Spokane Journal of Business

Overall construction sector expects healthy 2019 in Spokane

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Despite rising labor and material costs, the Spokane-area construction sector likely will see another healthy year, say industry professionals here.

As far as private construction is concerned, the Spokane area can expect 2019 will be a year similar to 2018, predicts Cheryl Stewart, executive director of Inland Northwest Associated General Contractors.

Regarding publicly funded projects, multiple school construction bond measures recently approved by voters and planned transportation projects also will provide construction opportunities, Stewart says.

City records show that nearly 19,100 building permits valued at $411.7 million were issued through the first 11 months of 2018. Of those, private construction was valued at $339 million, or just over 82 percent of the total permit valuation, while publicly funded projects totaled $73 million, or nearly 18 percent.

That’s compared to 2017, in which 19,600 permits valued at $515.7 million were issued for the full year. Of those, about 89 percent of the 2017 valuation was for the private sector projects, and 11 percent was for publicly funded projects.

City spokeswoman Marlene Feist says the city of Spokane will start some new street projects, but a number of combined sewer overflow tanks that were under construction this year should be completed by mid-2019.

“That’s been a big component of our construction over the last few years, so that’s probably the biggest change in terms of the kind of work that we’ll be letting out for 2019,” says Feist.

For the city’s overall public works-related construction, though, the 2019 workload will be similar to that of 2018, she says.

Feist says city construction could start sometime next year on projects to be funded by the $77 million library bond that voters approved last month.

Stewart says she sees an industry slowdown on the horizon, potentially due in part to rising material costs and a shortage of construction workers.

However, she adds, “We are expecting a good 2019 and 2020, especially with public funding.”

Vince Campanella, vice president of operations with Lydig Construction Inc., mentions similar concerns, such as higher material and labor prices, and says it’s hard to project how private-sector construction will compare with this year in 2019.

Campanella says the company has had a good year, however.

“It’s been good, and we think it’s going to be a good 2019, lead potentially into a good 2020, and, hopefully, 2021,” he says.

Campanella also says there’s rumors of a slowdown nationally, but there’s still a strong flow of projects in the pipeline.

Samantha Peone
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Reporter Samantha Peone joined the Journal in 2015 as research coordinator before later transitioning into a reporter role. She covers real estate and construction.

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