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2013: A Year of Uncertainty and Promise

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The construction industry is largely defined by uncertainty and, at the same time, the promise of a better tomorrow. With that in mind, it may sound redundant to describe any particular year as being defined by uncertainty and promise. But for the Southeast’s builders, from the very beginning of 2013, those factors stood out.

On Jan. 1, for instance, Congress resolved the matter of the nation going over the proverbial “fiscal cliff”—the notion of which brought with it a considerable amount of uncertainty—by passing the American Taxpayer Relief Act.

The resolution of various uncertain situations proved a trend among Southeastern project owners as well.

In Florida, Duke Energy had a considerable amount of uncertainty on its hands. There, the utility was deliberating over whether to repair its damaged Crystal River nuclear plant, and also whether to construct that planned $24.7-billion nuclear plant in Levy County. In February, Duke opted to mothball Crystal River, and then in August, it decided to not proceed with Levy County.

In Georgia, Georgia Power was dealing with uncertain, rising costs related to building its Plant Vogtle nuclear project. Faced with decreasing fuel costs related to the natural-gas boom, an analyst said this past summer that a decision to build the plant “would not be justified” today. As a result, utility officials faced heightened scrutiny, but few other repercussions.

The uncertainty over the funding of Tampa Bay Water’s $129-million reconstruction of its regional reservoir in Lithia, Fla., was finally and officially resolved in 2013, with the utility losing its appeal of its lawsuit against engineer HDR—and thus any chance for damages that could help pay for the rebuild. Former general manager Gerald Seeber—who had urged the legal action against HDR—would leave the agency shortly thereafter.

But it wasn’t all bad news. The past year also brought about a significant amount of promise for the near future, most notably by a pair of major-league stadium projects in Atlanta moving forward to planned 2014 start dates. The now-$1.2-billion stadium for the Atlanta Falcons had been progressing along for awhile. But Atlanta’s Braves shocked many when they announced plans to build a $672-million ballpark in Cobb County, Ga.

The list of new major projects was rather significant. Barton Malow Co. started construction of a $400-million redo of Daytona International Speedway. The city of Miami Beach selected a team to develop and build a $1-billion reconstruction of its convention center. The Florida Dept. of Transportation short-listed teams for the $2-billion redo of Interstate 4 through Orlando, called I-4 Ultimate, with final selection set for 2014. Georgia hired a team led by Archer Western and Hubbard Construction for its $840-million Northwest Corridor project. Brasfield & Gorrie started construction of a $200-million proton therapy facility in Atlanta. And South Florida multifamily projects continued to proliferate.

To take a quick trip back through time, and to review these and other noteworthy news events of the past year, we invite you to check the slideshow link above.

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