Construction News: 5 Boom Cities of 2018


Even though it began 2018 in frigid single-digit temperatures, New York City booms again as good construction news continues to emerge. It’s the only city to appear in all three of our construction boom city posts and the only carry-over from our 2017 list. The four new cities booming this year are Detroit, Reno, San Jose and Austin.

Construction News: 5 Boom Cities of 2018
“The Spiral” | Photo: Tishman Speyer (

New York City Construction News

Why the good construction news?

  • Spending records: After a $42.1 billion forecast for 2017, the New York Building Congress upped its 2018 forecast to $45.3 billion, with a 2017-2019 total estimated to reach $150 billion in construction spending.
  • Lots of jobs: The Building Congress predicts that 2018 will be the peak of construction employment with 151,200 jobs throughout the five boroughs.
  • Queens and Brooklyn lead the way: These two boroughs racked up the most type NB (new building) permits of all the boroughs from 2000 to 2016.

Popular Projects

Average wage: $67,590

construction news - 5 boom cities 2018 - gordie howe bridge - windsor detroit bridge authority
“Gordie Howe Bridge” | Photo: Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

Detroit Construction News

Why the good construction news?

  • Billion-dollar future: As much as $5.4 billion in real estate development projects are slated for the next three years.
  • Building permits skyrocket: Detroit recorded a 31 percent increase in residential building permits from November 2016 to November 2017.
  • Detroit 2.0: Out with the old; in with the new. A cleaned-up downtown is attracting new developers and businesses.

Popular projects

Average wage: $54,170

Phase 2 construction of Reno’s SouthEast Connector | Photo:

Reno Construction News

Why the good construction news?

  • Employment growth leader: “Nevada is No. 1 in growth of construction employment.”
  • Population influx: More people are moving to northern Nevada. To prepare for the increase, more than 100 developments with a proposed 59,000 housing units are underway.
  • High demand for housing: There’s only a month and a half of inventory of homes under $300,000, the median home price rose $65,000 in 2017 and Nevada was the fourth fastest growing state for rent prices.

Popular projects

  • SouthEast Connector: Scheduled for completion in Spring 2018, this 5.5-mile stretch of new high-access control arterial roadway will improve mobility throughout Reno.
  • Getting schooled: A new middle school broke ground in December 2017 and is scheduled to open for the 2019-20 school year. A new 2,500-seat high school was recently greenlit and will open for the 2021-22 school year.
  • Park Lane: After years on the drawing board, this master-planned community finally broke ground in August 2018. Park Lane is a massive mixed-use development on the former site of the Park Lane Shopping Center.

Average wage: $47,480

construction news - 5 boom cities of 2018 - san jose museum place
“Museum Place” | Photo: Insight Realty Co.

San Jose Construction News

Why the good construction news?

  • High-tech friendly: New transit options, room for housing and a strong talent base make Downtown San Jose attractive to new companies.
  • Low unemployment: The high-tech economy has open jobs to fill, recruiting thousands of new employees.
  • Residential high-rises: More than a dozen new high-rises are under construction or proposed.

Popular projects

  • A Google village: The 240-acre proposal could employ up to 20,000 workers close to Diridon Station. Coincidentally, it’s in the same location as a failed tech development from the 1980s called Coyote Valley.
  • Coleman Highline: Close to the San Jose Airport, this development will include eight buildings, 1.5 million square feet of office space, two hotels, retail and apartments.
  • Museum Place: Located in downtown San Jose, this mixed-use 24-story tower will include a Kimpton hotel, residential units, parking and retail and office space. The project will break ground in 2018.

Average wage: $64,060

construction new - 5 boom cities of 2018 - block 71 austin texas
“Block 71” | Photo: Page Southerland Page

Austin Construction News

Why the good construction news?

  • Low office vacancy rates: Record low vacancy rates mean that new office space needs constructing. There are 2.7 million square feet of office space in the construction pipeline as of the beginning of 2018.
  • Multiple “downtowns”: Domain and Domain Northside, considered Austin’s “second downtown,” continues to be popular with retailers and entertainment. Meanwhile, the original downtown has multiple projects either planned or under construction.
  • Mental health commitment: Texas is undertaking a $300 million endeavor to revamp its psychiatric hospital system. Austin State Hospital is one of the facilities due for replacement.

Popular projects

  • Block 71: Encompassing a whole downtown block, this mixed-use development will include a 36-story office tower, retail, restaurants and an outdoor plaza.
  • Oracle: The 40-acre campus in Southeast Austin headquarters cloud sales for the software giant. With phase one nearly complete, the finished campus will include everything from athletic fields to coffee bars to apartments for a true “live-work-play” ecosystem.
  • Plaza Saltillo: This 10-acre East Austin redevelopment project will include restaurants, a public market and residential and office space. Completion is scheduled for 2019.

Average wage: $40,140

So, should you live in New York and make more or Austin and make less? You heard it here first: Looks like Detroit might be the sweet spot. There’s great music in all three.

Honorable mention metros to keep an eye on this year include Portland, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Dallas and Washington, D.C. All are bustling with good construction news.

Header image credit: SL Green

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