As an amateur economist, I am going to share with you one of my secret ways to determine which way the economy is headed. From the mid eighties until 2008 I would gauge the health of the economy by driving to Myrtle Beach and counting the number of cranes you could spot up and down the beach. Some years they were as far as the eye could see while in other years they were hard to find.
Over the last year or more Durham has become the City of Cranes. Duke has done an extraordinary amount of building, over $2 billion worth in the last ten years. It seems like it all happened in the past year or two. They have built research buildings, medical buildings, parking garages, hotels and athletic facilities including the fabulous new press tower with luxury boxes at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Every where you have looked over the past year or two there have been cranes building five and six story apartment complexes housing thousands of units. Then there is the big crane downtown that is set up to carry building materials to the top of the 27 story Durham Center. Thanks to all of these cranes, Durham’s skyline is changing dramatically. Using my expert economic theory, Durham’s present and future is literally looking up.