This is the first of three posts on tower cranes. To answer the question in the title of why do I count tower cranes, there are three answers, with the first being the shortest and simplest: I'm a nerd. If you are in the construction industry and anything like me (or Bob Kjome), you think tower cranes are cool. They tend to show up on big projects in dense (read: complicated) urban environments. My daughters and wife ridicule me mercilessly for watching tower cranes #sorrynotsorry.
Second (which really builds on the previous point or being a geek): when I visit cities and stay in a hotel downtown, I will usually walk or run from tower crane to tower crane as a way to get exercise and see cities from the perspective of where the biggest changes are occurring. The tower cranes give me waypoint markers so I don't get lost. Since tower cranes are typically building projects in established, up-and-coming, or gentrifying neighborhoods, running between tower cranes helps me from wandering into rough neighborhoods. I am directionally challenged.
Third: most importantly, tower cranes are a sign of strong economic development. If you drive into a city with a lot of tower cranes on the skyline, it is a pretty good bet that there is a high rate of economic growth in that area. When San Francisco pulled out of the 2009 housing crash, there were dozens of tower cranes building high rise condos and office buildings. Same goes for Seattle. What do San Francisco and Seattle have in common? Both are home to many tech companies that have fared very well since 2009 and have accelerated their growth throughout the year of COVID-19. The mother of all growth stories has been Toronto, which has had over 200 tower cranes up for several years. Construction consulting firm Rider Levett Bucknall tracks tower crane counts and summarizes insights as to how the counts correlate with construction industry economic health. However, RLB does not track many mid and smaller markets. That's a gap I try to fill. With that being said...
What's up Sacramento?
Last quarter, Sacramento had five tower cranes plus two large crawler cranes. We lost the tower crane at DesCor's Mansion Inn project at H Street between 15th and 16th Streets but gained three tower cranes in the Railyards, so we now have seven tower cranes on our skyline with one crawler at the Richards Boulevard site. Details are below, moving from the west (West Sacramento, technically) to the east.
CalSTRS second tower at 3rd and E Streets in West Sacramento, DPR Construction.
Sacramento Commons, 5th and O Streets, Deacon Construction.
Two new kids on the block. Sacramento County Courthouse, the block bordered by G and H Streets and 5th and 6th Streets, Clark Construction.
The other new kid on the block: Condo project in the Railyards, Brown Construction.
The bonus crawler crane at the DGS Richards Blvd./N. 7th Street complex, Hensel Phelps.
Apartments at the intersection of 16th Street and F Street, Sunseri Construction.
Hyatt House, K and 28th Streets in Midtown. MarketOne Builders.
Coming next: San Diego and Boise.
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