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Feb. 27, 2024
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2022's Trophy Jobs

Feb. 14, 2022
Here are EW’s picks for the projects now underway or scheduled to break ground that will tower over other construction jobs in 2022 and beyond.

While contractors remain concerned about finding qualified talent, astronomical price increases in basic construction materials and COVID-related jobsite restrictions, 2022 should be a solid year for the construction market. When you consider that the electrical portion of a typical construction project is roughly 10% of the total cost, the potential revenue impact any of these projects would have on electrical distributors, reps, manufacturers, electrical contractors, design and engineering firms and others in their local markets’ electrical construction communities is substantial.
The table below offers information on 50 of the largest projects either underway or nearing their start data. EW’s editors also profiled several trophy jobs in some particularly active construction market niches that may offer electrical construction professionals solid business opportunities in the very near future: Here are the projects featured in this article:

  •  Electric vehicle & battery plants —Ford Motor Co.’s plans for new battery & EV plants in Kentucky and Tennessee
  • Commercial solar installations – The innovative solar roofs Google has installed at two of its campuses in Mountain View, CA
  •  Semiconductor plants – Intel’s plans for a huge semiconductor manufacturing hub in Licking County, OH, near Columbus
  •  Office-to-apartment conversions – The recently completed One Wall Street project in New York
  • Large-scale, mixed-use projects — Hall Park in Frisco, TX
     Hospital projects — The Mayo Clinic’s 20-year expansion plan for its facilities in Rochester, MN
     If you need this type of project data on a regular basis, Electrical Marketing (www.electricalmarketing.com) offers quarterly project updates as part of a $99 annual subscription.

FORD’S MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR EV & BATTERY FACTORIES

Glendale, KY and Stanton, TN

Ford Motor Co. announced plans for an $11.4 billion investment in two massive new facilities in Tennessee and Kentucky that will produce the next generation of its electric F-Series trucks and the batteries to power future electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

A Sept. 28 press release said the move is “the largest ever U.S. investment in electric vehicles at one time by any automotive manufacturer,” and that together with its partner, SK Innovation, it will create nearly 11,000 new jobs at the Tennessee and Kentucky mega-sites near Louisville, KY, and Memphis, TN.

“An all-new $5.6 billion mega campus in Stanton, TN, called Blue Oval City, will create approximately 6,000 new jobs and reimagine how vehicles and batteries are manufactured. Blue Oval City will become a vertically integrated ecosystem for Ford to assemble an expanded lineup of electric F-Series vehicles and will include a BlueOvalSK battery plant, key suppliers and recycling,” the press release said. “Ford’s new Tennessee assembly plant is designed to be carbon neutral with zero waste to landfill once fully operational.”

In Glendale, KY, approximately 56 miles south of Louisville, Ford plans to build a dedicated battery manufacturing complex with SK Innovation – the $5.8 billion BlueOval SK Battery Park – creating 5,000 jobs. The release said twin battery plants on the site are intended to supply Ford’s North American assembly plants with locally assembled batteries for powering next-generation electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles. Investments in the new Tennessee and Kentucky battery plants are planned to be made via BlueOvalSK, a new joint venture to be formed by Ford and SK Innovation, subject to definitive agreements, regulatory approvals and other conditions.

Ford reportedly has more than 150,000 orders for its new F150 Lightning EV. Along with announcing plans for the two new facilities in Tennessee and Kentucky, the company also said it’s investing $250 million in an expansion of three southeast Michigan facilities, including its Rouge Electric Vehicle Center that will create 450 new hourly jobs.

Ford isn’t the only auto manufacturer making massive investments in the EV market. In late January, General Motors announced that would invest $7 billion in a new battery plant in Michigan and an existing plant outside Detroit. According to a report in the New York Times, GM’s investment will create 4,000 jobs and will be financed in part from the state of Michigan’s $824 million in economic incentives. Over the past year, several other auto manufacturers announced plans for EV or battery plants, including Toyota, which will be building a new $1.3-billion battery plant near Greenville, NC, and Rivian, which plans to invest $5 billion in an EV facility east of Atlanta.

GOOGLE’S DRAGONSCALE ROOFS

Mountainview, CA

As part of their goal to operate on entirely carbon-free energy by 2030, Google has developed a “dragonscale” solar roof at its Charleston East office and at its Bay View research facility at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountainview, CA. According to Google, the dragonscale is a first-of-its kind design made up of 90,000 silver solar panels with the capacity to generate nearly 7 megawatts (MW) of energy.

Google said the idea for the new roof came from a desire to prioritize alternate sources of energy, like solar, and maximize the amount of solar energy that their buildings could capture. Asim Tahir, the District Renewable Lead at Google, said in a post on a blog at its corporate web site, “When the designs for our newest additions to our Silicon Valley campus evolved into a large, canopy structure, we knew we had to think beyond traditional rectangular solar panels to create something that balanced form and function. Today, the two main developments that have this solar roof, Bay View and Charleston East, are nearly complete.”

The new solar roof got the name “dragonscale” from the unique design of its solar panels. These panels were created by one of Google’s partners, SunStyle, who came to them with a highly textured prismatic glass shingle with a unique coating technology. The prismatic nature of the glass “trapped” light that would normally escape from traditional flat solar panels and reduced reflective glare that could be a problem for drivers and pilots. That same texture that provides that function also gives the overlapping panels a unique sparkle that earned it the name “dragonscale.”

