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NEW YORK CITY-A New York Building Congress Construction Outlook for 2003 to 2006 forecasts that construction spending for the upcoming years will experience a 10% drop before rebounding. It is expected to reach $15 billion by the end of this year, down from a city-wide record of $16.7 billion in 2003. Expectations for coming years are $14.8 billion in 2005 and $15.8 billion in 2006.

“Non-residential construction is the big question mark,” noted Richard T. Anderson, president of the New York Building Congress during a breakfast meeting that discussed the results. It is expected to experience the steepest drop. “Infrastructure is the greatest source and is fueled by federal funds for Lower Manhattan.” Last year, infrastructure accounted for half of the construction spending. Anderson, who recently celebrated 10 years with the organization, predicts a prospect for robust growth will start in 2006.

While spending is expected to decline, the Building Congress sees an increase in construction employment to from 117,200 last year to 119,800 this year.

Featured speaker Patricia Lancaster, New York City Department of Buildings’ Commissioner said that approximately $40 billion in investments is in the pipeline for the New York City area. Those projects, which may or may not come to fruition, include plans associated with the city’s push for the 2012 Olympic games, LMDC plans for Lower Manhattan and the two stadiums–one for the Jets on the West Side and the other in Brooklyn for the Nets.

“There seems to be more confidence,” said New York City Economic Development Corp. president Andrew Alper. High points he mentioned include a higher level of mostly domestic tourism in the city and a increase in hotel occupancy rates from 69% in March of 203 to 83% in March of this year. “We need to keep momentum. It was shame on us when 13 million sf of New York companies went to Jersey.” He also commented that a recent initiative to improve the facilities for the expanding cruise industry is a vital for the city’s economic future as is attracting life sciences companies to all of the boroughs. “Five years from now you’ll see life sciences all over the city,” he predicted.

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