Despite COVID-related setbacks, the construction industry in the South Sound remains strong. While it was not as severely affected as the travel or dining industries, construction employment has not bounced back to pre-COVID numbers. However, things are looking up. In fact, the Tacoma-Lakewood metropolitan area has the seventh-largest share of employment in construction, and 7.5 percent of all wage and salary workers work in this field. Nationwide, Washington has the sixth-largest share of employment in construction. With new apartment buildings, transportation improvement plans, and a healthy real estate market, communities in the South Sound face an ever-growing need for new construction and renovation projects. Here are a few projects to watch.

NEW APARTMENT COMPLEX IN HILLTOP DISTRICT

More than 300 new apartments will be built on Fawcett Avenue in the heart of Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood and the Brewery District. With 8,600 square feet allocated for amenities, and another 5,000 specifically for rooftop decks, these two six-story apartment buildings have an estimated budget of $105 million. Construction is set to begin this year, with completion in 2023, according to a report by The News Tribune.

NEW GIG HARBOR METROPOLITAN MARKET

The locally owned grocery chain will open its ninth location in August. Some employees at the nearest Proctor location are expected to relocate to Gig Harbor, opening up opportunities for upward mobility in the Proctor store. The chain’s varied departments include a bakery, coffee shop, floral, and housewares. The newest location is particularly exciting for loyal customers who reside in Gig Harbor, who will no longer need to trek across the Narrows Bridge to satisfy their cravings for the chain’s highly lauded bakery treat, “The Cookie.”

DOWNTOWN OLYMPIA RENOVATIONS

The City of Olympia will begin multiple downtown street enhancement projects to improve safety and traffic flow for its citizens. The City’s downtown strategy goals for these renovations include improved walkability, bike connections, support of transit operations, and increased mobility for cars and freight. The first of these projects, on Legion Street, was completed last year. The City is now beginning construction on Franklin Street, where projects aim to shorten crosswalks, improve pedestrian lighting, and slow traffic. The budget for these improvements is an estimated $4.7 million. Olympia’s other two transportation construction projects will begin next year.