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View Poll Results: Will America turn around?
Yes, this is temporary. 14 60.87%
No, this is permanent. 9 39.13%
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Old December 27th, 2012, 07:12 PM   #1
L.A.F.2.
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Is America losing its grip on large corporations?

Hi everyone.

I created this thread because after doing research on typical American cities, the number of office buildings being built with a roof height of at leat 750 feet has dropped significantly. To show you what I mean, I'll show you a chronological graph of when these large corporations have built or not. I choose not to include New York and Chicago, because they obviously will skew the results. Yes, I am taking my data from typical American cities such as Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, Philadelphia, Seattle, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Boston, Minneapolis, and Charlotte. The data I am using does not include the 2010s, for this decade has not terminated obviously.

In the 1960s, 1 office tower exceeding 750 feet was built, and it was in San Francisco.

In the 1970s, 4 office towers were built exceeding 750 feet: 1 in San Francisco, 1 in Boston, 1 in Minneapolis, and 1 in Los Angeles.

In the 1980s, 13 office towers were built between 750 and 984 feet, and 3 were built 985 feet and above. The largest contributor was Houston, with 7 towers, 2 exceeding 985 feet. 3 were built in Seattle, 2 in Dallas, as well as 1 supertall in Los Angeles.

In the 1990s, 8 office towers were built exceeding 750 feet, and 1 exceeding 985 feet. The main contributor was Atlanta, with 3 towers, including 1 supertall. 2 over 750 feet were built in Philadelphia as well.

In the 2000s, 1 office tower was built in Philadelphia.

Now I'll show you how these lined up per year, and it'll be obvious where we went wrong.

1969:1
*1 year gap*
1970:1
1972:1
1973:1
1974:1
*6 year gap*
1980:1
*1 year gap*
1982:2, 1 supertall
1983:3, 1 supertall
*1 year gap*
1985:2
*1 year gap
1987:5
1988:2
1989:2, 1 supertall
1990:2
1991:2
1992:5, 1 supertall
*16 year gap*
2008:1
*1 year gap*
2010:1

It's quite obvious now why Asian cities have come out on top recently in skyscraper construction. But why aren't we doing any better than this? Are we going to rebound, or is this permanent? Feel free to voice your opinion. You may talk about New ayork and Chicago as well for recent comparison. There is no need to compare these cities to Asian, Australian, or European cities, but you may use them as reference. Please vote in the poll as well.

Thanks,

L.A.F.2.
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Old December 27th, 2012, 07:27 PM   #2
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Well, the world has definitely been modernizing in terms of technology and society, it's obviously different from what the world was like 20 years ago. Maybe that has something to do with it?
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Old December 27th, 2012, 07:37 PM   #3
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Yeah, but you'd think that would have a better effect on construction. After all, the technology for building taller today is much better than it was 25 years ago.

My original guess would have been that most corporations have been moving to New York and Chicago, but it still doesn't add up. Only two office buildings in New York were built during that 16 year gap. What gets me is that that time period was one of the best booms in our economy. 1990-1992 was a bad recession, and 2008-2012 has been even worse. I guess it's just like always in the fact that the best buildings are built in times of hardships.
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Old December 27th, 2012, 08:07 PM   #4
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I think this is a temporary situation. My guess is that in the US there is already enough office space while in other countries there is not enough older office space to meet the demand. Also, several highrises are more economical than a supertall so I wouldn't really blame the market on this current situation.

The US have completely lost their ambitions to build something impressive when it comes to office towers. The new WTC and the Hudson Yards are a symbol of this. Right now office building construction has just one goal, to meet demand. No visionary thinking is involved. This is in my opinion the true problem of the US in the recent past.

However, there is fortunately another market which is redeeming the skyscraper reputation of the US and that is the residential market. When it comes to residential projects the US are a prime location and in the future it will only become better with all the serious proposals.

