Building Buzz: March 4 - 8

We're reading the headlines so you don't have to.

From the Chanhassen Cinema Redevelopment project to a new CEO named at Kraus-Anderson to the approval of the I-94 expansion in Milwaukee, here's what was buzzing in the building world the week of March 4-8, 2024:


Builder JE Dunn Marks 100 Years
JE Dunn Construction plans a "year-long campaign" to celebrate its 100 years in business and nearly 80 years in Minneapolis, according to a press release from the construction group. JE Dunn is a construction company that is family- and employee-owned, according to the press release. It has 26 offices throughout the nation. It is the eighth-largest domestic general building contractor in the United States. (3-6-2024 | Finance & Commerce)

Chanhassen Cinema Redevelopment Project Up for Review
An estimated $125-million redevelopment project would bring hundreds of apartment units and retail uses to the former Chanhassen Cinema site in Chanhassen --- as well as a new artwork dedicated to Minnesota music royalty. Roers Cos., which will go before the City Council for project approvals, wants to redevelop the four-acre site near West 78th Street and Market Boulevard with a 310-unit, market-rate apartment building and 14,000-square-feet of retail space. (3-6-2024 | Finance & Commerce)

MnDOT Schedules Meeting About Stone Arch Bridge
The Stone Arch Bridge restoration is the subject of a March 19th virtual public meeting hosted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Construction begins this spring. As part of the project, crews will repair the historic bridge over the Mississippi River on the edge of downtown Minneapolis. Repairs and mortar replacement will improve the bridge's condition and stonework. (3-6-2024 | Finance & Commerce)

$300M Ryan Cos. Redevelopment of Greensboro Berkshire Hathaway Site is Shelved
Ryan Cos. is no longer pursuing a $300-million redevelopment of the former News & Record site in downtown Greensboro, NC., a spokesperson from the Minneapolis developer confirmed to Triad Business Journal. The mixed-use project the Ryan Co. and TH3 Partners LLC were planning included two, 250,000-square-feet commercial buildings with around 300 to 400 apartment units that would have been built after the current 158,000-square-foot building is demolished. (3-7-2024 | Minneapolis / St Paul Business Journal)

A Government Business Reporting Mandate Loses in Court. Here's What Happens Next.
The Corporate Transparency Act, which kicked in January 1st, requires businesses with fewer than 20 employees to provide names, dates of birth, addresses and other identifying information about its owners. It's part of a larger effort by the Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to crack down on money laundering and other financial crimes. On March 1st, a U.S. District Court judge in Huntsville, Alabama, ruled the government overstepped and the legislation exceeds the powers granted to its by the Constitution. The National Small Business Association brought the lawsuit alongside small-business owner Isaac Winkles. (3-7-2024 | Minneapolis-St Paul Business Journal)

Construction Job Openings Surge 41% Year Over Year
The construction industry counted 413,000 open jobs on the last day of January, a 41% increase year over year, or 120,000 more unfilled positions, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released. At the end of January, 4.4% of construction jobs went unfilled, down slightly from 4.7% in December and 5% a year prior. Quits hardly changed from December, and were down 19.6% year over year. Meanwhile the industry counted about 40% more layoffs in January 2024 than in the same month in 2023. (3-7-2024 | Construction Dive)

Luxury Apartment Tower 4th & Park in Minneapolis' Downtown East Opens in April
The 350-unit, 25-story high-rise, known as 4th & Park, is gearing up for move-ins starting April 1st. The mixed-use tower is currently pre-leasing for the apartments, owner and property manager Kirkland, Washington-based Weidner Apartment Homes announced. The 265,000-square-foot tower offers studios, one-, and two-bedroom units and three-bedroom penthouses. Units feature quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, oversized vanity mirrors, walk-in closets and wood-plank flooring. (3-7-2024 | Minneapolis-St Paul Business Journal)

New CEO Named at Kraus-Anderson After Engelsma Steps Down
Bruce Engelsma, longtime leader of Kraus-Anderson Cos., is stepping back from this role as CEO, and Chief Operating Officer Peter Diessner is the new top boss at the construction group, according to a press release. Diessner has been the COO of Kraus-Anderson since March 2023 and held various leadership positions at its subsidiaries since May 2018. Before that he was a real estate attorney at Fredrickson & Byron and then Speeter & Johnson. (3-7-2024 | Finance & Commerce)

