Dodge Momentum Index moves higher, supported by major NY hotel/hospital projects in planning stage

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The Dodge Momentum Index moved 0.3% higher in November to 133.2 from its revised October reading of 132.7 (2000=100). The 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 overall Momentum Index has now posted increases in 10 of the last 12 months, and stands 18% higher than its November 2015 reading.

This suggests that construction activity should continue to strengthen in 2017. The uptick for the Momentum Index in November was due to a 4.1% rise in the commercial building component, while the institutional component slipped 5.2% in the month. Institutional planning had shown strength earlier in 2016, but has since receded, and is now 2% lower than last year.

Commercial planning, on the other hand, had a very weak start to the year but has since moved forward and is now 35% above last year. While trending higher over the last year, volatility has been the hallmark of the Momentum Index in 2016, matching the uneven
pace of growth in the overall economy. It is likely that the volatility will persist in the months ahead.

In November, seven projects entered planning each with a value that exceeded $100 million. For the commercial building sector, the leading projects were a $400 million office building in Chicago IL and a $180 million expansion and renovation of a hotel in New York NY. The leading institutional projects were a $155 million hospital in Rochester NY and a $100 million hospital and research lab in Bethesda MD.

The Dodge did not specify which New York hotel expansion/renovation has a $180 million value, but a news release was issued in early November describing plans for the Hip Hop Hall of Fame museum, hotel and entertainment complex.

It will include the hall of fame, museum, a luxury hotel, retail stores, gift shop, arcade, television studios, sports bar, restaurant and concert lounge.

The Hip Hop Hall of Fame was established in 1992 by J.T. Thompson. He created and executive-produced the first Hip Hop Hall of Fame Awards Induction Ceremony and Concert on the BET Cable Network in the 1990s as the annual fundraiser for the establishment of the HHHOF, which is modeled after the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Two undisclosed sites for the project are reportedly under consideration for the mixed-use development, which has a goal of opening by 2020.

“We are pleased that the Hip Hop Hall of Fame museum and hotel building project is moving forward and that it will have a major socio-economic impact on tourism, culture, education, live events, film and television production and broadcasting, and job creation in New York City,” said Thompson.

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