The Big Isle’s construction industry is back in business.
“Things are picking up for sure,” Brian Ninomoto, president of the Hawaii Island Contractors Association, said. “My feeling is that it’s increasing and it seems to be growing in the right direction, and that’s good for the Hawaii Island economy.”
The Hawaii County construction and extraction industry has an anticipated growth rate of 29.7 percent from 2010-20, according to information provided by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
Occupations within that sector have an anticipated growth rate of 23.2 percent during the same time period.
Several state-funded projects contributed to the increase.
One of those projects includes the construction of a $55 million interisland cargo terminal facility in the Hilo Harbor that aims to separate commercial operations from tour operations.
Department of Transportation spokesperson Caroline Sluyter said the final phase of the project, the construction of a $37 million pier, is slated for 2015.
Related to the Hilo Harbor project is a plan to widen Kumau Street, and Sluyter said construction for that will start at the end of January.
DLIR spokesperson Bill Kunstman anticipated the influx of construction jobs on the Big Island will have a positive effect on the local economy, given a majority of those jobs will go to Hawaii residents.
Kunstman said legislation requires Hawaii residents make up 80 percent of the personnel for state-related construction projects; however, the legislation does not specify which island the personnel has to be from.
Projects are increasing on the west side of the island as well.
DLIR provided the following information:
In Kailua-Kona, there are 12 projects planned or are currently underway at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority. The projects will generate approximately 500 jobs and nearly $5 million in tax revenue during the next two years.
The projects under construction include the West Hawaii Explorations Academy’s $8.5 million new charter school, the Shrimp Improvement Systems’ $6 million new headquarters, NELHA’s $4.7 million deep sea pipeline repair and Cyanotech’s new office building and extraction facilities, which total $4.5 million.
This year, NELHA, which is part of the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, has seven projects under construction totaling $30 million, which account for 319 jobs. Upcoming 2014 projects include NELHA’s $9.7 million road construction project as well as $3.7 million for the creation of an alternative energy and biotechnology demonstration incubator and building renovation. These account for about 175 jobs.
Other projects include Makai Ocean Engineering’s $2.2 million ocean thermal energy conversion project, Shrimp Improvement Systems’ $3 million second phase build-out and NELHA’s $2.3 million surface seawater project.
The first phase of a new campus in the University of Hawaii system, Hawaii Community College at Palamanui, began in May of 2013.
Occupational projections are based on data collected by DLIR from employers through the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, which can be located at www.hiwi.org.
Email Megan Moseley at email@example.com