In my opinion residential construction is the true future of the US. Sure, office tower construction will probably get better too in a decade or two but I think residential skyscrapers will rule the US for many decades to come.
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Old December 27th, 2012, 08:24 PM   #5
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On your comments about the residential market:

I don't know exactly why, but I am not a fan of residential development anywhere in the nation-- or planet, for that matter--except New York due to its incredible abundance of office space already. I prefer a downtown bustling with commerce that changes the world rather than a few multi-millionaires or even billionaires that might as well live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I just hate cities with loads of skyscrapers built for residential space because they tend to be ugly and they are much too skinny for building tall. Commercial buildings represent power, stability, and our future, while residential ones represent a few idiots with a good family name wasting millions on a nice view. That's why I hate cities like Miami, Panama City, and dislike all the white noise apartment complexes in nearly every Asian city. I wouldn't mind nearly as much if they weren't all these empty looking glass skyscrapers, or concrete atrocities smothered in drab mediocrity. They tend to be built in groups of 3 to even 20 with the same design all right next to each other, which is tasteless, lifeless, and downright appalling. I'd honestly rather stick to what we already have than throw away our principles of design and innovation just to keep up with these foreign cities booming with people yet not business.
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Old December 27th, 2012, 11:02 PM   #6
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The problem is that in the future there will be only residential or hotel towers. Offices are an endangered species. Thanks to the internet many jobs can be done from home already today. In the future the number of such jobs will rapidly grow until we get to a point that only jobs related to confidential and top secret material will have offices. I personally bet that this point will come already during our lifetime. I have an old Half-Life CD which has on its cover printed the telephone number of a hint line. 15 years ago even computer gaming relied on telephones and look what we have today, internet even in our cell phones. That are 15 years. Now imagine what will be in another 15 years, or 30, or 45 ........

In my opinion most currently build office towers will be remodeled for residential use in several decades. I'd say they will offer them for a broader clientelle since they will never have the luxury of original residential towers. What I mean is that office towers are much thicker than residential ones and therefore if made with residential rooms, many rooms won't have windows. Also office towers have less piping for water and canalization. Just WC on the floor for the employees and that's it. In comparison residential buildings have to be composed of sufficient piping for many bathrooms. But no matter the complications, the remodeling of these buildings will be necessary if they are not to be empty.
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Old December 27th, 2012, 11:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L.A.F.2. View Post
Yeah, but you'd think that would have a better effect on construction. After all, the technology for building taller today is much better than it was 25 years ago.

My original guess would have been that most corporations have been moving to New York and Chicago, but it still doesn't add up. Only two office buildings in New York were built during that 16 year gap. What gets me is that that time period was one of the best booms in our economy. 1990-1992 was a bad recession, and 2008-2012 has been even worse. I guess it's just like always in the fact that the best buildings are built in times of hardships.
The US isn't, and won't be, building so many talls anymore because most Americans these days live and work in auto - dependent Suburbia.
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Old December 27th, 2012, 11:39 PM   #8
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I just feel theirs no real need to have massive office towers lol, and i dont see any reason why the us should have these ridiculous buildings, i mean im glad that since 9/11 that new york has so many new supertalls proposed etc that really shows american attitude, but i dont see the need for something over 2000 feet to prove something.. I also think it would be easier to have shorter office buildings that are made for just one company to use instead of having 3 or 4 diffferent companys sharing a building..just my view lol
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Old December 27th, 2012, 11:59 PM   #9
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Maybe office space is becoming more obsolete in the USA.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 12:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatOneGuy View Post
Maybe office space is becoming more obsolete in the USA.
That's not an appropriate use of the word "obsolete". I think what you meant to say was "Maybe more office space is becoming vacant in the USA".
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Old December 28th, 2012, 12:10 AM   #11
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Yeah, there can be no doubt that a lot of skyscraper construction, in China in particular, is entirely about showing off. Particularly considering that a lot of the tall construction going on there is office space, and not residential, and that many Chinese companies are still in labor-intensive industries, i.e. not ones conducive to being housed in tall, narrow buildings, it's building without a functional purpose, at this point. Besides, Kanto is definitely right. In the future, there just isn't going to be as great a benefit from the physical centralization of skilled labor that was part of the impetus for skyscraper construction in the past.

