segal Consulting reports construction plans have an average funding level of 89%, three percentage points higher than the average of all the plans surveyed.


NATIONAL | September 7, 2017
Hurricane Harvey Could Boost Steel Prices and Other Construction Materials

The Port of Houston, badly damaged by Hurricane Harvey, is the largest steel importer in the US, which could push up prices contractors pay for steel products. The prices for diesel fuel and gasoline have already spiked, although they’re expected to fall again soon because the country is less reliant on Gulf Coast natural gas than in the past. PVC feedstock, another petrochemical product, could see a longer-term price rise because 70% or more of the total US capacity is already affected or could be affected by Harvey-related damage.


NATIONAL | September 7, 2017
OSHA Posts Extension of Compliance Date for Crane Operator Certification

When we published the ACCNJ Industry Update this month, we noted OSHA had not yet issued a new compliance date for crane operator certification. However, a compliance date of November 10, 2018, is now on the calendar, with a deadline for comments of September 29, 2017.


LOCAL | September 7, 2017
AC’s Gardner’s Basin Redevelopment Agreement Approved

Last night, the City Council approved a lease/management deal with Scarborough Properties of Somers Point to redevelop Gardner’s Basin, located on the waterfront in Atlantic City where New Hampshire Avenue meets the Bay. The agreement includes intent to purchase Caspian Point, adjacent to Gardner’s Basin, owned by Kushner Cos., to be used for parking. Plans also include enhancement of the existing aquarium, building a new pier restaurant, and adding a children’s garden, minigolf course, water taxi, retail and restaurants. The National Park Service shut down Crafters Village and has asked the City to remove the shacks because of Green Acres violations.


LOCAL | September 6, 2017
$250 Million in Improvements to NJ Highway Rest Areas

In late August, Governor Christie announced a $250 million project to improve 16 service areas on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. The replacement and remodeling of buildings will be paid for by HMSHost and Sunoco, the private companies that operate the food and fuel concessions. In return, the companies will receive new 25-year contracts.

Replacement of 60-year-old buildings, an HMSHost project, will cost $10 million to $15 million per building at these eight service areas:  Vince Lombardi (Turnpike between Exits 18E & 18W in Ridgefield, Bergen County); Thomas Edison (southbound Turnpike between Exits 11 & 12 in Woodbridge, Middlesex County); Joyce Kilmer (northbound Turnpike between Exits 8A & 9 in East Brunswick, Middlesex County); Walt Whitman (southbound Turnpike between Exits 3 & 4 in Cherry Hill, Camden County); Clara Barton (last service area on the southbound Turnpike in Oldmans Township, Salem County); John Fenwick (first service area on the northbound Turnpike in Penns Grove, Salem County); Forked River (Parkway milepost 76, Ocean County); and Monmouth (Parkway milepost 100, Monmouth County). Construction on the Thomas Edison and Monmouth facilities will begin in 2018 and finish in 2019; the rest will be completed during the first seven years of the new contract.

Buildings at another six service areas will be renovated, at a cost of $26.4 million, with new dining areas and restrooms, among other improvements:  Woodrow Wilson (northbound Turnpike between Exits 7 & 7A in Hamilton Township, Mercer County); Richard Stockton (southbound Turnpike between Exits 7 & 7A in Trenton, Mercer County); Molly Pitcher (southbound Turnpike between Exits 8 & 8A in Cranbury, Middlesex County); James Fenimore Cooper (northbound Turnpike between Exits 4 & 5 in Mount Laurel, Burlington County); Cheesequake (Parkway milepost 123, South Amboy/Sayreville, Middlesex County); and Montvale (Parkway milepost 100, last stop heading north, Bergen County).  

Sunoco will spend $90 million to improve 21 fuel facilities and remodel the existing convenience stores, plus build new stores at Brookdale North (Parkway northbound at milepost 153.3 in Bloomfield, Essex County) and Alexander Hamilton (southbound Turnpike between Exits 15E & 16E in Secaucus, Hudson County). Another possible project for Sunoco could be a new fuel stop and convenience store on the Turnpike’s eastbound Newark Bay-Hudson County Extension.

The agreements must be approved by the Turnpike Authority, which will meet later this month.


LOCAL | September 6, 2017
AC’s Bader Field Proposals Go from Two to Four

The last time Bader Field was up for sale, it received only two bids, both rejected by Atlantic City officials. In late August, the city got four redevelopment proposals:

  1. Frank Boulton, former owner of the Atlantic City Surf baseball team who now owns the Long Island Ducks, wants to redevelop Surf Stadium, already on the 143-acre site, and bring professional baseball back to AC.
  2. Glenn Straub, owner of the former Revel Casino, wants to turn Bader Field back into an airport, much the same offer he made in 2015.
  3. Pipe Dream Development Group of Brick (Ocean County).
  4. Bader Field Development LLC of Long Branch (Monmouth County), which had submitted one of the rejected bids in 2016.
August 2017

LOCAL | August 23, 2017
Update on Virtua’s Now-Approved Westampton Hospital

As we posted in Hot Topics more than a year-and-a-half ago, Virtua Health System purchased a 110-acre lot at Route 541 and Woodlane Road in Westampton (Burlington County), with plans to build an acute-care hospital. Construction plans were recently approved with an additional 190,000 square-feet above the two million originally proposed. The campus will include a hospital, long-term care facility, medical office buildings, surgery center, critical care unit, and a women and children’s pavilion.


LOCAL | August 22, 2017
More Plans for Mixed-Use Development in Jersey City

Construction plans continue to proliferate in Jersey City, from the Holland Tunnel to the West Side:

  • Two high-rise buildings are planned for 560 and 580 Luis Munoz Marin Boulevard, just west of the Holland Tunnel and bordered by I-78, and 130-150 12th Street, adjacent to the Holland Tunnel, rising 57 and 59 stories with 750 residential units, 240,000 square feet of other space (office and/or retail) and 1,098 parking spaces. Marin would be widened as part of the proposal. Fourteen Florence Street Corp. owns the site at 580 Marin and has applied for Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan approval. Michael Angelo Warehouse Corp. owns the sites at 560 Marin and 130-150 12th Street, adjacent to the Holland Tunnel.
  • A three-phase project is planned for 100 Water Street on the West Side, which runs parallel to Rt. 440 between Claremont and Clarke avenues. Phase I – a five-story, mixed-used building with 233 residential units, 7,763 square feet of retail, and a temporary 123-space parking lot. Yale Avenue, which runs between Claremont and Clarke but ends at Mallory Avenue, would be extended to Bennett Street with a connector from that extension to Claremont. Phases II and III would include two more buildings, seven stories each, with 310 residential units and 11,057 square feet of retail in one and 78 residential units and 9,638 square feet of retail in the other. A six-story parking deck with 373 spaces is planned as part of the project. The developer is listed as 100 Water Street Development LLC of Hoboken.

NATIONAL | August 22, 2017
Construction Jobs Grow State-by-State for Year, Slow for Month

Thirty-six states and DC added construction jobs between July 2016 and July 2017, but only half of the states added construction jobs between June and July, attributed to declining public-sector investments in infrastructure and other construction projects, says AGC of America. Over the last year, Rhode Island increased jobs by 12.7% with 2,300 jobs, in the top five across the country, yet remained unchanged over the last month. Pennsylvania lost 2,900 jobs over the last month, a 1.2% decrease, second worst in the nation, overwhelming its positive rise of 0.8% for the year with 2,000 jobs. New Jersey gained 900 jobs from June to July 2017, a 0.6% increase, opening 5,300 new jobs over the last year for a 3.5% rise. Connecticut, Delaware and New York each suffered losses for the month but remain up for the year. Connecticut lost 1,600 jobs with a 2.6% loss for the month but still up for the year with 100 new jobs and a 0.2% increase. Delaware lost 500 jobs for the month for a 2.3% decrease yet is up 500 jobs for the year with a 2.4% increase. New York saw 1,200 jobs disappear for the month, only a 0.3% decrease, and remains up for the year with 2,500 new jobs, a 0.7% growth.


NATIONAL | August 16, 2017
President Issues EO to Streamline Federal Construction Permitting

Today President Trump announced an executive order to speed up the federal environmental review and permitting process for transportation, water and infrastructure projects by making the process more efficient and uniform. Going forward, agencies must complete environmental reviews of such projects within two years. In the order, Trump revoked former President Obama’s executive order that stated projects built in flood plains take into account rising sea levels. Jimmy Christianson, Regulatory Counsel for AGC of America, noted the revoked EO did not standardize how to account for rising sea levels across government agencies, creating a burdensome responsibility for each agency to develop its own standards. However, like streamlining provisions enacted in 2012 and 2015, this latest executive order will require regulators to issue compliance guidance, typically a lengthy process in itself.


LOCAL | August 16, 2017
Wildwood Boardwalk Replacement Plans Underway

Wildwood officials have started planning to replace large sections of rotting boards on the Boardwalk and the supporting concrete below. The project will cost the city between $800,000 and $1 million as the concrete, power, gas and other utility lines that run below the Boardwalk are expensive to replace.


LOCAL | August 16, 2017
Skyway in Atlantic City Approved

The skyway between Tropicana Atlantic City and the former Chelsea Hotel has been approved by the AC City Counsel. Construction should begin later this year to connect recently acquired the recently acquired hotel at 111 S. Chelsea Ave., with completion expected in early 2018.


NATIONAL | August 10, 2017
College Construction Majors Leap 26.4%

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports students majoring in construction disciplines in four-year colleges jumped 26.4% from Spring 2016 to Spring 2017 – the largest percentage increase of any discipline. The most common major in the field is construction management. In Spring 2016, 7,659 students were enrolled in a construction major. That number grew to almost 10,000 by Spring 2017. Colleges and universities have also expanded their offerings:  in 2006, 60 baccalaureate degree programs for construction management were accredited by the ACCE, but by the 2015-2016 school year, 73 programs were accredited.


LOCAL | August 10, 2017
Route 206 Bypass Through Hillsborough Soon to Go Out for Bid

NJDOT anticipates the long-delayed $44 million bypass project designed to channel traffic away from Hillsborough Township’s (Somerset County) business district will go out to bid this fall, once the contract is finalized. The agency expects a contractor to be selected before the winter, with work beginning next spring and finished by late 2020. Initial work to clear trees, move utility lines and poles, and grade the surface was completed in 2015, but work was halted last summer as part of the shutdown.


LOCAL | August 9, 2017
Morristown to Expand Even More with New Proposal

Morristown (Morris County) could see another new mixed-use development in the near future. The proposal is for 38 residential units along with retail space at 45 Morris Street on the corner of Wilmot Street. The proposed five-story building has been approved by the Morris County Land Development Review Committee, but more approvals are needed before the plans are put to action.


LOCAL | August 9, 2017
More Construction Could Be Coming to the Meadowlands

With the opening date of the American Dream Meadowlands getting closer, officials are considering adding even more acreage to the redevelopment area surrounding the site. The area east of Washington Avenue in Carlstadt could see 109 more acres, which could be used for the addition of hotels and other commercial ventures.


NATIONAL | August 9, 2017
Government Infrastructure Spending at Lowest Level Ever

The Census Bureau reports government spending on public works in the second quarter of this year equaled 1.4% of the country’s GDP, the lowest level ever recorded, and was 9.5% lower in June 2017 than it was in June 2016. The Bureau includes transportation systems, roads, highways and bridges in its analysis. The low spending level contrasts sharply with total construction spending, which has topped pre-recession highs because of private-sector activity, particularly in commercial construction. And it continues a downward curve from last year, when spending in 34 states was lower than in 2007. At the same time, infrastructure across the country continues to deteriorate with age. The average road surface in 2015 clocked in at 28 years old.


LOCAL | August 9, 2017
Three Pharmas May Receive NJ EDA Incentives

If Geri-Care Pharmaceuticals Corp., which manufactures generic drugs and supplements, decides to move from Brooklyn to Lakewood (Ocean County) instead of Gulfport, MS, it will get a $1.17 million incentive over 10 years. If Aptapharma Inc. of Pennsauken (Camden County), an oral drug delivery technology firm, chooses to expand and upgrade in New Jersey instead of moving to Bensalem, PA, it will receive just under a half-million dollars in a 10-year incentive. And Eywa Pharma Inc., subsidiary of a Singapore drugmaker, will get a 10-year, $221,000 incentive if it opens operations in Cranbury Township (Middlesex County) rather than Wayne, PA. All three incentives were approved yesterday by the NJ Economic Development Authority. Of interest to the construction industry, Aptapharma would invest $4.9 million in upgrading and expanding its Pennsauken location from 29,000 square feet to 43,000 square feet.


LOCAL | August 8, 2017
NJ EDA Headquarters Renamed to Honor Caren Franzini

The headquarters of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority will be renamed the Caren Franzini Memorial Building in honor of the woman who lead the Authority for 18 years. Caren Franzini, who passed away in January, joined EDA as deputy director in 1991 and became executive director in 1994, leaving in 2012 to start her own firm. In 2016, she helped found Great Trenton, a nonprofit dedicated to economic development in the capital city. As you know, Caren was a good friend of the Association and is much missed by the construction industry and many others in public and private domain in New Jersey.


LOCAL | August 8, 2017
Montclair to Undergo Large Redevelopment Project

Montclair (Essex County), is getting a new development project that will create a mixed-use complex. Developer BSREP II Wellmont, GSA acquired the building on Bloomfield Avenue and Seymour Street for $2.425 million and plans to use the 29,835 square feet to build a six-story building with 200 residential units, a lobby and lounge, four retail spaces, and 81 parking spaces.


LOCAL | August 8, 2017
Downtown Jersey City Will Gain Another New Development

A new development is in the works for 285 Newark Avenue. The proposed space will consist of 22 residential units and commercial space on the ground floor. The proposed six-story building, which needs a variance, will also feature balconies, a roof-deck and bike storage.


LOCAL | August 8, 2017
Final Approvals Received to Demolish Centerton Road Bridge

Burlington County officials recently received approvals to shut down the Centerton Road Bridge, over Rancocas Creek, after it sat unused for two years and was declared structurally deficient. The demolition is expected to take five months and officials have already started discussion about what will replace the bridge.


LOCAL | August 7, 2017
Cascades Inc. Announces Plant Investment in Piscataway

Cascades Inc., which produces green packaging products and tissue paper, recently announced an $80 million project for a new containerboard packaging plant in Piscataway. The 400,000 square-foot plant will create 120 jobs; operations will begin in the second quarter of 2018.


LOCAL | August 3, 2017
Portal Bridge Project Passes Environmental Impact Test

Yesterday, the FTA approved the environmental impact statement for the Portal Bridge replacement project – another step toward getting federal funds. The project over the Hackensack River is estimated at $1.6 billion and is part of the larger Gateway Tunnel project.


LOCAL | August 2, 2017
AC's Bader Field Up for Sale—Again

Once again, Bader Field is up for sale. The last time the 143-acre property was on the block, Atlantic City only received two bids, neither very high considering it is prime real estate. The city is now welcoming redevelopment proposals.


NATIONAL | August 2, 2017
Metro Construction Employment Increases for the Year Despite Hiring Difficulties

Construction employment increased in 264 out of 358 metro areas between June 2016 and June 2017 and the employment gains were the most pronounced in the western third of the country. New Jersey’s biggest construction employment increases were in Vineland-Bridgeton, where there was a 7% increase with 200 new jobs. Camden saw a 5% rise with 1,100 new employment opportunities, and Newark had a 3% increase with 1,500 new jobs. Although the majority of metro areas had increased employment nationally, 57 of the metro areas decreased, and parts of New Jersey showed discouraging losses. One of the largest losses for metro areas in the country was in Atlantic City-Hammonton, which showed a 9% decrease on 900 job losses. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean showed a 7% decrease with 2,900 job losses. Trenton NJ had a 6% decline when 300 jobs disappeared.


LOCAL | August 2, 2017
New Chair and ED at Port Authority

Selected by Governor Christie, New Jersey Senator Kevin O’Toole will replace John Degnan as Chairman of the Port Authority. At the same time, Rick Cotton, special counsel for New York Governor Cuomo, will take over as Executive Director from Patrick Foye. Both appointments take effect September 28 following the next Port Authority Board meeting. The governors announced the two new leaders will resume the search for a new CEO.


LOCAL | August 2, 2017
Mixed-Use Projects Define Hackensack Redevelopment Plans

Several developers have proposed plans or are currently constructing approved plans for mixed-use projects in downtown Hackensack (Bergen County), thanks to new zoning pushed for by the city’s Main Street Alliance in 2012.

  • Heritage Capital is turning a former bank into 127 luxury residential units, a $38 million project at 210 and 214 Main Street that will also include valet parking, an outdoor lounge and fitness center, and nearly 5,000 square feet of retail in two buildings. Heritage Capital got a 25-year Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) grant, and is now eyeing up 210 Moore Street for more development.
  • Also under construction is Meridia Metro at 100 State Street, where 222 units have been completed by developer Capodagli Property Company of Linden.
  • Hornrock Properties and Russo Development recently received approval for a $90 million project of 377 residences, 3,000 square feet of retail, 200 public parking spaces and community amenities at “Lot C” between East Salem Street Extension, Midtown Bridge Approach and Midtown Place, a triangle that borders Foschini Park.
  • Fourth Edition is finalizing agreements to redevelop the former Bergen Record property at 150 River Street with 267 residential units and expects to break ground in the second half of 2018; Fourth Edition also hopes to build retail properties, perhaps including a hotel, along River and Bridge streets.

Altogether, the city has 881 units under construction, approved site plans for 510 units and more than 1,500 units in planning stages.

Street work will include a $5 million project to turn Main and State streets into two-way roadways, which involves new traffic lights and meters.


LOCAL | August 2, 2017
New Apartment Building with Parking Garage Coming to Bloomfield

A parking lot in Bloomfield is set to be replaced by a mixed-use building. The parking lot is alongside the New Jersey Transit tracks from Washington Street and will be used for a six-story building. The building will hold 176 apartments, 314 parking spaces and a 2,700 square foot common area.


LOCAL | August 1, 2017
Newark to Get Apartments at Site of Defunct Baseball Stadium

Lotus Equity Group recently unveiled plans to turn the site of the former Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium into as many as 2,000 rental apartments and 400,000 square feet of office space.  In total the development will be 2.3 million square feet and will include retail stores and open space. The site is within walking distance of Rutgers, NJIT and trains to Manhattan. Lotus has named four architecture firms that will collaborate on the design.


LOCAL | August 1, 2017
PSE&G to Hire 3,000 Workers for Gas Pipeline Project

Public Service Electric & Gas says that if it receives approval from the Board of Public Utilities, it will create 3,000 new jobs over the next five years. PSE&G plans to replace 1,250 miles of aging gas pipes, a project that will cost $2.7 billion. The project is part of a long-term goal to replace 4,000 miles of cast-iron gas pipes with modern plastic ones.

July 2017

LOCAL | July 31, 2017
PSE&G to Build $275 Million Substation

Public Service Electric & Gas won approval to replace a large, outdated substation in Newark. The estimated cost of the project is $275 million and is one of many of PSE&G’s electric transmission reliability projects. The work on the project will begin immediately so that the station can be in service by June 2021. 


NATIONAL | July 28, 2017
Construction Among States Up for Year; New Jersey Strong in June

For the year from June 2016 to June 2017, 42 states added construction jobs, a strong showing indicating increased private-sector demand. However, for the month from May to June, nearly half the states lost jobs, attributed to a shortage of workers in some parts of the country. Coming out ahead of the other 49 states and DC, New Jersey added the largest percentage of new construction jobs for the month, up 2.7% with 4,200 jobs. For the year, New Jersey gained 4,600 jobs, a 3% hike. Rhode Island added the highest percentage of jobs for the year-over-year, up 13.4% with 2,400 jobs, and saw a 1% increase for the month with 200 jobs. Delaware also gained during both periods, up 1,200 jobs (5.9%) for the year, 100 (0.5%) for the month. Connecticut, which gained 1,500 jobs for the year-over-year, a 2.5% bump, lost more jobs for the month than any other state in the region, shedding 800 jobs, a 1.3% drop. Pennsylvania added 5,600 jobs for the year period, a 2.4% increase, but lost 500 jobs for the month, a 0.2% loss. New York picked up 5,500 jobs for the year, a 1.5% increase, but lost 100 for the month, down 0.03%.


LOCAL | July 25, 2017

Corning to Expand Vineland Plant 

Following its partnership with Merck and Pfizer, Corning Inc. in Vineland is expected to add 1,000 jobs to its plant, which will require the plant to be expanded by 26,500 square feet.


LOCAL | July 25, 2017

Jenkinson’s Will Build Seawall

Jenkinson’s Pavilion in Point Pleasant Beach has settled a lawsuit with the borough, the State Department of Environmental Protection, and the US Army Corps of Engineers that requires them to install a steel seawall on its private beach. The agreement is for a steel sheet pile bulkhead, 18 feet above sea-level constructed at Jenkinson’s expense.


LOCAL | July 21, 2017
Port Authority Approves New Delta Terminal at LaGuardia

Delta will pay $3.4 billion of the $4 billion project, with the Port Authority covering up to $600 million following the Authority’s approval yesterday of the lease agreement with Delta. Work on the 37-gate facility is scheduled to begin this summer.


LOCAL | July 19, 2017
US DOL Orders East Orange Contractors to Pay Back Wages

Yesterday, the US Department of Labor announced it has told three East Orange construction firms to pay $850,000 in back wages and damages to

workers who were cheated out of overtime. The companies, DKNJ Masonry Corp., Roy Rock LLC and Silver Construction Inc., all run by Rui Pires, paid 153 workers straight time after 40 hours of work, rather than time-and-a-half. US DOL also reported the companies did not properly track employee hours and in fact hid overtime hours worked for one company in the payroll of another. All were violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.


NATIONAL | July 14, 2017
Payment for Small Business Bill Passed in House Committee

Recently, the House Small Business Committee passed H.R. 2594, a bill supported by AGC of America that would speed up payments to small-business federal contractors. The bill addresses change order payments, requiring 50% payment in a timely manner of the billed change order work amount. Currently there is no Senate companion bill; ACCNJ will track this bill’s movement.


LOCAL | July 13, 2017
Cushman & Wakefield Report Strong NJ Industrial Real Estate Markets

The second quarter of this year was New Jersey’s 18th consecutive quarter of positive net absorption in the North and Central Jersey industrial real estate markets, according to a recent Cushman & Wakefield report. Overall warehouse and distribution vacancy dropped to 4.2%, pulled down by all the New Jersey Turnpike corridor submarkets, which measure at or below 4%. On average, Central Jersey, which represented more than 70% of the year-to-date absorption, reports a 3.5% vacancy for warehouse facilities.


LOCAL | July 13, 2017
NJ Representative Proposes $900 Million for Gateway Project

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, Republican from District 11 and chair of the House Appropriations Committee, has allocated $900 million for the Gateway project in the House transportation spending plan released Tuesday. The bill, for FY2018, includes $500 million in grants for rail repair and $400 million for building a new tunnel under the Hudson plus replacing the Portal North Bridge over the Hackensack. In addition, a “significant portion” of Amtrak’s $328 million in Northeast Corridor funding would be used on the Gateway project. The bill was advanced by voice vote through an appropriations subcommittee Tuesday night.


LOCAL | July 12, 2016
Update: Burlington County, Towns Pull Support of Huge Warehouse Zone Plan in Florence, Mansfield

Due to citizen concern about severe traffic problems in the Florence and Mansfield area, the plan to rezone hundreds of acres and build a 6.5 million-square-foot industrial space has recently been cancelled. Had the plan been approved, the development could have added $500 million to the ratable base in the area as well as more than 3,000 jobs.


LOCAL | July 10, 2017
Cost of Hudson Tunnel Project Could Hit Nearly $13 Billion

The Hudson Tunnel Gateway Project is currently considered one of the most important infrastructure projects in New Jersey. However, after a steep increase in the original cost estimate and the uncertainty of support from the Trump Administration, it is unclear whether the project will continue. Latest estimates state building a new rail tunnel and fixing the existing one could reach an estimated $13 billion, $5.3 billion higher than the original plan. If the project continues, the construction of a new tunnel could begin by fall 2019 and be completed by spring 2026. John D. Porcari, the interim executive director of the Gateway Program Development Corporation, attributes the steep increase to the location of the new tunnel, which was just recently decided to be along the curve, adjacent to the current tunnel.


LOCAL | July 10, 2017
Tropicana Acquires the Chelsea Hotel

Tropicana Entertainment in Atlantic City plans to connect the Chelsea Hotel to its casino by a skyway bridge, transforming it into the new Chelsea Tower, a 20-story oceanfront hotel.


LOCAL | July 10, 2017
Rockefeller Completes $57M Deal in Piscataway

Rockefeller Group recently bought a 228 acre sight in Piscataway (Middlesex County), for $57 million. The site will be used to build 2.4 million square feet of industrial distribution and light manufacturing space. The logistics center will consist of six buildings and construction will begin on two sites later this summer. The cost is estimated to be between $225 and $250 million.


NATIONAL | July 7, 2017
Monorail Hoists Removed from Crane Rule Compliance

On July 3, OSHA announced that monorail hoists used to lift natural gas canisters, septic tanks and other similar objects will not have to comply with the agency’s 2010 construction crane rule, 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC, as long as the hoists comply with other OSHA regulations. In the original rule release, monorail hoists were classified as cranes, a designation that also required the truck drivers operating the hoists to comply with OSHA’s crane operator testing and certification regulations. Per the announcement, monorail hoists must comply with the standards covering overhead hoists (29.CFR 1926.554) along with the corresponding training standards. The announcement is considered a notice of temporary enforcement as OSHA reviews rulemaking options for a long-term solution covering monorail hoists. Visit www.osha.gov for details and updates.


LOCAL | July 7, 2017
Kearny Point’s Building 197 Breaks Ground

Building 197, part of the $250 million development of Kearny Point (Hudson County), is slated to be a 200,000-square-foot “light industrial” project that will provide homes for smaller manufacturers, perhaps in the food industry. The site formerly held the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, just off Hackensack Avenue behind the Hudson County jail. Building 197 will join Building 78, completed in 2015, which is rented to about 100 small businesses and 250 employees. Hugo Neu is the property owner and developer.

June 2017

LOCAL | June 28, 2017
Cumberland County Jail Approved

The Cumberland County Improvement Authority can go ahead with plans for a new jail following the County’s Board of Freeholders approval this week. The proposal calls for 300 to 500 beds for Cumberland County inmates plus Gloucester County inmates as part of the continuation of the shared-service agreement between the two. One of two sites will be selected and cost determined accordingly.


LOCAL | June 28, 2017
Matrix Proposes 530,000-Square-Foot Warehouse in Burlington Township

After being empty and without purpose for nearly 10 years, 135 acres that were once home to U.S. Pipe & Foundry Co. could be torn down and rebuilt into a business park with a 530,000-square-foot warehouse under the direction of Matrix Realty. The plant closed in 2008, and the site may need environmental remediation. Thursday, there will be a  public hearing to determine whether the redevelopment should proceed.


LOCAL | June 28, 2017
UPDATE:  American Dream Financing a Done Deal

Triple Five announced last week the financing for the American Dream project is a done deal:  Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan completed a $1.1 billion tax-exempt bond sale to fully fund completion of the East Rutherford megamall.


NATIONAL | June 28, 2017
Metro Construction Employment Increases for the Year Despite Hiring Difficulties

Construction employment increased in 243 out of 358 metro areas between May 2016 and May 2017 despite many firms’ difficulties finding qualified workers, according to AGC of America. New Jersey’s biggest construction employment increases were in Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, NJ, where there was an 8% increase with 2,400 new jobs, and in Vineland–Bridgeton, NJ where there was a 7% increase with 200 new jobs. Camden saw a 2% rise with 400 new employment opportunities, and Newark had a 1% increase with 400 new jobs. Although the majority of metro areas had increased employment nationally, 59 of the metro areas decreased, and parts of New Jersey showed discouraging losses. One of the largest losses for metro areas in the country was in Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean, which showed a 9% decrease on 3,400 job losses. Trenton had a 6% decline while 300 jobs disappeared. Atlantic City-Hammonton had a 3% drop, losing 200 jobs. 


LOCAL | June 20, 2017
Camden Hotel Gains $18.3 Million EDA Tax Break

The NJ EDA approved tax incentives totaling $18.3 million for an eight-story, 180-room Hilton Garden Hotel on the Camden waterfront at Cooper Street and Riverside Drive, plus a $3 million low-interest loan. Project cost is estimated at $52.8 million, of which 40% will be paid for by the hotel owner, CHP Land LLC.


LOCAL | June 20, 2017
Penn Station Expansion Includes Farley Building Mixed-Use

New York’s Farley Building, built in 1912 and on the National Register of Historic Places, will become an annex of Penn Station under a $1.6 billion partnership deal among various groups – New York State, Amtrak, the MTA, the Port Authority, the Related Cos., Vornado Realty Trust and Skanska. The building, on eight acres fronting 8th Avenue between 31st and 33rd streets, will house Amtrak and Long Island Railroad train halls and 700,000 square feet of office and retail space, in addition to the Post Office headquarters and operations. The Related Cos., Vornado and Skanska will construct the space and pay $630 million of the cost in return for operating it and collecting income from the commercial space. New York State will ante up $550 million, with $420 million coming from Amtrak, the MTA, the Port Authority and federal grants. The 255,000-square-foot train halls and transportation facility, to be called Moynihan Station, will connect underground to the new western concourse in Penn Station.


LOCAL | June 20, 2017
$26.7 Million Performing Arts High School Planned for Ocean County

On June 14, the Ocean County Board of Freeholders approved a 53,000-square-foot performing arts high school on the campus of Ocean County College, a $26.7 million project that is expected to open in 2019. The school will be adjacent to the college’s 450-seat theater. A partnership of the state, the county, the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation and the college will fund the work, with 40% financed by the state ($10.6 million) and 60% by the county and the foundation ($16 million). Another $2 million from the college will cover interest payments or other expenses during construction.


NATIONAL | June 16, 2017
Construction Among States Up for Year But Weaker for Month

For the year from May 2016 to May 2017, 42 states added construction jobs, a strong showing indicating increased private-sector demand. However, for the month from April to May, half the states and DC lost jobs, attributed to a shortage of workers in some parts of the country. In the region, Rhode Island added the largest percentage of new construction jobs for the year, up 12.8% with 2,300 jobs. Rhode Island also gained 300 jobs for the month, edging up 1.5%. Pennsylvania, on the other hand, which gained 2,600 jobs for the year-over-year, a 1.1% bump, lost more jobs for the month than any other state, shedding a whopping 4,300 jobs, a 1.8% drop. New Jersey picked up 200 jobs for the year period, a 0.1% increase, and 100 jobs for the month, another 0.1% gain. Connecticut added 2,000 jobs for the year-over-year, up 3.4%, but lost 600 for the month, a 1% drop. Delaware gained 1,200 jobs for the year period, a 5.9% jump, but lost 200 for the month, down 0.9%. New York picked up 5,000 jobs for the year, a 1.3% increase, and gained 700 for the month, a 0.2% rise.


