RSMeans’ dollar-per-square-foot construction costs for a church, movie theater and store - fall 2012

03/25/2013 by Alex Carrick

Accompanying this report are tables based on RSMeans’ measures of dollar-per-square-foot construction costs.

This month, the 25 major-city results are for an eclectic mix of non-residential building types – a “typical” church, movie theater and two sizes of department stores, one story and three stories.

Comparisons with other types of structure

According to RSMeans, the cheapest types of structure to build, after extremely low-cost parking garages, are factories and warehouses.

Auto sales garages and aircraft hangars also belong in this low-expense grouping.

Add in convenience stores as well.  

Department stores and movie theatres are a little pricier. 

In the mid-range for construction costs are nursing homes, office buildings, hotels and high-rise apartment buildings.

For office buildings and apartment buildings, heights above ten stories tend to lower the dollar-per-square-footage cost.

Also in the mid-range for construction costs are elementary and secondary schools, along with institutions of higher learning (i.e., college buildings).

By far the most expensive types of structure to build are hospitals, jails/prisons, courthouses and police stations.

Some of the foregoing institutional building categories exceed $350 per square foot in the largest urban centers.

In New York, for example, the cost of a low-rise hospital exceeds $400 per square foot.

U.S. dollars per square foot construction costs –
By type of structure – fall 2012
    MAJOR CITIES
(alphabetically)
CHURCH MOVIE THEATER
2012 2011   % CHANGE 2012 2011   % CHANGE
1   ATLANTA $163.61 $161.17   1.5% $146.36 $140.77   4.0%
2   BALTIMORE 172.74 170.77   1.2% 154.53 149.15   3.6%
3   BOSTON 219.49 214.13   2.5% 196.35 187.02   5.0%
4   CHICAGO 216.38 212.53   1.8% 193.57 185.62   4.3%
5   CLEVELAND 184.61 180.01   2.6% 165.15 157.22   5.0%
6   DALLAS 157.95 155.31   1.7% 141.30 135.64   4.2%
7   DENVER 174.02 171.48   1.5% 155.67 149.77   3.9%
8   DETROIT 192.10 187.47   2.5% 171.84 163.74   5.0%
9   HOUSTON 160.69 157.62   1.9% 143.75 137.66   4.4%
10   KANSAS CITY 193.19 188.72   2.4% 172.82 164.82   4.9%
11   LOS ANGELES 199.22 195.29   2.0% 178.21 170.56   4.5%
12   MIAMI 165.98 163.66   1.4% 148.49 142.94   3.9%
13   MINNEAPOLIS 207.25 203.82   1.7% 185.40 178.01   4.2%
14   NEW ORLEANS 164.16 159.40   3.0% 146.85 139.21   5.5%
15   NEW YORK CITY 245.05 240.07   2.1% 219.22 209.68   4.6%
16   PHILADELPHIA 211.45 208.44   1.4% 189.16 182.05   3.9%
17   PHOENIX 164.34 160.29   2.5% 147.02 139.99   5.0%
18   PITTSBURGH 188.99 183.74   2.9% 169.07 160.48   5.4%
19   PORTLAND 185.16 182.32   1.6% 165.64 159.24   4.0%
20   ST. LOUIS 190.82 187.12   2.0% 170.70 163.43   4.5%
21   SAN DIEGO 191.91 187.65   2.3% 171.68 163.89   4.8%
22   SAN FRANCISCO 227.70 223.19   2.0% 203.70 194.93   4.5%
23   SEATTLE 193.01 190.49   1.3% 172.66 166.37   3.8%
24   WASHINGTON, DC 180.77 178.77   1.1% 161.72 156.13   3.6%
25   WINSTON-SALEM 141.70 138.78   2.1% 126.76 121.21   4.6%
MAJOR CITIES
(alphabetically)
DEPARTMENT STORE (ONE STORY) DEPARTMENT STORE (THREE STORIES)
2012 2011   % CHANGE 2012 2011   % CHANGE
1   ATLANTA $102.73 $102.22   0.5% $125.40 $121.08   3.6%
2   BALTIMORE 108.46 108.30   0.1% 132.39 128.29   3.2%
3   BOSTON 137.81 135.80   1.5% 168.22 160.87   4.6%
4   CHICAGO 135.86 134.79   0.8% 165.84 159.67   3.9%
5   CLEVELAND 115.91 114.17   1.5% 141.49 135.24   4.6%
6   DALLAS 99.17 98.50   0.7% 121.06 116.68   3.8%
7   DENVER 109.26 108.76   0.5% 133.37 128.83   3.5%
8   DETROIT 120.61 118.90   1.4% 147.23 140.84   4.5%
9   HOUSTON 100.89 99.96   0.9% 123.16 118.41   4.0%
10   KANSAS CITY 121.30 119.69   1.3% 148.07 141.78   4.4%
11   LOS ANGELES 125.08 123.86   1.0% 152.69 146.72   4.1%
12   MIAMI 104.22 103.80   0.4% 127.21 122.95   3.5%
13   MINNEAPOLIS 130.13 129.27   0.7% 158.84 153.12   3.7%
14   NEW ORLEANS 103.07 101.09   2.0% 125.82 119.75   5.1%
15   NEW YORK CITY 153.86 152.26   1.1% 187.81 180.36   4.1%
16   PHILADELPHIA 132.76 132.20   0.4% 162.06 156.60   3.5%
17   PHOENIX 103.19 101.66   1.5% 125.96 120.42   4.6%
18   PITTSBURGH 118.66 116.53   1.8% 144.85 138.04   4.9%
19   PORTLAND 116.26 115.63   0.5% 141.91 136.97   3.6%
20   ST. LOUIS 119.81 118.67   1.0% 146.25 140.58   4.0%
21   SAN DIEGO 120.50 119.01   1.2% 147.09 140.98   4.3%
22   SAN FRANCISCO 142.97 141.55   1.0% 174.52 167.68   4.1%
23   SEATTLE 121.19 120.81   0.3% 147.93 143.11   3.4%
24   WASHINGTON, DC 113.50 113.38   0.1% 138.55 134.30   3.2%
25   WINSTON-SALEM 88.97 88.02   1.1% 108.60 104.26   4.2%
Data source: Tables were abstracted from RSMeans cost data publications for the A/E/C industry. For more information about RSMeans Square Foot Cost Guide and RSMeans CCI (Construction Cost Index), which indexes square foot costs for cities in the U.S. and Canada, visit the online bookstore at www.rsmeans.com and click on cost data publications (or call 1-800-448-8182).
Charts: Reed Construction Data – RS Means and CanaData.

Church construction cost:
fall 2012 ranking of major U.S. cities
Church  construction cost: fall 2012 ranking of major U.S. cities
Movie theater construction cost:
fall 2012 ranking of major U.S. cities
Movie theater construction cost: fall 2012 ranking of major U.S. cities
Department store (one story) construction cost:
fall 2012 ranking of major U.S. cities
Department store (one story) construction cost:
fall 2012 ranking of major U.S. cities
Department store (three stories) construction cost:
fall 2012 ranking of major U.S. cities
Department store (three stories) construction cost: fall 2012 ranking of major U.S. cities
These charts and tables were abstracted from RSMeans cost data publications for the A/E/C industry. For more information about RSMeans Square Foot Cost Guide and RSMeans CCI (Construction Cost Index), which indexes square foot costs for cities in the U.S. and Canada, visit the online bookstore at www.rsmeans.com and click on cost data publications (or call 1-800-448-8182).
Data source: Reed Construction Data – RS Means (www.rsmeans.com).
Charts: Reed Construction Data – CanaData