new york city construction OUTLOOK


Public Schools Accounted for Nearly Half of All Institutional Starts by Value in 2013

New York City’s public and private institutions initiated $643 million in construction projects during the first five months of 2014, up from $581 million through May of 2013, an increase of 11 percent, according to a New York Building Congress analysis of McGraw Hill Construction Dodge data. 

The increase in construction starts in the first part of 2014 reverses a modest decline of two percent in 2013 (from $2.4 billion in 2012 to $2.36 billion in 2013). 

New York City institutional construction starts accounted for 6.8 percent of all construction starts by total value from January through May of this year.  For the full year of 2013, the institutional sector represented 12 percent of all New York City construction starts.  In 2012, institutional construction accounted for 14 percent of all starts by value.

The data encompass all recorded project starts, including new construction as well as alterations and renovations to existing structures, and reflect the estimated value of each initiated project through the entire period of construction. The sectors examined include elementary and secondary schools, hospitals and health care, higher education, courts, libraries, cultural facilities, and religious institutions.

2013 Sector Breakdown
Work on New York City public elementary and secondary schools accounted for $1.0 billion, or 43 percent, of all institutional construction starts by total value in 2013.  In all, 201 projects were initiated at elementary, middle and high schools throughout the five boroughs.  Construction of PS 315 in Queens was the top project start with a value of $68 million.

“New York City’s future depends in large measure on its willingness and ability to make the physical investments necessary to maintain, modernize, and expand this, the nation’s largest public school system,” said Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson. 

He added, “While the numbers in this report largely reflect the work of the previous administration, it is worth noting and quite encouraging that Mayor de Blasio’s first City budget demonstrated his commitment to providing a strong and stable stream of capital funding for the City’s 1,800 public schools over the next four years.” 

Public and private hospitals and healthcare facilities accounted for $576 million, or 24 percent of all institutional construction starts in 2013.  The top project by value was a $114 million renovation project by NYU Langone Medical Center.

Institutions of higher education, which include public and private colleges and universities, initiated $454 million worth of construction projects, or 19 percent of the total.  More than half the value of all starts in the higher education category was contained in one project – construction of a $252 million academic building for New York City College of Technology (City Tech) of The City University of New York in Brooklyn.

Cultural institutions were responsible for $114 million (5 percent) of construction starts, followed by private elementary and secondary schools at $86 million, religious institutions at $71 million, courts at $35 million, and libraries at $6.7 million.

2014 Breakdown
Public elementary and secondary school projects accounted for 38 percent of the value of all initiated projects in the first five months of 2014, followed by hospitals and healthcare facilities at 28 percent, and higher education at 23 percent.  Private elementary and secondary schools accounted for 5 percent of value.  The remaining sectors contributed between 1 and 3 percent each.

During the first five months of 2014, projects involving alterations and renovations to existing facilities represented 76 percent of all initiated institutional projects by value.  The 3-to-1 split in favor of alterations and renovations is a departure from recent history.  For all of 2012 and 2013, the value of new projects was split 50/50 between new construction and improvements to existing facilities.

Construction of a new $58 million science building by NYU School of Medicine was the top project start in the first five months of 2014.  The New York City public school system accounted for the next four on the list, highlighted by construction of a $50 million addition to PS 56 in The Bronx.  Other public school projects include a $36 million addition and renovation to PS 163 in Queens; a $21 million renovation at IS 201 in Brooklyn; and a $20 million project at the Campus Magnet High School in Cambria Heights, Queens.

Mr. Anderson concluded, “New York City’s wide array of institutions – both public and private, large and small – are the lifeblood of a thriving metropolis.  It is important that these institutions are allowed and encouraged to continue investing in their futures, which in turn serves to improve quality of life, bolster the economy, and add to the City’s vitality.”

Charts and Diagrams

Source: McGraw Hill Construction Dodge*

Source: McGraw Hill Construction Dodge*

* Dodge data used for this analysis can be purchased at

    Research for this Construction Outlook Update is
underwritten by the New York Building Foundation.
  The New York Building Congress is a membership coalition of business, labor, association and government organizations promoting the design, construction and real estate industry in New York City.