“These panels coupled with the pavilion-like rooflines let us capture the power of the sun from multiple angles,” Tahir said in the post. “Unlike a flat roof, which generates peak power at the same time of the day, our dragonscale solar skin will generate power during an extended amount of daylight hours. This will limit our contribution to California’s notorious duck curve — which tracks the difference between energy demand and the available solar energy throughout the day. When up-and-running, Charleston East and Bay View will have about 7 MW of installed renewable power—generating roughly 40% of their energy needs.”

Solar panels like the dragonscale that are integrated into the design of the building, rather than added later, are known as building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). Integrating solar panels into a roof is one approach to using BIPV. Google hopes to further develop this approach for future projects.

INTEL SEMICONDUCTOR FACTORIES TO BRING CHIP MANUFACTURING BACK TO AMERICA

Licking County, OH

Intel announced plans on Jan. 21 for an initial investment of more than $20 billion in the construction of two new leading-edge chip factories in Licking County, OH, near Columbus. The release said the project would be the largest single private-sector investment in Ohio history, and the initial phase of the project is expected to create 3,000 Intel jobs and 7,000 construction jobs and 3,000 jobs at Intel. When you consider that electrical contractors typically account for 13% of all construction jobs, this project would require an estimated 900-plus electrical workers.

According to the press release, the site will span nearly 1,000 acres in Licking County, just outside of Columbus, and can accommodate a total of eight chip factories — also known as ‘fabs.’

“At full buildout, the total investment in the site could grow to as much as $100 billion over the next decade, making it one of the largest semiconductor manufacturing sites in the world,” said the press release. Construction is expected to begin late in 2022.

The news follows Intel’s March 2021 announcement that it’s investing $20 billion into its Fab 42 semiconductor facility on its Ocotillo campus in Chandler, AZ. Other semiconductor manufacturers have also announced plans to build new facilities, including Samsung, which last year said it will build a $17-billion plant in the Austin metro. Taiwan Semiconductor is also building a $12-billion chip facility in the Phoenix area. The company expects to start volume production of its 5-nanometer in 2024.

If legislation currently being discussed in Congress for $52 billion in federal subsidies for domestic semiconductor production and research is signed into law, you can expect a surge in construction of the facilities. The Biden Administration supports the concept, the Senate has already passed its version of a semiconductor subsidy bill and according to a Jan. 25 Reuters report, the U.S. House of Representatives will begin debating legislation in February. Semiconductor plants take years to complete, but because of number of them on the drawing boards, they will eventually account for a large share of industrial construction spending.

OFFICE-TO-APARTMENT CONVERSIONS

New York

Wondering about the long-term impact of the work-from-home and remote office movement on the office market? There’s definitely a trend toward converting vacant office space into apartments. The Costar real estate research firm says the office stock that lends itself to this trend have been built since 1980; is least 100,000 sq ft; and is at least 50% vacant. Yardi Matrix, another research firm in the commercial real estate market, says in 2021 developers were expected to finalize the conversion of more than 8,000 apartment units from office space and that the five markets with the most apartment conversions last year were Washington, DC (1,091 units); Chicago (1,020 units); Alexandria, VA (955 units); Los Angeles (904 units); and Cleveland (652 units).

One of the larger office-to-apartment conversions is the recently completed $1.5-billion One Wall Street job in the heart of the Big Apple’s financial district. Macklowe Properties completed the conversion of a 90-year-old, 654-ft tall Art Deco office building into 566 apartments, a 44,000-sq-ft Whole Foods Market and a LifeTime fitness center.

Developers are also converting schools, factories, hospitals and other properties into apartments. According to an analysis of YardiMatrix data by www.rentcafe.com, Philadelphia leads the nation in total converted properties and over the past two years developers in the city have added 1,863 apartment units to Philly’s multi-family housing stock.

HALL PARK -$7 BILLION IN MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT

Frisco, TX

EW’s editors regularly report on some pretty huge mixed-used developments. But we don’t run across many the size of the ambitious Hall Park development in Frisco, TX, a fast-growing Dallas suburb. The master plan by the Hall Group, calls for $7 billion in new construction that will transform the developer’s existing 15-building, 162-acre office park into mega-mixed-use community. The next phase of development will include a new Class AAA office tower; a 154-room boutique hotel; a 19-story luxury residential tower; 60 executive suites; a 10,000-square-foot food hall; and a performing arts center. Today, Hall Park encompasses 2.2 million square feet of office space throughout 15 completed buildings housing a diverse array of 200-plus companies.

BILLIONS OF DOLLARS INVESTED IN HOSPITAL CONSTRUCTION

Rochester, MN

Hospital construction should be big business in the coming years for electrical distributors, manufacturers, contractors, reps and other electrical professionals. We found at least 11 hospital projects valued at $1 billion or more that are either on the drawing boards or underway. The biggest project on the drawing board is the $5.6-billion Destination Medical Center that the Mayo Clinic is planning at its home base in Rochester, MN. The company also plans to expand its already large presence in northern Phoenix and in Dec. 2021 announced that it had purchased 228 acres bordering its existing hospital there and an Arizona State University campus for facility expansion and the development of a biotechnology corridor.

The $1-billion California Northstate University medical center underway in Sacramento, CA, and the $1.2-billion Wexner Inpatient Hospital Tower on the Ohio State University campus are two of the larger hospital projects now underway.