LOCAL | June 15, 2017
UPDATE:  Stranded Asset Hoffman-LaRoche Campus to be Redeveloped

We discussed the 116-acre site, the former Hoffman-LaRoche campus that straddles both Nutley and Clifton in Essex County, in our feature article, “Repurposing Stranded Assets to Revitalize New Jersey,” in the Fall 2016 issue of New Jersey Construction magazine (page 21). Bought by Prism Capital in October of 2016, the land is being repurposed to offer a medical school – a joint venture of Hackensack University Medical Center and Seton Hall University, other life-science firms, and a possible mixed-use collection of residential, retail, entertainment and fashion.

Now, as Roche finishes water remediation on the campus, the first phase of the redevelopment will focus on the five existing buildings. Buildings 123 and 123A, each seven stories with a total of 500,000 square feet, will house the medical school, along with Seton Hall’s Applied Health Program and Graduate School of Nursing. Half of the five-story Building 102 (7,500 square feet), which is connected to the first two buildings via a sky bridge, will be the new home for an as-yet-unidentified bio-fabrication firm. Building 76, the 15-story office tower, and Building 1, a seven-story office building, which together offer another half-million square feet, will be leased. Prism also plans road improvements, including working with Essex County on a reconfiguration of Kingsland and Bloomfield avenues, and possible bus line and shelter changes with New Jersey Transit.


LOCAL | June 15, 2017
$18.5 Million Riverfront Project Coming to Trenton

A pedestrian bridge will stretch from the roof of the Statehouse parking deck over Route 29 to a revitalized riverfront park in Trenton (Mercer County), a joint $18.5 million project of NJDOT and NJDEP announced by Governor Christie yesterday. The bridge will be funded by $15 million in enhancement funds, and the 4.5-acre park – with plantings, paths and lighting – will be funded by $3.5 million of DEP’s Natural Resource Damages monies. The park will connect to Stacy Park (across Route 29 from Trenton High School West) and run south along the Delaware River, touching Mill Hill Park and Assunpink Creek. At the same time, the governor announced the first phase of a $2.4 million restoration of Cadwalader Park, on 100 acres east of Stacy Park.


LOCAL | June 8, 2017
Joint Base First to Get New Tankers – and $154 Million in Construction

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst gained another measure of protection against closure as it was selected to receive the first round of new refueling tankers, two years ahead of Travis Air Force Base in California. The 24 new KC-46A Pegasus planes, which measure 52 feet tall and 165 feet long with a wingspan of 157 feet, are scheduled to arrive in 2021. The $154 million in military construction will occur in advance of their arrival.


LOCAL | June 6, 2017
AC Electric to Proceed with $79 Million Capital Investment

Atlantic City Electric got approval from the NJ Board of Public Utilities to invest $79 million in a five-year capital improvement plan that will strengthen grid resiliency. Part of the company’s PowerAhead Program, the investment structure will allow AC Electric to recover revenue spent on resiliency. The program covers these projects:

  • Structural and Electrical Hardening - $24 million
  • Selective Undergrounding - $11 million
  • Barrier Island Feeder Ties - $13 million
  • Distribution Automation - $15 million
  • Electronic Fusing - $2 million
  • New Harbor Beach Substation - $14 million

LOCAL | June 6, 2017
MGM and Caesars to Partner in Atlantic City

With few details, MGM Resorts, owner of the Borgata, and Caesars Entertainment, owner of Harrah’s, announced last week they planned to partner on an unnamed Atlantic City project. Both properties are close together on the Boardwalk.


LOCAL | June 1, 2017
UPDATE:  American Dream Bonds Issued

Two bond offerings issued last week ($800 million) and this ($300 million) could mean financing is now in place to complete the American Dream Meadowlands shopping and entertainment complex in East Rutherford (Bergen County) after 14 years of start-and-stop building. The $300 million bond offering claims American Dream will open “no later than March 1, 2019,” less than two years from now. Construction crews have been on the site in recent weeks.

May 2017

NATIONAL | May 31, 2017
Metro Construction Grows for the Year on Private-Sector Projects

Construction firms added jobs in 217 of 358 metro areas (nearly 61%) in the year from April 2016 to April 2017, responding to the demand for workers on private-sector projects. Public-sector investments, AGC of America notes, declined 8.5% during that year-over-year period. New Jersey metros reflected dismal numbers for the period, with two metros in the bottom five in the nation. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean lost 3,200 jobs, an 8% drop, and Trenton lost 500 jobs, a 10% decline. While not quite in the bottom five, Atlantic City-Hammonton also lost 500 jobs, a 9% drop. With more positive numbers, Camden added 500 jobs, a 2% gain; Vineland-Bridgeton picked up 200 jobs for a 7% increase; and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic fared the best with an additional 1,700 jobs, a 6% rise. Newark remained unchanged from last year.


LOCAL | May 31, 2017
Trenton to Demolish 500 Abandoned Buildings

At a cost of $11.5 million, Trenton will demolish perhaps as many as 500 abandoned buildings within the city limits, as announced by Governor Christie yesterday. That is about one-sixth of the estimated 3,000 abandoned commercial and residential buildings in Trenton. The funding will come from the state, with another $786,000 allocated for 150 new surveillance cameras and inspection of city street lights.


LOCAL | May 24, 2017
Midtown Elizabeth to Get $200 Million Redevelopment

A partnership between MAS Development Group and Faros Properties will redevelop Midtown Elizabeth, building approximately 525 luxury residential units and 30,000 square feet of retail space on five acres along Union Street, across from the Elizabeth NJ Transit Train Station on West Grand Street. The two-phase project, which should break ground in the first quarter of 2018, is estimated at $100 million per phase. The developers received final approvals for the project in March. The Elizabeth train station itself is slated for a $55 million renovation.


LOCAL | May 24, 2017
Roebling Wire Works Redevelopment to Include Loft Apartments

In the first phase of redeveloping the former Roebling Wire Works complex at 675 S. Clinton Avenue in Trenton, HHG Development Associates will create Roebling Lofts, 190 luxury apartments in 475,000 square feet of industrial space. The project will also include building a new structure and repurposing the old boiler house, plus adding 175,000 square feet of Class A office space and 30,000 square feet of retail, all at a cost of $31 million. The total cost of redeveloping the more-than-a-century-old complex comes in at approximately $150 million. The developer expects it to qualify for EDA’s Grow New Jersey tax incentives.


LOCAL | May 23, 2017
Aqua NJ Announces $23 Million in Water Infrastructure Upgrades

Aqua New Jersey, which provides water and wastewater services to 11 New Jersey counties, announced last week it plans to invest nearly $23 million this year in upgrades to its drinking water and wastewater systems. Some projects are currently underway. The 2017 capital improvement program includes these expenditures:

  • More than $7 million throughout the company’s central operating division, comprised of Chesterfield and North Hanover townships (Burlington County); Robbinsville, Lawrenceville, and Hamilton and Washington townships (Mercer County); Howell and Upper Freehold townships (Monmouth County); and Berkeley Township (Ocean County).
  • Nearly $6 million in the southern operating division of Gloucester Township (Camden County); Woolwich Township (Gloucester County); and Egg Harbor Township (Atlantic County).
  • Nearly $10 million in its northern operating division, which provides water service in Phillipsburg, Greenwich, Harmony, Lopatcong, Pohatcong and Holland townships (Warren County); Lebanon Township and Califon and Bloomsbury boroughs (Hunterdon County); and Fredon, Hardyston, Vernon, Green, Byram and Stockholm townships (Sussex County).

LOCAL | May 23, 2017
UPDATE:  American Dream Financing Secured

American Dream Meadowlands developer Triple Five announced late last week it has secured $1.6 billion in construction financing, which will lead to a bond issuance, hopefully in the near future, to provide the rest of the funding to complete the project. Triple Five set a new opening date of March 2019.


LOCAL | May 22, 2017
Smithville to Add Mixed-Use Development

Historic Smithville, the tourist attraction in Galloway Township (Atlantic County) owned by The Towne of Smithville LLC, will get a new addition on a currently empty 19-acre lot at 2 N. New York Road, across Route 9 from the Smithville Inn. The mixed-use development, just approved by the town’s planning board, will include a 62-room hotel, shops, a gas station and convenience store, and two senior living communities with an assisted living facility, 40 one-bedroom units and 48 one-bedroom townhomes. No construction date has been established.


NATIONAL | May 22, 2017
State Construction Employment Still Uneven Month-by-Month

Although 39 states added construction jobs for the year-over-year period from April 2016 to April 2017, more than half lost jobs between March and April this year. In the region, Rhode Island came out in the top five for highest percentages, adding 1,800 jobs for the year-over-year, reflecting a 10% hike. But Rhode Island remained flat for the month, with no jobs added. Of the 21 states that did add jobs for the month, Connecticut had the highest percentage increase in the nation, climbing 4.7% on 2,800 new jobs. Connecticut was also strong for the month, adding 2,500 jobs, a 4.2% increase. Delaware added 1,100 jobs for the year-over-year period, a 5.3% rise, but lost 200 for the month, a 0.9% dip. New Jersey fared poorly in both timeframes, losing 500 jobs for the year-over-year, a 0.3% drop, and 1,000 jobs for the month, a 0.6% decrease. While New York added 3,400 jobs for the year period, edging up 0.9%, the state lost 2,000 for the month, down 0.5%. Pennsylvania was also up for the year period, adding 4,300 jobs, a 1.8% gain, but lost 900 jobs for the month, a 0.37% drop.


LOCAL | May 18, 2017
Monmouth Mall Redesign Proposal #2

The first proposal to redesign Eatontown’s Monmouth Mall failed after residents resisted the effort to include 700 residential units. Proposal #2, presented by owner Kushner Companies, doesn’t specify the number of residential units, but features a broad glass canopy covering a “culinary marketplace,” wine bars, upscale restaurants and “tea boutiques,” along with shopping and entertainment venues and some amount of residential. Kushner Cos. expects to partner with Rouse Properties to develop the concept, which will be named The Heights at Monmouth, and begin construction in 2018.


LOCAL | May 18, 2017
CRDA Approves AC Beer Garden

Bungalow Biergarten, an open-air restaurant and bar slated for a site just off the Atlantic City Boardwalk in the half-block between South California and South Belmont avenues, received approval from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority this week. Dectrinity LLC proposed the project; its principal, Nick Dounoulis, who also owns the Bungalow Restaurant and Beach Bar on the Boardwalk at South California Avenue, expects the operation to be open around the Fourth of July. It will include seating for 322 guests, an outdoor kitchen with walk-in refrigeration, two bars, three propane fire pits, a game area and restrooms. Four distressed-wood shipping containers will serve as dry storage. Parking will be available in an adjacent lot.


NATIONAL | May 18, 2017
USDOT Secretary Chao Calls Gateway Project “Absolute Priority”

At a hearing yesterday, USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao told the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, “Please be assured that Gateway is an absolute priority” for the Trump administration.


LOCAL | May 16, 2017
Transit Hub in Queens Proposed to Ease Penn Station Congestion

ReThink Studio has proposed a new transit hub in Sunnyside, Queens, to reduce the congestion in Penn Station by connecting commuter trains with subways and bus lines at four regional hubs in New York and New Jersey. Called ReThinkNYC, the proposal aims to be developed as part of the Gateway Tunnel project, without additional cost. Plans include moving rail yards from Sunnyside to the Bronx and building a “trunk line” to connect various transportation methods between Secaucus in New Jersey (Hudson County) and Port Morris in the Bronx. The plan’s design aspires to connect the 26 commuter rail lines – Metro North’s Harlem and Hudson Lines, Hudson Lines and NJ Transit’s Bergen County Lines – with Secaucus, Penn Station, Sunnyside and Port Morris becoming the four major transit hubs. As part of the Sunnyside plan, ReThink envisions an office district with millions of square feet of new office space that is connected to the regional rail network, seven subway lines and the new light rail/bus system for Brooklyn and Queens.


LOCAL | May 16, 2017
Glassboro Public Housing: Demolition and Rebuild

The Ellis Street Projects at Ellis Street and Higgins Drive in Glassboro were built on 76 acres in the early 1960s, but residents were relocated in 2013. Now the buildings will be demolished and the site remediated, at a cost of $1.6 million funded by state demolition funds, affordable housing trust funds and a community development block grant. Together, the Glassboro Housing Authority and developer Pennrose Properties LLC plan to build affordable, age-restricted housing on the original site, with 65 units for seniors, of which 16 will be for developmentally disabled adults. Demolition is expected to be completed by the end of the summer with construction beginning in Spring 2018.


LOCAL | May 11, 2017
New Shopping Complex Coming to Paramus

Paramus Crossroads will sit on a 14.5-acre site along Route 17 South that currently holds a PGA Tour Superstore and P.C. Richard & Son, plus an office building that will be demolished. In its place, a 40,000-square-foot retail space will house approximately 10 new dining options and specialty retailers, each occupying 1,500 to 20,000 square feet, along with office and medical operations that are currently in the office building. The complex is expected to be completed by Summer 2018. Developers are Advance Realty and Invesco Real Estate. 


LOCAL | May 10, 2017
Newark Warehouse to be Transformed into Mixed-Use

Plans for Ironside Newark, a vacant warehouse that will become a 456,000-square-foot mixed-use project, include two stories of retail and restaurant space and six floors of office space. Located on the corner of McCarter Highway (Route 21) and Edison Place, Ironside Newark’s site borders Mulberry Commons Park, a project announced in January and posted in Hot Topics. Newark real estate developer Edison Properties, known for Edison ParkFast lots and garages, is making a $75 million equity investment in the Ironside Newark project.


LOCAL | May 2, 2017
Newark PATH Extension Estimated at $1.7 Billion

Last week, the Port Authority approved $57 million for planning and design of a two-mile extension of PATH from Newark Penn Station to Newark Liberty Airport, which could also include a new PATH transportation hub in the Dayton/Seth Boyden section of Newark’s South Ward, depending on environmental review results. The extension would create a direct link from the World Trade Center PATH to the Newark Liberty monorail. The total project is estimated at $1.7 billion, with completion in 2026.


NATIONAL | May 2, 2017
March Metro Construction Jobs Increase in Two-Thirds of Markets

Construction employment rose in 224 of 358 metro areas in the country in March 2017 compared to March 2016, approximately 63%. It declined in 92 metros and remained the same in 42. In New Jersey, Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean lost 2,100 jobs, a 6% drop that landed it in the top five worst metros for the period. Atlantic City-Hammonton lost 600 jobs for the period, an 11% drop, and Trenton lost 300 jobs, a 6% drop. On the plus side, Bergen-Hudson-Passaic gained 900 jobs, a 3% increase; Newark added 700 jobs, a 2% hike; Vineland-Bridgeton added 200 jobs, a 7% hike; and Camden added 100 jobs, a 1% bump. Overall, the state lost 1,200 jobs for the period, a 1% decrease.

April 2017

NATIONAL | April 28, 2017
US Senate Confirms Alexander Acosta as Labor Secretary

Last evening, in a 60-38 vote, the US Senate confirmed Alexander Acosta as Secretary of Labor. A Republican, Acosta was a member of the National Labor Relations Board, and had been the US attorney in Florida and head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division.


LOCAL | April 27, 2017
New York City to Count All Construction Fatalities in Total

After a Crain’s Business story and a new law from City Council, New York City’s Buildings Department will now count all construction fatalities in its total and post them on its website. In the past, the Buildings Department only reported those fatalities in which a city code violation occurred, regardless of OSHA findings of workplace safety violations. According to the Crain’s report, one-third of the city’s jobsite fatalities in 2015 was not reported.


NATIONAL | April 27, 2017
USCIS Issues New Green Cards and EADs

Beginning May 1, US Citizenship and Immigration Services will issue redesigned Green Cards (Permanent Resident Cards) and EADs (Employment Authorization Documents). With enhanced graphics and security features, the new cards are part of the federal government’s efforts to deter counterfeiting and fraud. Each has the individual’s photo on both sides; the Green Card, with an appropriately green color palette, has an image of the Statue of Liberty, and the EAD has a bald eagle on a predominantly red palette. Both have embedded holographs and will no longer display the individual’s signature. The old and new versions of the Green Card and EAD are both acceptable for Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification and E-Verify. For more details, access the USCIS news release at https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-will-issue-redesigned-green-cards-and-employment-authorization-documents?utm_source=homepagebanner&utm_campaign=gcredesign


NATIONAL | April 25, 2017
Trump Orders Tariffs on Canadian Softwood Lumber

Last night, President Trump ordered tariffs on Canadian exports of softwood lumber, particularly used in the US residential building market. Five Canadian lumber companies will have to pay duties of between 3% and 24%. The rest of the Canadian lumber company tariffs will be nearly 20%.


NATIONAL | April 24, 2017
Construction Employment Strong for Year, Weak for Month

While 39 states added construction jobs for the year from March 2016 to March 2017, only 17 added jobs from February to March of this year. In the region, Rhode Island placed in the top five for the year-over-year period, adding 1,500 jobs for an 8.2% leap, but slid back for the month, shedding 100 jobs, a 0.5% decrease. Pennsylvania gained 6,700 jobs for the year, up 2.8%, but lost 1,700 for the month, a 0.68% drop. New York added 7,100 jobs for the year, a 1.9% gain, but lost 2,000 for the month, a 0.5% decrease. Delaware picked up 200 jobs for the year, a 0.9% rise, but lost 100 for the month, a 0.5% drop. And both Connecticut and New Jersey lost jobs for both periods. Connecticut shed 1,800 jobs for the year-over-year, down 3%, and 300 jobs for the month, down 0.5%. New Jersey dropped 1,000 jobs for the year-over-year, a 0.6% loss, and 2,800 for the month, down 1.8%.


LOCAL | April 20, 2017
Luxury Apartments Slated for Somerville

Somerville (Somerset County) has approved a four-story luxury apartment building at 11 South Bridge Street, to be developed by Sterling Properties of Livingston. Called SOMA, the building will hold 69 units ranging from 585 square feet to 1,290 square feet, a fitness center and tech lounge. Construction is expected to begin this spring.


LOCAL | April 20, 2017
South Jersey Tech Park Lands Animal Health Company Headquarters

HIPRA, a veterinary pharmaceutical with locations in 27 countries, has signed an agreement to build its North American headquarters on 25 acres at the South Jersey Tech Park on Route 322 in Mantua Township (Gloucester County). Rowan University, which owns the 180-acre site, finalized the sale April 5 and expects HIPRA to apply to the township for construction approvals in the near future.


LOCAL | April 18, 2017
FEMA to Fund 90% of Repair in Sandy-Damaged Holland Tunnel

FEMA will contribute $229.6 million to the Port Authority to repair 22 sites in the Holland Tunnel damaged by Superstorm Sandy. The funds represent 90% of the $255 million total required for repair and added resiliency. Both tubes of the tunnel, designated a National Historic Civil and Mechanical Engineering Landmark, were flooded as the water came through from the New Jersey side and the exhaust air duct system.


NATIONAL | April 17, 2017
March Construction Materials Prices Leap

While finished project prices remained flat, construction costs rose in March. Materials prices compared to March 2016 soared for diesel fuel (up 35%), steel mill products (up 19%), copper and brass mill shapes (up 17%), aluminum mill shapes (up 8.8%), gypsum products, including wallboard and plaster (up 7.6%), and lumber and plywood (up 7.3%). In contrast, the price index for new nonresidential buildings increased only 1.4%. AGC of America, which analyzed the federal producer price data, also warned that construction costs for commercial projects could continue to rise if “Buy America” provisions are expanded or tariffs on imported steel are increased. In addition, limiting Canadian lumber could affect the cost of residential projects.


LOCAL | April 11, 2017
$1.6 Billion Staten Island Revitalization Report Released Today

The New York City Economic Development Corp. is releasing a report today that details $1.6 billion in public and private funding to revitalize Staten Island’s North Shore waterfront, of which $600 million is public investment, $1 billion is private funding. The report calls for 4,000 new housing units, 2,000 new jobs, transportation upgrades, and 200,000 square feet of new commercial and retail development on a 10-acre strip of land. Some specific projects the EDC hopes to advance include rehabilitation of 55 Stuyvesant Place, the 630-foot observation wheel (largest in the Western hemisphere), business incubators and co-working spaces, a new mixed-used district along Bay Street, affordable housing units on the site of the Jersey Street Sanitation Garage at 100 Brook Street (due to close in 2020), and various arts, cultural and historic venues. For a copy of the report, visit https://www.nycedc.com/system/files/files/program/downtown_staten_island_brochure.pdf.


LOCAL | April 11, 2017
Rutgers Approves $115 Million Athletic Practice Facility

Last week, Rutgers Board of Governors approved building a $115 million multisport training and practice facility on the Livingston Campus, to be named the RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center after the joint Rutgers/RWJBarnabas Health sports medicine program announced last November. The building will be four stories and 125,000 square feet with practice rooms, locker rooms, strength-training and conditioning facilities, space for nutrition counseling, coaches’ offices, a Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame, a spirit shop and an area for athletes to eat. A 555-space parking deck and bicycle storage will be integrated. Funding will come from a $26 million bond issuance for the parking deck; monies from the R Big Ten Build campaign; a multi-million naming gift from RWJBarnabas Health; and tax credits from NJEDA’s Economic Redevelopment and Growth Program. The project is one of three to be funded in part by the R Big Ten Build campaign, which has raised more than $71.1 million in donations to date.


LOCAL | April 10, 2017
Dumont Considers New or Renovated Municipal Complex

Last week, Dumont (Bergen County) officials had a “preliminary” look at costs for a new or rehabbed municipal complex. Either project – rehabilitation of the 26,000-square-foot former borough hall or demolition of the existing facility and new construction of a 27,600-square-foot building – would cost more than $11 million for construction. Additional costs, presented by RSC Architects of Hackensack, could include purchase of adjacent land for parking, professional fees and removal of the four conjoined trailers that currently house the borough’s police department, bringing the total cost closer to $14 million. The Feasibility Assessment dated 4/4/2017 can be found on the Dumont Borough website:
http://www.dumontnj.gov/dumont-news/notices-announcements


LOCAL | April 6, 2017
American Dream Update: Under Construction Again

A Forbes Exclusive online post Tuesday afternoon reports construction is back on at American Dream Meadowlands, with a targeted opening in Fall 2018.


LOCAL | April 5, 2017
New Brunswick Finally Getting Performing Arts Center

New Brunswick Development Corp., DEVCO, announced that the long-awaited, state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center will finally break ground this summer. The $190 million project will hold two theaters – 485-seat and 300-seat, three rehearsal stages and 240 one- and two-bedroom apartments on land owned by the city across from the Heldrich Hotel. The George Street Playhouse and Crossroads Theatre, currently on the site, will be demolished and rebuilt as part of the PAC, along with the American Repertory Ballet and Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts. An 80-foot fly space and 50-seat orchestra pit are also part of the plan, along with third-floor amenities for the apartment-dwellers, including a fitness room, yoga studio, demonstration kitchen, a massive communal living room and a co-working space. A pool will be built on the roof. Identified as a public-private partnership, funding comes from EDA’s Economic Redevelopment & Growth ($40 million); Rutgers University ($17 million); redevelopment area bonds ($15 million); County of Middlesex Cultural Arts Fund ($6 million); New Market Tax Credits ($6 million); the New Brunswick Cultural Center ($4.5 million); and air rights payments ($2 million). The rest will come from developer equity, debt raised by the private-sector partner and bond proceeds from the New Brunswick Parking Authority. Demolition on the site will begin June 5.


LOCAL | April 5, 2017
Hard Rock Plans $375 Million Makeover of Taj Mahal

Hard Rock’s CEO Jim Allen released renderings and announced plans to spend $375 million redeveloping the former Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, which Hard Rock International bought from Carl Icahn March 1. The complete redesign that will become Hard Rock Hotel & Casino features two separate 7,000-seat arenas, more than 2,400 slot machines, and a new 400-seat venue for the Hard Rock Café. It’s expected to create more than 1,000 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs, with a projected opening in Summer 2018.


NATIONAL | April 4, 2017
As Metros Add Construction Jobs, AGC Focuses on Worker Safety

In the period from February 2016 to February 2017, 239 of 358 metro areas, nearly 67%, added construction jobs. In New Jersey, four of seven metros were included in the “gain” column. Newark came out on top in the state, adding 2,300 over last year, a 6% gain. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 1,700 jobs, also a 6% hike. Camden added 1,100 for the period, up 5%, and Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, up 4%. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean saw the biggest drop for the year-over-year, losing 1,300 jobs, down 4%. Atlantic City-Hammonton and Trenton each shed 200 jobs, a 4% drop for each.

         As employment in the industry climbs, AGC of America has released a new safety study to help construction firms prevent workplace injuries and fatalities. The study, for which AGC partnered with the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech, analyzed every construction fatality in the US from 2010 through 2012. The study revealed some facts we already knew – falls account for a third of the fatalities in the industry – and some we didn’t. For example, most fatalities occur between 10 am and 3 pm, with a peak at noon. AGC now recommends holding safety talks and stretching exercises as workers return from the 11-to-noon lunch break. For a copy of the complete 30-page report, downloadable as a PDF, visit https://www.agc.org/industry-priorities/safety-health/construction-fatalities-study-0


LOCAL | April 3, 2017
Rutherford Adding New Police Station to Borough Hall

Rutherford borough officials are in early planning stages for a new police station that will become a 15,000-square-foot or larger addition to Borough Hall at 176 Park Ave. T&M Engineering and architect Anthony Guzzo were hired to design a site plan and estimate building costs. The new facility will include updated technology and current law enforcement standards for jail cells and prisoner transport.

March 2017

NATIONAL | March 28, 2017
Repeal of Federal Blacklisting Rule Signed Into Law

Yesterday, the President signed into law a bill repealing the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” executive order imposed by President Obama. As we posted in Hot Topics on March 7, the so-called Blacklisting Regulation was struck down via the Congressional Review Act, which means future presidents can’t issue similar rules. AGC of America’s advocacy efforts contributed to the repeal.


NATIONAL | March 27, 2017
State Construction Jobs Up in 43 States in February Year-Over-Year

Compared to February 2016, 43 states added construction jobs in February 2017, and 39 states added jobs in the month from January to February 2017. In the Mid-Atlantic region, New York and Rhode Island showed the strongest gains. New York was one of five states to reach a record for construction employment in the year-over-year with the addition of 6,800 jobs (up 1.8%); New York also added 2,100 jobs for the month, a 0.6% bump. Rhode Island added 2,200 jobs for the year-over-year, a whopping 12.2% increase, giving it the #1 spot in the nation for percentage gain. And the 700 jobs added in Rhode Island for the month, a 3.6% gain, put it in the #6 spot for percentage gains. New Jersey was up for both periods, adding 2,400 jobs for the month, a 1.5% increase, and 3,100 jobs for the year-over-year, a 2% gain. Rounding out our region: Delaware added 800 jobs for the year-over-year, up 3.8%, and 1,000 jobs for the month, up 4.7%, a percentage increase that put it in the #2 spot for the month. Pennsylvania added 9,300 jobs for the year-over-year, up 3.9%, and 1,500 for the month, up 0.61%. Connecticut lost 400 jobs for the year-over-year, sliding 0.7%, but was up 1,200 jobs for the month, a 2.1% rise.


LOCAL | March 24, 2017
Jersey City Approves Land Transfer for Liberty Science Center Expansion

Liberty Science Center will now be able to build a $280 million technology center on 16 acres along Phillip Street within Liberty State Park. Last night the Jersey City Council approved a land transfer to the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, which will then sell the 16 acres to SciTech Scity, the Liberty Science Center’s planned futuristic mini-city, for $10. The development will offer a K-12 school dedicated to STEM; the world’s first business “optimizer” for 100 science, technology and engineering startups; a small conference center; and Scholars Village, a 50,000-square-foot residential complex with short-term dorm-room accommodations for visiting scientists and entrepreneurs and longer-term apartments for STEM college students and people working at SciTech Scity.


LOCAL | March 22, 2017
$13 Million Development Approved for Vineland

Helped by EDA tax credits for 30% of the project’s eligible costs up to $3,911,700 worth of state taxes, approved last week, Vineland will see a $13 million commercial development on the site of the former Kmart site on Delsea Drive across from Cumberland Mall. The project includes construction of an Olive Garden restaurant on a discrete pad on the site, plus a 30,000-square-foot Raymour & Flanigan Furniture store, a 50,000-square-foot Gabe’s discount clothing store and other businesses.


LOCAL | March 22, 2017
Gateway ROI Could be 4-to-1

The Gateway project, estimated at $25 billion, would generate $4 for every dollar spent, says Amtrak. The projected return-on-investment was based on a study to determine if finding funding for Gateway is feasible. If completed, the project could double service for NJ Transit and Amtrak commuters into Manhattan, foster job growth and strengthen a transit system that was severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy. According to the study, if a new Gateway tunnel is not built, the region could lose as much as $3 billion in economic activity from 2025 to 2029, particularly if the storm damage and aging force one of the two tubes of the century-old North River Tunnel to close. Such a closure would reduce capacity by 75%.


LOCAL | March 22, 2017
Last of “Building Our Future” Bond Act Monies Appropriated

The remaining $34.3 million from the 2012 voter-approved legislation to fund higher education capital projects has been appropriated. Projects include:

  • NJIT - new Life Sciences and Engineering Research facility
  • Stevens Institute of Technology – state-of-the-art technology-equipped instructional and research building
  • William Paterson University – reconstruction of Hunziker Building for laboratories and general-use classrooms
  • Monmouth University – renovations to the Edison Science Building
  • Caldwell University – new Art Therapy facility
  • Union County College – new Health Sciences building

LOCAL | March 17, 2017
$135 Million Investment Planned for Former Atlantic Club Casino

R&R Development of Ventnor, with managing partner Ronald Young, has purchased the former Atlantic Club Casino with plans to convert it, after a $135 million investment, into a family resort, not a gambling venue. To be called Dolphin Village, the resort’s centerpiece will be a water park, along with a 300-room hotel that could open this fall. Young has partnered in the venture with Robert Reilert, former general counsel for Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Caesars had owned the Atlantic Club, selling it to TJM Properties of Clearwater, FL, after closing it in 2014. TJM continues to hold an ownership stake in the property.


