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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

Not just workers: macro factors like supply chains could hinder construction (plus an extra one for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park)

When I wrote a few days ago about macro factors regarding construction--interest rates, the chance of a stall or shift--I clearly missed some other issues, notably the supply chain of materials, as described below.

(Also, as a commenter pointed out, low interest rates do not translate into financing, since other factors, including demand, come into play.)

Plus there's a wild card regarding Greenland USA, a U.S. subsidiary of a Chinese conglomerate, which surely sources some materials from China and faces geopolitical tensions between the countries.

First, the workers

Why Is Construction Work Still Happening During The COVID-19 Outbreak?, Gothamist wrote 3/20/20, noting that Mayor Bill de Blasio cited San Francisco, which exempts construction from lockdown (despite a shelter-in-place order), compared with Boston, which has shut down construction, and gotten support from Council Members Carlos Menchaca and Brad Lander, and Public Advocate Jumanne Williams.

"We will continue to closely monitor the situation, and will issue further guidance to the industry as needed," a Department of Buildings spokesman told Gothamist.

Curbed quoted Carlo Scissura, the president of the New York Building Congress, as calling a potential construction moratorium a “very dangerous proposition,” citing infrastructure repairs and the need for affordable housing--and saying that firms have been advised regarding safety issues.

OK, but there's definitely divided opinion regarding, say, building a new arena now at Belmont Park.

Six factors

The national industry publication Construction Dive on 3/13/20 6 ways the coronavirus outbreak will affect construction, including:

  • Employee health and safety (including mental health, and challenges with subcontractors)
  • Material delays, given slow sourcing from China, which supplies almost 30% of products (and, I suspect, more for Greenland USA)s is really scaring folks,” he said.
  • Jittery clients and lenders (who are evaluating the other factors)
  • Quarantines and travel bans 
  • Legal issues, such as delays and cost overruns (as I wrote, I suspect that Unavoidable Delays will be triggered regarding Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park deadlines)
  • Global uncertainty

Regarding the second issue, the New York Times 3/20/20 published Chinese Copper, Italian Marble: Coronavirus Shipping Delays Hurt Developers
Delayed so far at large-scale residential and commercial projects have been goods like marble, tile, paving stones, furniture, lighting equipment and elevators — and even models of buildings themselves, workers say.
...At the Port of Los Angeles, imports from China, including construction materials, were down 23 percent in February from the same period last year, said Mark D. Fergus, a vice president of the consulting firm Cumming Corporation who is based Los Angeles and has managed condo, shopping center and hotel projects.
According to the article, only a small number of projects had stalled because of such supply-chain challenges, but that may be because delays take a while to become apparent.

The article adds a deals regarding San Francisco--the "six counties that make up the Bay Area of San Francisco on Monday ordered a halt to all construction projects except those involving housing."

Materials facing delays include marble, and ceramic tile.