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Coin of the Realm

June 1, 2018
Some of the nation’s largest construction projects are generating some serious cash for Top 200 electrical distributors.

During my three decades covering the electrical market for Electrical Wholesaling, I have always found information about local construction projects to be part of the universal language of this industry. It’s sort of a “coin of the realm,” that’s accepted in any city throughout the United States.

It seems like everyone counts cranes in their town to some degree, and if you know something about a local construction project when you visit a city, it shows your hosts that you have done some homework on their city.

A conversation I had with one Top 200 electrical distributor at the recent NAED Annual in Chicago about an upcoming hospital job in his city drove home this point. When I asked him if his company was hoping to get a piece of this billion-dollar project, it sparked a 15-minute conversation on that job’s electrical potential and some of the innovative value-added services his company was including in their proposal.

While the rule of thumb is that the electrical work accounts for a relatively small 10% of the total value of the typical construction job, it’s still an enormous amount of sales potential when you stop and think about just how many projects are underway when the construction market is hopping, as it is this year.

Electrical Wholesaling’s editors enjoy tracking the large construction projects either underway or on the drawing boards and have compiled a rather extensive database of projects valued at more than $100 million for subscribers of Electrical Marketing newsletter. These projects become more than just random news stories or lines of construction data in a spreadsheet to us when we hear from Top 200 distributors about the biggest construction projects they are working on in their local markets. Here are some big projects now underway or on the drawing boards that Top 200 distributors are working on.

Auto manufacturing plants. Toyota/Mazda joint venture manufacturing plant in Huntsville, AL; multiple Big Three projects in Michigan; and Mercedes and Volvo in the Charleston, SC market.

Downtown mixed-use construction projects. Detroit, MI (Hudson’s); New York (Hudson Yards); and Tampa, FL (Water Street).

Factories (non-auto). Braidy Industries’ $1.3 billion aluminum plant and EnerBlu Inc.’s  $372 million battery plant in West Virginia; Foxconn headquarters in southeastern Wisconsin; and Swiss Krono in Barnwell, SC.

Hospitals. Cleveland Clinic; Cincinnati Children’s Clinic; Memorial Children’s Hospital and Penrose Hospital, Colorado Springs, CO; St. Jude Children Research Hospital, Memphis, TN; and St. Jude Hospital, Yorba Linda, CA

Indiana. $1.4 billion FedEx facility, and the Indiana University Hospital, in Bloomington, IN, which Kirby Risk says will consist of approximately $5 million in switchgear and $12 million in lighting.

Iowa/Nebraska. Facebook, Google and Microsoft data centers in Omaha NE, Council Bluffs and Des Moines, IA.

Los Angeles. Disneyland expansion and renovation; Los Angeles Rams football stadium; LAX; and infrastructure projects to start in the next 18 to 24 months for the 2028 Summer Olympics.

Las Vegas. NFL Raiders’ football stadium and Resorts World project.

New York. LaGuardia Airport, Moynihan Station, Jacob Javits convention center, JFK Airport, Long Island Railroad, Metro North Railroad & Port Authority projects.

Philadelphia. Comcast Center & Penn Towers and University of Pennsylvania medical center.

San Francisco. San Francisco International Airport, Transbay Transit Center and San Francisco Police Credit Union.

St. Louis. Centenne Tower; the new National Geospatial Agency (NGA) building ($2 billion project); CityArch River Project; Pfizer expansion; Ballpark Village near Cardinals’ stadium; and new buildings at St. Louis University and Washington University.

Tech companies. Data centers, offices  and warehouses are being built by Wall Street’s “FANG” companies (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) all over the country.