Recent state-wide bond / override initiatives may not be a source of exhilaration for local Architects and Engineers, so a longer-term economic outlook may be required to generate more enthusiasm.
In Tucson / Pima County, seven (7) propositions covering 100 projects, including road repairs, new highway construction, parks, tourism promotion and economic development with a total budget of $815 million, were defeated by voters.
In Scottsdale, voters approved two (2) bond issues totaling $16.35 million that will fund construction of two new fire stations, renovation to another and relocation of still another, along with $12.5 million to repair and repave roughly 140 miles of street pavement; but rejected four bond proposals totaling nearly $68 million to fund other transportation, parks, technology and police projects.
Budget overrides for many school districts across the state were approved which may lead to some work for Architecture and Engineering firms in a segment that has been rather slow over the last several years.
Design firms working in the private sector in the Phoenix metropolitan area are impacted by an office / retail vacancy rate averaging around 20%; but some areas are reporting improvement, with rates in the East Valley down to 14%.
Multi-family projects seem to be leading the “recovery” in the residential market while civil engineers involved in single family residential development have been seeing a slow but steady increase in activity. A/Es in the health care market are seeing an increase in small clinics and assisted living facilities.
Cautious optimism continues to be the outlook as we transition from 2015 into the new year ahead.