NATIONAL | March 17, 2017
Metro Areas Show “Mixed Pattern” of Construction Employment in January

On the heels of the state construction employment figures, AGC of America released the metro figures, which show what AGC calls a “mixed pattern” across the country in January compared to January 2016. While 219 of 358 metro areas increased construction jobs, 61%, “many pockets of decline” appeared, even within states that had an overall increase for the same year-over-year period. In New Jersey, the up-and-down pattern was evident. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic and Newark each saw 4% increases, picking up 1,200 and 1,600 jobs respectively. Trenton added 100 jobs for a 2% gain. But Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean lost 1,900 jobs, a tough 5% hit, and Camden, despite all the new development, dropped 200 jobs, a 1% decline. Construction employment remained unchanged in Atlantic City-Hammonton and Vineland-Bridgeton for the year-over-year period.


LOCAL | March 15, 2017
AC’s CRDA Amends Master Plan to Spur Economic Development

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has proposed an amendment to its Tourism Master Plan with the hope it will encourage more development in Atlantic City. Key changes:  more permitted uses in zoning areas, and new zoning that would allow mixed-use development in the Southeast Inlet (plus restaurants and parks), along with art studios in other areas besides Ducktown and retail along the AC Expressway and waterfront. The 50-page amendment includes 25 objectives. The PDF and more details may be found at http://www.njcrda.com/ac-tourism-district/master-plan/


NATIONAL | March 15, 2017
State-by-State, Construction Employment is Up for the Month and Year

From January 2016 to January 2017, 39 states added construction jobs, and 38 states and DC added jobs between December 2016 and January 2017, reports AGC of America. New Jersey posted modest growth in both periods, adding 800 for the year-over-year, a 0.5% gain, and 3,800 jobs for the month, a 2.5% hike. New York and Rhode Island showed the strongest growth in the region. Rhode Island was in the top five percentage-wise for the year-over-year, jumping 8.9% with the addition of 1,600 jobs, and for the month, gaining 4.8% with an increase of 900 jobs. New York took the #2 spot for the month with the addition of 8,200 jobs, a 2.2% increase, and was up 5,100 jobs for the year-over-year, a 1.4% gain. Connecticut lost 900 jobs in the year-over-year, a 1.5% drop, but picked up 700 for the month, a 1.2% increase. Delaware was up 200 jobs for the year-over-year, a 1% gain, and 600 jobs for the month, a 2.9% increase. Pennsylvania added 6,500 jobs for the year-over-year, up 2.7%, and 5,900 for the month, a 2.45% gain.


NATIONAL | March 7, 2017
Congressional Review Act Repeals “Blacklisting” Rule

Yesterday, using the Congressional Review Act, the US Senate voted 49-48 to repeal former President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order, known colloquially as the blacklisting rule, that required federal contractors to disclose workplace violations. The House passed the same bill last month. It now goes to President Trump for signing.

AGC of America CEO Steve Sandherr issued a statement following the Senate vote: “Congress has wisely voted to preserve the integrity and fairness of the federal contracting process…To be clear, there should be no place in federal contracting for unsafe or unscrupulous firms. Yet the…measure did nothing to reform or improve the existing suspension and debarment process. Instead, it created a new layer of bureaucracy that would have given federal officials broad discretion to punish construction firms based on any number of unsubstantiated allegations without establishing a process for those firms to defend themselves. That is why the Associated General Contractors worked so aggressively…for passage of today’s repeal measure. We urge President Trump to sign this measure into law as quickly as possible.”


LOCAL | March 6, 2017
Hard Rock Buys AC’s Taj Mahal

Last week, Hard Rock International announced its partnership with the Morris and Jingoli families to purchase the former Trump Taj Mahal casino from Carl Icahn. Hard Rock will be the majority owner of the now-to-be-called Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. The group will invest more than $300 million to purchase and renovate the casino. Joseph Jingoli and Son, Inc., of Lawrenceville is an Active Member of ACCNJ, and will serve as developer on the project, which is expected to open in 2018.

February 2017

NATIONAL | February 28, 2017
AGC of America Launches New Advocacy Site

In case you find it less-than-easy to communicate with state and federal officials, AGC of America has launched a new advocacy site to seamlessly send emails, take action on legislative/regulatory alerts and find out information on a variety of topics. For example, under “ACTION CENTER” on the nav bar, you can find your legislator, send an email to one or more legislators and research their voting records. Under “ADVOCACY” you can read about the issues and legislation that directly affect the construction industry, and even register to vote. Visit and browse: http://advocacy.agc.org/


LOCAL | February 27, 2017
Pinelands Commission Approves PennEast Pipeline

On Friday, the Pinelands Commission approved, 9-5 with one abstention, the underground PennEast pipeline, which will run from Millville to the B.L. England electric plant in Upper Township (Cape May County). Approximately 15 miles of the 22-mile pipeline will travel through the Pinelands. The rest will follow Routes 49 and 50.


LOCAL | February 21, 2017
Jamie Fox, Twice Transportation Commissioner, Dies at 62

Jamie Fox, who served as Commissioner of Transportation under Gov. Jim McGreevey and Gov. Chris Christie, died yesterday of kidney disease. Fox had a long history of public service in the state, serving as Chief of Staff and/or senior advisor to Governors McGreevey, Florio, Codey and Corzine, as well as Senator Bob Torricelli. Fox was also a former Executive Director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Born in Elizabeth and raised in Union Township, he was a lobbyist and founder of River Crossing Strategy Group in Trenton, and was well-liked and respected by Democrats and Republicans alike.


LOCAL | February 21, 2017
Route 206 Bypass Moves Closer to Completion

NJ DOT’s Route 206 Bypass, an idea that’s more than four decades old and a project that’s only half-completed, might be finished by 2020. It’s supposed to run from Old Somerville Road to Mountainview Road in Hillsborough, but part of the land needed for the congestion-relieving bypass is also the site of the Van der Veer Harris House, which dates to the late 18th century and is owned by the New Jersey Historic Trust. DOT proposes a land swap of almost 13 acres it owns on Township Line Road, to be dedicated as open space, for just under two acres for the bypass – running 1,100 feet along Route 206 and 50 feet back into the Van der Veer House property. If the NJ DEP Green Acres Program approves the land swap, bids for site prep and construction could go out in the fall. The project is estimated at $50 million or more.


LOCAL | February 17, 2017
Port Authority Capital Plan Includes Some Bus Terminal Funding

Yesterday the Port Authority approved a $32.2 billion, 10-year capital plan. The 2017-2026 Capital Plan includes $11.6 billion in major redevelopment projects at regional airports; $10 billion for trans-Hudson commuting, of which $2.7 billion will pay debt service on federal loans to build the Gateway Project’s rail tunnels; the remaining funds needed to complete the $1.5 billion Goethals Bridge replacement and $1.6 billion Bayonne Bridge rebuild; and almost $2 billion to complete the GW Bridge rehab. Notably, the Capital Plan also provides $3.5 billion for a new Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. Initially, $70 million of that is set aside for planning – hiring environmental and technical consultants, identifying a site, conducting environment studies and evaluating “interim solutions for the existing terminal.”


LOCAL | February 14, 2017
Virtua Health Announces $22 Million Expansion in Camden

Virtua’s Camden campus, more than 100 years old, could be transformed into a $22 million, two-story, 34,500-square-foot Family Health Center at Mount Ephraim Avenue and Everett Street, consolidating and upgrading the services it currently offers in the complex of buildings at Mount Ephraim and Atlantic avenues. Plans include flexible space for 16 to 18 exam rooms, including two larger rooms that can encompass medical teams; a video hookup for communications with offsite experts; urgent care services; physical therapy facilities; podiatry and dental services, and other specialties. The existing family health center would be demolished to create parking and the new center would be built adjacent to that site. The site plans were supposed to be considered at the Camden Planning Board meeting last Thursday, which was cancelled due to weather conditions.


NATIONAL | February 14, 2017
Materials and Labor Costs Rising Faster Than Project Prices

AGC of America reported today the cost of materials used in construction rose 3.8% in January compared to January 2016, while the price index for new nonresidential buildings increased only 1.4%. Most notable were price increases in diesel fuel, up 34.8%, copper and brass mill shapes, up 19.9%, steel mill products, up 11.4%, and lumber and plywood, up 3.7%. Across the country, the average hourly earnings for all construction workers rose 3.2% in the year-over-year timeframe. For AGC’s producer price index tables and explanation, login to www.agc.org.


LOCAL | February 10, 2017
Cherry Hill Advances Plans for Addiction Rehab Center

On Monday, the Cherry Hill Planning Board approved a recommendation to adopt a redevelopment plan for the nearly four-acre Baker Lanes bowling alley site on Cuthbert Blvd. between Routes 38 and 70. The proposed treatment center, under the direction of Advance Recovery Systems of Fort Lauderdale (Florida), would be three or four floors with a maximum of 90 beds, medical treatment areas, therapy offices, group meeting rooms, a cafeteria, administrative offices and other staff facilities, all within a footprint of up to 30,000 square feet accessible to off-street parking. Indoor and outdoor recreational areas could include a half-size basketball court, volleyball court, indoor running track, in-ground swimming pool, gardens and outdoor seating areas, and locker rooms. It would also be a secured facility with fencing, landscaping and both internal and external security measures.


LOCAL | February 8, 2017
Morristown Office Building to Get Major Renovation

The property at 340 Mount Kemble Ave. in Morristown, with 400,000 square feet, will get a glass façade, full-height atrium, conference rooms, a cafeteria and an auditorium. It will also have parking spaces for 1,600 vehicles, along with shuttle service to downtown Morristown and the train station. The renovation is directed by Onyx Equities LLC.


LOCAL | February 7, 2017
AC Land Auction Expands to Include Other Towns’ Land

An auction scheduled for March 9 will offer more than 150 properties in Atlantic City, Egg Harbor Township, Galloway Township and Pleasantville. The site is an old union hall at 470 N. Albany Avenue, itself one of the parcels to be auctioned off, currently being upgraded to become a restaurant. Other parcels evoke Monopoly:  the Columbus Hotel at Pacific Avenue and St. James Place; land on Pacific Avenue next to Kelsey’s Restaurant; and several beachfront properties on New York Avenue and St. James Place. Some have been packaged together, such as a six-property group in Galloway Township and 10- and 18-property groups in Pleasantville. And there’s an 11.7-acre piece zoned for commercial use on White Horse Pike in Galloway. Most of the land is owned by Ned Sakhai, including the old union hall. Robert Salvato’s AcAuctions of Ventnor is running the auction.


LOCAL | February 2, 2017
New York’s Labor Unions Maintain Highest Membership in US

New York is the most unionized state in the country, and the only state to have more than 20% of its workers organized – and that’s been true every year for the past decade, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2016, 23.6% of New York’s workers belonged to a union, compared to 10.7% of US workers overall. New Jersey saw a rise recently in the percentage of union members among employed workers, measuring 15.4% in 2015 and 16.1% in 2016.


LOCAL | February 2, 2017
NYC Buildings Department Comes Out Against Union Apprenticeship Bill

New York City’s construction fatalities rose sharply in the last two years, and a 21-bill Construction Safety Act was debated this week in City Council.  One hotly contested piece, the apprenticeship bill, would require apprenticeship training for construction workers. It was blasted on Tuesday by the city’s Department of Buildings Commissioner, Rick Chandler, who would prefer a provision requiring OSHA’s 10-Hour Construction Health & Safety course. While the debate was going on within, reportedly thousands of union construction workers protested on Broadway outside City Hall in support of the apprenticeship bill, while another group organized by the New York City Housing Authority rallied against the bill.


NATIONAL | February 1, 2017
Metro Construction Employment Sluggish in December Year-Over-Year

Compared to December 2015, construction employment dropped in 110 of 358 metro areas (31%) in December 2016. It remained unchanged in 65 metros and increased in 183, only 51% -- the lowest increase since September 2012, according to AGC of America’s Chief Economist Ken Simonson. The biggest loss in our region was the Orange-Rockland-Westchester metro area in New York, which shed 5,500 jobs, a 12% drop. In New Jersey, we had a see-saw among our metro areas. Camden gained 2,100 jobs in the year from December 2015 to December 2016, a 10% jump that put the city at #15 across all metros in the US. But Trenton lost 500 jobs, a 9% drop, ranking it near the bottom at #346. Atlantic City-Hammonton lost 300 jobs, a 6% drop, and Vineland-Bridgeton lost 100 jobs, a 3% drop. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean picked up 1,300 jobs in the year-over-year comparison, a 3% gain; and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic and Newark each gained 400 jobs, a 1% increase for each. The see-saw resulted in a net gain for the state of 3,200 jobs, a 2% bump.

January 2017

LOCAL | January 31, 2017
AC Plans New Public Housing

The Atlantic City Housing Authority has proposed demolishing two existing public housing developments, Stanley Holmes and Buzby Village, and building new facilities, plus renovating the senior and disabled towers under the authority’s domain, including Jeffries Tower and Altman Terrace. Monies for these projects could come from the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration Program, and the property for the new developments could be found in vacant sites owned by the city. Rehab in the towers could include new kitchens, bathrooms, vanities, painting, roofing and other exterior work. Planning is still in the early stages, but if projects can go forward, the Housing Authority anticipates completion within four years.


NATIONAL | January 30, 2017
AGC of America Asks for Action on Congressional DOT Funding

AGC of America’s Highway Facts Bulletin last Friday reports the Transportation Construction Coalition sent a letter to the 115th Congress asking for action to fully fund an FY 2017 transportation appropriations measure. Because federal funding is approved only through the end of April, the letter notes, states are unable to put all their projects out to bid. Also, federal highway and transit programs are currently funded at FY 2016 levels, 2% below the level authorized in the FAST Act. AGC of America urges members to contact your Congressional delegation and invites you to use the message available through the Hardhats for Highways website:  http://hardhatsforhighways.org/


NATIONAL | January 30, 2017
Cleveland Ironworkers First to Approve Pension Cuts Under 2014 Law

Last week, a majority of members of Iron Workers Local 17, based in Cleveland, approved pension cuts requested by trustees in order to save the pension fund from imminent insolvency (projected to be 2024). The Local was the first to take such action under the 2014 Multiemployer Pension Fund Reform Act. The Treasury Department certified the voting results; the cuts will be reflected in February 1 pension checks.


LOCAL | January 26, 2017
$10 Million in Funding for Rehab of Passaic Riverfront

Passaic city and county officials announced funding this week of $10 million to rehabilitate the city riverfront at Dundee Island Park. Half comes from a DEP grant, half from Passaic County. First phase of the project includes construction of a river walkway, upgrades to athletic fields in the park and sustainability designs to reduce flooding. The Trust for Public Land will coordinate the project.


NATIONAL | January 26, 2017
Senate Democrats:  $1 Trillion, 10-Year Infrastructure Proposal

Senate Democrats this week jumped on President Trump’s infrastructure remarks to develop a $1 trillion plan for transportation and other infrastructure projects to be built over the next decade. Calling for $210 billion to repair or replace aging roads and bridges, plus $200 billion for a fund to pay for projects of “national significance,” they estimate the plan could create 15 million jobs. The Gateway Project – new rail tunnels and bridges between New York and New Jersey – is one of the projects that could be eligible for financing from the infrastructure fund. The plan isn’t getting much support from Senate Republicans, nor did the Democrats offer ideas for funding it.


NATIONAL | January 25, 2017
Two-Thirds of States Add Construction Jobs in 2016

For the year that just ended, 32 states added construction jobs, down from 44 states that added jobs in 2015. AGC of America attributes the drop to a “dearth of workers with experience.” On the plus side, New Jersey added 900 jobs from November to December 2016, a 0.6% increase, and was up 3,200 for the year, a 2.1% gain over 2015. In the region, Pennsylvania was the only other state that fared well, adding 2,200 jobs for the month, a 0.94% gain, and 3,900 for the year, up 1.7% from 2015. New York added 300 jobs for the month, a 0.1% increase, but shed 7,800 jobs for the year, the second highest loss in the nation and a 2.1% decrease. Connecticut’s monthly total remained unchanged from November to December, but the state lost 1,900 jobs, a 3.3% drop, from 2015. Delaware picked up 200 jobs for the month, a 1% gain, but was down 1,000 jobs, a 4.6% drop, from 2015. And while Rhode Island picked up 600 jobs, a 3.4% increase for the month, it lost 200 jobs for the year, a 1.1% drop.


NATIONAL | January 23, 2017
US DOT Issues New Report on Bridge and Highway Status

Last week, just as the I-276 bridge was shut down over the Delaware between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the US DOT was releasing its latest report, “2015 Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges and Transit: Conditions and Performance.” Produced every other year, this latest report IDs a backlog of $836 billion in unmet capital investment needs for surface transportation, up 3.4% from the last report. And that figure was for 2012 improvements. The report states $142.5 billion is required – across state, federal and local governments – to cover the backlog plus other needs that could arise in the next couple of decades. To access the report, visit https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/pressroom/dot1710.cfm


LOCAL | January 23, 2017
PA Turnpike Bridge Closes with Fracture in Steel Truss

In May, the I-276 bridge over the Delaware will be 61. On Friday, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Authority abruptly closed the bridge after a fracture was discovered in an I-beam (14-inch steel truss). Owned jointly by the PA Turnpike Authority and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, the bridge will be closed indefinitely while repairs are made. Also closed:  NJ Turnpike Exit 6 and local roads under the bridge. The PA Turnpike Authority has launched a web page to track the progress of the work and provide information about detours:  https://www.paturnpike.com/DRBAlert.aspx


LOCAL | January 19, 2017
Newark’s Triangle Park to Become Mulberry Commons

Redevelopment of downtown Newark continues:  Mayor Baraka announced yesterday a plan to transform Triangle Park into 22 acres of park, retail and commercial space, known as Mulberry Commons. The project site, which runs along Mulberry Street by the Prudential Center, will repurpose a warehouse on McCarter Highway and connect the Ironbound district to Newark Penn Station. Edison Properties is principal owner, partnering with J&L Properties, the Newark Community Economic Development Corp. and the Newark Downtown District. More than $100 million for the project comes from private investors, with another $10 million expected in public funding. Still in the design stage, the project’s anticipated completion date is late summer 2018.


LOCAL | January 17, 2017
Industrial Park Proposed for Logan Township

F. Greek Development, based in East Brunswick, last week purchased 415 acres on US Rte. 322 in Bridgeport, Logan Township (Gloucester County), on which it plans a three-million-square-foot industrial park to be developed in partnership with Advance Realty.


LOCAL | January 17, 2017
UPDATE: Tunnel Project’s Gateway Development Corp. Elects Chair

Last week, the Gateway Development Corp. announced it elected Richard Bagger as chairman at the corporation’s first meeting in Newark. Currently a Port Authority Commissioner, Bagger was a New Jersey State Senator (R) and then chief-of-staff to Gov. Christie. In its first funding action, the corporation approved an Emerging Projects Agreement with the US DOT, the first step in securing billions of dollars in low-cost loans to pay for the Gateway project. The cost estimate for Gateway starts at $23 billion to cover two new tunnels, replacement of the Portal Bridge, two new tracks between Secaucus and the new tunnels, repair of the existing tunnels, an annex to Penn Station, a loop in Secaucus to connect Bergen County light rail with New Jersey Transit’s Northeast Corridor lines, and a second Portal bridge. On January 5, the Port Authority committed $2.7 billion in its capital plan for Gateway.


LOCAL | January 13, 2017
Joint Base Chosen as Home for New Tankers

The second-largest employer in New Jersey and the only tri-service military base in the country, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst has been chosen to house a new fleet of 24 Air Force KC-46 air-refueling tankers, expected to arrive beginning in 2020. With the aircraft could come new jobs and millions in military construction spending. It also helps protects the Joint Base against closing or budget cuts.


LOCAL | January 12, 2017
New York’s Gov. Cuomo Issues EO for State Contractors on Pay Equity

On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 162 requiring state contractors and subcontractors to report comprehensive payroll information on all workers employed on state contract jobs beginning on or after June 1, 2017. The information must include job title and salary in addition to the EEO information already required (gender, race, ethnicity).


NATIONAL | January 12, 2017
AGC Releases Hiring and Business Outlook Survey Results

Yesterday AGC of America released the results of its 2017 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook survey. Based on results from nearly 1,300 construction firms from 49 states and DC, 73% expected to expand payrolls in 2017, with demand growing in both private and public sectors in all market segments. Among the segments, respondents were most optimistic about demand in the hospital and retail/warehouse/lodging markets. Respondents remain worried about the availability of qualified workers and rising health and regulatory costs. For complete details and the report, visit:

https://www.agc.org/news/2017/01/10/seventy-three-percent-construction-firms-plan-expand-headcount-2017-contractors-0

New Jersey did not have enough respondents to warrant an individual state report.


NATIONAL | January 11, 2017
USDOT Creates Committee on Automation

With an illustrious

membership, the new advisory committee on automation, announced today by the USDOT, will immediately begin work on a number of issues facing transportation, included automated vehicles. The 25-person committee is co-chaired by Mary Barra of GM and Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, and includes engineering and transportation experts from well-known organizations and municipalities: Gloria Boyland of FedEx; Robin Chase of Zipcar; Douglas Chey of Hyperloop One; Henry Claypool of the Community Living Policy Center; Mick Cornett, Mayor of Oklahoma City; Missy Cummings of Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering; Dean Garfield of the Information Technology Industry Council; Mary Gustanski of Delphi Automotive; Debbie Hersman of the National Safety Council; Rachel Holt of Uber; Lisa Jackson of Apple; Tim Kentley of Klay-Zoox; John Krafcik of Waymo; Gerry Murphy of Amazon; Robert Reich of UC-Berkeley; Keller Rinaudo of Zipline; Chris Spear of the American Trucking Association; Sully Sullenberger of Safety Reliability Methods; Bryant Walker Smith of the University of South Carolina’s School of Law and School of Engineering; Jack Weekes of State Farm; Ed Wytkind of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department; and John Zimmer of Lyft.


LOCAL | January 11, 2017
Produce & Prepared Foods Provider Gets $28.1 Million EDA Incentive

Yesterday, F&S Produce Co., Inc., of Deerfield Township (Cumberland County), was awarded a 10-year, $28.1 million Grow New Jersey incentive from EDA to build a new 100,000-square-foot facility in the Rosenhayn section of Deerfield. The plant would include a USDA-approved prepared meal assembly area with space to process fruits and vegetables and cook meats and grains.


LOCAL | January 5, 2017
Fishermen’s Energy Loses Fed Funding for Windmill Farm

New Jersey has already lost out to Rhode Island as a wind energy leader, and now South Jersey’s Fishermen’s Energy has lost its federal funding to build a windmill farm off Atlantic City because the company couldn’t make a deal with the state for a power offtake agreement by December 31, 2016, the feds’ deadline. The US DOE has revoked most of the $47 million it committed to the project – nearly $11 million has already been spent on preliminary work. New Jersey’s state Board of Public Utilities rejected the Fishermen’s Energy plan three times, blocking any kind of power purchase agreement.


LOCAL | January 5, 2017
$10 Billion Plan to Remake JFK Airport

Yesterday, New York’s Gov. Cuomo revealed a $10 billion plan to remake JFK International Airport. The plan includes upgrading terminals, streamlining the roads and creating an enormous parking lot. However, the Port Authority, which operates the airport, was scheduled to meet today to review the 10-year capital plan, which included perhaps a tenth of that for JFK improvements.

December 2016

NATIONAL | December 29, 2016
AGC Analysis of Population Data as Predictor of Construction Demand

AGC of America’s Chief Economist Ken Simonson analyzed US Census Bureau population data posted this month to determine change over time (July 2010-July 2016), which can indicate where demand for construction may be strongest. For example, population across the US as a whole increased more slowly from 2015 to 2016, and has been “considerably slower” than in the decade before, which could mean demand for construction nationwide may also be slowed. Demand could be stronger, on the other hand, in states where year-over-year population growth is sustained or accelerated.

New Jersey’s population increased by small degrees from 2010 through July 1 of this year,for a modest six-year gain of 1.6%. However, growth in the state has decelerated in those six years, indicating demand may be less-than-robust.

In the region, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New York all lost population for the year from 2015 to 2016. Connecticut suffered from declining population over the last three years, while Pennsylvania and New York had maintained slow growth until this year. Rhode Island experienced up-and-down shifts over the six years, ending up with a small increase in mid-2016. Delaware made gradual gains although decelerated recently, but still reflected a 5.81% increase after six years, the best growth rate in the region.

For the table, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, July 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016, click here - State Population Change 2010-2016.  

Click here for Analysis of 2016 State Population Data.

LOCAL | December 28, 2016
New Milford Looks Ahead to Shopping Center Development

Following settlement of a legal dispute last week, New Milford (Bergen County) will now see a new shopping center on a currently vacant 14-acre lot. The dispute with the developer, S. Hekemian Group, led to the decision to allow a shopping center with a new ShopRite and bank, and to replace the existing New Milford ShopRite, just south of the lot, with 145 units of multifamily housing, 27 of which will be “affordable housing” (below market rate) as required by the state. As part of the settlement, the developer will donate part of the lot plus $800,000 for construction and maintenance of a borough athletic field.


LOCAL | December 27, 2016
NJ Transit to Fund Perth Amboy Train Station Renovation

Announced last week, New Jersey Transit will provide nearly $47 million to renovate the Perth Amboy Train Station, built in 1928 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. NJ Transit had gotten the renovation process started in 2013 with monies for design and engineering. Environmental assessment has already begun, and construction is expected to start in 2019.


NATIONAL | December 22, 2016
Metros Add Construction Jobs at Lowest Level in Four Years

We posted the November state construction employment data in Hot Topics earlier this week, and now bring you the metro area statistics for the year from November 2015 to November 2016. While the state numbers looked reasonably positive, drilling down finds construction employment increased in 211 metros for the year-over-year period, the lowest level in four years, according to AGC of America’s analysis. It declined in 86 metros and remained unchanged in 61. New Jersey’s numbers reflected the national pattern, with an uptick statewide for the year in the addition of 3,700 jobs, a 2% rise. But three metros lost jobs for the year:  Atlantic City-Hammonton shed 200 jobs, a 4% loss; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic lost 100 jobs, a 0.3% slip; and Trenton lost 400 jobs, an 8% slide. Vineland-Bridgeton maintained status quo. On the other hand, Camden added 2,600 jobs, a 12% jump that offset the losses; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean picked up 900 jobs, a 2% gain; and Newark added 600 jobs, a 1% increase.


LOCAL | December 20, 2016
Feds Want to Remake Northeast Corridor 

Last Friday, the Federal Railroad Administration unveiled its vision and recommendations for a 30-year remake of the Northeast Corridor, increasing the flow to four tracks in most locations, adding access to Philadelphia Airport, adding direct and frequent access to Hartford and Springfield, MA, and increasing or even doubling the number of regional trains, with up to five times more intercity trains. The FRA says the proposals would cut travel time from Boston to New York by 45 minutes and from New York to DC by 35 minutes. Work would start with the improvement of rail conditions along the corridor. However, these are recommendations only from the FRA, suggesting solutions that require more review, environment impact studies and significant funding.


LOCAL | December 20, 2016
Camden Gets $13.2 Million HUD Grant

A $13.2 million grant from the US Housing and Urban Development agency will go toward revitalizing the Mount Ephraim South neighborhood in Camden, one of five cities to receive a HUD 2016 implementation grant intended to turn old federal-subsidized housing into new mixed-use properties close to transit, schools and workplaces. The grant will come with another $280 million in private and public resources. Including Branch

Village in Mount Ephraim South, the neighborhood between I-676 and Haddon Avenue currently houses 5,000 residents. The grant will fund development of 176 new townhomes and a 50-unit senior mid-rise, and the city school district plans a new high school and K-8 school, together estimated at $50 million.


LOCAL | December 20, 2016
Update: More German Groceries in Jersey

In July, we posted a Hot Topic about Lidl, the German-owned grocery store chain coming to Millville. Last week, the Lacey Township (Ocean County) Planning Board gave “conditional” approval for a 36,000-square-foot Lidl store with nearly 200 parking spaces on 6.2 acres at the intersection of Route 9 and Haines Street. The conditions included adding taller evergreen trees, fencing and sidewalks along the property line and contributing a share of the cost of a new traffic light on Haines. In addition to Millville, Lidl plans to open groceries in Burlington County, Hazlet (Monmouth County) and Philadelphia.


NATIONAL | December 19, 2016
Uptick in Construction Jobs Across the Country for Month and Year

State-by-state, November saw an increase in construction jobs for both the month from October to November and for the year from November 2015 to November 2016. For the month, 29 states and DC added jobs, while 21 lost jobs. For the year-over-year period, 34 states added jobs, 14 lost jobs, and two states plus DC remained unchanged. While New Jersey lost jobs for the month – down 500, a 0.3% drop – it picked up 3,700 jobs for the year-over-year, a 2.5% increase. In the region, New York took a big hit for the month, shedding 2,400 jobs (a 0.7% drop), placing it second in the nation for jobs lost from October to November. New York also lost jobs for the year, dropping 6,400, a 1.7% decline. Connecticut lost the biggest percentage of jobs for the month, a 3.1% drop with 1,800 jobs lost, and recorded a decrease of 2,200 jobs for the year, a 3.8% drop. Delaware picked up 300 jobs for the month, a 1.5% rise, but was down 400 jobs for the year, a 1.9% decline. Pennsylvania lost 100 jobs for the month, a 0.04% slip, but added 800 for the year-over-year, a 0.3% uptick. Rhode Island gained during both periods, adding 200 jobs for the month, a 1.1% rise, and 300 for the year, a 1.7% gain.


LOCAL | December 13, 2016
EDA Approves Incentives for Three Manufacturing Projects

In action today, EDA approved a 10-year, $29.4 million Grow New Jersey award for Vitaquest International LLC, manufacturer of custom-contract nutritional supplements, which will invest more than $4.1 million in a 79,650-square-foot facility in Paterson, create 100 new jobs and retain 110 jobs that might have been lost had the company moved to Rochester, NY.

         EDA also approved a 10-year, $18.2 million Grow New Jersey award for Cascades Containerboard Packaging, manufacturer of containerboard and corrugated paper products, should the company construct a new 481,908-square-foot facility on Kapkowski Road in Elizabeth, create 182 new jobs and invest more than $116 million in the project. The company is considering Elizabeth and Newtown, CT, locations.

         Cyalume Specialty Products Inc. could receive a 10-year, $1.5 million Grow New Jersey award if it expands in Franklin Township (Somerset County) and invests $4.5 million to renovate a 44,392-square-foot facility. The company, which makes specialty chemical products for the pharmaceutical, medical products and cosmetics market, would create 10 new jobs and retain 27 if it decides not to relocate to West Springfield, MA.


