Construction in New Jersey’s high-tech markets is as hot as ever. Not only are such industries as life sciences, healthcare and data centers growing in leaps and bounds, but their ever-evolving technologies continue to drive the need for updated or new facilities.
Life sciences firms have especially begun to focus on spaces for science: labs, research & development, clinical production, and the like. In healthcare, the need for imaging facilities – MRIs, X-rays, cat scans, etc. – is also on the rise, and it’s largely driven by technology.
One challenge to these constant upgrades, however, is the rising cost of power. Imaging equipment consumes massive amounts of power, as do data centers, another strong sector in New Jersey. But, with the high cost of power in the Northeast, companies with geographic options may look elsewhere. Complicating matters, New Jersey has few incentives for data center firms compared to southern and western states.
New Jersey is, however, extremely supportive of many other tech-focused industries, and as those industries become increasingly global, New Jersey is poised for continued growth. In life sciences in particular, foreign firms are investing in manufacturing and R&D facilities in the US as a practical approach for compliance with US regulatory requirements.
The current climate of mergers and acquisitions is also affecting construction. Firms are consolidating their facilities into comprehensive campuses, like Celgene and Novartis. Mergers in the healthcare and data center industries have also opened new construction opportunities as the combined companies look to upgrade, close, open or otherwise alter their shared real estate assets.
The challenge for the construction industry is to maintain the same pace of innovation as our technology-oriented clients. Prefabrication and modular building methods are helping with speed, quality and efficiency. The industry is also leveraging virtual construction tools like never before. The expectation of our clients is high, and the industry must match those expectations to succeed.
About the Authors: Stephen Neeson is the senior vice president of operations and life sciences leader for construction management at Structure Tone’s New Jersey office. Terence Deneny is vice president of mission critical business for the firm.