TAMPA, FL (February 9, 2021) – Tampa Bay area architects are extremely optimistic about the outlook for the region’s development-related economy in 2021 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to AIA Tampa Bay’s Voice of Architecture Economic Outlook 2021.
The Voice of Architecture’s survey of 104 area architects serves to predict the future for area real estate development and construction activity. Architects are experts on gauging the outlook for the development-related economy because they are hired early in the development process, with projects often being completed one to three years after the architecture firm begins work.
In the survey, conducted by the Tampa Bay chapter of the American Institute of Architects, 70% percent of the architects expect demand for architectural services in the Tampa Bay area to increase in 2021 – down only 7 percentage points from last year’s pre-coronavirus predictions.
Also, a similar percentage of architects, 71%, think the Tampa Bay area’s development-related economy in 2021 will be “excellent” or “good,” with only 29% forecasting it will be “fair.” No one predicted that it will be “poor” or “very poor.”
“This is very good economic news for the Tampa Bay region,” said Tim Coop, Hancock Whitney’s Regional President-Tampa Bay. “While other areas of the nation will be experiencing a downturn in development-related activity this year, Tampa Bay will be going strong. With a continued influx of new residents coming to Tampa Bay from larger metro areas like New York and Chicago, and a strong economic base, this year looks good for our area.”
The survey results indicate that the development activity in the healthcare and industrial sectors will be particularly strong, while demand will be lower for projects involving office space and historic preservation.
More than half of the architects estimate that their organization or department will hire more employees in 2021, with only 20% certain that they will not be hiring additional employees. Also, a large majority, 86%, anticipate revenue growth in 2021, including 33% who expect robust growth of 10% or more in revenues.
Meanwhile, two-thirds of the architects in the survey reported that it’s becoming more difficult to hire skilled workers, continuing a trend in the architecture industry – a field where talented professionals are always in high demand.
“Most architects will be extremely busy this year, which points to significant construction-related growth well into 2022,” said Peter Hauerstein, AIA, president of the board of directors for AIA Tampa Bay and an architect at Sol Design. “The economy in the Tampa Bay area is proving to be much more resilient than in many other cities, and this is a great place to be an architect right now.”
Of the 104 respondents in the survey, which was sponsored by Hancock Whitney Bank, 85% of the architects were either principals or managers. Most respondents were from Hillsborough County or Pinellas County, though many of the architects in the two counties work on projects throughout the region.
This outlook for continued growth in the Tampa Bay area is better than the outlook for the South region as a whole, shown by the Architecture Billing Index (ABI), compiled monthly by the AIA National Center to track how architecture firms’ billings are trending. The latest ABI, in December 2020, showed a substantial year-over-year decrease in billing for architecture firms across the South, with a 46.8 index. (Index scores above 50 indicate increases in year-over-year billings, and scores below 50 indicate decreases.) Other regional index scores were: West at 43.4, Midwest at 43.6, and Northeast at 38.8.
Tied to the local survey, AIA Tampa Bay assembles a panel representing the banking, architecture, retail development and planning fields to interpret the results of the report. The recorded Zoom event, available at www.aiatampabay.com, will feature the following panelists:
• Tim Coop, Hancock Whitney Bank
• Nicole Popovics, Sembler Company
• Jason Jensen, Wannemacher Jensen Architects
• Keith Greminger, Stantec
The panel discussion is open to the public via Zoom on Thursday, February 11 at 5:30 p.m. Registration is available through the www.aiatampabay.com calendar.
The panel discussion will be moderated by Kyle Parks, whose public relations firm, B2 Communications, represents a number of companies in the real estate industry. After gaining significant experience as a business reporter and editor at the then-St. Petersburg Times, he worked as a marketing and PR executive for two Fortune 1000 companies in homebuilding and real estate development.
About the AIA:
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is the professional association for architects and those in the architecture field. AIA Tampa Bay is the regional chapter representing 700 members in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Hernando, Citrus, Sumter and Pasco counties. The AIA provides programs and services including educational programs, design competitions, community service programs and serves as the united voice of the architecture profession. For more information, go to www.aiatampabay.com or call 813-229-3411.