LOCAL | December 13, 2016
UPDATE:  Amtrak Adds Six Months to Each Gateway Tunnel Fix

The first part of the Gateway Project includes building two new tunnels under the Hudson. But Amtrak announced yesterday that rehabilitating the existing tunnels, originally projected to take a year apiece, will now take 18 months each. After the new tunnels are built, the old tunnels will be shut down during off-peak hours for repairs, one tunnel at a time, allowing 55 hours of work time each weekend.


LOCAL | December 7, 2016
Dream Sequence: Triple Five Presents American Dream Design Video

Construction has apparently resumed on the American Dream project in the Meadowlands, and Monday the developer, Triple Five Worldwide, released a video of renderings depicting a chrome-and-glass exterior to replace the multi-colored existing face. Triple Five says it anticipates a Fall 2018 completion date. View the YouTube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVwxucZzl_M


LOCAL | December 7, 2016
NJ Post-Sandy Dredging Gets Extension and Budget

NJ DEP reports the state has a seven-year extension on its deadline to finish dredging 131 state channels clogged with sand and silt because of Superstorm Sandy – and will receive approximately $60 million more in federal FEMA funds for “vital waterway recovery projects.” The deadline was extended from October 30, 2017, to December 31, 2024. To date, NJDOT has restored 12 channels to authorized depth and is dredging 15 more. The 131 channels represent most of the 200 that were affected by the storm and are eligible for FEMA reimbursement.


LOCAL | December 7, 2016
Palmieri to Leave CRDA

John Palmieri, who has served as Executive Director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority for more than five years, will leave the position at year-end, to be replaced by Deputy Director Christopher Howard. Palmieri was appointed by Gov. Christie in 2011, after CRDA took on planning and development authority in Atlantic City’s Tourism District.


LOCAL | December 7, 2016
Gibbstown DuPont Factory Moves to Phase Two in Redevelopment

Monday night the Greenwich Township (Gloucester County) Planning Board approved second-phase plans for redevelopment of the old DuPont Repauno Plant in Gibbstown. Phase one, approved in July, allowed construction of the first building, a cold-storage warehouse; phase two will see more warehouses and an eight-million-gallon underground storage tank for butane, repurposed from the anhydrous ammonia cavern of the original plant, which closed in 1999.

November 2016

NATIONAL | November 29, 2016
October’s Construction Employment Up in Two-Thirds of Metro Areas

Construction employment rose in 223 of 358 metro areas (62%) between October 2015 and October 2016, fell in 73 (20%) and remained unchanged in 62 (17%). In New Jersey, two of seven metros lost jobs for the year-over-year:  Atlantic City-Hammonton dropped 200 jobs, a 4% decrease, and Trenton lost 400 jobs, a 7% drop. On the upside, Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 900 jobs for the year, a 3% gain; Camden added 700, also up 3%; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 2,000, a 5% hike; Newark added 2,700, up 6%; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, a 4% rise.


NATIONAL | November 28, 2016
Report Studies Effect of Undocumented Construction Workers on GDP

In the US from 2011 to 2013, the construction industry employed approximately 1.1 million undocumented workers, a 13% share of the industry’s workforce, according to a working paper released this month by the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research. The report calculates if those workers were excluded from the industry, construction GDP would drop about 5%, $30.9 billion, in the short-term, and about 8%, $47.6 billion, in the long-term. On the other hand, if undocumented workers gained legal status, the industry’s GDP could increase 1.2%, $7.7 billion, in the short-term, and 1.9%, $12.1 billion, in the long-term. Two other research groups, the Migration Policy Institute and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, responded with skepticism to the report, whose authors explained their findings are based on projected short-term reduction of building activities and long-term increase in labor costs. Released November 14, “The Economic Contribution of Unauthorized Workers: An Industry Analysis” by Ryan Edwards and Francesc Ortega of Queens College (New York), can be found online at http://nber.org/papers/w22834.


LOCAL | November 28, 2016
Camden to See More University Development on Broadway

The partnership between Rowan University and Rutgers-Camden advanced plans last week for a $65 million Center for Sciences complex on Broadway in Camden, across from its $70 million health sciences center. The 100,000-square-foot center on the east side of the 200 block of Broadway, for which the partnership is soliciting “pre-design” services, represents the third phase of a joint health sciences campus. It will include a “unified health sciences library,” classrooms, labs, a research incubator, healthcare-related retail, office and research space. Construction is expected to begin in 2017 on the first two phases and demolition of existing properties on the third-phase site could start in the summer of 2017. At the same time, the Camden County Board of Freeholders is considering a mixed-use complex at the Walter Rand Transportation Center, a block north of the health sciences campus.


NATIONAL | November 28, 2016
Federal Court Blocks Overtime Rule

As companies prepared to comply December 1 with the federal overtime rule requiring overtime pay for salaried workers making approximately $47,500 per year or less, a federal court in Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the rule last Tuesday, November 22. The US District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, in a case filed by 21 states, declared the US DOL did not have the authority to determine overtime eligibility based on a “minimum” salary. The DOL has not indicated whether it will appeal the decision.


LOCAL | November 22, 2016
Kennedy Health to Build $225 Million Tower and Parking Deck on Washington Township Campus

Kennedy Health announced it will build a seven-story tower and 700-space parking garage on its Washington Township Campus (Gloucester County), which already includes Kennedy University Hospital, surgical, cancer, dialysis and rehab centers, and a long-term care facility. Preliminary plans show a 200,000-square-foot tower with four floors of approximately 30 private patient rooms per floor, same-day surgery services, a cafeteria, hospital support services and a large lobby. Estimated at $225 million, construction on the project could begin in late 2017.


NATIONAL | November 22, 2016
Better Roads Releases 2016 Bridge Inventory

Equipment World’s Better Roads released its latest bridge inventory last Friday, noting that 10% fewer state DOT chiefs are worried about finding the funding to fix the functionally obsolete (FO) or structurally deficient (SD) bridges in their states. The publication attributes that to the enactment of more state programs to fund bridge repairs, with less reliance on federal funds. According to the 2016 Bridge Inventory, New Jersey is one of 17 states with 25%-50% of its bridges classified as FO or SD. The state has 6,680 bridges, of which 1,581 are FO and 568 are SD, for a total of 2,149, or 32.2%. For details and a mouse-over map of the states, visit http://www.equipmentworld.com/2016-better-roads-bridge-inventory-2-year-decline-in-deficient-u-s-bridges-snapped/.  


LOCAL | November 21, 2016
NJDOT Launches NJPass for Trucks to Bypass Weigh Stations

On Friday, NJDOT launched NJPass, a technology installed in fleet trucks that allows them to bypass the state’s weigh stations at I-78, I-80 and I-295. Any trucking company can apply for enrollment and, once approved, pay an annual fee. For details, visit www.njpass.net


LOCAL | November 21, 2016
Port Authority Approves Gateway Oversight Entity

Last Thursday, the Port Authority approved creation of the Gateway Program Development Corporation to oversee the Gateway rail transportation project. The municipal corporation, headed by John Porcari of Parsons Brinckerhoff, will be able to apply for and accept up to $6 billion in low-cost loans and staff the corporation, which could include “borrowing” staff from the Port Authority, Amtrak and NJ Transit.


NATIONAL | November 18, 2016
Less Than Half the States Add Construction Jobs in October

For the month from September to October, only 23 states and DC added construction jobs. For the year from October 2015 to October 2016, 35 states added jobs. AGC of America reports a decline in public-sector projects has led to the slowing demand for workers. New Jersey lost 200 jobs for the month, a 0.1% decrease, but gained 6,100 jobs for the year-over-year period, a 4.1% increase. In the region, Delaware lost the highest percentage of construction jobs for the month, down 2.8% with a drop of 600 jobs, and also lost 1,300 jobs year-over-year, a 6% drop. Pennsylvania was another loser, shedding 800 jobs for the month, a 0.3% drop, and 3,000 jobs for the year-over-year, a 1.3% drop. Connecticut gained 800 jobs for the month, a 1.4% increase, and 200 for the year-over-year, a 0.4% rise. New York picked up 1,100 jobs for the month, a 0.3% increase, and 2,700 jobs for the year-over-year, a 0.7% rise. And Rhode Island added 100 jobs for the month, up 0.6%, and 100 for the year-over-year, also a 0.6% increase.


LOCAL | November 10, 2016
Camden County to Build New Social Services Center

The Camden County Board of Social Services is planning a new $60 million, 195,000-square-foot facility that will eventually mean the demolition of its current home, the Aletha R. Wright Administration Building on Market Street, which will become a park next to City Hall. The new building on the 2600 block of Mount Ephraim in Camden’s Fairview section, expected to be completed in late 2018 or later, will consolidate Social Services and the job-training and resource center, with 700 employees serving 2,500 clients a day. It is accessible by NJ Transit buses.


LOCAL | November 10, 2016
State Approves Five-Year Takeover of AC

Yesterday the Local Finance Board unanimously voted to allow the state to take control of Atlantic City’s government and finances. The move gives the state power to renegotiate union contracts, hire and fire employees, sell city assets such as Bader Field and the Municipal Utilities Authority, and overrule or reverse city council actions. The Local Finance Board’s decision followed last week’s rejection by the Department of Community Affairs of AC’s proposed five-year plan to rescue the city.


NATIONAL | November 2, 2016
September Year-Over-Year, Construction Employment Rises in Two-Thirds of Metro Areas

In 226 of 358 US metro areas, 63%, construction employment rose. It declined in 74 metros and remained steady in 58. Like the rest of the nation, metro areas in New Jersey were a mixed bag, with two metro areas losing construction jobs, one making a modest gain and four showing healthy increases. Atlantic City-Hammonton lost 100 jobs, a 2% decrease, and Trenton lost 400 jobs, an 8% drop. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 200 jobs, a 1% bump; Vineland-Bridgeton also added 200 jobs, a 7% jump; Camden added 1,400 jobs, a 6% increase; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 2,200 jobs, a 6% rise; and Newark added 2,900 jobs, a 7% rise.


LOCAL | November 2, 2016
CarePoint Health Plans Nine Satellite ER Centers in Three Counties

CarePoint Health announced it will build nine new satellite emergency room facilities in Hudson, Bergen and Passaic counties. In partnership with Adeptus Health, and following approval by the Department of Health, CarePoint will locate the centers in Greenville and downtown Jersey City, Union City, Edgewater and North Bergen (all Hudson County); Palisades Park, Carlstadt and Lodi (all in Bergen); and Clifton in Passaic County. Plans are to build them in three phases, at a cost of approximately $8 million per center.


LOCAL | November 1, 2016
Florence & Mansfield Share e-Commerce Development Goal

Changes are in place that would help Florence and Mansfield in Burlington County add approximately 6.5 million square feet of industrial space between the NJ Turnpike and Route 130, with the goal of building more e-commerce fulfillment facilities. County freeholders voted to endorse changing state planning areas in Florence to allow for the industrial node, a move that must now be ruled upon by the State Planning Commission. If the state approves, next steps would include changing the zoning to industrial and getting DEP approval on a wastewater management plan to permit sewer and water service. In the end, if all the government regulations are aligned, private developers could bid to purchase the zoned land, which includes farms and residential properties. One possible developer is NFI of Cherry Hill, known for the Subaru and Quality Packages warehouses in Florence.


LOCAL | November 1, 2016
Wind Farm Auction Off New Jersey Coast in December

As we continue to follow New Jersey wind farm developments in Hot Topics, the latest news is the next federal government lease auction, scheduled for December 15, of 80,000 acres of the Atlantic Ocean seafloor approximately 18 miles southeast of Sandy Hook. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management oversees commercial offshore wind leases and identified 14 companies qualified to participate in the auction, including a Deepwater Wind subsidiary, which just finished building the first US wind farm off Rhode Island, and New Jersey’s Fishermen’s Energy. Last November, two other companies were awarded leases to build wind farms on 344,000 acres across a 60-mile stretch from Cape May Court House to Barnegat.

October 2016

LOCAL | October 27, 2016
Mack-Cali Buys 47 Undeveloped Acres in Wall Township

Mack-Cali Realty Corp. has purchased 47 acres of undeveloped land in Wall Township (Monmouth County) from Sheldon Gross Realty. The land has been approved for office and industrial use with a maximum facility size of 275,000 square feet.


LOCAL | October 27, 2016
Construction Management Groups Sue NYC Over Crane Laws

After the February crane collapse in lower Manhattan that killed a resident, the city updated its crane rules to require a shutdown of operations when wind speeds reach 30 mph. On Tuesday, two construction management associations filed a lawsuit to nullify the new regulations, stating no existing laws or standards in the US or internationally mandate or “even suggest that 30 mph winds necessitate special safety placement or maneuvers for crawler cranes.” The Building Trades Employers’ Association of New York and the General Contractors Association of New York claim the 30 mph clause comes from the 1968 building code and the Buildings Department used it in the new rules before the cause of the fatal accident was determined. The associations also take exception to the new lift director position, designated in the rules as a person who must be onsite along with a previously mandated crane safety director. Overall, the associations claim the rules ignore input from industry experts and want to prevent the city from enforcing similar rules in the future.


NATIONAL | October 24, 2016
OSHA Delays Enforcement of Anti-Retaliation Provisions - Again

Previously delayed until November 10, OSHA again has delayed enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions of its injury and illness tracking rule until December 1 at the request of a federal court. As we reported in the July Monthly Update (available online at www.accnj.org), AGC of America has serious concerns about OSHA’s interpretation of the provisions, which could result in prohibiting mandatory post-incident drug-testing and restricting certain safety incentive programs. To explain its position, AGC is hosting a free webinar for members, "Making Sense of OSHA’s Controversial Drug Testing Position in the Context of Injury and Illness Reporting," next Monday, October 31, 2-3 pm Eastern time. To register, visit https://www.agc.org/learn/education-training/events/webedmaking-sense-osha%E2%80%99s-controversial-drug-testing-position-context.


NATIONAL | October 24, 2016
OSHA Proposes Revisions to Standards, Including Construction

As part of OSHA’s initiative to update standards, the agency has proposed 18 changes to various standards, including 10 that are pertinent to construction: Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs), Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals, Personal Protective Equipment, Lanyard/lifeline Break Strength, Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Excavation Hazards, Underground Construction, Rollover Protective Structures, Regulation of Coke Oven Emissions in Construction and Collection of Social Security Numbers. For the Hazardous Chemicals Standard for construction, OSHA proposes “to replace the entire 31 pages of regulatory text” with a cross-reference to the general industry standard, which is identical. For all the details, access the summary at https://www.osha.gov/sip-iv/summary.html and the news release at https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=33234.  


NATIONAL | October 21, 2016
State Construction Employment Gains for Year, Slows for Month

While 35 states added jobs in September compared to a year ago, only 21 added jobs in the month from August to September. Construction employment in the region was uneven, with New York adding the most jobs for the month (5,100, a 1.4% increase) and Pennsylvania losing the most (down 3,400 jobs, a 1.4% drop). New York also gained 5,200 jobs in the year-over-year, another 1.4% gain, while Pennsylvania lost 2,600 for the year, a 1.1% drop. New Jersey lost 600 jobs for the month, down 0.4%, but over the year picked up 5,700 jobs, a 3.9% increase. Connecticut added 500 jobs for the month, a 0.9% increase, but lost 700 compared to last year, a 1.2% drop. Delaware’s construction employment did not change month-to-month, but the state lost 200 jobs over the year, a 0.9% drop. Rhode Island also maintained the status quo from August to September, but picked up 100 jobs in the year-over-year, a 0.6% gain.


LOCAL | October 21, 2016
Port Authority Commits $300 Million for Replacing Portal Bridge

Yesterday the Port Authority Board of Commissioners authorized more than $300 million to replace the Portal North Bridge, part of the Gateway project that includes a new trans-Hudson rail network. The Authority will fund debt service on a $284 million low-cost, long-term federal loan and $18 million in loan expenses. With permits already in place for the bridge, which crosses the Hackensack River near Secaucus Junction, construction could start as early as 2018.


LOCAL | October 17, 2016
ResinTech Gets $138 Million in EDA Incentives to Relocate to Camden

ResinTech, currently based in West Berlin, was approved for a 10-year, $138 million EDA Grow New Jersey incentive package to relocate to Camden, rather than move to Roanoke, VA. If ResinTech, which manufactures ion exchange resin, decides to stay in New Jersey, it might build a 385,000-square-foot facility on Federal Street in Camden that would house both its manufacturing plant and corporate headquarters. The Camden move would retain 92 full-time positions and create 173 new full-time jobs.


NATIONAL | October 13, 2016
AGC of America Joins Alliance to Prevent Construction Worker Suicides

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report in July that revealed construction workers commit suicide at an alarming rate – 53.3 per 100,000 workers in 2012, second only to farming, fishing and forestry industry workers – the Construction Financial Management Association formed an industry alliance to work on the problem. AGC of America has joined the efforts of the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention to promote mental health awareness and help prevent worker suicides. Visit www.cfma.org for the CFMA’s web page on the Alliance or look for #SuicidePreventionCFMA on social media.


LOCAL | October 6, 2016
AGC of America Analyzes Economic Impact of Construction in New Jersey

In September, AGC issued the latest analysis of construction’s impact on New Jersey’s economy, based on statistics from 2014-2016. Last year, construction contributed $22 billion, or 3.8%, of the state’s GDP of $568 billion, slightly less than the industry as a whole contributed to the country’s GDP (4%). Private nonresidential construction spending in the state totaled $4.1 billion, based on 2014 figures. Construction employment in New Jersey hit 152,400 in July 2016 for both residential and nonresidential segments, an increase of 2.6% over July 2015 and a 14% decrease from April 2006, the state’s peak employment in the industry. In 2014, 94% of New Jersey’s 20,900 construction firms were considered “small,” with less than 20 employees. In 2015, construction worker pay in the state averaged $67,700, 9% more than all private-sector employees in the state. For the one-page PDF with complete details, download the NJ-Fact-Sheet-Economic-Impact-of-Construction.


NATIONAL | October 6, 2016
AGC of America and Other Groups Ask for Long-Term Funding in Presidential Candidates’ Infrastructure Plans

In a letter to the Trump and Clinton campaigns, AGC of America and many other business and labor groups told the Presidential candidates to include “sustainable revenue” sources to fund their infrastructure plans. Pointing out the surface transportation law enacted in late 2015 contained no measures for long-term solvency of the federal Highway Trust Fund, the letter stated the revenue “must be long-term, reliable, dedicated and focused on the users and beneficiaries of our transportation network.” The groups assured the candidates they “stand ready to assist the next presidential administration in formulating and implementing” an infrastructure agenda. In addition to AGC of America, the letter was signed by 33 groups, including the International Union of Operating Engineers, Laborers’ International Union of North America, the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Asphalt Pavement Association and the National Electrical Contractors Association. To read the letters and view the signatures, visit https://www.agc.org/sites/default/files/Files/Communications/Clinton_Letter.pdf
https://www.agc.org/sites/default/files/Files/Communications/Trump_Letter_0.pdf


LOCAL | October 5, 2016
Vineland to Build New Police Department Facility

With construction expected to begin next June, Vineland is building a new 59,000-square-foot police department facility, with a 6,150-square-foot out-building for car, bike and kennel storage. It will be located across Plum Street from the old one, which will be demolished for a new parking lot. Construction will be financed with a $25 million bond.

September 2016

LOCAL | September 29, 2016
Bill Could Allow Municipalities To Restart and Receive Compensation for TTF Projects

Legislation passed this week by the New Jersey Assembly’s Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee, A-4114, would permit counties and municipalities to fund TTF projects shut down by Governor Christie and “require (New Jersey) DOT to compensate government entities for contractual delay damages resulting from shutdown” of TTF projects.


NATIONAL | September 28, 2016
August Construction Employment Up in 61% of Metros Over Last Year

Of the 358 metro areas in the US, 220 (61%) added construction jobs in August compared to August 2015. Another 76 metros lost jobs, and construction employment remained unchanged in 62. AGC of America notes the number of metros reporting gains is the smallest since April 2013, while the number of job openings is “at a 10-year high,” indicating shortages of qualified workers in parts of the country. In New Jersey, five of the seven metro areas gained jobs for the year-over-year: Bergen-Hudson-Passaic picked up 300 jobs, a 1% increase; Camden added 1,100 jobs, a 5% lift; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 1,600 jobs, a 4% rise; Newark added 1,900 jobs, a 4% increase; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, a 3% increase. Atlantic City-Hammonton and Trenton both lost jobs for the period, down 300 (a 5% drop) and 400 (a 7% drop) respectively.


NATIONAL | September 21, 2016
States Add Construction Jobs for the Year, But Monthly Growth Slows

Compared to August 2015, construction employment rose in 36 states in August 2016. But the growth from July to August of this year was sluggish, with less than half the states – 24 – adding jobs. AGC notes public-sector demand slowed for the month, contributing to the mediocre growth. New Jersey’s construction employment figures indicated a bump of 5,100 jobs in August compared to last year, a 3.4% increase. But the state added only 200 jobs for the month, continuing to reflect the shutdown of TTF projects. In the region, New York was the biggest loser for the month, dropping 4,600 jobs, more than any other state, and measuring a 1.3% drop. Over the year, New York showed a modest gain of 0.3% with 1,200 new jobs. Connecticut lost 1,600 jobs for the month, a 2.8% drop, and another 1,600 jobs compared to a year ago, again a 2.8% drop. Pennsylvania lost 2,000 jobs for the month, down 0.8%, but picked up 600 jobs year-over-year, a 0.3% rise. Delaware had modest gains, up 200 jobs for the month, a 1% increase, and 100 jobs year-over-year, a 0.5% increase. Rhode Island also showed small gains, up 100 jobs for the month, a 0.6% rise, and 300 jobs for the year-over-year, a 1.8% increase.


LOCAL | September 20, 2016
NJPAC Development Funding in Place After a Decade

One Theater Square, a $116 million mixed-use development planned for the area around the Performing Arts Center in Newark, was initially proposed in 2005, but last week finally got all its funding lined up and could open in Summer 2018. Current plans include a 22-story building on 1.2 acres with 12,000 square feet of ground-floor retail topped by 390,000 square feet divided into 245 apartments. Those will range from 585-square-foot studios to 1,700-square-foot three-bedroom units, including 24 affordable housing units, along with a swimming pool and health club. The building, which also includes 285 parking spaces, features a curved glass front and will be located across from NJPAC and Military Park. Dranoff Properties of Philadelphia was originally named developer; Dranoff has now signed a letter of intent with NJPAC’s Theater Square Development Co.


LOCAL | September 19, 2016
PennDOT Rolls Out Mobile App for Construction

Construction-related documents are now accessible on a mobile app developed by Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation for its construction inspectors, both in-house and contracted. The documents – plans, permits, correspondence, change orders, etc. – are automatically saved and updated, allowing inspectors to access them on a mobile device instead of carrying the paper loads. PennDOT claims $11 million in productivity savings the first year, another $17 million in the fiscal year, and looks forward to saving $81 million in the next five years.


LOCAL | September 14, 2016
UPDATE:  American Dream to Offer SpongeBob and Ninja Turtles

Now that financing for American Dream Meadowlands appears more secure, developers Triple Five have announced some fun:  an agreement with Nickelodeon Universe to use its characters, including SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as entertainment at the megamall’s indoor amusement park. American Dream Meadowlands now has a tentative completion date of mid-2018.


LOCAL | September 14, 2016
Rocky Hill Bridge Project to be Funded by Somerset County

Work on replacing the Rocky Hill Bridge on Route 518 began in July, just before Gov. Christie shut down all TTF projects. Yesterday, Somerset County announced it has agreed to pay the $2.75 million to complete the project because the closure has been a hardship for residents and first responders. The Board of Chosen Freeholders will fund the project as a capital expenditure with no added tax burden on county residents.


NATIONAL | September 6, 2016
July Private Construction Spending Up from Last Year, Public Spending Sluggish

July construction spending, at $1.153 trillion, was up 1.5% compared to July 2015, but remained roughly the same as June, down $345 million, less than 0.1%. Public-sector construction spending dropped 3.1% for the month and was down 6.5% year-over-year. On the plus side, private construction spending increased 1% for the month, up 4.4% year-over-year. Total non-residential spending slid down 0.3% for the month, due in large part to the Census Bureau’s upward revision to June’s numbers, but increased 1.4% year-over-year. Looked at by sector, office construction spending was up 4% for the month with a whopping 25.2% jump for the year-over-year, making it the strongest non-residential sector; power dropped 1.9% for the month but inched up 0.7% for the year-over year; and highways and streets were up 0.2% for the month, down 1.7% year-over-year.

AGC of America points out that in the first seven months of 2016 construction spending was up 5.6% over the same period in 2015, with private nonresidential spending up 8.6% for the year-to-date. By sector for January through July 2016, power construction spending grew 8.3% over the same period in 2015; commercial retail/warehouse spending was up 10.1% year-to-date; and private office construction spending was up 27% year-to-date. But public construction spending was up only 0.2% for the first seven months of 2016, with highway and street spending up 2.6% year-to-date and education construction spending up 4% year-to-date.

August 2016

NATIONAL | August 26, 2016
AGC of America Responds to Federal “Fair Play” Rule

On Wednesday, AGC of America’s Steve Sandherr released public comment condemning the new federal “Fair Play” rule following release of the final regulation that allows federal officials to blacklist firms. AGC’s position is the federal government already has in place a “robust, clear-cut and fairly administered suspension and debarment program to deal with the extremely small number of federal contractors that do not operate in good faith.” In addition, AGC objects to the provision that “unelected federal bureaucrats” can “make arbitrary decisions about which firms will be singled out for punishment…with broad latitude to impose separate and inconsistent consequences on those firms.” Sandherr concludes that AGC of America will “explore all possible legislative and legal measures for undoing this deeply troubling…mandate.”


LOCAL | August 26, 2016
UPDATE:  American Dream Creeps Closer

Yesterday the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority authorized a $1.1 billion bond sale to Public Finance Authority of Wisconsin, which will then resell them to investors. Along with $1.5 billion in other private financing, the sale will hopefully jumpstart resumption of work on American Dream Meadowlands, perhaps as soon as September.


NATIONAL | August 22, 2016
US DOT Launches Mobile App for Pocket Guide to Transportation

US DOT is celebrating its 50th anniversary by launching a mobile app for its popular “Pocket Guide to Transportation.” Straight from the DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which publishes the hard-copy Pocket Guide every year, the app will instantly produce any transportation factoid you might want. You can search Infrastructure, Moving People, Moving Goods, Performance, Economy, Safety and Environment, and a new Major Trends section. Available for iPhones, iPads and Androids.


LOCAL | August 22, 2016
NJ Construction Employment Plummets With Work Shutdown in July; National Picture Not Strong Either

New Jersey ranked second from the bottom in the nation in July’s construction employment figures, losing 3,200 jobs, a 2.1% drop compared to June. The loss, of course, was primarily due to the shutdown of road and infrastructure projects ordered by Governor Christie on June 30. But across the country, only 23 states and DC gained jobs for the month. In the region, New York was third from the bottom for the month, losing 2,800 jobs, a 0.8% drop. Delaware lost the highest percentage of construction jobs from June to July, down 2.3% with the loss of 500 jobs. Connecticut lost 600 jobs for the month, a 1% drop. Pennsylvania and Rhode Island were the only regional states to gain jobs for the month, picking up 3,900 (up 1.7%) and 100 (up 0.6%) respectively.

For the year from July 2015 to July 2016, the picture was better. Along with 38 other states, New Jersey added 3,800 jobs compared to a year ago, a 2.6% increase. Also in the gain column:  New York added 6,400 jobs for the year, a 1.8% rise; Pennsylvania added 3,900 jobs, a 1.7% rise; and Connecticut added 400 jobs for the year, a 0.7% rise. Delaware lost 100 jobs compared to a year ago, a 0.5% drop; and Rhode Island also lost 100 jobs for the year, a 0.6% drop.


LOCAL | August 17, 2016
AC Gets Two Bids in Bader Field Auction

Just 16 months ago, Atlantic City was moving fast to select development for Bader Field. But in the city’s sealed auction that ended August 4, only two bids came in for the former municipal airport on N. Albany Avenue, with the top bid at $50 million. Legend Properties Inc. of Cherry Hill and Bader Field Development LLC of Long Branch were the two bidders.


LOCAL | August 17, 2016
Appeals Court Says Belmar Voters Will Decide Pay-to-Play

Last week, an appeals court affirmed a Superior Court order from July that will allow Belmar voters to decide changes in the town’s campaign finance law. The Borough Council had increased the amount of money candidates can receive from political action committees, vendors and developers without recusing themselves from voting on town development and liquor licenses. A group of residents then sued the Borough Council on ethical grounds, leading to the court cases. The special referendum is scheduled for September 27, 2016.


LOCAL | August 11, 2016
Food Commercialization Center Coming to Cumberland County

Bridgeton will house the 27,000-square-foot Food Commercialization Center, a resource to help aspiring food industry leaders and entrepreneurs launch their ventures. The Cumberland County Improvement Authority, in partnership with the Cumberland Empowerment Zone Corporation and Bridgeton, will develop, own and manage the facility, expected to be completed by the end of 2017. The space will include units of 2,000 to 5,000 square feet to provide short-term accommodations for fledgling businesses.


LOCAL | August 11, 2016
This Week’s UPDATE #2 on American Dream Financing

Yesterday the Local Finance Board, a division of the Department of Community Affairs, approved the $800 million bond issuance proposed by the NJ Sports & Exposition Authority the day before. The monies will help work begin again on the American Dream Meadowlands project.


LOCAL | August 10, 2016
UPDATE: NJSEA Approves New Financing for American Dream Project

Hot Topics has been following the progress of the American Dream Meadowlands project, which lately had been stalled as developer Triple Five sought additional financing. Earlier this week, the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority unanimously approved a new bond issue to push the project along, for perhaps as much as $800 million.


LOCAL | August 10, 2016
Freehold Voter Decisions Struck Down in Favor of $32 Million School Expansion

As we reported via bulletin, in two special school construction referenda in September and December 2014, Freehold Borough residents rejected proposals to renovate and expand Park Avenue Elementary/Middle School (K-8) and the Freehold Learning Center, at a cost of $32,902,400, of which the state would have covered approximately 38% ($12.5 million). But last week the State Commissioner of Education, David Hespe, in concurrence with an administrative law judge, overruled the voter decisions and authorized a bond issuance for the work, noting it was “an extraordinary remedy” that was needed to ease overcrowding and provide a “thorough and efficient” education in Borough schools. The project will include 17 new full-size classrooms and five small-group classrooms at Park Avenue Elementary, along with a gym and library at the school. The Freehold Learning Center will get a cafeteria. All new construction will be covered by the Schools Development Authority; renovations will be covered by taxpayers via the bond issuance. Freehold Borough Superintendent Rocco Tomazic noted the district will work with the SDA to plan and build the project.


