Industrial jobs numerous on both coasts in '07

Special to Contractor LOS ANGELES Industrial projects on the books for both the East and West coasts promise a more active 2007 after a strong 2006, according to Industrial Info Resources. Another indicator released Feb. 1, however, suggested that the industrial manufacturing segment of the market may be held back by continuing nationwide weaknesses in housing and automobile sales. The second most

Special to Contractor

LOS ANGELES — Industrial projects on the books for both the East and West coasts promise a more active 2007 after a strong 2006, according to Industrial Info Resources. Another indicator released Feb. 1, however, suggested that the industrial manufacturing segment of the market may be held back by continuing nationwide weaknesses in housing and automobile sales.

The second most active county in the nation for industrial project activity in 2007, with 59 projects currently on the books, will be Los Angeles County, Calif., IIR reported. These projects total more than $3 billion in total investment value. Los Angeles County is second behind Harris County, Texas (Houston area), which has 93 projects totaling $1.6 billion planned.

Noted more for Hollywood and the Sunset Strip, IIR said, Los Angeles County is the industrial hub of the West Coast with roots in oil and gas and agriculture, as well as an international transportation and shipping hub with major ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, which combined handle about a quarter of all container traffic coming into the United States. Home to one of the largest concentrations of industrial plants in the nation, Los Angeles has 475 major operational manufacturing and energy plants. Prominent industries in the county include industrial manufacturing, food and beverage, chemical processing, metals and minerals and petroleum refining. These industries represent about 68% of the plants in Los Angeles County.

The power industry is planning $695 million from seven projects in 2007. One of the projects is a $350 million simple cycle, 500-megawatt power plant in Hacienda Heights, Calif. The city of Palmdale is evaluating construction of a 50-MW power plant this year.

While 2006 was an active year in terms of capital and MRO project starts in the Northeast, 2007 is poised for even more activity, IIR reported. Encompassing the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, the region is forecast to begin construction on 531 projects carrying a total investment value of $25.8 billion, an increase of 47% over 2006. Despite the fact that more projects were started in 2006 (558), the value was lower ($17.5 billion). The projects scheduled to get underway within the next 12 months carry an average value of $48 million, an increase of 54% over the 2006 average value of $31 million.

New York has $11.5 billion worth of industrial construction scheduled to begin this year. Spread over 192 projects, each averages out to $59 million. In 2006, the state carried 187 projects each averaging $11.7 million for a total of $2.1 billion.

New Jersey has 99 projects planned valued at $7.3 billion, an investment jump from 2006 when it had 93 projects worth $928 million. Pennsylvania has 214 projects worth $7.2 billion, an increase from 2006, which saw 248 projects valued at $4.5 billion.

Manufacturing is the Northeast's spending leader with 131 projects valued at $11.6 billion scheduled to get underway this year, compared to 2006 when $1.7 billion was spread over 164 projects. The power industry has $7.7 billion in project starts forecast for the year with its 115 projects carrying an average value of $66 million. In 2006 the power segment had $1.8 billion invested in 102 projects.