- The Dodge Momentum Index edged up 0.5% to 146.9 in February from an upwardly revised January reading of 146.2, according to Dodge Data & Analytics.
- February saw the second-straight month of contraction in commercial activity (-4,8%) but was driven up by an 8.2% surge in the institutional sector. Sixteen nonresidential projects valued at $100 million or more entered the planning stages in February, including the $450 million Madison Square Garden Co. (MSG) Sphere Arena in Las Vegas; the $412 million St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital Research Center in Memphis; the $280 million first phase of the Sentinel Data Center in Sterling, Virginia, and a $150 million mixed-use project in San Jose, California.
- Dodge said an increase in vacancy rates for offices and warehouses could be slowing momentum in the commercial sector. Voter-approved measures funding schools and other public projects are helping drive the institutional category.
When MSG first revealed its plans to build the sphere-shaped arena in Las Vegas in February, no cost estimates had been floated — only a report that partner Las Vegas Sands Corp. would kick in $75 million. Construction is supposed to start in June and take around two years.
When complete, the 18,000-seat Sphere, which will be located on the Las Vegas Strip, promises to offer a unique experience for those attending concerts and other programming there. According to Billboard, the venue will feature the largest, high-definition screen on Earth — 250 million pixels with a 19,000 by 13,500 resolution — and a programmable exterior with 36 miles of LED lights. The Sphere will be able to host a wide variety of events from eSports to concerts, and will be further integrated into the Strip via pedestrian bridges to the Sands Expo & Convention Center, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, as well as to the Venetian and Palazzo hotels.
Another project driving February's momentum was the St. Jude Children's Hospital research center, which is reportedly one of the largest projects in Memphis history. The seven-story, 625,000-square-foot facility is part of St. Jude's $1 billion expansion in downtown Memphis and is expected to employ 5,000 workers during the construction process. The new center will also double the system's research space in Memphis.