NATIONAL | August 3, 2016
June Construction Jobs Rise in Nearly Two-Thirds of US Metro Areas

Compared to June of last year, construction employment rose in 228 of 358 (64%) metro areas in June, dropped in 82 and remained the same in 48. In New Jersey, five of seven metro areas saw a jobs gain. Newark added the most jobs in construction year-over-year, up 2,900 for a 7% gain. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 2,200 jobs, also a 7% increase; Camden added 1,800 jobs for an 8% rise; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 600 jobs, up 2%; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, up 4%. Losing jobs year-over-year were Trenton, down 500 jobs for a 9% slump, and Atlantic City-Hammonton, down 300 jobs, a 5% drop.

July 2016

LOCAL | July 27, 2016
Woodbine Applies for $4 Million in Fed Funding for Sewer Project

In an application filed last week, the Borough of Woodbine and its Municipal Utilities Authority seek $4 million in funding from the USDA Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program to begin the two-phase $12.5 million Woodbine Sewer System Construction Project. The first phase, which this funding would cover in part, is all about connection – connecting the borough, the sanitation landfill of Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority, the Woodbine Municipal Airport and Business Park, and the Woodbine Developmental Center with a force main proposed by Cape May County’s MUA that would then connect to the MUA’s Seven Mile Beach/Middle Township Wastewater Facility. The second phase would capture and carry waste from Woodbine’s downtown through the phase-one connections. Woodbine will submit another USDA Rural Development application for that phase. Cape May County will cover an additional $8 million needed to construct the force main, bringing the total estimated cost of the project to $20.5 million.


NATIONAL | July 22, 2016
More than Three-Quarters of States Add Construction Jobs for Year

June construction employment rose in 39 states compared to June 2015, but half the states lost construction jobs for the month from May to June. New Jersey, however, looked strong for both periods, adding 6,800 jobs compared to last June, a 4.6% increase that put it in the #20 spot in the nation. For the month, New Jersey added 1,300 jobs, up 0.8% and in the #16 spot among all states. In the region, Connecticut added 400 for the year-over-year period, a 0.7% increase, but lost 900 for the month, a 1.5% drop; Delaware added 700 jobs for the year and 700 for the month, a 3.4% rise for each period; New York added 8,600 jobs for the year, a 2.4% increase, but lost 1,600 for the month, down 0.4%; Pennsylvania lost 100 jobs for the year-over-year, down 0.04%, but gained 3,400 for the month, a 1.5% rise; and Rhode Island lost in both periods, down 100 jobs for the year, a 0.6% decrease, and 600 for the month, a 3.4% loss.


LOCAL | July 20, 2016
NYC Mayor’s EO Requires Union Labor and Labor Agreements on City-Financed Projects

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio issued Executive Order No. 19 last week requiring that “city development projects” of a certain size have in place a “Labor Peace Agreement” between the labor union and the developer to prevent work stoppages or other interference, as well as allow a labor union to represent all the craftworkers on the job. Commercial or retail projects larger than 100,000 square feet and housing projects with more than 100 units, both receiving financial assistance from the city, are covered under the terms of the EO. Each Labor Peace Agreement would remain in effect for 10 years or for the duration of the city’s financial assistance to the project. The EO went into effect immediately on July 14, when it was issued.


LOCAL | July 19, 2016
NJ DOL Commissioner Hal Wirths to Leave Office in August

Governor Christie announced yesterday that Hal Wirths, who has led the Department of Labor and Workforce Development for more than six years, will leave the position next month. He took office in February 2010. The Governor noted he plans to nominate Commissioner Wirths to serve on the State Patrol Board.


LOCAL | July 15, 2016
Gateway Projects Get Federal “New Starts” Funding

The two new Hudson River rail tunnels and the Portal North Bridge, part of the Port Authority’s Gateway projects, are now officially in the Federal Transit Administration’s “New Starts” funding program, per an announcement yesterday from US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. The announcement allows the Port Authority, and Gateway project partners Amtrak and NJ Transit, to start funding the work, knowing federal funds will be available in the future. Once the feds approve a Project Development plan, work can begin on the Portal Bridge because the design is complete and ready to build, and because completion of a new bridge going north is considered a public safety benefit. The tunnel plans are ready to go into environmental review.


NATIONAL | July 11, 2016
Labor Board to Report Contractors’ Labor Law Violations

The National Labor Relations Board sent a memorandum to field offices announcing it will report federal contractors charged with labor law violations, in compliance with the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order signed by President Obama in July 2014. Thus, if a contractor is named in an unfair labor practice complaint, the Labor Board will 1) ask the contractor to provide information that could identify that employer as a federal contractor and 2) report the information to a federal database. That information, which could include Commercial and Government Entity and Data Universal Numbers System identifiers, and employer or taxpayer ID numbers, could be used to assess eligibility for contracting with the federal government. However, if a contractor settles or resolves an unfair labor practice case before a formal complaint is issued by a Regional Director, the NLRB will not report the information to the database.


NATIONAL | July 6, 2016
Construction Spending Down for May, Up for First Five Months Combined

May spending dropped 0.8% to $1.143 trillion from April, but because March and April spending were each revised upward, it’s possible the May numbers will also rise in the final analysis. The year-to-date overall increase in construction spending of 8.2% in the first five months of 2016 presents a “truer picture,” according to Ken Simonson, AGC of America’s Chief Economist. Looking at the private sectors, spending on multifamily residential construction rose 1.8% in May and 24% year-to-date; private nonresidential spending slipped 0.7% for the month but was up 9.2% year-to-date, fueled by power construction, which dropped 0.2% for the month but climbed 9.4% year-to-date; and commercial construction spending, which includes retail and warehouse, decreased 1.6% in May but was up 8.6% year-to-date. Public construction spending slid down 2.3% in May but still marked a 3.8% increase for the first five months of the year combined. Highway and street construction spending dropped 0.2% for the month but was up 6.9% year-to date, and educational spending dropped 5.4% in May but was up 8.6% January through May.

June 2016

NATIONAL | June 29, 2016
May Construction Employment Slows in 37% of Metro Areas

Of 358 metro areas across the country, 131 (nearly 37%) either lost construction jobs or did not add any in May of this year compared to May 2015, a lag primarily attributed to “inadequate investment in infrastructure,” according to AGC of America’s Chief Economist Ken Simonson. Five of New Jersey’s seven metros, however, were among the 227 that did add jobs for the year-over-year. Newark added 1,900 jobs, a 4% increase; Camden added 1,700 jobs, an 8% raise; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 1,500 jobs, up 4%; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 1,300 jobs, also up 4%; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, another 4% increase. Losing jobs for the year-over-year were Trenton, down 500 jobs for a 9% drop, and Atlantic City-Hammonton, down 400 jobs for a 7% loss.


LOCAL | June 29, 2016
Governor Announces Latest – and Last – Release of Higher Ed Bond Funds

Yesterday Governor Christie proposed the release of $180 million for higher education projects, using up the last $34 million of the funds from the $750 million bond voters approved in 2012 and taking $146 million from the Higher Education Capital Improvement Fund. The Legislature has 60 days to consider the use of both fund sources; if it takes no action, the projects are approved. For a list of the 35 projects, visit http://www.nj.gov/njefa/pdf/Comprehensive%20List%20By%20Sector%282%29.pdf


LOCAL | June 23, 2016
Millville to Get Lidl, a German Supermarket

Lidl, a German supermarket chain, chose Millville as a location for one of its new stores as it expands its presence on the East Coast. Undeveloped land off North 2nd Street will be the site for the 36,170-square-feet store with 148 parking spaces.


LOCAL | June 23, 2016
ACCNJ Members Chosen to Compete for Javits Center Project

Gilbane Building Company, a Skanska-led joint venture and a Lend Lease-Turner Construction Co. joint venture were chosen to respond to a request for proposals to renovate and expand the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan. All are members of ACCNJ. The project to add more than a million square feet is estimated at $1 billion.


NATIONAL | June 23, 2016
Silica Rule Goes Into Effect Today – and in One Year for Construction

For the construction industry, the one-year countdown to compliance begins today. OSHA’s silica rule goes into effect today, lowering the exposure limit for crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter over an eight-hour period. Construction firms must be in compliance by June 23, 2017.

ACCNJ will host a Coffee Talk with OSHA on the new silica rule. Mark your calendar for September 23, 2016, and look for registration information via email, to be sent soon.


NATIONAL | June 22, 2016
OSHA to Release New Penalty Schedule by July 1

OSHA has announced that by July 1, 2016, the US DOL will publish in the Federal Register the Interim Final Rule that spells out the new penalty structure due to take effect August 1. Those new penalties could affect any current OSHA inspection that will extend beyond August 1. ACCNJ will send a bulletin with details on the new penalties once the rule is published.


NATIONAL | June 20, 2016
State-by-State Construction Employment Up for Year, Down for Month

Compared to May 2015, state construction employment was strong, with 39 states adding jobs in May 2016. But from April to May of this year, only 19 states added jobs, which AGC of America attributes to a shortage of workers in the industry. New Jersey, however, added more construction jobs for the month than any other state in the nation, with an additional 2,900 positions, a 1.9% increase. For the year, New Jersey added 5,700 jobs, a 3.8% increase over May 2015. Construction was uneven in the region:  strong in New York (up 500 for the month, a 0.5% blip, and 11,000 for the year, a 3% raise); weak in Pennsylvania (down 2,900 for the year, a 1.2% drop, with the same negative figures for the month). Connecticut added 900 jobs for the month, up 1.5%, and 1,400 for the year, a 2.4% increase. Delaware lost jobs – down 400 for the month, a 1.9% loss, and 100 for year, a 0.5% drop. And Rhode Island lost 300 jobs for the month, a 1.7% drop, but picked up 800 jobs for the year, a 4.8% rise.


LOCAL | June 17, 2016
New York’s Palace Theatre Looks Forward to $2 Billion Lift

Maefield Development and owner Nederlander Organization plan to raise New York’s Palace Theatre, built in 1913, 29 feet above Times Square and build 70,000 square feet of retail and entertainment beneath it, both at street level and below-grade. The project, which will also include a new exterior, grand entrance and marquee on 47th Street, plus interior upgrades and restoration of the historic interior finishes, is expected to cost $2 billion and take 32 to 36 months complete, but it won’t start until “An American in Paris” finishes its run, which could be as long as three years from now. Construction of the Palace project will use 100% union craftworkers; a construction manager has already been selected but was not named publicly.


LOCAL | June 17, 2016
Pulaski Skyway Road Work Needs Another Year

The Pulaski Skyway will not fully re-open with all lanes operational until next summer, according to the DOT. Work on the fourth and final contract continues, redecking the last half-mile of the northbound lanes and the length of the southbound lanes.


NATIONAL | June 17, 2016
Report Names New Jersey Driving Experience 10th Worst

CarInsurance.com ranked New Jersey as the 10th worst state for driving, based on bridge and road conditions (6th and 7th worst, respectively), which result in damage (repair costs are highest in the country) and commuter delays (second-longest). In two categories, New Jersey fared better, ranking fourth best in road fatalities (6.2 deaths per 10,000 people) and sixth lowest in gas prices (averaging $1.87 per gallon). Insurance costs, another category, found New Jersey 15th highest based on percentage of median household income spent on car insurance (3.91%), although the site ranks New Jersey third-highest in premium rates. In the final category, New Jersey came out slightly better than the middle of the pack with 10.3% of its drivers uninsured.


LOCAL | June 17, 2016
EDA Tax Breaks for Camden Mixed-Use Apartments and Parking Garage

Last month we posted a Hot Topic announcing developer Carl Dranoff’s plans for a waterfront mixed-use complex with apartments, retail and parking at Delaware and Cooper in Camden. This week, EDA approved a $20.5 million tax break for the $55.2 million project. Also approved, $12.5 million in tax incentives for a Camden Parking Authority parking garage and office space estimated at $42.6 million.


NATIONAL | June 8, 2016
TIGER Grant Requests Far Outnumber Dollars Available

On Monday, US DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx said the dollars requested for TIGER grants added up to more than 18 times the total available for award. DOT received 585 applications requesting $9.3 billion from communities across the country. Only $500 million will be awarded through the competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, covering capital investment in surface transportation infrastructure. In fact, this year’s requests add up to double the total amount awarded in the previous seven years of the TIGER program.


NATIONAL | June 8, 2016
Construction Employment Down, Average Pay Up in May

Construction employment dropped in May for the second month in row, but “average pay in construction is rising faster than in the rest of the private sector,” according to AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson. He also reported unemployment among construction workers hit the lowest May rate in 16 years. There were 6,645,000 construction workers employed in May, down 15,000 from April; the industry lost 5,000 from March to April. But compared to May 2015, employment this year in May was up 3.4% with an increase of 219,000 jobs. Average pay rose 2.6%.


LOCAL | June 3, 2016
Borgata Becomes MGM Casino as Boyd Sells Stake

Boyd Entertainment announced this week it is selling its 50% share in Atlantic City’s Borgata to MGM Resorts for $900 million, a deal that includes assumption of Borgata’s outstanding debt of $600 million. In its Northeast properties, MGM also owns MGM National Harbor casino and resort in DC and is building a new casino in Massachusetts.


NATIONAL | June 1, 2016
April’s Metro Construction Employment Rose Over Last Year

From April 2015 to April 2016, construction employment increased in 235 of 358 metro areas, just under two-thirds of the metros. AGC’s Chief Economist Ken Simonson notes that the growth is project-specific and some metros that saw an increase in employment are in states that overall experienced job losses or are home to other metros that experienced losses. New Jersey is an example of that: three metros lost jobs for the year while four gained. In the loss column were Atlantic City-Hammonton, down 500 jobs for a 9% drop; Newark, down 300 jobs, a 1% decrease; and Trenton, which also lost 300 jobs, a 6% hit. On the up side, Bergen-Hudson-Passaic picked up 1,500 jobs for the year, a 5% increase; Camden gained 1,000 jobs, also a 5% hike; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 2,700 jobs for a 7% gain; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, a 4% increase. In the region, New York City landed in the #3 spot, adding 7,800 jobs, a 6% gain.

May 2016

NATIONAL | May 26, 2016
Feds Announce Final Overtime Rule Effective December 1

Last week the US Department of Labor published the final rule that doubles the salary minimum for an employee to qualify for overtime. Previous to the new rule, an employee had to earn $455 or less per week, or up to $23,600 annually, to qualify for overtime after 40 hours of work. Beginning December 1, an employee who makes $913 per week or less, or up to $47,476 annually, will qualify for overtime (defined as “time-and-a-half”) after 40 hours, unless the employee’s position is classified as executive, administrative or professional. Employees are also exempt from the overtime rule if they have a predetermined or fixed salary that isn’t docked because of quality or quantity of work performed. But many employees who make the minimum or less and work long hours could qualify. AGC of America has lobbied against the rule, citing unfortunate and unintended consequences for construction company employees.


LOCAL | May 24, 2016
AC Casino Profits Sharply Higher in First Quarter

The weather in the first quarter of 2016 was much better than first quarter 2015 – which might have helped push Atlantic City casino profits up 31.1%. Borgata came in on top with first-quarter gross profits of nearly $47.7 million, almost half the total gross profits of $106,580,000 brought in by the seven casinos that made money. Harrah’s was second, generating $26.8 million, although that was 3.1% less than the quarter period a year ago. Caesar’s netted $15.3 million, up 2.5% from a year ago; Tropicana brought in $7.3 million in profit, more than 200% higher than its gross profit a year ago; Golden Nugget reported $6.7 million, up a healthy 64.7% over last year; Bally’s claimed $5.6 million, up 23.5%; and Resorts reported a modest half-million gain, which was about what it lost a year ago. Trump Taj Mahal, the only casino to lose money this quarter, reported a loss of almost $4.6 million, about half what it lost last year for the quarter. In addition to the happy revenue reports, AC officials noted an increase in occupancy rates, average room rates and third-party sales.


NATIONAL | May 20, 2016
Construction Employment Across States Slows from March to April

While 42 states and DC added construction jobs in April compared to a year ago, only 23 added jobs from March to April. New Jersey was not one of them, losing 1,800 jobs for the month, a 1.2% decline. However, for the year from April 2015 to April 2016, New Jersey added 3,100 jobs, a 2.1% increase. In the region, Connecticut added 2,400 jobs for the month (up 4.2%) and 2,300 for the year (up 4%); Delaware lost 200 jobs for the month (down 0.9%) but gained 600 for the year (up 2.9%); New York added 700 jobs for the month (up 0.2%) and 13,100 for the year (up 3.7%); Pennsylvania added 500 jobs for the month (up 0.2%) and 1,800 for the year (up 0.8%); and Rhode Island lost 700 jobs for the month (down 3.8%) but added 1,200 for the year (up 7.2%).


LOCAL | May 20, 2016
Dranoff Plans More Apartments on Camden Waterfront

Last week, the Camden Planning Board approved Philadelphia developer Carl Dranoff’s plans for a mixed-use complex on the city’s waterfront, with 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, 156 apartments (30 of which would be set aside for affordable housing) and 200 parking spaces. The complex would be situated at the end of Cooper Street at Delaware Avenue. Dranoff plans a Summer 2018 completion date, with construction beginning in January 2017.


LOCAL | May 19, 2016
Showboat Owner Blatstein to Develop Adjacent Site

Yesterday, AC’s City Council approved Bart Blatstein and his company, Tower Investments, to develop three acres between the Showboat and Revel casinos. The city owns the land; Blatstein has proposed a $40 million “multi-use event center” that will be part of his Showboat investment. The city may or may not sell the land, for which Blatstein had offered $1.9 million.


LOCAL | May 12, 2016
NYC Operating Engineers Lose Battle Over Licensing

On Tuesday, appellate judges in New York City ruled that crane operators do not have to be licensed under a test administered by Operating Engineers Local 14, but rather may be licensed via a national test administered by OSHA. Local 14 plans to appeal the decision.


LOCAL | May 11, 2016
Cape May County Approves $6.2 Million for Central Dispatch at Airport

Yesterday, Cape May County Freeholders approved a $6.2 million bond issue to build a central dispatch facility for police, fire and rescue at Cape May County Airport in Lower Township ($4.2 million) and renovate the police station in Erma, Lower Township ($2 million), where the center will be located. The 94,000-square-foot building will be shared equally by the police and county emergency management.


LOCAL | May 9, 2016
ACCNJ Member Calls for Mandatory Safety Harnesses Above Six Feet on New York Jobsites

During OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction last week, ACCNJ member Gilbane Building Co. proposed making it mandatory for all construction workers on jobsites in New York to wear safety harnesses with two attachments when they work above six feet. Gilbane already imposes the six-foot tie-off rule on all its jobsites, which is more stringent than OSHA requirements. ACCNJ member Lend Lease also has a similar rule.


NATIONAL | May 5, 2016
Metro Construction Employment Continues Growth from February to March

 

Construction employment in the nation’s metro areas looked strong in February and now even stronger in March, with more than two-thirds adding construction jobs. Construction employment compared to March 2015 rose in 244 of 358 metro areas (68%), dropped in 70 and remained the same in 44. New Jersey’s strong growth reflected the national trend, with jobs added in all but two metro areas. The biggest gain was in Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean, which added 4,800 jobs for the year-over-year, a 14% jump. Camden added 1,100 jobs, a 6% increase; Newark added 1,500 jobs, a 4% rise; Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, also a 4% increase; and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 900 jobs, a 3% increase. Trenton lost 100 jobs, a 2% drop, and Atlantic City-Hammonton lost 400 jobs, an 8% drop. Statewide from March 2015 to March 2016, New Jersey added 7,500 jobs, a 6% gain.


NATIONAL | May 2, 2016
Congress Saves Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

By approving the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 last week, the House Armed Services Committee prevented the Pentagon from closing more military bases around the country, including New Jersey’s Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. The Committee voted 60-2 for the $610 billion defense policy bill, which then moved on to the full House for consideration. The Pentagon had requested that Congress authorize more base closures in 2019; the bill didn’t allow it.

April 2016

NATIONAL | April 25, 2016
2014 Workplace Fatalities Jump From 2013

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 4,821 fatal workplace injuries in 2014, up from its preliminary count of 4,679 in September. Fatalities in private construction were up 9% over 2013. The preliminary construction fatalities for 2014 were reported as 885, but have now been revised upward to 902.


LOCAL | April 25, 2016
Costco Will Anchor Harrison Twp.’s Richwood Town Center

The Southside Commercial Redevelopment Area, which will be transformed into the Richwood Town Center in Harrison Twp. (Gloucester County), will feature Costco as its anchor. Officials are hoping to begin construction on the first phase, 350,000 to 400,000 square feet of retail space, by the end of the year. The initial phase is bordered by Route 322, Aura Road and Route 55; ultimately the entire project, 380+ acres, will span Route 322 between Barnsboro Road and Route 55, and will include 1,600 housing units. The developer, Madison Marquette, still has to finalize sewer and road work plans before seeking final site approval. The project’s sewer system will connect to Gloucester County’s utilities authority’s sewer system.


LOCAL | April 22, 2016
NJ Transit Director Backs Out

William Crosbie, unanimously approved as Executive Director by the NJ Transit Board on April 6, has decided not to take the position. He had served as Chief Operating Officer at Amtrak, and currently lives in Virginia. According to the Wall Street Journal, Crosbie cited family reasons for not making the move to New Jersey.


NATIONAL | April 20, 2016
State-by-State, March Construction Employment Even Better Than February

Year-over-year, 44 states added construction jobs in March, one up from February’s numbers as posted on Hot Topics last week. And from February to March, 28 states added construction jobs, again one up on the January-to-February count. In the region, New York and Rhode Island continued to stand strong in the year-over-year count, with increases of 17,300 jobs (up 4.9%) and 2,200 jobs (up 13.3%) respectively. New Jersey added 7,700 jobs compared to March 2015, a 5.3% gain, Delaware added 1,200 for the year, up 5.9%, and Connecticut reflected no change for the year. Pennsylvania, which fared badly last month, showed a remarkable turn-around, adding the most construction jobs for the month of any state in the country – 6,000 jobs, a 2.6% increase. Its year-over-year stats were identical, an increase of 6,000 jobs, up 2.6%. Also for the month, New York added 1,600 jobs, a 0.4% increase, New Jersey added 3,000 jobs, a 2% bump, and Delaware added 100 jobs, a 0.5% rise. Connecticut and Rhode Island, however, both lost jobs from February to March, down 1,100 (-1.9%) and 100 (-0.5%) respectively.


LOCAL | April 20, 2016
American Dream Update:  More Delays

Triple Five, developer of American Dream Meadowlands, announced last week it is running into problems getting the rest of the financing for the shopping and entertainment complex. Triple Five hopes to sell $1 billion in public bonds by early summer – its latest deadline in a series of deadlines that haven’t been met. November’s uneasy financial downturn is to blame, according to Triple Five. In the meantime, construction activity has mostly ceased on the 91-acre site.


LOCAL | April 20, 2016
Inspira Health Plans Continued Expansion in South Jersey

Inspira Health Network, which purchased 30 acres in Deptford in February, is planning to build an outpatient services facility on that property on Clements Bridge Road. But action on the project is on hold while Inspira works out a potential partnership deal with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, on a 100-acre parcel in Harrison Township, also purchased in February, Inspira has plans for to build a 172-bed hospital where Route 55 and Route 322 meet.


LOCAL | April 14, 2016
Governor Announces Unemployment Tax Break

For the third consecutive year, New Jersey employers will get a break on unemployment insurance taxes. With the unemployment trust fund in sound financial shape (a positive balance of $1 billion) and fewer people claiming unemployment benefits, the state can afford the $200 million tax break that begins in July.


LOCAL | April 14, 2016
Javits Project Issues Request for Qualifications

The $1 billion Javits Center renovation project in Manhattan progressed this week when New York State issued a request for qualifications to begin the vetting process for building contractors. The state also announced the project would be bid as design-build; RFQ responses are due May 10, with as many as three finalists selected in late May. The RFP will be issued in June to the finalists and a contractor will be selected by the end of this year. To view the RFQ, visit http://www.esd.ny.gov/CorporateInformation/Data/RFPs/JavitsExpansionProject/2016_Final_JavitsCenter_RFQ.PDF


LOCAL | April 14, 2016
$22.8 Million EDA Tax Incentive To Expand Business in Florence

A $22.8 million, 10-year Grow New Jersey tax incentive package, approved by the EDA this week, is designed to help Quality Packaging Specialists International expand operations with a new 377,440-square-foot facility in Florence Township. Under the terms of the tax package, the company, a product and retail packaging services provider, would keep 170 current full-time positions and add 220 new full-time positions.


NATIONAL | April 12, 2016
February Construction Employment Up in Most States Compared to a Year Ago

For the year from February 2015 to February 2016, construction employment increased in 43 states and DC. In our region, New York and Rhode Island ranked in the top five for the year-over-year gains, New York with a large number of jobs – 19,100, a 5.5% increase – and Rhode Island with a percentage jump, up 14.6% with the addition of 2,400 jobs. New Jersey recorded a modest gain for the year, adding 3,900 jobs for a 2.7% increase. Connecticut also gained jobs for the year, up 1,300, a 2.3% rise. Pennsylvania lost jobs for the year, down 3,200, a 1.4% drop. For the month from January to February of this year, only 27 states added construction jobs. Pennsylvania again shed jobs, down 1,100, a 0.5% decrease. New Jersey also lost jobs, down 600, a 0.4% decrease, as did Connecticut, down 100, a 0.2% slide. New York was the only state in the region to add jobs, gaining 4,500, a 1.2% rise. Rhode Island construction employment remained unchanged for the month.


LOCAL | April 7, 2016
Rowan College at Burlington Plans New Student Center

Called the “Student Success Center,” the proposed two-story building on Route 38 in Mount Laurel will serve as the gateway to the new Mount Laurel campus and house all student services, including enrollment, academic planning, library, bookstore and dining area. State-of-the-art technology will be a key feature in the contemporary design. Forming a quad with existing buildings, the student center is expected to open in Fall 2017. Renderings of the 75,000-square-foot, $22 million project from USA Architects and Moody Nolan can be found on the college website at http://www.rcbc.edu/campus-transformation/student-success-center.


NATIONAL | April 5, 2016
Nearly Two-Thirds of Metro Areas Add Construction Jobs in February

Of 358 metro areas in the nation, 234 – more than 65% – added construction jobs in February 2016 compared to February 2015, while 72 shed jobs and 52 remained unchanged. New York City came in at #2, adding 11,900 jobs, a 9% gain, and Orange-Rockland-Westchester in New York was #3, adding 7,800 jobs, a whopping 23% increase. In New Jersey, Camden and Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean each enjoyed a 9% increase, adding 1,800 and 3,000 jobs respectively. Vineland’s year-over-year construction employment was up 4% with the addition of 100 jobs; Newark’s was up 1% with 500 new jobs; and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic construction employment remained unchanged from a year ago. Atlantic City-Hammonton lost 200 jobs compared to a year ago, a 4% drop, and Trenton lost 100 jobs, a 2% drop. The state was up 4,800 jobs for the year, a 4% overall gain.


NATIONAL | April 4, 2016
Construction Spending Up in February, Employment Up in March

Across the nation, construction added 37,000 jobs in March following an uptick in spending in February. From March 2015 to March 2016, the industry added 301,000 jobs, a 4.7% rise, bringing construction employment to 6,672,000, the highest total since December 2008. Nonresidential construction firms – building, specialty trades, heavy and civil engineering – added 23,900 for the month, 134,800 for the year, a 3.4% increase. Construction spending in February totaled $1.144 trillion, a half-percentage point below January but 10.3% higher than a year ago. Multifamily residential spending was up 0.9% for the month, 24.1% for the year. Private nonresidential construction spending dipped 1.3% for the month but climbed 10.6% compared to February 2015. Other year-over-year leaps included spending on private office and lodging construction, both up more than 30%, and amusement/recreation and private education construction, each up more than 20%. Public construction spending overall was down 1.7% for the month but 9.2% higher than last year. Highway and street construction, the biggest public segment, slid 2.1% for the month after a very strong January, but was up 24.5% for the year.

March 2016

LOCAL | March 29, 2016
DRBA May Build New Business Space at Cape May Airport

The Cape May Airport business park off Breakwater Road in Lower Township is running out of room, so the Delaware River and Bay Authority said last week it’s exploring the possibility of building new office and warehouse space. Tenants and prospective new tenants range from tourist attractions to start-ups to mechanical and aviation businesses. Research and testing on drones has piqued interest for business – the airport was selected as one of six national test sites in 2014. Cape May County also plans to move its emergency management office to the business park.


LOCAL | March 28, 2016
Port Authority and Amtrak to Put $70 Million Toward Gateway Project

The Port Authority announced last week it will put $35 million toward the Hudson Tunnel Project, matched by $35 million from Amtrak, to fund “critical preliminary engineering work.” The funds are designed to “expedite and accelerate” the environmental review and permitting of the project. In addition, a Memorandum of Understanding entered into by the Port Authority, NJ Transit and USDOT will coordinate efforts among the three groups to “advance” the project on all fronts. The Port Authority and NJ Transit will also apply for federal competitive grants for the project.


NATIONAL | March 17, 2016
Metros Add Construction Jobs in January Growth Spurt

Strong state construction employment figures, posted yesterday in Hot Topics, are supported by growth in metro area construction jobs. Of 358 metro areas across the country, 243 (nearly 68%) added jobs in January compared to January 2015. And like the states, the metro areas that saw job losses – 72 of them – were primarily in formerly booming energy regions. Construction employment remained unchanged year-over-year in another 43 metro areas. In New Jersey year-over-year, Bergen-Hudson-Passaic and Trenton each lost 200 construction jobs, a 1% drop for the former and a 4% drop for the latter. Atlantic City-Hammonton remained unchanged. Camden picked up 900 jobs for the year, a 5% rise; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 2,500 jobs, a 7% increase; Newark added 1,900 jobs, a 5% rise; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 300 jobs, a satisfying 13% bump.