The American economy has reached a mature stage, and now registers a much lower annual growth rate than developing countries. This is not merely a product of the recession, but a simple fact of economic convergence that will eventually occur in every country that develops (assuming a relatively linear rate of technological development).

Therefore, if we begin to have another skyscraper boom in America, it's likely to be of a residential nature as urbanization increases, and not office towers. It's not that America is "losing its grip" large corporations, it's just that no new large corporations are being founded here to get a grip on, so to speak. At least as far as skyscraper construction is concerned, this isn't something to mourn or worry about.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 12:26 AM   #12
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I meant that maybe people have less need for office space, and are finding newer ways to do business, making office buildings more 'obsolete'
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Old December 28th, 2012, 01:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatOneGuy View Post
I meant that maybe people have less need for office space, and are finding newer ways to do business, making office buildings more 'obsolete'
got it
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Old December 28th, 2012, 01:37 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaticko View Post
Yeah, there can be no doubt that a lot of skyscraper construction, in China in particular, is entirely about showing off. Particularly considering that a lot of the tall construction going on there is office space, and not residential, and that many Chinese companies are still in labor-intensive industries, i.e. not ones conducive to being housed in tall, narrow buildings, it's building without a functional purpose, at this point. Besides, Kanto is definitely right. In the future, there just isn't going to be as great a benefit from the physical centralization of skilled labor that was part of the impetus for skyscraper construction in the past.

The American economy has reached a mature stage, and now registers a much lower annual growth rate than developing countries. This is not merely a product of the recession, but a simple fact of economic convergence that will eventually occur in every country that develops (assuming a relatively linear rate of technological development).

Therefore, if we begin to have another skyscraper boom in America, it's likely to be of a residential nature as urbanization increases, and not office towers. It's not that America is "losing its grip" large corporations, it's just that no new large corporations are being founded here to get a grip on, so to speak. At least as far as skyscraper construction is concerned, this isn't something to mourn or worry about.
doesn't the us have one of the highest gdp grouth at this moment compared to any other developed country?
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Old December 28th, 2012, 03:24 AM   #15
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A lot of major companies don't have reason to go that tall.

A huge tower takes four years (at least) to design, permit, and build. It's expensive on a $/sf basis, it's not very flexible (for growth or reductions), and, according to some, it supports an insular culture rather than one tied to the neighborhood as many urban tenants prize. Meanwhile, a series of smaller buildings is generally lower risk, allowing incremental growth and quicker additions. In a mixed setting (vs. an exclusive campus) it can even allow buildings to be sold off for other tenants.

Likewise, developers have a hard time building tall due to the inherent risk of that four-year process, and the fact that they're now required to carry more of their own risk vs. the days of federal loan guarantees (pre-1980s) and easy credit (pre-2008).

In Seattle's case, Amazon is so huge that they're planning three towers that might have each been around that height if the limit in that area wasn't 500'. But they could have 6 or 8 million square feet soon, and a million square feet here and there is just room to grow. Most cities don't have a headquarters anywhere near that magnitude (yes in sales, no in office space).
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Old December 28th, 2012, 06:04 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kanto View Post
The problem is that in the future there will be only residential or hotel towers. Offices are an endangered species. Thanks to the internet many jobs can be done from home already today. In the future the number of such jobs will rapidly grow until we get to a point that only jobs related to confidential and top secret material will have offices. I personally bet that this point will come already during our lifetime. I have an old Half-Life CD which has on its cover printed the telephone number of a hint line. 15 years ago even computer gaming relied on telephones and look what we have today, internet even in our cell phones. That are 15 years. Now imagine what will be in another 15 years, or 30, or 45 ........

