Urban construction rebounds as COVID-19 vaccine becomes available

Many cities were slated to have building booms prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, economic uncertainty and lockdown orders stopped many projects from moving forward.

Cleveland, Ohio was one rising city with plenty of construction planned that was put on hold or slowed down. Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary Dave Wondolowski joined the AWF Union Podcast to discuss the ongoing economic rebound and how it is affecting construction projects in the city.

Reinvigorating metropolitan cities

Wondolowski recalled the beginning of the pandemic and the uncertainty that followed. Many projects slowed down as builders did not know if tradesmen and tradeswomen would be considered essential workers and permitted to report to work.

Projects that were slowed eventually got back on track and now, the building tradesmen and tradeswomen of northeast Ohio are in for a busy summer and beyond.

Interest in building in Cleveland was high before the pandemic, with the city offering tax credits and reasonable prices for property on which to build. Projects were in the works to renovate old warehouses into luxury apartment buildings and companies were planning to build or renovate office space in the city.

Wondolowski said the interest is still there and the building trades are doing their best to convince builders that the time is now.

Funding construction projects

Funding for ongoing and upcoming projects is coming from multiple places. He said much of the funding for projects is coming through private investors, who take at least partial ownership in projects.

On the other hand, labor groups and other investment groups are taking advantage of Housing and Urban Development 221(d)(4) loans. These loans attract developers because they pay for the first mortgage, but have a high upfront cost. However, the loan is fixed for up to 43 years.

Builders are once again beginning to take advantage of both funding mechanisms as they prepare to build within the city.


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