LOCAL | March 16, 2016
EPA Announces Final Clean-Up Plan for Lower Passaic River

The 17 miles of the Lower Passaic River – from the Dundee Dam to Newark Bay – were designated a Superfund site in 1984, and the lower 8.3 miles were deemed the most contaminated. The EPA had announced a dredging clean-up plan more than a year ago and has now announced a final plan for those last eight miles that feed into Newark Bay. Estimated to cost $1.38 billion, down from the $1.7 billion originally announced, the project will involve dredging and removing approximately 3.5 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment, down from 4.3 million in the original plan, followed by placement of a two-foot-deep sand cap over the dredged area. Along the shoreline, the cap will be one foot of sand and one foot of “materials to support habitat for fish and plants,” according to the EPA’s news release on the plan, which also stated “the EPA expects less depth in parts of the navigation channel than was contemplated in the 2014 proposed plan.” The EPA news release did not specify when the work would commence nor how long the project is expected to take.


NATIONAL | March 16, 2016
January Construction Employment Up Year-Over-Year

January construction employment was up in 44 states and DC from a year ago, and up in 30 states and DC from a month ago. The six states that lost jobs compared to January 2015 were all hit by the drop in demand for energy, including Pennsylvania, which shed 3,600 jobs, a 1.5% drop. Pennsylvania also lost jobs from December 2015 to January 2016, down 2,200 jobs, a 0.9% loss. Along with Pennsylvania and 16 other states, New Jersey didn’t fare too well for the month, losing 200 jobs, a 0.1% drop. But year-over-year, New Jersey picked up 4,800 jobs, a 3.3% gain. New York also lost jobs for the month, down 5,900, a 1.6% drop, but gained 15,700 jobs year-over-year, a 4.5% rise. Connecticut had modest gains in both periods, up 400 jobs (a 0.7% gain) for the month and 900 (a 1.6% gain) year-over-year. Delaware’s construction employment remained unchanged for the month but enjoyed an increase in 1,400 jobs year-over-year, a 6.9% hike. Rhode Island gained 300 jobs for the month, a 1.6% increase, but showed strong growth year-over-year with an uptick of 2,100 jobs, a 12.7% bump that put it at #2 in the country.


LOCAL | March 16, 2016
PSE&G Boosts Capital Plan to $16 Billion

PSE&G announced last Friday it is increasing its capital investments to $16 billion over five years, of which nearly $12 billion is being spent on already-slated improvements and upgrades to the company’s transmission and distribution systems. In that package is $900 million to upgrade aging pipelines and replace more than 500 miles of the old cast-iron mains. PSE&G expects to expand the infrastructure program by another $2 million. PSE&G Power, a subsidiary, is also spending $2 billion on three new natural-gas power plants, including one in Sewaren (the other two are in Maryland and Connecticut).


LOCAL | March 16, 2016
AC Casino Revenues Up 15% in February

Atlantic City casinos reported the largest year-over-year percentage hike in revenues in more than 10 years, up 15% over February 2015, with top-grossing Borgata bringing in $62.8 million, up $14.2 million compared to last year, a 29.3% gain. Tropicana increased revenues by $3.1 million for the year, a 14% rise; Golden Nugget increased take by nearly $2.8 million for the year, a 17.5% boost; Bally’s added $2.7 million compared to last February, a 19.3% rise; Harrah’s saw a $1.9 million increase over last February, a 7% gain; and Resorts reported $1.7 million over last February, a 16% rise. Caesars and Trump Taj Mahal both lost revenue compared to February 2015, down $2 million (an 8% loss) and $19,000 (a 0.16% drop) respectively. Internet gambling also saw a big gain in February, with revenues at $14.7 million, a 42% gain over last year.


LOCAL | March 15, 2016
Burlington Masonic Home To Expand and Rebrand

The Masonic Home on Jacksonville Road in Burlington Township is changing its name and expanding its services to seniors. Soon to be called the Masonic Village at Burlington, the organization will build as many as 72 duplex cottages for the 60+ group, ranging from 1,509 to 2,350 square feet with two-bedroom options and two-bedrooms-plus-den options, on a field behind Burlington Township High School that is part of the 450-acre campus. The cottages are expected to be ready for occupancy in late Spring 2017.


LOCAL | March 11, 2016
Blatstein Considers Hotel on AC’s Garden Pier

While much of the news coming out of Atlantic City isn’t good, Bart Blatstein keeps transmitting his optimism about the city’s comeback. His firm, Tower Investments, was chosen to redevelop the Garden Pier that now holds the Atlantic City Art Museum and Historical Museum. In addition to entertainment, commercial and dining venues proposed for the redevelopment, the company mentioned in its qualifications document that plans could also include a waterfront hotel on the ocean end of the pier. Blatstein and Tower Investments also purchased the Showboat Casino from Stockton University and owns the mall on the Caesar’s pier and a boardwalk hotel.


NATIONAL | March 9, 2016
FHWA Report Blasts NJ Bridges - Again

The Federal Highway Administration’s latest bridge report, which judges the state of disrepair through December 31 of last year, put New Jersey bridges once again in the bottom 10, with 34.5%, or 2,310, of the state’s 6,686 bridges in bad shape – structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Nationally, the rate was 23.2%. However, after repairing 33 of the bridges listed as deficient on the FHWA’s 2014 report, New Jersey’s standing improved slightly, moving from sixth worst to eighth worst. Like New Jersey, most of the bottom 10 states are in the Northeast, including Rhode Island, which came in dead last with 56% of its bridges listed as deficient, Massachusetts (52%), Pennsylvania (39.9%), New York (38.3%) and Connecticut (34.1%). For the complete report, visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/nbi/no10/defbr15.cfm.


LOCAL | March 8, 2016
$230 Million Expansion for Westchester Medical Center

Last week, the Westchester Medical Center announced a $230 million expansion for its Valhalla campus with plans for a 280,000-square-foot, eight-story ambulatory care pavilion cloaked in glass and steel. Specs include 185,000 square feet of ambulatory care space that would hold a surgery center, advanced imaging, and a heart and vascular institute, plus a 20,000-square-foot private-room expansion and 75,000 square feet for doctors’ offices. The medical center anticipates construction will start this spring, creating 225 construction jobs, with completion in 2018. The Westchester County Local Development Corporation approved nearly $300 million for the project.


NATIONAL | March 2, 2016
Big Leaps in January Construction Spending

Multifamily, private nonresidential and highway construction spending all saw big gains in January compared to December 2015 and January 2015, boosting total construction spending to its highest level since October 2008. Reaching $1.141 trillion, the total was 1.5% higher than December, already revised up, and 10.4% above January 2015. Spending in multifamily construction rose 2.6% for the month and 30% year-over-year, private nonresidential spending increased 1% for the month, up 11.5% from a year ago, and public construction spending rose 4.5% for the month, 13% for the year. Manufacturing posted the biggest gains in the private sector, up 4.2% for the month, 11% year-over-year. In the public sector, highway and street construction took the strongest spot, rising 15% for the month and 34% year-over-year.


NATIONAL | March 2, 2016
Lending May Get Tighter for Multifamily Construction

A December letter from the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – all agencies that regulate banks – asked lenders to be careful in loaning money for multifamily construction. The concern comes from the sharp rise in demand for such building, especially in a climate of new regulations that limit the risk commercial banks can carry on their balance sheets, requiring them to hold capital in reserve to cover potential losses on commercial real estate loans. Defaults on multifamily construction loans are not being recorded in large numbers, and banks are still offering loans that cover up to 80% of construction at relatively low rates, but bankers are scrutinizing the number of apartment projects and the cost of labor.

February 2016

LOCAL | February 29, 2016
$1.6 Million Daniels Bridge Replacement Necessary

Daniels Bridge over Oyster Creek in Waretown (Ocean County) must be replaced, and will cost $1.6 million, according to Ocean County Engineer John Ernst. The timber substructure of the bridge was built in 1947; a superstructure was built in 1972. The roadway over the bridge will be widened from 30 to 40 feet, adding shoulders.


LOCAL | February 12, 2016
Egg Harbor’s Cardiff Substation Due for Major Upgrade

Atlantic City Electric plans to install two new high-voltage lines at its Cardiff Substation in Egg Harbor Township, replacing two low-capacity lines. The project is part of a larger system-wide upgrade, expected to be completed by year-end 2018, that is focused on replacing aging infrastructure and building in reliability. More than $150 million in 10-year bonds, issued in late 2015, will fund the upgrade.


LOCAL | February 11, 2016
Cherry Hill Redevelopment Slated Along Cooper River

Cherry Hill’s Park Boulevard Gateway Redevelopment Plan will begin along a stretch of the Cooper River, where an empty Faith Life Christian Center and a rundown America’s Best Value Inn, slated for demolition, occupy 7.3 acres. Residents of the motel will have to move, as will an Asian restaurant, to make room for an apartment complex consisting of one three-story and one four-story building, along with a swimming pool, outdoor recreation areas and a rooftop sitting area. Of the 176 units, 29 will be affordable housing. Adjacent to the apartment buildings will be 16 townhouses. First Montgomery Group of Haddonfield is buying the property and will most likely be named the redeveloper. In addition to the Park Boulevard Plan, Cherry Hill has targeted four other sites for redevelopment:  Hampton Road Gateway, 19 acres between Hampton Road and Cuthbert Blvd., for which 300 apartments are planned; Victory Gateway, 35 acres on Woodcrest Road near Woodcrest Station that is owned by Vineland Construction Co., where the town would like to see mixed-use apartments, hotel, nursing home and/or retail; Route 38 Gateway, 14 acres near the Cuthbert Blvd. PSE&G substation, where three motels could be redeveloped; and Cuthbert Blvd. Gateway, 13 acres that hold a vacant Verizon facility and bowling alley, an operating motel and an operating home-supply store. The last two sites have not officially been named redevelopment areas.


LOCAL | February 11, 2016
Port Announces Record Cargo Volumes

The Port of New York and New Jersey recorded annual cargo volumes in 2015 10.4% higher than in 2014, a year that had already seen record volumes. The Port handled 6.4 million 20-foot equivalent units, also translated as 3.7 million cargo containers in 2015. The port’s ship-to-rail system, ExpressRail, also set a record with 522,244 containers handled, a 12.2% increase over 2014. With 30% of market share, the port remains the busiest on the East Coast.


LOCAL | February 11, 2016
Feds to Help Fund Delaware River Dredging Project

Monies to finish the multi-year dredging project in the Delaware River could be found in President Obama’s proposed budget -- $33.135 million -- and the Army Corps of Engineers Work Plan for FY2016 -- $21.875 million. That $55 million would go toward the last two segments due to be dredged, an 11-mile section between Chester, PA, and Wilmington, DE, and approximately 24 miles in the Delaware Bay. The dredging, which will allow larger vessels to travel up the Delaware, is expected to position the Port of Philadelphia more competitively.


LOCAL | February 9, 2016
Fatal Crane Collapse Prompts New Safety Regs for NYC

Following the crawler crane collapse in Tribeca last Friday that killed a man, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio issued new safety regulations on large cranes. The new policies includes these four steps:

  1. All crawler cranes must cease operation when wind speeds are forecast to exceed 20 mph or wind gusts to exceed 30 mph. Fines for failure to comply will increase from $4,800 to $10,000.
  2. City departments will increase enforcement of sidewalk and street closures when cranes are active in the area, including requiring a DOT pedestrian traffic manager in areas with “significant pedestrian traffic.” The NYC Department of Buildings will be responsible for conducting inspections and issuing violations.
  3. Crane operators are now required to notify area residents and business owners prior to moving a crane, in addition to the current regulation requiring notification upon initial installation.
  4. With a 90-day timeline, a task force will evaluate the Friday incident and propose additional best practices and regulations.

LOCAL | February 3, 2016
Gateway Project Timetable:  15 Years  

Late last week, the Bergen Record published a report from federal officials stating a 15-year timeline for the $23.9 billion Gateway project that includes two new rail tunnels, a new tunnel entrance under Manhattan, renovation of existing tunnels, replacement of three New Jersey bridges and a Penn Station expansion, among other things. According to the timeline in the Record, first up (and already underway) is the trans-Hudson tunnel entrance below Hudson Yards, expected to be completed in 2019 ($326 million), followed by the new rail tunnels and renovation of existing tunnels, which will take a decade once financing and a start-date are established ($7.7 billion). Bridge replacements are planned for the Portal swing bridge over the Hackensack River (2017-2022, $1.2 billion), the Sawtooth Bridge over the Passaic (2022-2026, $1.1 billion) and the Portal Bridge South in Kearny (2024-2030, $1.9 billion). Other Jersey projects include renovation of Secaucus Junction station, construction of a Secaucus Loop for one-seat rides from North Jersey to Manhattan, and track renewal and replacement between Newark and Secaucus.


LOCAL | February 3, 2016
Great Falls in Paterson Getting “Great Lawn”

The area surrounding the Paterson Great Falls, which has already seen one renovation project completed and is in the midst of a second one, is slated for a third – a “Great Lawn” to be billed as a venue for concerts and festivals. Approximately a third of the old Allied Textile site will be covered by the 2.5-acre, $4.3 million project, which will feature an open lawn area, flower beds, shade trees and paved paths. A National Historical Park, Great Falls was awarded a $1.8 million Centennial Challenge grant from the National Park Service for the project. Another $2.1 million in funding will come from New Jersey Green Acres and Passaic County Open Space monies, and the rest from a National Park Service conservation grant. The land for the Great Lawn is city-owned, and city officials will manage the design and construction contracts. New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell, who announced the Centennial Challenge grant, has posted on his website notice of two “Paterson Great Falls General Management Plans” informational events, open to the public, on February 4 and 15, 2016:
http://pascrell.house.gov/about/events/paterson-great-falls-national-historic-park-general-management-plan-open-house


NATIONAL | February 2, 2016
Metro Construction Employment Strong Year-Over-Year

Nearly twice as many of the nation’s metro areas added jobs in December 2015 compared to December 2014 – 190 out of 358, approximately 53%. In New Jersey, only one metro dropped construction jobs. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic lost 1,000 jobs, a 3% decrease. Newark construction employment, on the other hand, jumped 13% with the addition of 5,700 jobs; Camden was up 10% with 2,100 additional jobs; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean and Vineland-Bridgeton each increased 7% with 2,700 and 200 jobs respectively; and Atlantic City was up 4% with 200 new jobs. Trenton’s construction employment remained flat. Statewide, New Jersey added 10,900 jobs, a 7% boost.


NATIONAL | February 2, 2016
December Construction Spending Anemic After Growth Year

Despite good growth compared to December 2014 – an 8.2% increase – December 2015’s construction spending across the nation was less than 0.1% higher than November’s, which had already been revised downward. The total was $1.117 trillion, seasonally adjusted. Construction spending for the year as a whole increased 10.5% over all of 2014, and represented the highest annual total since 2007, but the second half of the year remained flat. Spending on multifamily residential remained strong, up 2.7% for the month and 12% higher than a year ago, but private nonresidential construction spending, while up 11.8% from December 2014, dropped 2.1% for the month and showed the lowest rate since April 2015. Public construction spending increased 1.9% for the month, up 3.9% for the year, pushed by highway and street construction, which jumped 9.4% for the month and 12% year-over-year. Educational spending decreased half a percentage point from November but was up 9.4% compared to December 2014.

January 2016

NATIONAL | January 28, 2016
BLS Report:  Union Membership Rate Remains Unchanged

The percentage of wage and salary workers who were union members in 2015 in the US remained the same as 2014, 11.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics annual report. The number of union members, 14.8 million, also remained about the same. Public-sector workers had a union membership rate of 35.2%, more than five times higher than the 6.7% of private-sector workers. Within the private sector, 13.9% of workers in construction were union members. Median weekly earnings of union members were $980 in 2015, compared to $776 for non-union workers. At 24.7%, New York had the highest union membership rate in the country in 2015. New Jersey had a union membership rate of 15.4% in 2015, down from 16.5% in 2014. Approximately half of the 14.8 million union members nationwide lived in seven states in 2015, including California (2.5 million), New York (2.0 million), Illinois (0.8 million), Pennsylvania (0.7 million), and Michigan, Ohio and New Jersey (0.6 million each). These seven states account for about one-third of wage-and-salary employment in the country. The complete report can be found online as a 12-page PDF:  http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/union2.pdf


NATIONAL | January 26, 2016
Construction Employment Strong in December State-by-State

For the month and for the year, December jobs in construction increased state-by-state. In the month from November to December, 39 states and DC added jobs, while in the year from December 2014 to December 2015, 44 states and DC added jobs. New Jersey numbers looked strong on both counts. Construction employment inched up in the last three months of 2015, and in December was up 700 jobs, a 0.5% increase over November. For the year, New Jersey added 10,800 jobs compared to December 2014, a 7.5% gain. In the region, New York added 2,200 jobs for the month, a 0.6% increase, and 26,500 for the year, a 7.6% gain; Delaware added 900 jobs for the month, up 4.2%, and 2,000 for the year, up 10%; Connecticut lost 300 jobs for the month, a 0.5% slide, but picked up 2,200 jobs for the year, a 4% bump; and Rhode Island added 1,000 jobs for the month, a 6.5% increase, but lost 100 compared to last year, a 0.6% drop. Pennsylvania was the only state in the surrounding region to lose jobs in both periods, down 2,500 for the month, a 1.1% decrease, and 500 for the year, a 0.2% drop.


LOCAL | January 25, 2016
Gateway Projects Could Cost Nearly $24 Billion

Amtrak told the New York Times last week the Gateway projects – a new rail tunnel under the Hudson, repair of the existing tunnel, expanding Penn Station and replacing New Jersey railway bridges – could cost as much as $23.9 billion. Although Amtrak warns the figures are preliminary estimates, officials say the largest portion, approximately $7.7 billion, would go toward the tunnels. The Penn Station project could cost $3 billion.


LOCAL | January 19, 2016
Feds Award $176 Million for NYC Storm Protection

Through HUD, New York City will get $176 million to fortify the Manhattan shoreline from the Lower East Side south of the Manhattan Bridge to the northern end of Battery Park City. Plans that have not yet been detailed could include sea walls, temporary flood walls that would be deployed before a storm, and grass berms that could be used for recreation. The project won the federal funds through the National Disaster Resilience Competition; the monies will supplement $100 million in capital funds the city already committed to the project.


LOCAL | January 13, 2016
Port Authority Drops Truck Retrofit Requirements at Seaports

The Port Authority has announced it is abandoning plans to require retrofitting or replacement of older diesel trucks hauling cargo at Newark and Elizabeth seaports. Five years ago, in an effort to improve air quality, the Port Authority and US EPA jointly proclaimed all trucks that didn’t meet 2007 federal emissions standards would be banned from entering the seaports. Now the Port Authority says the cost of helping drivers replace approximately 6,300 vehicles would be more than $150 million in grants – too high a price tag. Instead, per an announcement last week, the Port Authority will commit $1.2 million to help drivers replace approximately 400 trucks, supplemented by $9 million in federal funds. Therefore, trucks manufactured before 2007 and already registered with the ports may continue to haul cargo, and only older trucks not registered will be banned. The truck replacement program information remains live on the Port Authority website.


LOCAL | January 13, 2016
Amazon’s Audible to Turn Old Newark Church into R&D Hub

Audible Inc., Amazon’s audiobook giant, will turn the vacant Second Presbyterian Church on the corner of Washington and James streets in Newark, plus two adjacent, connected sites on James Street, into an engineering and development facility. Last May, NJ EDA approved a 10-year, $39.3 million Grow New Jersey grant for the project, which is expected to create 350 new jobs and maintain 50 existing jobs in the city. The façade of the church, whose congregation disbanded 20 years ago, will be preserved; plans approved by the Central Planning Board in December call for new floors and mezzanines in the church, along with renovations to the James Street properties. Audible’s headquarters are close by at 1 Washington Park.


LOCAL | January 12, 2016
Vineland’s Allied Specialty Foods Plots $14 Million Addition

With plans to expand its facility in the Vineland Industrial Park on West Forest Grove Road, Allied Specialty Foods will invest $14 million and create 70 jobs. The 75,000-square-foot addition will include office space, cold storage and manufacturing, and is expected to be complete by year-end.


LOCAL | January 12, 2016
$1 Billion Expansion Planned for New York’s Javits Center

Thirty years after it opened, and 10 since its last renovation, the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen area may get a billion-dollar expansion, if New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement comes to pass. The governor said construction would start this year to add 1.2 million square feet to the Center, located on 11th Avenue between 34th and 40th streets, including a half-million square feet of meeting and exhibition space, a new ballroom, a terrace overlooking the Hudson and a new garage for delivery trucks.  


LOCAL | January 11, 2016
CRDA Approves Funding for Stockton’s AC Campus and Boraie Development Project

Last week, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved $17 million in funding for Stockton’s Island Campus in Atlantic City plus $15 million for a new residency project in the South Inlet. The Island Campus, estimated at $210 million, will serve approximately 1,500 students with academic facilities, residence halls and a parking garage, and will also headquarter South Jersey Gas. With construction expected to begin this spring off Albany Avenue, Stockton hopes to open the campus in Fall 2018. The new residency project, spearheaded by Boraie Development, will include approximately 250 market-value apartments.  


LOCAL | January 11, 2016
Update:  New Jersey Wind Farm off Atlantic City

Fishermen’s Energy has continued its efforts to build a wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City, despite three rejections from the state BPU. In the latest move, the New Jersey State Senate approved a bill supporting such a wind farm. The bill would allow the BPU to approve the Fishermen’s Energy project, although it doesn’t require the BPU to grant approval. The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk.

December 2015

NATIONAL | December 29, 2015
More Than Half of Metro Areas See November Construction Jobs Increase Over Last Year

In the year-over-year period from November 2014 to November 2015, 190 of 358 (53%) of the country’s metro areas saw an increase in construction employment. New York City measured the largest gain, adding 9,200 jobs, up 7%. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic in New Jersey came in third from the bottom, losing 1,500 jobs, a 5% drop. As in October, most of New Jersey’s metro areas fared better. Trenton was the only other metro to lose jobs, shedding all of its October gain with a decrease of 100 jobs, a 2% drop. Camden added 2,100 jobs, a 10% gain; Newark added 4,600 jobs, another 10% jump; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 3,400 jobs, a 9% bump; Vineland-Bridgeton added 200 jobs, a 7% hike; and Atlantic City-Hammonton picked up 200 jobs for a 4% increase.


LOCAL | December 23, 2015
NJ Transit Appoints Interim Head

New Jersey Transit announced today it has appointed Dennis J. Martin as Interim Executive Director, effective Monday, December 28. He replaces Ronnie Hakim, who leaves the ED position this week. With 30 years of transit experience, Martin most recently served as head of NJ Transit’s Bus Operations. He is credited with overhauling NJ Transit bus service staging at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Martin has a degree in Economics from Rutgers.


NATIONAL | December 21, 2015
State-by-State, November Construction Employment Grew, But Regional Growth Was Uneven

The construction industry added jobs in 44 states and DC compared to November 2014, a 4.2% increase, and in 38 states in November compared to the previous month. In the region year-over-year, New York came in at #2 in the nation, adding 30,500 jobs over last November, an 8.9% gain. Connecticut gained 1,800 jobs for the year, up 3.2%, and Delaware added 1,000 jobs for the year, a 4.9% gain. Rhode Island, on the other hand, was one of six states to lose construction jobs for the year, down 6.7% with the loss of 4,600 jobs. Pennsylvania also lost jobs for the year-over-year period, down 0.6% with a drop of 1,500 jobs.

New York hit the #2 spot for the month as well, adding 9,100 jobs, a 2.5% gain. Connecticut had a modest increase of 400 jobs for the month, up 0.7%, as did Rhode Island, which added 100 jobs for a 0.7% increase. Pennsylvania lost more jobs for the month than any other state, down 4,600, a 1.9% drop. Delaware also lost jobs for the month, down 800 for a 3.6% drop.

New Jersey construction employment looked good for both periods, adding 2,100 jobs for the month, a 1.4% gain over October, and 9,800 for the year, a 6.8% increase.


LOCAL | December 17, 2015
BPU Gives Final Approval on South Jersey Gas Pipeline Project

Yesterday the state Board of Public Utilities voted to allow the South Jersey Gas pipeline project to proceed without oversight by the local zoning boards in the municipalities through which the pipeline will pass – Upper Township, Maurice River Township and Estell Manor. Next step:  permission from the Pinelands Commission for the project to move forward. Assuming that approval and barring any appeals, construction on the pipeline could begin in Fall 2016.


LOCAL | December 14, 2015
DRPA Approves Higher Bridge and Transit Budgets

Last week, the Delaware River Port Authority approved bigger budgets for bridges and rapid transit in 2016 for a combined total of $290.7 million, up 1.9% over the 2015 budgets. The DRPA operates four bridges, the PATCO Hi-Speedline and RiverLink Ferry, and announced that bridge tolls would not increase for at least five years because of increased traffic and higher revenue. Bridge toll revenue and investment interest is expected to bring in $333 million in 2016. A separate capital budget of $166 million was approved last month to continue rehab of PATCO train cars, repaint the Commodore Barry Bridge, build a bike ramp onto the Ben Franklin Bridge and initiate a feasibility study on reopening the Franklin Square speedline station in Philadelphia.


LOCAL | December 14, 2015
Retail Vacancies Rise in Central and North Jersey

The combined retail vacancy rate in Central and North Jersey rose nearly a percentage point from this time last year, hitting 8.3%, primarily because of the closings of A&P, Pathmark and Superfresh stores. The closings hit hard in Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer and parts of Ocean County, where the retail vacancy rate separated out from North Jersey measured 8.8%, up from 7.5% last year. In North Jersey, the rate is 7.8%, up from 7.3% last year. On the plus side, store openings – Nordstrom Rack in Eatontown and Ulta Beauty, Carters and OshKosh B’gosh in West Long Branch – helped offset the loss of the grocery chain.


NATIONAL | December 14, 2015
OSHA’s Construction Head Announces Retirement

On December 2, Jim Maddux, director of OSHA’s construction unit, announced his retirement, effective at year-end. Maddux joined OSHA in 1990 and was appointed head of the Directorate of Construction in 2010. No replacement for Maddux was announced.


LOCAL | December 14, 2015
Sen. President Sweeney Seeks Voter Approval on North Jersey Casinos

Last Friday, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney announced he had introduced legislation to put a public referendum question on the ballot to determine voter sentiment for two casinos in North Jersey. If the public voted to approve North Jersey casinos, the state’s constitution, which currently limits gaming to Atlantic City, would be amended. The bill to put the question on the ballot, SCR-185, has to be approved by three-fifths of the votes in both houses of the Legislature or majority votes twice during two legislative years before going to the voters as a ballot question.


NATIONAL | December 8, 2015
GAO Report:  25% of Highway Bridges Still Deficient

At the request of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Government Accountability Office conducted a recent study of highway bridges across the country, finding nearly 1 in 4 deficient, 10% structurally deficient and 14% functionally obsolete. The GAO’s report, released to the public on November 30, recognized that many states performed bridge work over the last decade (2005-2014), decreasing by 21% the number of structurally deficient bridges and by 6% the number of obsolete bridges. The amount of structurally deficient deck area shrank by 20%. However, functionally obsolete deck area grew by 9% over the decade. The number of structurally deficient bridges dropped in 43 states and DC over the decade, but rose in seven states and Puerto Rico. The report can be viewed and downloaded as a PDF at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-72R.


NATIONAL | December 4, 2015
Half the Country’s Metros Increased Construction Employment in October

Across the nation in October, 180 metro areas saw an increase in construction employment compared to October 2014, while 132 saw a decrease and 46 remained unchanged. In New Jersey, the picture was uneven. Bergen-Hudson-Passaic was second from the bottom in number of jobs lost for the year-over-year period, down 2,200 jobs, a 7% drop. But it was the only metro area in the state to realize a loss; two metro areas, in fact, saw significant increases over last year.  Camden gained 2,300 jobs for the period, an 11% uptick, and Newark added 4,400 jobs, a 10% rise. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 2,200 jobs for a 6% gain; Atlantic City-Hammonton added 300 jobs, also a 6% gain; Vineland-Bridgeton added 100 jobs, a 4% rise; and Trenton added 100 jobs, a 2% rise. Overall, the state gained 9,600 jobs for the year-over-year period, up 6% over October 2014.


NATIONAL | December 3, 2015
VDOT Wants Zig-Zag Striping As Part of Uniform Traffic Code

For a year, Virginia DOT studied traffic control using patterns of zig-zag striping on roadways, finding the unusual markings slowed traffic, raised awareness of pedestrians and cyclists, and increased the likelihood a vehicle would yield. They also report motorists continued to respond to the zig-zag striping a year after it was applied to 11 points in northern Virginia, chosen because the roadway intersects at those points with the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, a popular hiking and biking route. Because of its finding, VDOT wants the striping to become part of the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Originating in Europe, the striping concept is also used in Hawaii and Ottawa.


NATIONAL | December 2, 2015
Construction Spending Grows Month-by-Month, Year-Over-Year

At a total of $1.107 trillion, construction spending rose in October, up 1% from September and 13% higher than October 2014 – reaching the highest level in almost eight years. Multifamily residential construction grew 1.4% for the month, up 27.9% over last year. Private nonresidential construction spending was up a modest 0.6% for the month, but 15.3% higher than last year. Manufacturing construction spending rose 3% for the month and a whopping 40.5% over last year. In the sector, only retail and warehouse spending decreased. Public construction spending rose 1.4% for the month, 6.1% over the year. Within the public sector, highway and street construction rose 1.1% for the month and 6% over the year, while school construction, which remained flat for the month, was up 8.4% over last year. 


LOCAL | December 2, 2015
$180 Million in State Funding for Colleges Prompts Wish Lists

As reported on philly.com, here are some of the South Jersey college projects on the “wish list” for the next round of higher-education funding from the bond act approved by voters in 2012:

  • Rutgers-Camden would like a $5 million expansion of its recently completed Writers House, plus a $15 million renovation of empty buildings and vacant lots on Cooper Street. And perhaps a new business school.
  • Rowan College at Burlington County seeks the full $57 million it needs to expand and renovate its Mount Laurel campus.
  • Camden County College, which didn’t get funding it sought in the first round of bond-act monies, would like to replace the HVAC systems in three buildings on its Blackwood Campus, and perhaps renovate classrooms.
  • Stockton University wants a slew of work done on its Galloway campus – roof replacement, renovations to its Coastal Research Center and water plant, spillway dam repairs and accessibility improvements. And then there’s the new campus in Atlantic City…
November 2015

NATIONAL | November 24, 2015
Construction Employment Rises in October Across 35 States, Up for Year in 43

A significant number of states – 43 plus the District of Columbia – measured an increase in construction jobs in October compared to October 2014, and a promising 35 states added industry jobs compared to September. Supporting the year-over-year growth was a 14% rise in construction spending, the biggest jump since 2006, according to AGC of America. New Jersey came in on the positive side in both periods, adding 9,700 jobs compared to a year ago, up 6.8%, and 200 jobs for the month, a 0.1% increase. In the region, New York was a big gainer for the year, adding 21,900 jobs, a 6.4% increase, and for the month, with 7,800 jobs, a 2.2% rise. Pennsylvania added 4,800 jobs for the year, a 2.1% increase, but lost almost that many for the month, down 4,200 jobs for a 1.7% loss. Connecticut gained 900 jobs for the year, up 1.6%, but lost 200 for the month, a 0.3% drop. Rhode Island lost 900 jobs for the year, down 5.6%, but made a healthier recovery for the month, adding 500 jobs for a 3.4% rise.