In my opinion most currently build office towers will be remodeled for residential use in several decades. I'd say they will offer them for a broader clientelle since they will never have the luxury of original residential towers. What I mean is that office towers are much thicker than residential ones and therefore if made with residential rooms, many rooms won't have windows. Also office towers have less piping for water and canalization. Just WC on the floor for the employees and that's it. In comparison residential buildings have to be composed of sufficient piping for many bathrooms. But no matter the complications, the remodeling of these buildings will be necessary if they are not to be empty.
As far as the top part goes, it really hit me hard what you said there. It was a great point. I feel like an old cretin wishing things would stay the same. I wish I could have grown up in the 20th century, and I'm getting nostalgic about something I never got to experience that I long for. At times, it brings me to the point of tears, as I now realize how everything from that time period will eventually be forgotten.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 06:10 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Filipe1 View Post
I just feel theirs no real need to have massive office towers lol, and i dont see any reason why the us should have these ridiculous buildings, i mean im glad that since 9/11 that new york has so many new supertalls proposed etc that really shows american attitude, but i dont see the need for something over 2000 feet to prove something.. I also think it would be easier to have shorter office buildings that are made for just one company to use instead of having 3 or 4 diffferent companys sharing a building..just my view lol
I agree completely with you. Rockefeller Plaza is a prime example of how a city should efficiently present office space. Several buildings surrounding a nice public plaza is an ideal complex (although I hate efficient complexes). There really is no need for supertalls in most cases, let alone megatalls.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 06:14 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
A lot of major companies don't have reason to go that tall.

A huge tower takes four years (at least) to design, permit, and build. It's expensive on a $/sf basis, it's not very flexible (for growth or reductions), and, according to some, it supports an insular culture rather than one tied to the neighborhood as many urban tenants prize. Meanwhile, a series of smaller buildings is generally lower risk, allowing incremental growth and quicker additions. In a mixed setting (vs. an exclusive campus) it can even allow buildings to be sold off for other tenants.

Likewise, developers have a hard time building tall due to the inherent risk of that four-year process, and the fact that they're now required to carry more of their own risk vs. the days of federal loan guarantees (pre-1980s) and easy credit (pre-2008).

In Seattle's case, Amazon is so huge that they're planning three towers that might have each been around that height if the limit in that area wasn't 500'. But they could have 6 or 8 million square feet soon, and a million square feet here and there is just room to grow. Most cities don't have a headquarters anywhere near that magnitude (yes in sales, no in office space).
Great points. As far as that last one goes, I really hate the way they're doing that though. 10 500 foot towers is about as boring as it gets, but I realize that height restrictions are a burden. If it wasn't a factor, they should do something like Prudential did in Chicago, wih a wide variety of designs.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 06:25 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaticko View Post
Yeah, there can be no doubt that a lot of skyscraper construction, in China in particular, is entirely about showing off. Particularly considering that a lot of the tall construction going on there is office space, and not residential, and that many Chinese companies are still in labor-intensive industries, i.e. not ones conducive to being housed in tall, narrow buildings, it's building without a functional purpose, at this point. Besides, Kanto is definitely right. In the future, there just isn't going to be as great a benefit from the physical centralization of skilled labor that was part of the impetus for skyscraper construction in the past.

The American economy has reached a mature stage, and now registers a much lower annual growth rate than developing countries. This is not merely a product of the recession, but a simple fact of economic convergence that will eventually occur in every country that develops (assuming a relatively linear rate of technological development).

Therefore, if we begin to have another skyscraper boom in America, it's likely to be of a residential nature as urbanization increases, and not office towers. It's not that America is "losing its grip" large corporations, it's just that no new large corporations are being founded here to get a grip on, so to speak. At least as far as skyscraper construction is concerned, this isn't something to mourn or worry about.
I know the US still has the highest GDP on the planet, so shouldn't we still be growing, at least a little more than we are now? It's just this stalled growth that I am wondering about. However, shouldn't I be worried that office towers aren't going up much more? As Kanto said, residential towers have to be thin so people can have windows in their apartments. No matter how hard I try, I can't build a stable residential building meeting that requirement over 2,000 feet. It just gets dangerous due to such a small base in comparison to such a high center of gravity. If the residential market is all that's left for this country's skyscrapers, then we won't ever see a building with a roof height over 2,000 feet.
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Old December 28th, 2012, 09:04 AM   #20
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Safety (structural) isn't the issue with residential over 2,000 feet per se. But it would be massively expensive both overall and per square foot. You'd reach a good medium by making it an X or something in plan...narrow wings surrounding a large core perhaps. And getting from ground to unit would take forever, a big negative on sale prices and/or rents.
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