Architecture, engineering, construction firms see brisk 2015, expect more of same
Midlands Business Journal Article – January 15, 2016
by Dwain Hebda
From wildlife centers to houses of worship to mixed-use developments, architecture, engineering and construction firms had a lot on their collective plates in 2015. Things are shaping up to continue that in the New Year.
“Holland Basham Architects feels incredibly fortunate to have been involved in several major development initiatives within the area during 2015,” said Curt Witzenburg, senior partner. “While is always difficult to forecast what will happen next, we do continue to see some very positive trends as we head into the New Year. Generally, we expecting positive growth in all market sectors.”
Headlining Holland Basham’s project portfolio last year was the Lumberyard District, a mixed-use development being built in the former Millard Lumber site. In partnership with Lanoha Development, the 15-Acre site will be the setting for more than 59,000 square feet of retail and office space as well as 384 apartments. In addition, the firm was also architect of record for another major project Metropolitan Community College’s Fort Omaha campus expansion. The expansion will feature a host of education opportunities that do not currently exist within the college as well as enhanced offerings within MCC’s existing programs.
JE Dunn constructions also enjoyed a brisk year, with several major projects that will occupy much of the firm’s 2016 and beyond, according to Doug Duren, vice president of business development. Among these is a capitol District hotel at 10th and Capitol Streets, which will feature a 13-story, 330,000-square-foot, 330-room hotel and ballroom supporting Omaha’s downtown entertainment district. The Shamrock Development project is scheduled to be completed in summer 2017. Another major build is the CHI Health Bergan Mercy project, which will transform the complex into a Level 1 trauma center and academic teaching hospital. A massive project, it will add a new three-story, 140,000-square-foot ambulatory clinical building on the west campus while renovation more than 250,000 additional square feet for ICU rooms, office and classroom space, plus expanded ER, trauma and lab spaces. In departure from the ordinary, the company is also building the Raptor Woodland Refuge at Fontenelle Forest, located adjacent to the existing Forest Nature Center. Set for a spring 2016 completion, the complex will provide 12 raptor mews (cages) for public viewing, caretaking areas for injured birds and a series of elevated walkways for visitor use.
And there’s more projects where all that came from, Duren said. “For 2016, building in the Omaha market will be very strong,” he said. “Many large projects across the area are well underway and many new projects will break ground. The developer market remains very strong as does the work in health care and retail.”
Housing, worship and higher education were also well represented in 2015, as Kip Squire, structural engineering principal for Thompson, Dreessen & Dorner noted. The company completed two major projects, the $50 million University of Michigan School of Nursing in Ann Arbor, Mi., and the $19 million University of Nebraska at Kearney/UNMC Heath Science Education Complex in Kearney. Two more – the $84 million University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business and $71 million University of Nebraska Medical Center Lauritzen Outpatient Center – are underway, as is the $22 million JPII Newman Center near the University of Nebraska Omaha campus.
Squire noted another brisk area of business – housing – often seeds additional projects and developments.
“We’ve been working on quite a few housing projects in downtown Omaha, south and in Midtown,” he said. “While it’s very hard to tell the future, related to the housing trend that is, once you have housing then often other service-associated structures may follow like grocery stores, churches and so on.”