Arkansas to break ground on $1.3bn steel mill and marshals museum
Construction work is due to commence this week on two large Arkansas projects: the $1.3 billion Big River steel mill in Osceola and a $50 million museum in Fort Smith to honour the US Marshals Service.
In the state’s north-east, Governor Mike Beebe, Osceaola Mayor Dickie Kennemore are set to break ground with other leaders today on the steel mill, which is expected to create more than 500 permanent jobs in the area and an additional 2,000 temporary roles.
Under a 2004 constitutional amendment, the mill qualifies for state financing as a ‘superproject’, which allows legislators the power to borrow money for economic development. Arkansas state is providing $125 million of financing for the project.
Scott Hardin, a Spokesman for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, said: “It’s going to be a tremendous impact on not just northeast Arkansas, but the entire state.
“Big River will have more than 2,000 construction workers for approximately 20 months. So right from the very beginning, the impact of Big River is going to be substantial even before they go into production.”
The mill would produce steel for the automotive, oil and gas and electrical energy industries, however Big River has first to face down a legal challenge in a federal court from a rival local company, Nucor Steel, which owns two mills in nearby Mississippi county.
Nucor claims its rival has violated the Clean Air Act, and has sought to block Big River from building the mill, as well as to have the company’s sir permit revoked. The latter has until October 10 to respond to the lawsuit.
If construction is allowed to proceed, it is expected to take two years.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, another groundbreaking ceremony is to take place in Fort Smith, for construction of a museum to the US Marshals Service. Marking the 225th anniversary of the Service, the museum will be built along the Arkansas River.
Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman will attend the event, joined by US Rep. Steve Womack and local leaders.
The museum is due to open in 2017.
Skanska invests $225m in Houston office project
Skanska is investing US$225m in an office development project, 1550 on the Green in Houston, with construction expected to begin in June and scheduled to be completed in 2024.
The construction contract is worth US$125M, which will be included in the Q2 order bookings. International law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has signed a 15-year lease for about 30 percent of the building.
Located at 1550 Lamar Street, adjacent to Discovery Green, in downtown Houston, Skanska plans to develop and build a 28-floor, 34,800 square meter office tower.
1550 on the Green will be the first part of a three-block master plan by Skanska, which will transform the parcels into a distinguished district known as Discovery West and consist of 3.5 acres of mixed-use development full of restaurants, retail and lush green space. The project will target LEED and WiredScore Platinum certifications.
Since 2009, Skanska has invested a total of US$2.8 billion in commercial and multi-family projects, creating more than 1 million square meters of sustainable and community focused developments in select U.S. markets. Skanska USA had sales of SEK66 billion in 2020 with 7,600 employees in its operations.
Skanska’s flagship London office has set the standard in sustainable workspaces by becoming the first in the UK to achieve WELL Platinum under the new v2 pilot scheme.
The accreditation from the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) was awarded through the v2 pilot, the newest version of the WELL Building Standard. It looks at all building features and management processes – from air and water quality to lighting, acoustics, nutrition, thermal comfort and mental wellbeing. It’s widely recognised as the industry yardstick for measuring how workspaces can contribute to the wellbeing of occupants.
The offices – which span three floors of the newly developed 51 Moorgate – contain floor-to-ceiling windows for extensive natural light, dedicated wellbeing and quiet spaces, as well as stringent air and water quality monitoring, among a range of other features that have helped earn the standard.
The company has also been exploring drone flights for use in industrial environments.
Peter Cater, Development Manager, said it was invited to carry out trials because of its use and knowledge of drone capability. "The trials have benefited everyone involved: sees.ai get to test their equipment and remote use of the drones and we get access to accurate, real-time data on our construction activities which benefits us and our customer, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation."
“Projects like this – at the forefront of innovation – go to show what an exciting industry construction is to be involved in. We are always looking for innovative ways of working, ways to be more sustainable so we can find better solutions for our customers. These trials are just one small part of our digital transformation journey.”