Under Construction

Under Construction: Top Facility Projects of March 2023

Facilities Management Advisor’s “Under Construction” series highlights some of the latest, most interesting facility project announcements every month.

U.S. Solar Manufacturing Boom

In order for companies to achieve their ESG goals and states and utilities to meet clean energy mandates, it’s going to require a lot of solar panels, among other solutions. However, with relatively few domestic solar manufacturers, the U.S. has relied heavily on imported products. This disparity has even led to trade wars. Now, Illuminate USA, a new joint venture between Chicago-based Invenergy and China-based LONGi, is building one of the U.S.’ largest solar panel plants in Ohio.

Stock image

Companies: Illuminate USA: Invenergy and LONGi
Location: Pataskala, Ohio
Type of project: Facility conversion/build-out
Size: 1.1 million square feet
Estimated cost: Over $600 million
Status: Construction planned for April
Expected completion: End of 2023

Interesting tidbit: The facility will deliver up to 5 gigawatts (GW) of solar module capacity annually. That figure represents almost half of all U.S. utility-scale solar installations last year and is capable of powering nearly 1 million American homes. Notably, other companies including Hounen Solar and Hanwha also announced plans for new U.S. plants this March.

Quote: Art Fletcher, Invenergy’s EVP of global sourcing, said, “As an American company and a leading developer and operator of solar projects in the U.S., we recognize the importance of having a strong domestic supply chain to meet the fast-growing demand for affordable solar power.”

More details available here.

Upcoming Changes for Xavier Fans

Xavier University recently announced plans for a new round of renovations at the Cintas Center, home to the men’s and women’s basketball teams as well as the volleyball team. Upgrades for the 23-year-old arena will take place over the next two summers and focus on fan experience, including new seating options, expanded hospitality, and additional gathering areas.

Photo courtesy: Xavier

Organization: Xavier University
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Type of project: Renovation
Estimated cost: N/A
Status: Scheduled for summer 2023 and 2024
Expected completion: By the 2024-25 season

Interesting tidbit: Providing additional Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) seating is a major part of the renovations. With these changes and a few other minor tweaks, capacity in the Cintas Center is expected to decrease from the current capacity of 10,224. Because of the seating changes, all Xavier season ticket holders will participate in a new seat selection process in summer 2024.

Quote: Greg Christopher, VP for administration and director of athletics, noted, “We have prioritized modernizing Cintas Center over the past several years to ensure that our home court is one of the premier on-campus facilities in the country.”

More details available here.

Final Phase of JFK Transformation

Officials broke ground on a $4.2 billion project to build a new Terminal 6 at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The project will feature 10 gates and is the final piece of the JFK Vision Plan, an $18 billion initiative to transform the airport into a “world-class global gateway.”

Rendering courtesy: Gov. Hochul’s office

Organizations: Port Authority of NY and NJ; and JFK Millennium Partners (Vantage Airport Group, American Triple I, RXR, and JetBlue Airways)
Location: New York City
Type of project: Renovation/new build
Size: 1.2 million square feet
Estimated cost: $4.2 billion
Status: Ground broken Feb. 23
Expected completion: Phase 1- 2026, Phase 2 – 2028

Interesting tidbit: The new Terminal 6 will feature touchless technology and digital systems for travelers, as well as automated TSA security lanes and biometric-based access control systems. The project builds on three other major overhauls at JFK, including the $9.5 billion New Terminal One project currently under construction.

Quote: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said: “New York remains committed to providing travelers with a premier experience that includes world-class amenities, expanded and streamlined airport transportation, and state-of-the-art security.”

More details available here.

Migrogrid-Powered Manufacturing Hub

West Virginia leaders and company executives broke ground on a $500 million project to establish a global aerospace manufacturing hub fully powered by a solar energy microgrid. BHE Renewables, a Berkshire Hathaway Energy business, is leading the development and has partnered with energy storage company ONE for the microgrid.

Source: BHE Renewables

Organizations: Several Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries, ONE, and West Virginia Economic Development Authority
Location: Jackson County, West Virginia
Type of project: New build
Size: Over 2,000 acres of land
Estimated cost: Initial $500 million
Status: Ground broken March 4
Expected completion: N/A

Interesting tidbit: Precision Castparts Corp., a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. business, will be the first company located on the site. Its plant will use 100% solar energy to manufacture titanium products for the aerospace and other industries. ONE is also expected to invest another $200 million to build a battery factory at the site, and BHE Renewables will work with the state to recruit more businesses.

Quote: West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice declared the state “is now at the forefront of renewable energy microgrid-powered manufacturing.”

More details available here.

Texas-Sized Investment for New Plant

Golden Triangle Polymers Company LLC, a joint venture between QatarEnergy and Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem), recently broke ground on an $8.5 billion petrochemical facility in Texas. In addition to boasting the world’s largest ethylene cracker unit (whatever that is), the project proves what an economic engine new facilities can be!

Courtesy: LSCO

Companies: Golden Triangle Polymers Company LLC: QatarEnergy (49% equity) and CPChem (51%)
Location: Orange County, Texas
Type of project: New build
Size: N/A
Estimated cost: $8.5 billion
Status: Ground broken March 8
Expected completion: 2026

Interesting tidbit: The plant represents QatarEnergy’s second-biggest investment in the U.S. following the $11 billion Golden Pass LNG facility, also under construction in Texas. It is projected to create more than 500 permanent jobs, approximately 4,500 construction jobs, and generate an estimated $50 billion for the community in economic impacts over 20 years. At the groundbreaking ceremony, the joint venture partners also donated $1.3 million to Lamar State College Orange for local workforce development.

More details available here.

Honorable Mentions

Do you have a major project announcement you’d like considered for the “Under Construction” series? Please contact Editor Joe Bebon at JBebon@BLR.com.

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