The Dodge Momentum Index increased by 0.9 percent in March to 144.4 in part because of the progress on a “$500 million medical complex in Chicago.”
This complex, although not named in the Dodge news release, is most likely the new Rush University Medical Center’s new outpatient facility.
In March, Chicago issued 13 demolition permits to remove three-story brick structures between 1404 and 1552 W. Harrison, formerly known as the Center Court Gardens apartments. These buildings had been used for student housing and were closed in June, 2016.
HDR Architecture has designed their replacement, The Rush Center for Advanced Health Care. While the firm has reportedly completed preliminary drawings for the new facility, Rush has yet to make the images available to the public, Curbed Chicago reports. “A conceptual strategic master plan released in 2015 featured an illustration that showed a placeholder design.”
The Dodge Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year. The Momentum Index has now risen for six consecutive months, with much of the gain being driven by institutional projects entering planning while commercial projects so far in 2017 have receded slightly.
The institutional portion of the Momentum Index rose 3.7% in March, and is 23.0% higher than the end of 2016. Commercial planning meanwhile fell 1.2% in March and is down 2.9% from December 2016. However, the overall Momentum Index, as well as the commercial and institutional components, are well above their year-ago levels. This continues to signal the potential for increased construction activity in 2017 despite the short-term setbacks that are inherent in the volatile month-to-month planning data.
In March, eight projects entered planning each with a value that exceeded $100 million. For the commercial building sector, the leading projects were the $200 million Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando FL and a $150 million office building in Clayton MO.