LOCAL | November 23, 2015
Rutgers Introduces the BEAST to Determine Bridge Longevity

The Bridge Evaluation and Accelerated Structural Testing facility, or BEAST, introduced by Rutgers’ Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation in October, virtually imposes real-life traffic and environmental loading on bridges over time and quantitatively measures stresses and deterioration of bridge materials to project future performance and lifespan. The BEAST can study spans up to 50 by 28 feet, with traffic loads up to 60,000 pounds at a continuous 20 miles-per-hour and more than 17,500 passes in a 24-hour period. Environmental stresses include rapid temperature fluctuations from 0 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit and salt brine saturation. Effects are measured on rebar, concrete, steel, ground wire and yellow paint, with all the variables of those materials as found in actual bridge construction. A review panel can advise interested parties about customized experiments. For more information, visit http://cait.Rutgers.edu/beast.  


LOCAL | November 23, 2015
PSE&G to Replace 500 Miles of Gas Lines

Last week the NJ BPU approved PSE&G’s request to accelerate replacement of more than 500 miles of old cast-iron and steel gas lines with plastic lines. The new lines are less likely to leak, will allow increased gas pressure and thus permit excess flow meters, which can signal when too much gas runs through the line and automatically shut it down. Covering less than 20% of PSE&G’s 3,000 miles of old cast-iron and steel gas lines, the replacement project will occur beneath the streets in urban areas where the original lines were installed more than 100 years ago, and will also include 38,000 service lines that feed directly into homes and businesses. Slated to begin next spring, the project is expected to take three years and cost $905 million.


LOCAL | November 19, 2015
AC Development Company to Build $200 Million Stockton Campus

News that AC Devco, the non-profit development group created in June to boost investment in Atlantic City, would build a $200 million Stockton campus in Atlantic City was announced at the League of Municipalities’ annual meeting today in AC. The campus is planned for the Chelsea neighborhood at the southern tip of Albany Avenue. South Jersey Gas had previously announced it will build a 75,000-square-foot corporate headquarters at the same Gateway Development site on Albany, a 14-acre parcel that was home to the former Atlantic City High School, demolished in 1999. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority is providing $2.5 million in seed money to develop the site.


LOCAL | November 19, 2015
NJ Transit Chief to Depart at Year-End

NJ Transit Executive Director Veronique Hakim announced via a staff email Tuesday that she will leave the agency in December. On the same day, the New York MTA posted her appointment as the new president of New York City Transit beginning December 28. She had previously worked at the MTA for 23 years, most recently as an executive vice president and general counsel for capital construction. NJ Transit has not posted announcements on its website about her departure or replacement.


LOCAL | November 17, 2015
Christie Announces Funding for Round 2 of Higher Ed Projects

Yesterday Gov. Christie announced a Fall 2015 grant cycle for the second round of funding from the 2012 Building Our Future Bond Act, which authorized up to $750 million in state grants for new-construction academic facilities. These monies, combined with other state-supported grant programs for higher-ed construction, meant nearly $1.3 billion in grants was authorized in 2013 for 176 projects at 46 institutions. For this cycle, colleges and universities will again compete for funding by submitting construction proposals to the Secretary of Higher Education, Rochelle Hendricks.


LOCAL | November 17, 2015
EDA Grants $93 Million in Tax Breaks to Jersey City Tower and Tenant

One Journal Square, a 56-story tower proposed for a 1.5-acre lot next to the PATH hub in Jersey City, will receive $34 million in tax breaks over 20 years from the NJ Economic Development Authority, while WeWork, a proposed tenant in the tower, will receive $59 million over 10 years. The tower, which could also be eligible for city tax breaks, will house 744 residential units, 101,000 square feet of office space on seven floors and 78,000 square feet of retail space on two floors. Kushner Companies and KABR Group, developers, purchased the property early this year. Construction is expected to be completed in 2018.


LOCAL | November 17, 2015
October Casino Take Down But Internet Gambling Rises

Atlantic City casino revenues, measured at $191.6 million in October, dropped 3.1% compared to October 2014, but Internet revenues, at $12.9 million, leaped up more than 35% in the same period. October was the first full comparable month since four of the casinos closed in 2014. Resorts saw the biggest percentage increase at 21%; Borgata had a 10.7% increase and the biggest take at $57.9 million; and Tropicana had a 0.6% rise. Caesars’ revenue plummeted 25.2% from a year ago; Harrah’s saw a 9.8% drop; Bally’s had a 2.6% decrease; and Golden Nugget’s revenues were down 0.1%.


LOCAL | November 17, 2015
Vineland’s Four Corners Development Picks Up Again in 2016

Following an award of $13.9 million in tax credits by the NJ Housing Mortgage Finance Agency last week, construction is expected to begin next year on the Landis Square Senior Project on East Landis Avenue between East and Myrtle in Vineland. The $18 million mixed-use project will offer 78 residential units for senior citizens, people with special needs and veterans in a three-story building with 8,000 square feet of retail space. Vineland will purchase and demolish the Travel Inn currently on the site, at a cost just under $2 million, while the developer, Eastern Pacific Development Co., will negotiate to buy the former Adamo Feed Store, also on the site, and Crown Fried Chicken on the corner of East Landis and East. The Landis Square project, which still needs site plan approval by the Vineland Planning Board, was originally part of a $40 million Four Corners development proposal by Eastern Pacific to create a gateway to Vineland’s downtown business district, but plans foundered over the past several years and the businesses that were renovated on one corner – a restaurant and theater – have since either closed or operate only occasionally.


LOCAL | November 17, 2015
Two Firms – But Not Fishermen’s Energy – Win Wind Power Development Bids

An auction held last week by the US Department of Interior’s Ocean Energy Management Bureau saw two out-of-state firms win bids to develop wind power projects off the Jersey coast in lease sales totaling nearly $2 million. The leased area, approximately seven miles offshore at the closest point, covers almost 340,000 acres and runs from Long Beach Island to Cape May. RES America Developments, Inc., of Broomfield CO and US Wind Inc. of Baltimore were the winning bidders. New Jersey’s Fishermen’s Energy participated in the auction but did not win. The leases run for a year, during which the developers have to submit preliminary plans. If the federal government approves those plans, each firm has four-and-a-half years to submit construction and operations plans, after which the government would conduct environmental impact assessments and open a public comment period. If final plans and assessments are approved, the leases would then run for 25 years.


LOCAL | November 17, 2015
Showboat Casino Sale Postponed Until January

Originally scheduled for yesterday, Stockton University announced last Friday that the settlement date for the sale of the Showboat Casino in Atlantic City has been postponed until January 15, 2016, an apparent tax benefit for buyer Bart Blatstein’s Tower Investments. As part of the new deal, the price will increase from $22 million to $23 million, with $2.2 million in escrow released immediately to Stockton for operating costs before the settlement date.


LOCAL | November 12, 2015
Newark’s $2 Million Should Jump-Start Residential High-Rise

The former Ballantine Brewery malt factory/Science High School site on Rector Street in Newark has been waiting for Boraie Development’s proposed $68 million, 23-story apartment tower, One Riverview, for more than two years. But Newark City Council’s decision Tuesday to provide $2 million toward construction costs should get work started before the end of the year. Other financing, already in place, comes as $35 million in loans from Goldman Sachs and nearly $24 million in Urban Transit Hub tax grants from the state, plus monies from the developer and other private sources. Newark had also granted the project a 30-year tax abatement back in 2013. The project, adjacent to NJ PAC, will preserve the red-brick façade and entry of the malt factory, which was built on the site in the 1890s, and the glass-and-steel tower will be built above and behind it. About 8,500 square feet of retail shops are planned for street level, topped by 169 market-rate rental units. Construction is expected to last just under 18 months, with initial rehab scheduled to take about two months.


LOCAL | November 9, 2015
Millville Plans Compressed Natural Gas Project

The Cumberland County Improvement Authority has partnered with Constellation Energy, a subsidiary of Exelon, to build a compressed natural gas quick-filling station at the county’s solid waste complex on Jesse Bridge Road (County Road 636) in Millville. The initial phase will include four CNG dispensers, each with two nozzles, plus onsite CNG storage in three vessels, each holding just under 12,000 cu. ft., with the ability to add more dispensers as needed. The station will service the county’s 144 heavy-duty vehicles that were converted from diesel to CNG as well as other fleet vehicles that pass the facility. Constellation will bear the full cost of construction.


LOCAL | November 9, 2015
Aviation Park Approaches “Mega Project” Status

The NJ EDA may consider granting tax incentives to a collection of entities expressing interest in moving into Stockton’s Aviation Research and Technology Park in Egg Harbor Township. If the authority decides to view the various businesses as a single entity, collectively meeting the authority’s threshold of 250 employees and a $20 million capital investment, the Aviation Park will gain “mega project” status, and can offer the same tax incentives as Garden State Growth Zones. The effect will make Aviation Park a much-more-competitive location.


NATIONAL | November 9, 2015
Construction Spending Strong for Year, Slows for Month

Year-over-year construction spending across the nation continued strong in September, reaching a new seven-year high and climbing at the fastest rate since January 2006, before the recession officially set in. Total construction spending in September hit $1.094 trillion, 14.1% above September 2014 spending and 0.6% higher than August. Multifamily residential construction spending jumped 26.7% for the year, up 4.9% for the month. Even public construction spending increased, up 9.4% for the year and 0.7% for the month. In that sector, construction spending on education facilities rose 10.5% for the year, 2.4% for the month. Although private non-residential construction spending rose 14.9% over last year, it fell 0.7% from August’s numbers. Within the sector, spending on lodging, manufacturing and office construction increased significantly year-over-year, but spending within most other categories declined. AGC of America blames the decrease on worker shortage; September’s BLS data noted less than half-a-million unemployed construction workers, the lowest September total in 15 years.


NATIONAL | November 2, 2015
OSHA May Increase Civil Penalties Under New Budget Act

The new Bipartisan Budget Act approved last week now makes it legal for OSHA to increase civil penalties based on inflation. Previously, civil penalties under the OSH Act were expressly exempted from annual inflation increases. OSHA may even increase penalties up to 150% in the first year to meet current inflation levels. However, any proposed increase would still have to go through OSHA’s formal notice and comment process.


NATIONAL | November 2, 2015
ACA Auto-Enrollment Mandate Repealed

In the Bipartisan Budget Act signed into law late last week, a mandatory auto-enrollment of employees into employer-provided healthcare plan was repealed. The mandate would have affected employers with more than 200 employees, requiring they enroll a new full-time employee within 90 days if the employee declined coverage or failed to choose coverage. The mandate also required employers to continue to enroll current employees in a healthcare plan, and was in addition to the Affordable Care Act’s individual and employer mandates requiring healthcare coverage.  

October 2015

LOCAL | October 30, 2015
Evesham Approves Development Application

Richard Birdoff and his development company, RD Management, based in New York, received preliminary approval from Evesham officials to move ahead with The Shoppes at Renaissance Square and the Residences at Renaissance Square. The proposed project would demolish and rehab the empty Tri-Towne Plaza on Route 70, owned by RD Management, making way for construction of restaurants, a coffee shop, and a free-standing 12,600-square-foot commercial/retail building. The residential plan calls for 338 apartments in five buildings. The developer will need to secure several other approvals, including those from NJDOT and NJDEP. Construction could create more than 300 jobs.


NATIONAL | October 28, 2015
Construction Employment Down in 40% of Metro Areas

For the year from September 2014 to September 2015, construction employment dropped in 40% of the nation’s metro areas – down in 144 of 358 metros. It increased in 159 and remained the same in 55. New Jersey’s Bergen-Hudson-Passaic landed in the bottom five, losing 2,700 jobs, a 9% drop. But despite the less-than-good news across the country, the rest of New Jersey’s metros fared reasonably well for the year-over-year period. Atlantic City-Hammonton and Newark each saw a 12% jump, with an increase of 600 and 5,400 jobs respectively. Camden gained 1,800 jobs, an 8% rise. The rest each increased jobs at a 4% rate, with Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean picking up 1,400 jobs, Trenton adding 200 jobs and Vineland-Bridgeton gaining 100 jobs. Statewide, New Jersey added 8,400 jobs, a 6% gain for the year-over-year.


LOCAL | October 27, 2015
Fed Grant Will Replace Newark’s Portal Bridge

The railroad swing bridge over the Hackensack River is 105 years old, and it doesn’t work well. NJ Transit, in collaboration with Amtrak for the design and engineering, can now replace it, with $16 million in a federal grant announced Monday. The grant will also cover electrical and fiber optic work, a retaining wall and a pier from the river’s western shore to allow steel, concrete and piping for construction to be delivered by water. The bridge will be built high enough for boats to pass under, eliminating the need for the problematic swing.


LOCAL | October 27, 2015
Competition for Plans to Replace Port Authority Bus Terminal

Late last week, the Port Authority approved a competition for plans to replace the aging bus terminal on Eighth Avenue. The new terminal will be located a block west, between Ninth and Eleventh, and could cost $10 billion. The Port Authority plans to select a design at its September 2016 board meeting, if not sooner.


LOCAL | October 22, 2015
AC Armory to Become Mixed-Use Development

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved conversion of Atlantic City's old Morris Guards Armory at Pacific and New York avenues into a mixed-use development that will be privately funded by developer John Longacre, whose firm, LPMG of Philadelphia, bought the site in April. The plan calls for 25 one- and two-bedroom apartments over first-floor retail. Longacre would like leasing to begin midyear 2016.


LOCAL | October 22, 2015
Newark Charter School Slated for Old Star-Ledger Site

On Tuesday, the Newark Central Planning Board okay’d plans for a new NorthStar Academy charter school to be built on a former Star-Ledger site on Court Street. The six-story school will serve K-12. Construction is expected to begin in early 2016 and be completed in 2018.


NATIONAL | October 20, 2015
September Construction Jobs Across the Country Up for Year

We posted in Hot Topics last week news of the 2,800 new construction jobs created in New Jersey in September, a 1.9% increase over August. AGC of America, using BLS data, reports New Jersey ranked #6 in the 23 states that added jobs for the month. A total of 35 states and DC added construction jobs in the year since September 2014, including New Jersey, which added 5,900 for the year, a 4.1% gain.


LOCAL | October 16, 2015
Bayonne Bridge Completion Delayed Two Years

The Port Authority’s Bayonne Bridge raising will take another two years beyond the original projected completion date, and is now expected to be finished in late 2017. The new date means new super-container ships that will begin passing through the widened Panama Canal in the spring of 2016 won’t be able to take advantage of the bridge’s 64-foot additional height. The Port Authority blames harsh weather and structural steel issues for the delay.


LOCAL | October 16, 2015
New Jersey’s Construction Industry Adds Jobs in September

New Jersey added 4,700 jobs in September, and construction employment contributed nearly 60% of the growth, with 2,800 new jobs in the industry. A close second, leisure and hospitality added 2,700 jobs.


LOCAL | October 16, 2015
Casino Gambling Revenues Up Nearly 10% in September

Atlantic City casinos reported total revenues of $230.1 million in September, a 9.9% increase over last year – when Revel and Trump Plaza revenues were included. Six of the eight remaining casinos reported gains, with Borgata’s year-over-year clocking in at the highest increase, up $7.8 million. Caesar’s had a $4.9 million increase, Resorts saw a $3.6 million gain and Golden Nugget reported a $3.3 million increase. Resorts and Golden Nugget had the biggest percentage gains from last year, up 31.8% and 20.9% respectively. Bally’s and Trump Taj Mahal both saw revenues drop, with Bally’s revenues down 4.2% and Taj revenues down 4.6%.


LOCAL | October 16, 2015
AFL-CIO Firm Expected to Announce Billion-Dollar Affordable Housing Investment

Crain’s New York Business reported earlier this week that the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust will commit $1 billion to financing 20,000 affordable-housing units in New York City within the next seven years. All the construction projects will hire union labor.


LOCAL | October 13, 2015
Phase 1 of Paulsboro Plaza Redevelopment Gets Funding

Lindsey-Ore LLC, a developer that plans to recreate Paulsboro Plaza, has obtained a construction loan for the first phase, rehabilitation of the old Acme grocery store into a Save-A-Lot grocery store. The developer now must get building permits from Paulsboro and put together a construction schedule.


LOCAL | October 13, 2015
Online Merchants Push NJ Industrial Vacancy Rates Down

The vacancy rates in New Jersey’s industrial space have dropped to their lowest levels since 2007, per Cushman & Wakefield, driven by demand from online merchants. In North Jersey, the vacancy rate is 7.2%, with just under 700,000 square feet currently under construction and an average rental rate of $6.33 per square foot. In Central Jersey the vacancy rate is 8%, with nearly 2.6 million square feet under construction and an average rental rate of $5.12 per square foot. Cushman & Wakfield did not report South Jersey rates.


LOCAL | October 9, 2015
Jersey City Takes Back Further School Control

On Wednesday, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop announced the city was taking back further control of the public school system, including personnel and operations. The State of New Jersey Department of Education, which took over the schools in October 1989 because of poor student performance, returned finance and governance control to the city in 2012. The state will continue to maintain control over instruction and program, but Mayor Fulop and School Superintendent Dr. Marcia Lyles both expressed optimism about transitioning that control back to the city in Spring 2016.


LOCAL | October 6, 2015
Burlington County Expected to Approve $60 Million for Bridges

The vote is next week, but the Burlington County Board of Freeholders will most likely approve a guarantee for $60 million in bonds to the county’s Bridge Commission for two major bridge rehabilitation projects. Total cost is estimated at $90 million for both projects – $45.3 million for stripping and painting both bridges and $45 million for replacing the deck on the Burlington-Bristol Bridge, plus $1.2 million to install gates and traffic signals on both 90-year-old bridges. The county would guarantee the loan and the Commission would repay the bonds through toll collection. Board of Freeholders meeting is scheduled for October 14, 7 pm in the county administration building, 49 Rancocas Road, Mount Holly.


NATIONAL | October 6, 2015
Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund Seeks Benefit Cuts

Not unexpected but now officially announced, the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund filed a plan to cut benefits for retirees in an effort to keep the fund from becoming insolvent. It is the first multiemployer pension fund to file an application with the Treasury Department for benefit cuts under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014. Under the rules, the plan will be made public by October 25. If Treasury approves the plan, it will go to the retirees for a vote. However, if propping up the pension fund will cost the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation more than $1 billion, Treasury can override the retirees’ predicted “no” vote.


NATIONAL | October 2, 2015
Nonresidential Construction Spending Takes Summer Leap

Private nonresidential construction spending across the nation in August jumped 16.9% over August of 2014, and even public construction spending was up, 7% higher than a year ago. Overall construction spending in August hit a seven-year high at $1.086 trillion (the highest since May 2008), 13.7% higher than August 2014 and the strongest year-over-year growth rate since March 2006. AGC of America noted “exceptionally strong growth in manufacturing, lodging and apartment construction all year,” with a recent spurt in construction spending for office, healthcare, highway and education structures.


LOCAL | October 1, 2015
Nearly $6 Million in Freight Rail Grants Come to South Jersey

Freight rail will get improvements in Paulsboro, Camden and Salem County, thanks to two DOT grants. South Jersey Port Corporation, which owns marine terminals in Paulsboro and Camden, will receive $5 million to improve the railroads at both terminals, including track extensions and two new grade crossings at Paulsboro and renovation of four crossings at Camden, along with improvements to the Camden terminal. Salem County will receive $972,840 to rehab its 18-mile shortline, primarily replacing old rail ties.

September 2015

NATIONAL | September 29, 2015
Construction Employment Falls in 43% of Metro Areas

Construction lost jobs in 153 of 358 metro areas, nearly 43%, across the country in the period from August 2014 to August 2015, which meant only 163 gained jobs while construction employment in another 42 remained unchanged. AGC of America attributed some of the job losses to the “steep downturn in oil and gas drilling,” along with uncertainty in the industry because of the lack of federal funding for infrastructure projects. In the bottom five metro areas was New Jersey’s Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, which lost 1,900 jobs for the year, down 6%. Trenton also saw a decline, losing 200 jobs, a 4% drop. But the rest of the state fared better for the year-over-year. Alphabetically, Atlantic City-Hammonton picked up 600 jobs, a 12% gain; Camden added 3,000 jobs, a 14% jump; Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 500 jobs, a 1% increase; Newark added 5,000 jobs, a 12% increase; and Vineland-Bridgeton added 200 jobs, a 7% gain. Overall, the state added 7,300 construction jobs, a 5% increase.


LOCAL | September 29, 2015
Camden Looks Toward $1 Billion Waterfront Development

Liberty Property Trust, the same developer that remade the Philadelphia Navy Yard, last week announced a $1 billion mixed-use project for 16 acres of Camden waterfront that was formerly used by industry. The development, based on a master plan from architect Robert A.M. Stern, would include 1.7 million square feet of office space, a hotel with 120 to 140 rooms, retail shops at ground level, 325 rental apartments and 5,000 parking spaces. The design features a series of low-lying buildings strung between two towers. To date, Liberty has a signed agreement to purchase Camden Town Center LLC and develop the 16 acres. Once approvals are complete, Liberty could break ground in third-quarter 2016 and begin opening buildings for occupancy in late 2018. The project is expected to create thousands of construction jobs.


NATIONAL | September 23, 2015
Year Better than Month in Construction Employment

Across the country, construction employment rose in 36 states and DC in the year from August 2014 to August 2015. But the monthly numbers were not so positive:  only 25 states added jobs from July to August. New Jersey’s picture was a little rosier than of late, with 4,800 more jobs this August than last, a 3.3% increase. For the month, the state added 600 jobs, a 0.4% gain. In the region, Rhode Island ranked second from the bottom in percentage of jobs lost in the year-over-year period, down 7.9% with a loss of 1,300 jobs, but managed to pick up 100 jobs for the month, a gain of 0.7%. Connecticut added 1,700 jobs over last year, a 3% gain, but lost 500 jobs for the month, a 0.9% drop. New York added 7,800 jobs for the year, a 2.3% increase, and 2,600 for the month, a 0.7% gain. Pennsylvania added 8,900 jobs compared to last year, a 3.8% increase, but lost 300 jobs over the month, a 0.1% drop.


LOCAL | September 23, 2015
Golden Nugget To Transform Restaurant Into Villas

Last week, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority gave the go-ahead to the Golden Nugget Atlantic City to create two 2,400 sq.ft. villas from an old restaurant on the property, each with a bedroom, living room, entertainment space, dining area and bar. The $4.5 million project is being funded with $1.2 million in Investment Alternative Tax obligations, with more to come from projected IAT revenue. The villas will be available for weekend hotel guests and used for small-group meetings and hospitality suites.


LOCAL | September 22, 2015
$3.2 Million in Fed Funds for AC Airport Reconstruction

As Chair of the House Aviation Subcommittee, US Rep. Frank LoBiondo announced last week the FAA will give $3,223,440 to Atlantic City International Airport for reconstruction projects as part of the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program.


LOCAL | September 22, 2015
Proposed Woolwich Retail Project Gets Sewer Access

Earlier this month, Logan Township agreed to expand its sewer treatment facilities to accommodate a Woolwich retail project. Woolwich Commons, the first phase of a mixed-use development that will ultimately total more than a half-million square feet at the intersection of Kings Highway and Route 322, will include a Walmart, Chili’s, Applebee’s, Outback Steakhouse, Starbucks, a variety of fast-food choices and other retail stores. Subsequent development plans call for 3,000 to 4,000 residential units in a walkable environment, along with plans for NJ DOT to upgrade the intersection and build in safety features.


LOCAL | September 21, 2015
Blatstein Confirmed as Showboat Buyer

Reports surfaced and then were confirmed last week that Bart Blatstein, a Philadelphia developer and principal of Tower Investments, has purchased Atlantic City’s Showboat Casino from Stockton University for $22 million, with a closing date of November 9. Per the university, which paid $18 million for the hotel and casino last year, Stockton will be able to use some of Showboat’s entertainment venues and has an agreement with Blatstein to provide guest accommodations at Stockton’s Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway if AC rooms are booked. Blatstein previously bought AC’s Pier Shops at Caesars.


LOCAL | September 15, 2015
$253 Million in Tax Incentives for Camden Recycling Plant

Last Thursday, the NJ EDA approved $252,750,000 in tax incentives over 10 years for EMR Eastern LLC, which will build a nearly 700,000 sq.ft. advanced metals recovery facility and corporate headquarters on six blocks along Camden’s Waterfront South. EMR already owns Camden Iron & Metal in the vicinity, and will move its headquarters and 71 jobs from Bellmawr, along with 27 jobs from other New Jersey towns. According to the proposal approved by EDA, the project will create 285 new permanent jobs and 1,274 construction jobs.


NATIONAL | September 8, 2015
Construction Jobs Weaken in More Than Half of Metro Areas

Less than half of the nation’s metro areas (168 of 358, or 47%) added construction jobs in July compared to July 2014, and AGC of America called it “the weakest expansion since late 2011.” Construction employment decreased in 138 metros (39%) and remained static in 52 (15%). One New Jersey metro area, Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, landed in the bottom five, losing 1,900 jobs, a 6% decline for the year. But the rest of the state fared better. Atlantic City-Hammonton added 800 jobs, a 16% jump; Newark added 6,200 jobs, a 14% gain; Camden added 2,800 jobs, a 13% gain; Vineland-Bridgeton added 200 jobs, an 8% increase; and Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 400 jobs, a 1% increase. Only Trenton remained unchanged from a year ago. Statewide, New Jersey had a net gain of 7,200 jobs for the period, up 5%.

Across the country, the construction industry added 231,000 jobs (a 3.8% gain) in July compared to July 2014. However, the industry has shown only slow growth in the number of jobs, averaging 6,800 per month for the past six months. AGC blames the slow growth on a lack of qualified workers in many parts of the country, rather than on low demand for workers.

August 2015

LOCAL | August 26, 2015
Update on Virtua’s Proposed Westampton Hospital

As we posted in Hot Topics more than a year-and-a-half ago, Virtua Health System purchased a 100+ acre lot at Route 541 and Woodlane Road in Westampton with plans to build an acute-care hospital. Those plans have expanded to include nine other buildings – surgical and rehab centers, a hospice and assisted-living facility and medical offices. Covering two million square feet, the medical complex project would be constructed in phases within a 20-year timeframe during which the zoning would remain unchanged. The proposal is due to be presented to the Westampton Land Development/Zoning Board next week. Since we first posted, the township amended its master plan for the site, allowing a hospital and mixed-use, business and residential “town center” construction.


LOCAL | August 26, 2015
AC Casino Revenues Rise Slightly in First Half of 2015

With fewer casinos open in Atlantic City, overall revenue in the first six months of this year is down compared to the same period last year, by as much as 11.8%. However, the total revenue comparison for the eight casinos still open is somewhat higher, at $1.65 billion compared to $1.6 billion last year. The Division of Gaming Enforcement also notes Gross Operating Profit for the eight rose 27.4% to $213 million for the first half of 2015, and net revenue, including Internet gaming take, also rose for six of the eight. Borgata reported an increase of $24.6 million in revenue, the highest dollar gain, up about 7% over the first half of last year. Golden Nugget revenue was up 26.7% and Resorts revenue was up 12% for the period. Harrah’s revenue was up over 11%, while Caesar’s and Tropicana revenues were each up just over 7%. Trump Taj Mahal’s net revenue dropped 26.5% and Bally’s dropped 0.6% for the period.


NATIONAL | August 24, 2015
States Add Construction Jobs for Year, Less Strong for Month

While 37 states and DC added construction jobs for the year from July 2014 to July 2015, only 28 plus DC added jobs for the month. AGC of America noted that construction is growing overall but fewer states are benefiting from the growth. New Jersey added 4,700 jobs over the year period, a 3.3% gain, but lost 100 jobs for the month, dropping 0.1%. In the region, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania followed the same pattern, gaining jobs for the year but experiencing losses for the month. Rhode Island on the other hand dropped a significant number of jobs for the year, ranking at the bottom among all states, and picked up only a handful of jobs for the month.


LOCAL | August 20, 2015
Ocean Drive in Avalon Slated for $9 Million Resiliency Project

Cape May County plans a multi-year, $9 million “permanent fix” to approximately 1,500 feet of Ocean Drive that will install resiliency into the portion of the road at the bulkhead badly damaged during Superstorm Sandy. Plans call for thick plates of tar-coated sheet steel, driven down 25 feet on the ocean side and 15 feet on the marsh side, to flank a new road surface. The road itself will be constructed of nine-inch slabs of reinforced concrete with a six-inch Portland cement base over geotextile. Also part of the project is repair of the stone seawall, which will be made more resilient with a backing of filter stone rip-rap on the ocean side and rip-rap stone on the marsh side to allow seawater to drain away from the road. The project is expected to go out for bid in September, with a shortened winter construction cycle that will end March 15 because of shorebird protections.


LOCAL | August 13, 2015
Update: American Dream Meadowlands Tax Break

Latest news:  The project is still eligible for a $390 million tax break, following a vote of approval from the EDA on Tuesday. Developer Triple Five had presented an expanded and amended plan for the project, and EDA’s approval of the plan means the developer can proceed with the sale of as much as $800 million in bonds within the next 30 to 60 days. New construction funding of $3.2 billion is needed to finish the project. EDA approval, the bond sale and final approval from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which meets today to discuss the revised plan, could allow American Dream to open in the latter half of 2017. In the meantime, construction continues at the site. Triple Five’s EDA application specified 5,810 construction jobs would be created by the project.


LOCAL | August 7, 2015
NYC Forms Construction Fraud Task Force

Wednesday, New York announced the formation of a citywide Construction Fraud Task Force to investigate and prosecute corruption and fraud in the construction industry. Oversight of the task force comes from a partnership of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the NYC Department of Investigation, the Port Authority’s Office of the Inspector General, the MTA’s Office of the Inspector General, and the Business Integrity Commission for the City of New York. Created in the midst of a huge building boom in the city, the task force’s mission is two-part: uncovering fraud and preventing unsafe practices on jobsites. The Attorney-in-Charge is Assistant DA Diana Florence of the DA’s Rackets Bureau.


