Writer: Alejandro Sanchez
2 min read April 2022 — Despite labor shortages and the rising cost of materials, construction in Tampa Bay remains on an upward trajectory thanks to an increasing demand for residential and commercial projects. With the financial resources available for new developments, some companies are even leveraging the positive momentum to expand to other markets in the state. Invest: spoke with local industry leaders about the current dynamics of their industry and how they are capitalizing on the moment.
David Sessions, CEO, Willis A. Smith Construction
I am very optimistic. We can see ahead for the next two years because our backlog has not slowed down. If we see another year of dramatic cost increases like we have seen over the last 18 months and the cost of borrowing goes up, some projects may not be as economically feasible to build, so that is a concern. This market is based on need. Homes that are being constructed have people claiming them already. A big community issue in the Tampa area is the affordability index of housing, so we need to keep strategizing how to attract new people while keeping it affordable.
John Bowden, Senior Vice President, Moss Construction
The market is very strong, other than the possible effect of inflation. There are a lot of projects out there, solid development and money is available. A lot of our projects are starting now and will last a couple of years, which allows us to foresee the near term with more clarity. We will need to manage resources and have even better planning. We spend a lot of time understanding the market, not just who our clients are, but also who our vendors and subcontractors are, which is key to understanding the workload and material availability. We have been here a long time, and these are companies we have friendships and relationships with. This allows us to have frank discussions about where things are and what they can do. Finally, we are looking to hire in all positions, from senior level all the way down to entry-level positions.
Joseph Girgenti, President, Wilson & Girgenti, LLC
I don’t think we’re slowing down anytime soon. The more I travel, the more I realize how many other cities are significantly bigger than Tampa, but I also realize how much space and natural beauty we have. We have so much growth potential, and many, many people around the country have noticed that. Tampa Bay has been growing my entire life. I see the construction industry in this region remaining very strong for a long time.
Mark Stevens, President, Stevens Construction
Tampa Bay is poised for continued growth as it’s a hot bed destination for new folks coming in. To support the growth, Tampa needs to continue to focus on its infrastructure. Some of the attractive parts of Tampa are not only the potential for growth, but that it is a huge market with diversity in the types of work that is available. We have clients in other areas that continue bringing us projects in Tampa, for example we have an existing client in Venice who awarded us a $120 million senior living healthcare project in downtown St. Petersburg. We have a mix of projects in the area including a luxury furniture showroom and warehouse, a coastal clubhouse renovation, an attorney’s office and PopStroke.
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