An index of real estate development in Maine has hit its all-time high.
The "MEREDA" index says there is more development going on around the state than before the Great Recession. Paul Peck, the President of the Maine Real Estate and Development Association, says the biggest driver has been commercial development, despite the challenges facing brick-and-mortar retailers.
"The medical industry is strong, there's lots of growth there.” Peck says. “The hospitality industry is strong. And, actually, we're seeing some office buildings built around the state. You see the Bangor Savings bank is building a complex on the river in Bangor. It's very exciting. You see what's going on in Portland with WEX building their headquarters. So there is commercial development going on."
Peck says what's holding back construction in some areas are shortages of labor. He says a "whole generation" of workers failed to enter the construction industry during the Great Recession, and the construction workforce that remains is getting older. Peck says he would like to see the state provide more vocational training opportunities for high school students and skills training for older workers as well.