Expansions at many of New York City’s cultural institutions has added around 10,000 jobs and accounts for $1.3 billion in new construction spending in the past five years, according to the New York Building Congress.
Construction in 2014 alone totaled $208 million, an increase of 46% since 2013. The year 2011 saw the most construction projects in the city, totaling $491 million.
One of the most high profile constructions included the building of the new Whitney Museum of American Art, which cost $422 million and will open later this year.
Also included on the list of high-profile constructions were the $81.3 million renovation of the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum and the $65 million renovation of the fountains and exterior of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The improvements also produce a ripple effect in the local economy: these construction companies now have to rely on local bulldozer and backhoe purchases or the use of floor removal machine rentals in order to complete these complex jobs.
Building Congress president Richard Anderson estimates that these constructions brought the area 10,000 jobs during the past five years. Health care and education outrank cultural construction spending, he said, and even construction spending totals are far higher at $32 billion, but it still plays an important role in New York City’s economy.
Anderson also highlighted the importance of the “multiplier effects” of these institutions. Not only did the construction result in jobs, but it also helps bring in more tourism.
Across state lines in New Jersey, construction work is expected to increase tenfold at the American Dream Meadowlands, a large shopping and entertainment complex in Hackensack. In addition to expansions and new stores, the mall will also see an indoor water park, an aquarium, an amusement park and an IMAX theater.
The total cost for the project is around $2 billion and will increase the workforce from 200 to about 2,000 by next year. Developers also have plans to paint the mall’s exterior gray and white, changing it from its current rainbow patterns.