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Damian Eallonardo Tapped by Crains Chicago about Current Economic Conditions

Damian Eallonardo (EVP, Chicago) sheds light on current economic conditions in Chicago’s construction industry.

Damian Eallonardo, Executive Vice President of our Chicago office, was featured on the cover of Crains Chicago Business as part of an economic overview. Damian and other local industry professionals reflected on current economic conditions in the construction industry.

The article states, “The local construction industry is losing momentum after a strong 2022 as developers hold off on big projects.” It continues, “With borrowing costs up and lenders growing more cautious, many developers have completed all their planning and pre-development work but have yet to secure the funds they need to break ground.”

With the long construction cycle, rising interest rates take time to effect the construction industry, but the impact has started to trickle down to construction.

“Our business is usually the last one to see a slowdown, and the last one to come out of it,” said Damian.

One example the article provides is the RIU Plaza Hotel, on which W.E. O’Neil began construction last year. This 28-story hotel just off North Michigan Avenue won’t open until 2024.

Damian Eallonardo, Executive Vice President, W.E. O’Neil Construction [Photo credit: Crain’s Chicago, John R. Boehm]

Damian shared that our estimating department is “pretty busy as developers work to get their projects shovel-ready.”

Crains states that “a few big, high-profile projects will continue to keep many workers busy, including the Obama Presidential Center on the South Side and the modernization and expansion of O’Hare International Airport.”

The pandemic disrupted the construction industry, but overall things appear to be relatively more stable. The prices of key materials are coming down and delivery times are more predictable.

Other items the article reviews include:

  • 2021’s $1 trillion federal infrastructure bill will begin to flow into the Chicago area, offering major opportunities.
  • Dodge data reports projects a mostly flat year for Chicago overall with activity varying by sector such as local single-family construction, health care, warehouses, and apartments.
  • Sourcing workers for certain trades is an increasing challenge.
  • For many firms, diversification is critical during these times.

To read the full article in Crains, click the link below (will require subscription).