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ENR Sections SW Florida Report : Page 1

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION The 21-story Altaira luxury condominium building in Bonita Springs is scheduled for completion this year. Opinions expressed are those of the advertisers. IMAGE: COURTESY OF WCI COMMUNITIES Southwest Florida Report Construction Is Still Hot in Southwest Florida Varied projects add to the vibrancy of the Sunshine State By Eda Galeno WHAT’S INSIDE N Meeting the Needs of a Residential Resurgence Keeping Excavation Safe through Prevention Developing Innovative Designs and Solutions N N ?, 2017 | ?1

Construction Is Still Hot In Southwest Florida

Eda Galeno

Varied projects add to the vibrancy of the Sunshine State

Southwest Florida Construction Thrives in Several Markets

Energy conservation and energy efficiency upgrades are trending in Southwest Florida’s construction market as the area takes advantage of its abundant sunlight.

“Our area is largely served by Florida Power and Light, and they have a very aggressive incentive structure to have energy-efficient systems installed,” says Gary Griffin, president of B & I. “A lot of our customers are taking advantage of those incentives.”

B & I provides commercial HVAC, electrical and plumbing services for commercial building contractors, owners and property managers. Currently, it is working on energyefficient upgrades at Lely High School, south of Naples, which includes renovations to the central energy plant and a new 685,000-gallon chilled water storage system that will provide 6,000 ton-hours of thermal storage capacity. The company is also engaging its expertise at Babcock Ranch, which is currently under construction in Eastern Lee and Charlotte counties. When completed, it is expected to be the world’s first solar-powered town.

Babcock Ranch comprises nearly 18,000 acres. Phase 1 development—to be completed in 2017—will have a total of 1,100 residences and a diverse mix of single-family and multifamily options. The initial downtown district buildings will feature a state-of-the-art wellness center, a market café, a lakeside restaurant, educational facilities, and an outdoor outfitters where residents and visitors can gear up to explore expansive lakes and a trail system. When the town is complete, it will comprise 19,500 residences, a downtown, and 6 million sq ft of commercial and community space, while dedicating more than half of the total land for green spaces, lakes and nature trails.

The Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center will supply the community and the broader region with 74.5 MW of clean, renewable power generated by the Florida sunshine. The 443-acre solar power plant is located within the town and will keep Babcock Ranch on track to become the world’s first new town where solar energy production exceeds the total energy consumption from day one.

Babcock Ranch is the creation of Kitson & Partners. It was designed by Harvard Jolly Architects, with all downtown Founders Square buildings constructed by Skanska.

Health Care & Retirement

“Southwest Florida construction work is very health care and senior living oriented,” says Steve Cona III, president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Florida Gulf Coast Chapter. “It is lagging a bit behind Tampa and Miami, but it is still a good construction market.”

Shell Point Retirement Community, a senior living community near Sanibel Island, has developed a 30-year master plan to modernize and keep up with demand from an increasing number of residents.

“We started working at Shell Point in 1988, and for the most part, it’s been pretty consistent work,” Wright Construction Group President Fred Edman says of the retirement community spanning more than 400 acres. “The newest community there is called the Estuary, and it consists of single-family and twin villas. We just completed 50 units this past year, and we’re under construction now doing site development work for 23 more units in

Wright Construction Group is also busy meeting residential demands at Colonial Gardens in Fort Myers. It is in the preconstruction stage of a twophase multifamily apartment complex consisting of five buildings and six stories over parking with a build out of 420 units.

Suffolk Construction is currently on site at Moorings Park at Grey Oaks in Naples. This retirement community, currently in phase 4 of construction, includes a 92,000-sq-ft assisted living center and dementia building, a 7,200-sq-ft Center for Healthy Living, a 13,000-sq-ft clubhouse and a 43,000-sqft parking garage. Construction at Moorings Park is scheduled to be complete in early 2017.

Valued at $31 million, Thrive at Naples Senior Living and Memory Care is currently under construction. When completed, the 189,000-sq-ft facility owned by Fortress Ventures, with construction being handled by Deangelis Diamond, will feature 60 independent living rooms, 78 assisted living rooms and 59 memory care rooms.

In June, Skanska announced its contract with Lee Memorial Health System to expand and renovate the Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers. The company is leading a joint venture with GATES Contstruction. The $200-million project includes 34,000 sq meters of new construction and about 4,500 sq m of renovations, which will feature three additional floors along with numerous horizontal expansions. Additionally, a 1,300-space parking structure will be built. The project is slated for completion in February 2021.


“Suffolk Construction continues to see movement in Southwest Florida in a number of sectors, from multifamily residential and senior living to mixeduse developments, and the complexity and expectations for projects are always increasing,” Suffolk Vice President of Operations Josh Christensen says. “To meet the demand, Suffolk is highly focused on recruiting the top professionals in our field as well as enlisting the best trade partners to execute the work.”

Currently, Suffolk is working on several housing and mixed-use projects in Southwest Florida. Adjacent to Florida Gulf Coast University, University Village will provide offcampus housing, retail and convenience shops, and restaurants totaling approximately 380,000 sq ft. The project is currently in preconstruction.

Suffolk’s other residential projects include the Marina Walk Vacation Villas in Bradenton, a 255,000-sq-ft project which consists of 11 buildings with 48 waterfront units, and Altaira in Bonita Springs, a 21-story luxury condominium building. Both residential projects have an expected completion date in 2017.

Overall, there is a consensus that construction in Southwest Florida is flourishing in many segments.

“Our current book is a direct reflection of the local conditions,” says Todd Gates, chairman of GATES Construction. “It includes health care facilities, a $30-plus-million, 188-unit ALF/ILF with memory care, church expansions and additions, retail facilities of all sizes and scope, self-storage facilities, hotels, restaurants, educational facilities, and country club expansions and additions ranging from several million dollars to more $15 million. It’s a very healthy market in Southwest Florida right now.”

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