LOCAL | August 7, 2015
Former Elizabeth General Hospital May Morph Into Mixed-Use

The old Elizabeth General Hospital site, five acres on East Jersey Street in Elizabeth, was sold to a private developer listed as H. Elizabeth Realty LLC of Brooklyn for $2.5 million. The developer plans a mixed-use housing and retail complex on the site, which still holds part of the former hospital’s 350,000 sq.ft. building and a parking deck with 500+ spaces.

July 2015

NATIONAL | July 29, 2015
Metro Area Construction Employment Uninspiring for Year

Of 358 metro areas, 127 (35%) saw construction employment drop in the year from June 2014 to June 2015, while 180 (50%) saw an increase and 51 (14%) saw no change. AGC of America blames lack of sustained federal transportation funding for the sluggish growth. New Jersey’s numbers hit highs and lows:  Bergen-Hudson-Passaic was in the bottom five in the nation with a loss of 1,200 jobs for the year, a 4% decline, while Camden ranked third in the nation in terms of percentage gains, picking up 4,000 jobs for a whopping 19% increase. The rest of the metro areas in the state did better than Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, some of them recording a significance increase year-over-year:  Atlantic City-Hammonton picked up 900 construction jobs, an 18% gain; Newark added 5,000 construction jobs, a 12% gain; Vineland-Bridgeton added 300 jobs, also a 12% increase; Trenton added 100 jobs, a 2% gain; and Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 500 jobs, a 1% gain.


LOCAL | July 28, 2015
CSX To Replace Oradell Reservoir Bridge Deck

CSX, whose trains carry Bakken crude oil across the Oradell Reservoir Bridge every week, announced it would replace the bridge’s wooden deck this summer. The bridge is 86 years old and its 25-foot open-slat deck is deteriorating such that CSX ordered trains to reduce speed over the span from 40 mph to 25 mph. The deck will be replaced with a ballasted deck. Train traffic will be halted, not rerouted, during the bridge replacement, which is expected sometime this summer, although CSX did not name a date.


LOCAL | July 28, 2015
NY Gov. Cuomo Announces $4 Billion Rebuild for LaGuardia

Yesterday, New York Governor Cuomo announced a plan to rebuild LaGuardia Airport, consolidating its four terminals into one and moving the entire facility closer to the Grand Central Parkway in Queens. Pending approval from the Port Authority, the $4 billion project could break ground next year and be completed in five years.


LOCAL | July 27, 2015
Proposed Ridgewood Parking Garage Estimated at $15 Million

Last week, Ridgewood approved $500,000 for pre-construction costs, including project analysis and design, of a proposed $15 million parking garage. The garage would include conventional parking decks with perhaps as many as 300 additional parking spaces. This fall, Ridgewood residents will vote on financing the project through public funds.


LOCAL | July 27, 2015
Rebuilding Atlantic County’s Bridges: Three Years, Maybe $50 Million

A bridge rebuilding plan in Atlantic County will take three years and cost as much as $50 million. Many of the 28 bridges slated for reconstruction are 75 years old or more, one is more than a century old. Next in the project pipeline is replacement of the Catawba Bridge in Hamilton and Egg Harbor Township, for which construction is expected to begin in September and end in May of next year.


LOCAL | July 22, 2015
East Rutherford Votes to Issue $675 Million in Bonds for American Dream Project

Last night, the East Rutherford Borough Council unanimously approved issuing up to $675 million in bonds to help finance the American Dream Meadowlands project. These high-yield municipal bonds are “non-recourse,” which protects the borough from having to repay investors should the project ultimately fail. Triple Five, the project developer, is also in the midst of applying to the NJ Economic Development Authority for up to $390 million in tax breaks, another piece of the financing necessary to continue with the project.


NATIONAL | July 21, 2015
States Drop Construction Jobs in June

Half the states in the US lost construction jobs in the month from May to June, including New Jersey, which ranked close to the bottom in both number and percentage of jobs lost (down 4,600 jobs, a 3% drop). Another 24 states added jobs, and construction employment in Wyoming and DC remained unchanged. In the region for the month, Rhode Island lost 700 jobs, a 4.5% drop, Pennsylvania lost 2,300 jobs, a 0.9% drop, New York gained 3,300 jobs, up 0.9%, Connecticut picked up 2,200 jobs, a 3.8% increase, and Delaware added 900 jobs, a 4.3% gain.

         Despite the losses for the month, the construction employment picture for the year from June 2014 to June 2015 was somewhat improved, with 39 states and DC adding jobs, 11 states losing jobs. New Jersey finished the period with 6,200 more jobs than a year ago, up 4.4%.


NATIONAL | July 13, 2015
Some Construction Materials Prices Drop, Some Rise

Copper futures dropped during the first week of July to a six-year low, down to approximately $2.45 per pound, a 20% decrease from the same period in 2014. Iron ore used in steelmaking fell to the lowest price in a decade, and aluminum prices dropped 2% in the first week in July and have decreased 10% since January. Rising demand pushed up the prices for window glass, wallboard and steel pipe. Overall, however, the construction cost index, measured in 12 cities across the US, rose during the first quarter of 2015 only 0.5% in New York and 0.6% in Boston.


LOCAL | July 15, 2015
Montvale Property to Become Sloan Kettering Center

A 17-acre property in Montvale, most recently home to Teva Pharmaceuticals, will be transformed into an outpatient center for Memorial Sloan Kettering, which purchased the land and a 142,500 sq.ft. office building for $37 million. Sloan Kettering will invest more than $100 million in renovations to the building, located at 225 Summit Avenue, with plans to open it in 2017.


NATIONAL | July 2, 2015
Construction Spending Jumps This May Over Last

Construction spending nationally jumped 8.2% in May compared to May 2014, reaching the highest level of spending since October 2008. Totaling $1.036 trillion, the figure also represented a 0.8% increase over April. Private nonresidential spending increased 0.9% for the month, 10.3% for the year. By segment, year-over-year, construction spending in manufacturing rose 70%, amusement and recreation spending was up 46%, lodging was up 30%, private office construction was up 26% and multifamily construction spending rose 21%. Public construction spending increased 0.7% for the month, up 2.8% for the year.


LOCAL | July 2, 2015
New Mantoloking Borough Hall Rings Up at $5 Million

The old Mantoloking Borough Hall, damaged by Superstorm Sandy and demolished in 2013, will be replaced with a new one at a cost of almost $5 million, approved by the Borough Council Tuesday. The two-story building on Downer Avenue will incorporate the borough’s police department, municipal offices, a community and municipal meeting room that will double as a courtroom, and judge’s chambers. Once the architect, B.L.D.G. Architecture LLC of Brielle, finalizes the plan and bidding package, the project will be put out to bid.


LOCAL | July 2, 2015
Former Cherry Hill Syms Proposed for $50 Million Medical Complex

Vacant for the past three years, the 150,000 sq.ft. Syms store on 11 acres on Route 70, will be transformed into a $50 million medical complex if developer Penn Medicine’s proposal is adopted. The developer, an affiliate of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, envisions an urgent care center, radiology and cardiology units, a primary care center and more. The building would undergo a new façade, new roof, new electrical and HVAC systems and lighting upgrades. The project also includes a parking garage, and would take an estimated 18 months to complete. The Cherry Hill Planning Board will consider the proposal next week. The site is owned by Finmarc Management, based in Bethesda, Maryland.


NATIONAL | July 2, 2015
May Metro Construction Employment Reflects Slow Growth

While 205 of 358 metro areas across the country added construction jobs between May 2014 and May 2015, the number of municipalities adding jobs declined to its lowest level since April 2013. Rounding out the figures, 101 metro areas lost jobs compared to last year, and 52 remained unchanged. The New Jersey picture for the year was improved, however: Atlantic City-Hammonton, for example, ranked #3 in the US for largest percentage gains, picking up 1,100 jobs, a 22% increase over May 2014. Camden also appeared in the top 10 in terms of percentages, adding 3,300 jobs, a 16% increase. Newark was strong for the year, picking up 4,500 jobs, an 11% gain, followed by Trenton (up 500 jobs, a 10% increase); Vineland-Bridgeton (up 200 jobs, an 8% gain); and Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean (up 800 jobs, a 2% gain). Bergen-Hudson-Passaic was the only New Jersey metro area to lose jobs for the year, down 3% with a loss of 900 jobs. Overall, the state picked up 9,800 construction jobs from last May to this, a 7% increase.

June 2015

LOCAL | June 29, 2015
Bayonne’s Large Public Projects to Have PLAs

If a Bayonne public works or city-funded municipal project is valued at more than $5 million, it will now be covered by a PLA with the Hudson County Building and Construction Trades Council. The City Council approved the measure on June 17 in a unanimous vote.


LOCAL | June 29, 2015
Atlantic City Rescue Plan Passes Senate

Now awaiting action by Governor Christie, the package of five bills designed to rescue Atlantic City’s finances passed the state Senate on Thursday. It had been approved by Assembly on June 11, as posted in Hot Topics June 12.


LOCAL | June 25, 2015
Redevelopment Planned for Jersey City Pasta Factory Site

Developer Argent Ventures would like to raze the century-old Mueller’s pasta plant at 180 Baldwin Avenue in Jersey City and replace it with a four-building mixed-use complex holding 980 residential units, 490 parking spaces, ground-floor retail space, public plazas and a promenade. Plans call for two buildings of seven floors each, two of 25 floors each. Part of the Journal Square 2060 Redevelopment Plan, the complex would be built in four phases, the first two of which came before the Jersey City Planning Board Tuesday night for site plan approval.


NATIONAL | June 23, 2015
May Construction Employment Picks Up in the Northeast – But Not in New Jersey

Across the country, 40 states and DC added construction jobs in May compared to May 2014, but only 28 states and DC added jobs in the month from April to May. The six states that added the highest percentage of jobs for the month were all in the Northeast, including Connecticut (2,400 jobs, up 4.3%), New Hampshire (1,000 jobs, also up 4.3%), New York (14,200 jobs, up 4.2%), Vermont (600 jobs, up 4.1%), Maryland (4,500 jobs, up 2.9%) and Massachusetts (3,500 jobs, up 2.7%). While New Jersey fared better this year compared to last, up 11,000 jobs, a 7.8% gain, construction employment for the month slipped, down 700 jobs, a 0.5% loss.


LOCAL | June 19, 2015
$164 Million EDA Grant Goes to American Water Works

American Water Works, based in Voorhees, will use the 10-year grant for a new 250,000 sq.ft. headquarters building in Camden, consolidating staff from Mount Laurel, Haddon Heights, Cherry Hill and Voorhees. American Water claims the Camden project will retain 596 jobs and create 100 new jobs in New Jersey.


LOCAL | June 18, 2015
Teaneck to See New Glenpointe Hotel Development

Hackensack developer Alfred Sanzari Enterprises announced plans last week to build a 13-story, 350-room hotel at the Glenpointe mixed-use complex in Teaneck. The hotel will be jointly branded as a Hampton Inn & Suites (190 rooms) and Homewood Suites by Hilton (160 rooms), and will sit near the corner of Glenwood Avenue and the I-95 off-ramp.


NATIONAL | June 18, 2015
Kenneth Feinberg to Review Applications to Cut Multi-Employer Pension Benefits

Kenneth Feinberg, known for overseeing the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster Victim Compensation Fund and the Boston Marathon’s One Fund for victims of the bombings, was appointed by the Treasury Department to review applications from multi-employer pension funds that seek to cut retiree benefits to avoid insolvency. No applications have yet been received, but Feinberg will be responsible for ensuring that the regulations guiding the process are followed. Those regulations were issued with his appointment yesterday. Feinberg will serve in the position without pay.


LOCAL | June 12, 2015
NJ Assembly Approves AC Bailout Bills

A package of bills designed to bail out Atlantic City passed the New Jersey State Assembly yesterday, and now moves to the Senate for a vote later this month. The five bills cover these tax revenue issues:

  • Casinos would pay collectively $120 million in taxes each year for 15 years, based on annual gross gaming revenues of $2.2 billion to $2.6 billion, adjustable if gaming revenues rise or fall dramatically; casinos would not be allowed to appeal taxes.
  • $60 million in casino tax money would go to the Atlantic City Alliance this year rather than over the next two years as scheduled.
  • Casino Reinvestment Development Authority’s development funds would be used to pay down the city’s debt service, anticipated to be $36 million in 2015.
  • Casino workers would receive healthcare and retirement benefits.
  • Atlantic City schools would receive extra funding if necessary.

LOCAL | June 8, 2015
Track Port Authority Projects with Website Dashboard

The Port Authority last week launched a new dashboard on its website to post quarterly updates on its capital projects, including cost and schedule information. Access the dashboard at http://capitaldashboard.panynj.gov/.


LOCAL | June 3, 2015
Update on Next Gen Aviation Park: Stockton Gets Lease

As we told you in Hot Topics in late January, settled lawsuits between the South Jersey Economic Development District and its former executive director paved the way for a land lease transfer to Stockton University’s Aviation Research & Technology Park. The lease transfer of 58 acres in Egg Harbor Township went through last week, and Stockton now plans development to begin on the first building in the park by year-end. Construction is scheduled to include a total of seven buildings with 400,000 square feet of office and research space. The first building will offer 66,000 square feet, with 7,000 square feet of it set aside for the FAA.


NATIONAL | June 2, 2015
April Construction Employment Up in 65% of US Metro Areas

From April 2014 to April 2015, construction employment increased in 232 of 358 metro areas, declined in 66 and remained the same in 60. All New Jersey metros gained jobs in the year-over-year period, and Atlantic City-Hammonton ranked #2 in percentage increase, adding 1,100 jobs for a 24% gain. Newark added 5,600 jobs, a 14% gain, followed by Camden with 2,700 jobs, a 13% increase; Trenton with 600 jobs, a 13% increase; Vineland-Bridgeton with 300 jobs, a 13% increase; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic with 600 jobs, a 2% increase; and Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean with 500 jobs, a 1% gain. Statewide for the April-to-April period, New Jersey gained 11,900 jobs, a 9% boost.


LOCAL | June 1, 2015
Roller Coaster for AC?

Last week, Florida developer Joshua Wallack proposed a vertical roller coaster for the site of the former Sands casino in Atlantic City. The project would include construction of the roller coaster around a vertical-drop ride on a site that would also be filled with entertainment venues. Wallack is currently building Skyplex, a similar entertainment complex in Orlando, and would like to see an Atlantic City version open by Summer 2017. According to Wallack, the project would create approximately 1,000 construction jobs and 200 to 300 permanent jobs. Boardwalk Piers LLC owns the property.

May 2015

LOCAL | May 29, 2015
Wildwood Hopes Tax Incentives Draw Construction Projects

Wildwood City Commissioners have approved tax breaks for commercial renovations and construction, hoping to encourage new development, including construction of a year-round, full-service hotel in close proximity to the convention center. The city’s redevelopment plan also envisions construction on the Bayfront and the former landfill off Garfield Avenue, which must first be capped in compliance with state regulations. New construction and improvements of commercial, industrial or multi-family units would be eligible for an exemption in the form of a five-year phase-in process. During the first year, zero taxes would be due on improvements, with a 20% increase each year over five years.


LOCAL | May 29, 2015
Bayonne Bridge Construction Updates for June and July

The Port Authority and City of Bayonne officials have announced another set of updates to the bridge construction.

Street Closures

  • West Third Street, as previously announced, will be closed until July.
  • West Fourth Street, originally scheduled to open in June, will be closed until July.
  • Gertrude Street will be closed until July (updated from previous announcements).
  • As previously announced, no other streets will be closed while these three are closed.

In addition, the Bayonne Bridge will remain open over the Father’s Day weekend, from Saturday, June 20, 8 am, through Monday, June 22, 9 am.

For the latest information on bridge closures, call 855.265.5482, press 1.

For notifications via email and/or text, visit www.paalerts.com and click on “Register for Port Authority Alerts.”


NATIONAL | May 27, 2015
April’s Construction Employment Up in 30 States, Including New Jersey

Compared to March, construction employment in April rose in 30 states and DC. And compared to April 2014, this April’s construction employment rose in 40 states plus DC. New Jersey came out in the top five states in both numbers, with a month-to-month jump of 3,400 jobs, a 2.3% increase, and a year-over-year leap of 9.9% with 13,900 jobs. In the region, Pennsylvania added the most jobs – 10,000 – compared to all other states for the month, a 4.3% hike. But New York and Rhode Island were among the 18 states that lost jobs month-to-month, down 3,200 (a 0.9% loss) and 400 (a 2.5% drop) respectively. Rhode Island was also one of seven states to lose jobs compared to April 2014, down 800, a 4.8% drop.


LOCAL | May 26, 2015
AC Seeds New Development Company

The Atlantic City Development Company, AC Devco, received a $2.5 million loan as seed funding from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority last week and, as its first tasks, will look into a partnership with AtlantiCare and Rowan University to build a medical school as well as develop a new corporate office for South Jersey Industries, parent company of South Jersey Gas. The medical school could be built on property owned by CRDA that is bordered by Pacific, Atlantic, Ohio and Indiana avenues, across from AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center’s City Campus. A possible site for the corporate office is the former Atlantic City High School property on Atlantic Avenue at the entrance to Route 40.


LOCAL | May 18, 2015
Possible Funding for NJ Air National Guard Hangar

The House last week approved a military spending bill that includes $10.2 million for a new fuel-handling and corrosion-control hangar at the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing, stationed at Atlantic City International Airport in Egg Harbor Township. The new hangar will replace and upgrade two existing facilities for daily maintenance of F-16 fighter jets. The bill is the FY 2016 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, which still must be approved by the Senate and signed by the President.


NATIONAL | May 13, 2015
US Construction Unemployment Rate Drops to Nine-Year Low

With 45,000 construction jobs added in April, up 280,000 over April 2014, the construction unemployment rate in the US dropped to 7.5%, the lowest April rate since 2006. Nonresidential contractors hired 20,800 workers for the month and 126,100 since April 2014, up 3.3%, but 20,200 were in the specialty trades and 8,400 were in the heavy and civil engineering sector. Nonresidential building construction dropped 7,800 jobs for the month and was up only 2.4% for the year with 16,600 jobs. The number of unemployed construction workers has declined to 652,000, the lowest since 2001.


LOCAL | May 7, 2015
Bayonne Bridge Closure Updates

From the Port Authority and the City of Bayonne:

The Bayonne Bridge will remain open – no closures – on these days:

  • Mothers’ Day (Saturday, May 9, 8 am through Monday, May 11, 5 am)
  • Memorial Day (Friday, May 22, 5 am through Tuesday, May 26, 5 am)
  • Fathers’ Day (Saturday, June 20, 8 am through Monday, June 22, 5 am)

 In effect since April 20 and for the duration of the project, the bridge closes at 8:30 pm on weekdays.

 Street closings:

  • Portions of West Fourth Street until June
  • Portions of West Third Street until July
  • Juliette and Gertrude streets will be closed frequently through the duration of the project from 7 am to 3 pm

No other streets will be closed while three of the above streets are closed; for local access only, vehicles can enter from JFK Blvd. or Avenue A. No through traffic can travel under the bridge.


NATIONAL | May 7, 2015
Indiana Repeals Construction Wage Law

Indiana’s common construction wage law, which set minimum wages for public construction projects, was repealed this week with Governor Pence’s signature. The wages were set by government boards, and will now be determined by the state and local market conditions.


April 2015

LOCAL | April 29, 2015
Kevyn Orr, Aide to AC Emergency Manager, Leaves Post

Kevyn Orr arrived in Atlantic City in January as a consultant to Emergency Manager Kevin Lavin, and will leave that position tomorrow, returning to law firm Jones Day as Partner-in-Charge of its DC office and partner in the firm’s Business Restructuring & Reorganization Practice. Orr had previously served as Emergency Manager for Detroit.


LOCAL | April 29, 2015
New Plan for Old Proposal at Vineland Hospital Site

Vineland’s Newcomb Hospital has been closed for more than a decade, but redevelopment proposals have stalled. Developer Newcomb Medical Alliance has now proposed dividing the 6.5-acre site into several parcels, each to be owned, developed and financed separately but compatibly. The project could include 70 assisted-living housing units and 140 independent-living units for senior and disabled citizens and veterans, alongside a new facility for Vineland’s Emergency Medical Services. Chestnut, State, Howard and Almond streets border the site.


NATIONAL | April 28, 2015
Ironworkers General President to Retire

Walter Wise, General President of the Iron Workers since 2011, announced he will retire on July 1, 2015, and will also step down as Labor Co-Chair of IMPACT, the labor-management cooperative. He will be replaced in both positions by current General Secretary Eric Dean.


LOCAL | April 23, 2015
AC Moves Fast on Bader Field Development

Following the submission of proposals last week for Atlantic City’s Bader Field redevelopment, the AC City Council has moved quickly to select a concept and begin negotiations. Bader Field Sports LLC, based in Midland Park, proposed a “world-class destination” for sports from baseball to lacrosse and field hockey, soccer to softball, with indoor and outdoor fields, an air-supported dome facility, a senior citizen center, college dorms, classrooms, boardwalk promenade, restaurants and maybe even an indoor waterpark.


NATIONAL | April 22, 2015
March Construction Employment Up for Year, Down for Month

The year-over-year picture, March 2014 to March 2015, looks positive for construction employment, as 41 states added jobs, and the top five states added a significant number of jobs – 158,500 in total. Only nine states lost jobs in the industry for the period, and construction employment in DC remained unchanged. For the month from February to March, however, the number of construction jobs decreased in 29 states and DC, while it increased in only 19 states and remained unchanged in two. For the year-over-year, New Jersey added 11,200 jobs, an 8.1% jump, ranking #9 among all states. But for the month, the state lost construction jobs, down 2,300, a 1.5% drop, reversing the increases seen in January and February.


LOCAL | April 16, 2015
Proposals Hint at Various Futures for AC’s Bader Field

Four proposals submitted this week for Atlantic City’s Bader Field reveal some very different possibilities for the 140-acre peninsula site. Glenn Straub, the Florida developer who purchased the Revel casino, wants to recreate an airport to include a fixed-base operation for pilot services, airshows and other aviation entertainment. Link International Design of Houston envisions a sports and entertainment complex, including international soccer events. Bader Field Sports LLC of Midland Park, NJ, also sees the site as a draw for major spectator sports. SORA Northeast of Sewell has a somewhat different slant on the sports theme, including regional training camps and competitive leagues.


NATIONAL | April 6, 2015
Metro Construction Employment Continued to Rise in February

More than three-quarters of the 358 metro areas in the US reflected an increase in construction employment in the year between February 2014 and 2015, including every metro area in New Jersey. In fact, Atlantic City-Hammonton ranked #4 in percentage gains in the nation, with an increase of 1,000 jobs in the year-over-year, a 25% leap. Another 277 metro areas also saw an increase, while 36 lost jobs and 44 remained unchanged. Increases in the state were strong in Camden, which added 3,300 jobs, an 18% gain; Trenton, with 700 more jobs, a 15% gain; Newark, which added 5,100 jobs for a 14% gain; and Vineland-Bridgeton, which added 300 jobs, also a 14% gain. Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean added 1,400 jobs, a 4% increase, and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic added 700 jobs, a 3% increase.


March 2015

LOCAL | March 29, 2015
White Horse Circle DOT Project Expedited

NJ DOT Commissioner Jamie Fox announced last Thursday the White Horse Circle project in Hamilton has been fast-tracked, with construction scheduled to begin in Fall 2016. South Broad Street, Route 206 and White Horse Avenue all converge into the circle, which is now slated to be a modernized roundabout with circle traffic having the right of way.


NATIONAL | March 29, 2015
Most States Saw Rise in February Construction Employment

February 2015 proved much better for construction employment than the same month a year ago, as 45 states and DC added jobs. Four states lost jobs for the year-over-year, and only Delaware construction employment remained unchanged. For the month from January to February, 33 states added construction jobs, 17 states and DC lost jobs. For the first time in a long time, New Jersey appeared in the top 10 states adding jobs for the year-over-year, ranking #6 with an increase of 14,500 jobs, a 10.5% jump. For the month, New Jersey added 2,100 jobs, a 1.4% gain.


LOCAL | March 26, 2015
East Windsor Looks Forward to New Aurobindo Pharma Plant

As announced in mid-February by East Windsor Mayor Janice S. Mironov, Aurobindo Pharma, headquartered in India with its primary US manufacturing center in Dayton, has purchased 90 acres on Windsor Center Drive for a major pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution center.


LOCAL | March 26, 2015
New York Investment Firm Plans Private Port on the Delaware

Last Friday, Senate President Steve Sweeney announced that Fortress Investment Group, headquartered in New York, has purchased the old DuPont Repauno Works in Gibbstown, Greenwich Township, and plans to develop it into a privately run port on the Delaware River. Fortress, which owns other ports in the US, will build a two-berth port with import/export facilities for autos and warehousing. Much of the nearly 1,800-acre site is slated to remain protected wetlands and buffer for the surrounding community. Talk about turning the brownfield site into a port has been in the works for nearly a decade, but the recession stalled public development. With studies, permits and approvals needed first, it could be many months before Fortress can begin work at the site.


LOCAL | March 24, 2015
DCA Commissioner Leaves for Private Sector

Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable, who joined Governor Christie’s cabinet in 2012, is leaving the position Friday, March 27, to enter the private sector. DCA Deputy Commissioner Charles Richman will take over as Acting Commissioner.


LOCAL | March 24, 2015
Edison Set to Replace School Destroyed by Fire

A year ago, James Monroe Elementary School in Edison burned to the ground. As we told you in Bulletin 30-15, Edison voters approved an $18.6 million bond issue this month to replace the school, with another $3.8 million coming from state funds and nearly $9.5 million from insurance. Construction for the new $28 million school will begin in May; the timeline kicked off March 18 when the district advertised for a general contractor. Advertising for RFPs for a construction manager will also begin this month, bids will be opened on April 28, and at a special school board meeting in early May the contracts are expected to be awarded. The board would like to see construction begin May 14 and be completed by August 19, 2016. Plans for the new school encompass 67,775 sq.ft., some on a second floor, and include fire sprinklers, a gym, cafeteria, media center, handicapped-accessible facilities and classrooms.


NATIONAL | March 20, 2015
January Construction Employment Trends Up in Metro Areas

More than two-thirds of the nation’s metro areas, 247 of 358, saw an increase in construction employment in January compared to a year ago. The same time period also recorded a decline in 56 metros and no change in 55. New Jersey’s metro-area construction employment was positive across the board in January compared to January 2014, with double-digit percentage gains in Atlantic City-Hammonton (up 20% with the addition of 800 jobs); Vineland-Bridgeton (up 19% with an increase of 400 jobs); Newark (up 15% with 5,500 more jobs); and Trenton (up 11% with 500 more jobs). In the other New Jersey metros, Bergen-Hudson-Passaic picked up 900 jobs, a 3% gain; Camden picked up 1,400 jobs, a 7% gain; and Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean, which used to be registered as Edison-New Brunswick, picked up 1,900 jobs, a 6% gain. Statewide, the net gain was 10,600 more construction jobs, an 8% jump.


LOCAL | March 18, 2015
AC Eyes Concepts for Bader Field and Gardner’s Basin

On Monday, a packed crowd at City Hall in Atlantic City saw concepts for redeveloping Bader Field and Gardner’s Basin from Maser Consulting, an engineering firm headquartered in Red Bank that used a Sandy recovery grant to develop the ideas.

Bader Field redevelopment could start with the construction of sports fields to attract youth tournaments and later morph into residential, commercial, boating, retail and community uses. FEMA regs now require the field to be raised approximately six feet, while bordering Albany Avenue might also be raised and widened. AC has issued a request for proposal for the site with an April 14 deadline.

Gardner’s Basin could become a mix of new retail and residential, green spaces and an amphitheater, and an expanded Atlantic City Aquarium. Current parking along the shore would be moved to allow a fishing pier. Currently Gardner’s Basin is managed by The Atlantic City Historical Waterfront Foundation, a nonprofit whose contract with the city goes through 2026. The Foundation could issue a request for proposal to gauge interest in the site.


LOCAL | March 18, 2015
Millville Ready for Downtown College Campus

Cumberland County College’s $6.4 million Arts and Business Innovation Center will open at High and Vine Streets in September 2016, bringing an estimated 500 students plus staff and visitors into downtown Millville. The 30,000 sq.ft. building will house the college’s arts curriculum, offering courses in the fine arts, ceramics, computer graphics, journalism, television and digital technology. The cost of the project will be covered by $3.2 million in state Chapter 12 funds, of which $1.6 million is a loan, along with funding from the Cumberland County Improvement Authority, the Millville Housing Authority, banks and other organizations. Cumberland County will pay half the loan, the City of Millville will pay a quarter of it, and the rest will be repaid by other groups.


LOCAL | March 18, 2015
Cape May County MUA Plans New $5 Million Building

The Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority is planning a new $5 million administration building behind its existing one on Route 9 in Swainton. OSK Design Partners of Collingswood and Stone Harbor serves as architect and construction administrator for the hurricane-resilient, two-story building, which will become a technology hub to allow staff to monitor operations for the landfill, transfer station, wastewater treatment, composting and recycling centers in Woodbine and Middle Township. It will also include basement archival storage. Construction is expected to begin next year.


LOCAL | March 11, 2015
Coming Soon – Toronto to AC on Air Canada

Last week, Air Canada announced it will launch non-stop seasonal service from Toronto Pearson to Atlantic City on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 22 to September 7, 2015, using a 74-seat Bombardier Q-400 aircraft. One way, the trip is approximately 90 minutes.


LOCAL | March 11, 2015
Funding Found for Bridge Repair

NJ DOT has released $25 million in funding through the Local Bridges, Future Needs program to allow county governments to repair bridges. The NJ Association of Counties reports county governments operate 7,140 bridges, classified as major and minor. Of the major bridges, 11% are declared structurally deficient (needing repair) and 17% are functionally obsolete (needing replacement). Of the minor spans, the numbers are 64% in need of repair and 21% in need of replacement. The funding program gives each county $1 million, and awards another $4 million based on a competitive application process.


LOCAL | March 6, 2015
Melissa Orsen Named New CEO at EDA

Last week, Melissa Orsen became the new Chief Executive Officer at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, filling the position vacated by Michelle Brown when she left to take over as head of ChooseNJ. Most recently, Orsen was serving as deputy commissioner at the Department of Community Affairs. During the past 15 years, she had been chief-of-staff to Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, during which time she served on the EDA board as Governor's designee, as well as chief-of-staff at DCA, chief counsel for the New J