Despite a pandemic, a labor shortage and choked-up supply chains, contractors continue to work on projects with billion-dollar price tags, with builds ranging from office towers to arenas.
While megaprojects continue, COVID-19-related strains on the construction industry are evident. Before the pandemic, 14 projects of more than $1 billion started in the first eight months of 2019 and equaled $24.3 billion combined, Kim Kennedy, the director of forecasting for Dodge Data & Analytics, told Construction Dive in an email. However, in the first eight months of 2021, just eight $1 billion-plus projects launched with a combined value of $10.8 billion.
"The impact has been real and I would expect it to continue until the economy is fully back to normal including full employment, which could take another year or two," Kennedy said.
However, there are caveats to the list. Kennedy said that the prices were for hard construction costs, not necessarily the total budget for the projects. This means that land price, architectural/engineering fees and other costs were not factored into the price.
Below is Dodge's list of the seven U.S. projects that broke ground this year and that eclipse $1 billion.
1. Line 3 Replacement Program
Oil company Enbridge's Line 3 replacement program involves the new construction of 36-inch diameter oil piping to replace 282 miles of existing 34-inch piping. The pipeline will spread from the North Dakota/Minnesota border in Kittson County, Minnesota, and end at an existing Enbridge terminal in Superior, Wisconsin.
The new construction will include 330 miles of new piping and will cost $2.1 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. Construction started this past February. Once the new piping is laid, the old Line 3 will be discontinued.
2. 270 Park Avenue
New York City
JPMorgan Chase's new office tower is looking to be a behemoth in both size and cost. Rising at 1,425 feet, it will be the second-tallest building on the Manhattan skyline, surpassed only by the One World Trade Center, according to Reuters.
It will encompass 2.5 million square feet and be located between Park and Madison avenues, replacing the now-demolished Union Carbide building, according to New York Yimby. Dodge Data & Analytics prices the project at $1.5 billion.
3. Diamond Green Diesel Port Authority Refinery Expansion
Port Arthur, TX
The Diamond Green Diesel Port Authority Refinery Expansion is a joint venture between Valero Energy Corporation and Darling Ingredients Inc. DGD Port Arthur's total annual production capacity is estimated to be 1.2 billion gallons of renewable diesel and 50 million gallons of renewable naphtha, and the new plant is anticipated to commence operations in the second half of 2023, according to a press release.
The total price tag is an estimated $1.45 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics, and the construction cost will be split by both parties.
4. Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Inpatient Hospital
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Inpatient Hospital broke ground in February. It's the university's largest facilities project ever, with a projected price tag of $1.2 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The hospital will be 1.9 million square feet and have 820 beds in private room settings. The project is expected to wrap construction in 2026 and open early in the year, according to an Ohio State press release.
5. Red River Valley Water Supply Project
Washburn, North Dakota
The Red River Valley Water Supply Project is a failsafe that, in emergencies, will provide water to people in central and eastern North Dakota. With a price tag of $1.18 billion per Dodge Data & Analytics, the project involves 167 miles of 72-inch piping, according to KFYR-TV, about one mile south of Carrington on the west side of U.S. Highway 52/281 and the Red River Valley & Western Railroad, according to the project website.
At peak demand times, the pipeline will be able to move 165 cubic feet per second of water, which factors out to over 1,000 gallons of water flowing through any point in the system at any given time. Construction is expected to be completed by late October.
6. Sanborn Solar Facility 1.1 GW and battery storage
The Sanborn Solar Facility and Battery Storage in Mojave, California, will be a massive facility hosting both solar panels and batteries to store the energy they generate. It will cost about $1.15 billion in total, according to Dodge Data & Analytics.
The facility will have a 1,118-MW solar complex with 2,165 MWh of energy storage capacity, according to an article by SolarPowerWorld online. Construction broke ground earlier this year, and is slated to finish by the end of 2022.
7. Inglewood Basketball/Entertainment arena
The Clippers' new arena rounds out our list at a projected $1 billion according to Dodge Data & Analytics. It would tie for 20th in the world's most expensive sports venues ranking and will have a seating capacity of 18,500, according to DailyBreeze. It will be located right across the street from SoFi stadium, which is home to the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers of the NFL.
Editor's Note: The Ohio State University hospital was incorrectly named previously. It is the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Inpatient Hospital.