Rise in Project Abandonments Signals Continued Industry Turmoil
The Project Stress Index --- a measure of construction projects with a delayed bid date, or that have been paused or abandoned --- rose 1.7% in the last 30 days, according to a March report from ConstructConnect. Work put on hold increased 11% over the previous 30 days through March 2, said Michael Guckes, senior economist at ConstructConnect. Compared to the same period in 2023, the project stress index remains up 13%, added Guckes, signaling ongoing uncertainty within construction. But public and private sector projects continue to show different patterns. While both face increasing delays and cancellations, public projects, due to their funding mechanisms, remain in a comparatively stronger position to push work forward. (3-7-2024 | Construction Dive)

The High Cost of Maintaining Affordable Housing
Michael Howard was a Richfield City Council member when, in 2015, nearly 670 residents were displaced from Crossroads at Penn, a large Richfield apartment complex that was home to low-income residents. A Twin Cities developer had purchased the building, renovated it, and rebranded it as the Concierge, offering market-rate units that the current residents could not afford. Two years later, Seasons Park Apartments, another affordable housing complex in Richfield, was at risk of being turned into market-rate units just as Crossroads was. Instead, Howard and his city council colleagues worked with Aeon, a developer and operator of affordable housing, which ultimately took ownership of the complex and preserved 422-units of affordable housing. (3-7-2024 | Finance & Commerce) 

ASHRAE Commercial Building Code Standard Now Requires On-Site Renewables
The U.S. Department of Energy has issued ASHRAE a determination affirming that ANSI / ASHRAE / IES Standard 90.1-2022, which incorporates a renewable energy mandate for the first time, will improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings governed by the code. The DOE's technical analysis estimates that implementing Standard 90.1-2022, the Energy Standard for Sites and Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, would provide commercial buildings site energy savings of 9.8%, source energy savings of 9.4%, and carbon emissions reductions of 9.3% on a weighted national average. When factoring renewable energy into these results, those improvements increase to site energy savings of 14%, source energy savings of 14.7%, and carbon emission cuts of 14.7%, the analysis suggests. (3-8-2024 | Smart Cities Dive)

I-94 Expansion in Milwaukee Receives Federal Approval
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced that the plan received an OK from the Federal Highway Administration. The state DOT will now move on to final design and construction. The project will widen I-94 from six to eight lanes along a 3.5-mile stretch between 16th and 70th streets on the city's west side. Along with adding lanes, the project includes road modifications that will eliminate left-hand exit and entrance ramps and "right-sizing" the Stadium Interchange. (3-8-2024 | Wisconsin Public Radio)

Lead from old paint and pipes remain deadly hazard in millions of U.S. homes
Widely used in products such as paint and gasoline until the late 1970s, lead continues to contaminate environments and harm the health of people around the world. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 1-million deaths each year are attributable to lead poisoning, with the highest exposures in developing nations. Lead continues leaching from old paint, pipes and industrial sources into soils, homes and waterways across the globe. (3-8-2024 | Finance & Commerce)

Overhaul of Middleton's zoning code includes bird-safe glass requirements
According to the new ordinance, buildings 10,000-square-feet or larger, facades 60-feet from the ground and sky bridges must be treated with a pattern of quarter-inch dots to prevent birds from colliding into buildings mid-flight. The new comprehensive plan also calls for promotion of biodiversity; officials said creating a rule to deter bird collisions is a step toward its ecological goal. (3-8-2024 | Finance & Commerce)

Women in Construction Date Report Released
Only 10% of women comprise the construction workforce, with 4% working onsite. While 67% of the women surveyed reported that they integrated into the industry somewhat smoothly and 72% revealed there were plenty of opportunities for them to advance, 67% of the women raised concerns about the lack of gender-friendly and maternity-friendly safety equipment. This poses a major problem when keeping women feeling safe and wanting to continue working in the industry. (3-9-2024 | For Construction Pros)

Labor & Workforce Projects to Watch