The HighPoint on Columbus Commons project is rising rapidly, and apartment tours for prospective renters will begin next month.

The HighPoint on Columbus Commons project is rising rapidly, and apartment tours for prospective renters will begin next month.

"We expect the first building, the building on the north side (of Columbus Commons), to be completed the last week of October or the first week of November," said Laura Swadel, vice president of Carter, the developer of the $50 million project.

The second building should be completed in mid- to late December.

The first floor of each building will be occupied by stores and restaurants, topped by 302 apartment units ranging in size from 449 to 2,033 square feet. They will rent for $870 to $2,765 a month.

"The majority of interest for the first floor has been from restaurants," said Swadel, who declined to say who has expressed interest.

Easton Gateway

Construction of the Easton Gateway shopping center began in March, and the first tenant, Costco, is expected to open in the fall.

The Gateway is a 54-acre addition to the existing Easton Town Center and Easton Market retail centers and will include 500,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.Other tenants include Whole Foods and REI, an outdoor store.The entire project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2014.

Georgetown Co., L Brands - formerly known as Limited Brands - and Steiner & Associates are the developers and operators of Easton.

Design to build

The Architectural Billings Index was up in May, a good sign for the construction industry.

The monthly score was 52.9, up from 48.6 in April.

The American Institute of Architects' ABI score is a predictive index, looking at activity in nonresidential construction spending nine to 12 months ahead. "This rebound is a good sign for the design and construction industry and hopefully means that April's negative dip was a blip rather than a sign of challenging times to come," Kermit Baker, the institute's chief economist, said in a statement.

"But there is a resounding sense of uncertainty in the marketplace - from clients to investors - and an overall lack of confidence in the general economy that is continuing to act as a governor on the business-development engine for architecture firms."

The Associated General Contractors of America reported that construction employment in May totaled 5.8 million workers, a 3.4 percent increase from a year ago. About 7,000 jobs were added in May.

The unemployment rate for the industry was 10.8 percent in May, down from 14.2 percent in May 2012.

"Although the monthly job gain in May was modest, both residential and nonresidential construction (sectors) have been adding workers at roughly double the rate of the overall economy in the past year," Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist, said in a statement.

Building management

Two of the city's biggest buildings will be managed by CBRE in Columbus under a new, four-year contract for four properties that was awarded by the state's Department of Administrative Services.

Under a four-year contract, CBRE will manage the Rhodes State Office Tower, a 41-story, 1.2 million-square-foot building; and the Riffe Center, a 32-story, 1.1 million-square-foot building.

Both are on Capitol Square.

"It's a very significant deal for us," said Rob Click, the senior managing director of CBRE in Columbus. "A significant part of our business is facilities management and these are Class-A, high-profile buildings."

The company manages about 9 million square feet of office and industrial space in central Ohio, Click said.

Other state buildings included in the contract are the 440,000-square-foot Lausche State Office Building in Cleveland and the 510,000-square-foot DiSalle Government Center in Toledo.