Commercial real estate and construction are two industries that often directly affect one another. Recently, the Oregon-Columbia chapter of the AGC (Associated General Contractors) hosted a virtual discussion about the future of the construction industry. Melvin Mark CEO Jim Mark and Dan Mehls, Vice President and General Manager of Mortenson Construction, shared their insights about the past year’s effects on the construction market and what to expect going forward.

Watch the video here:

During the discussion, the two industry professionals touched on a variety of topics, including market sectors that saw negative impacts (like hospitality and retail) and those that saw positive impacts (like warehousing and telecom). They also shared their thoughts on working from home and what a change in the work lifestyle has taught their companies.

“Our safety performance has improved significantly,” said Mehls. “We were all forced to slow down and reevaluate every single move we make on a job site, [including cleanliness]. A cleaner job site is a better-run job site and more efficient.”

Meanwhile, Mark cited increased communication between competitive companies in the commercial real estate industry. “During the unrest, a bunch of our competitors came together… for the good of downtown,” he said. “We talk all the time now [and] we’ve become closer – there’s the silver lining in all of this.”

The two also discussed the challenges of building development, including the intricate process of new construction and the effects it has on the Downtown area. While some businesses have sought space in suburban areas and some developers have shied away from building properties Downtown, both believe it’s simply a matter of time before the area is repopulated and the draw of restaurants, shopping, and arts is reestablished.

“We’re in one of the most beautiful, scenic areas, and we’ve got a great community that’s really close,” Mark said. “People in Portland are genuine people… [they] want to see the city succeed.”

“The Portland area is just a really cool, interesting, unique place to live and more people are going to be moving here over the next 20 years,” said Mehls. “We all just need to band together and stay positive. We’re all in this together.”