Cleveland construction on the rebound thanks to university, health care spending

Updated Oct 11, 2013
An artist’s rendering of the new Eaton Corp. North American headquarters in Cleveland.An artist’s rendering of the new Eaton Corp. North American headquarters in Cleveland.

For the first time in many years, contractors in the Cleveland metro area and the Northeast Ohio region are optimistic, according to a report from Crain’s Business.

Two common reasons construction company representatives shared with the publication for the rebound were increased construction spending by universities and hospitals. And though these companies are optimistic that health care construction will continue, they worry that the Affordable Health Care act could cause some hospitals to restrict spending in the near future.

Meanwhile, the construction of Eaton Corp.’s new North American headquarters in Beachwood and the new Ernst & Young building in the Flats have been a boon for the region’s construction industry and there’s hope that further development along the city’s waterfront will provide another boost.

Jason Jones, general manager of the Cleveland office of Turner Construction, says he remains cautious about the increase in activity. â€śI’m not as optimistic this may be an upward trend,” he told Crain’s. “It might just be a bubble.”

More good news in the area is that equipment rental companies like All Erection & Crane Rental Corp. are buying more equipment in response to the uptick in construction. According to the report, All bought 48 Manitowoc and Grove cranes as well as other equipment during the summer.

One area of concern for the region’s contractors, as it is for contractors across the U.S., is finding enough skilled workers to meet the new demand. Tom Laird, executive vice president at Gilbane Building Co. said his company is “aggressively hiring” in anticipation of increased demand though he’s still waiting to see if the company will be able to find enough skilled workers.