The valuation of large commercial projects underway in Arkansas approached $2.2 billion, nearly double the tally from a year ago. The big leap was thanks in no small measure to the $700 million construction contract for the Big River Steel Mill manufacturing facility near Osceola.
The huge industrial project in Mississippi County tops this year’s roster of projects and is the only nine-figure entry. Even without this monster development, the total dollars in the 2014 list would have increased by almost $400 million.
Helping push those gains were projects that were put on hold for 2013 and green-lighted this year.
“The Baptist Health Medical Center in Conway [No. 3 at $61 million] and the Pulaski Technical College Fine & Performing Arts Center [No. 14 at $26.2 million] were two projects we hoped to start in 2013 but were pushed back,” said Lloyd Garrison, president and CEO of CDI Contractors LLC.
The Little Rock firm registered 13 projects in this year’s list as did Nabholz Construction Corp. of Conway, the most of any contractors.
CDI has four and Nabholz has two of the 10 largest projects this year. The Conway firm’s largest this year is the CARTI campus in Little Rock (No. 5 at $59.3 million) that started construction in 2013.
Baldwin & Shell Construction Co. of Little Rock is overseeing the development of the new North Little Rock High School campus. The $93.7 million contract ranks No. 2 overall and is among 10 Baldwin & Shell projects on this year’s list.
The North Little Rock High School construction is the largest of the 26 K-12 projects this year. The count of large education projects of all varieties is 45, nearly half of the 110 entries in 2014.
Projects on college and university campuses around Arkansas accounted for 19 entries. The largest of these is the $28 million Humanities & Social Sciences Building at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, a project overseen by Tate General Contractors Inc. of Jonesboro.
Crossland Construction Co. of Columbus, Kansas, which has a satellite office in Rogers, has nine projects on this year’s list. The Hunt Tower in Rogers (No. 9 at $31.7 million) is the firm’s largest in Arkansas.
C.R. Crawford Construction LLC of Fayetteville registered eight entries. Its biggest on the list is a multibuilding elementary school project in Prairie Grove (No. 29 at $14.8 million).
The largest among seven projects for Clark Contractors LLC of Little Rock is the $30 million Murphy Oil headquarters in El Dorado.