Construction Development Continues to be a Game of Whac-A-Mole

When I googled Whac-A-Mole to see if there was a “definition” beyond the arcade game most of us are familiar with (and to confirm the game did not have the letter K in its spelling), the internet did not disappoint…

Here it is:

A situation in which repeated efforts to resolve a problem are frustrated by the problem reappearing in a different form

If that doesn’t illustrate the overall theme of new construction development projects over the last couple years, I challenge you to find a better analogy. 

I’m sure you’re probably thinking, “when exactly HASN’T it been a game of Whac-A-Mole when developing new projects?”  There has always typically been one hurdle or another that is slowing down or preventing projects from proceeding or at least making us (Owners, Architects, and Contractors) think a bit harder on how to get it done. Instead of dwelling on those I thought I would point out the silver linings, especially as it relates to new Senior Housing development as that space was hit harder during the pandemic than multi-family.  

Senior Living fundamentals are improving.  According to an article by Senior Housing News on April 6 2023, average Senior Housing occupancy has exceeded 83% after its seventh consecutive quarter of growth since the pandemic driven low of 2021.  There is still, of course, demand in the market from seniors and there has been limited inventory growth.   These factors combined support rate growth which improves those proformas!  Just as importantly, we are also seeing greater activity from subcontractors pursuing work.  While they are still busy, they also realize what is going on in the market and are ramping up efforts to secure new projects.  All great signs!

This all means that it is now more crucial than ever to dig into your plans, and determine which levers to pull (i.e. Value Engineering options, etc.) to make your project pencil.  Now get out there and “Whac” those Moles!  To the victor go the spoils!


Don Diedrick

Director of Business Development, Southeast Region

The Douglas Company

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