2011 saw record-setting $43m in construction permits
Major projects, including the continuing construction of Creek Wood Apartments off Mill Street and renovations to Samaritan Medical Center, contributed to the more than $32 million in declared construction value during the third and fourth quarters of 2011.
In the third quarter of 2011 alone, declared construction value of both new construction and repair permits was up approximately 1,653 percent over the same period in 2010, jumping from $977,000 to more than $17 million. Fourth quarter of 2011 was down slightly from the year prior, still posting a nearly 34 percent increase over 2010.
Where the numbers drop off noticeably is in the first quarter of this year, with the lowest combined first quarter value in more than five years, of just $626,353.
“This winter was so strange that people were gearing down coming into the holidays and the beginning of the year in terms of their projects,” said Terry M. Petrie, executive director of the Northern New York Builders Exchange. “People weren’t ready for the season we had, they were ready for winter. So when the weather broke, things really took off.”
Mr. Petrie said that he hears good news in terms of a rebounding building sector from his organization’s 280 members, who represent companies from Jefferson County up to Plattsburgh.
“We are really fortunate here, our members are focused on the commercial building industry and they’re very busy, especially now that summer is here,” he said.
New commercial and residential building projects, such as Creek Wood, get much of the press surrounding new construction; however, it is smaller projects that make up for the large number of permits and declared values. Permits filed in the city of Watertown for new and repair construction can be anything from a new roof to windows, porches and sheds.
To offset the cost of maintaining and renovating a home or business, many municipalities and organizations distribute state grant money to residents through housing rehabilitation programs.
When cash is available, Neighbors of Watertown Inc. provides a myriad of programs to help Watertown and Jefferson County residents with rehabilitation of owner-occupied homes and rental homes.
“We have been pretty successful in getting grant funds from the county,” Melissa A. Warner, housing program coordinator for Neighbors of Watertown, said. “This year our funding is limited to six projects for owner-occupied residential rehabilitation.”
Ms. Warner said the amount of money received to renovate rental properties has helped finance apartment rehabilitation in downtown Watertown. While Neighbors continues to apply for new grants, the next round of awards haven’t been released yet, she said.
“There are people on the waiting list we will never help because it is based on need,” Ms. Warner said.
In Carthage, the Carthage Area Chamber of Commerce is doling out grant money from a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant that the village of Carthage received last year.
“The grant provides a maximum of $25,000 per project, which can be anything from foundation work to new windows and siding,” said Lori A. Borland, executive director of the chamber. “We have about half of the grant funds left.”
Ms. Borland said interest in the grant money has increased as of late, with several people stopping by the chamber office asking for applications in the last few weeks of June.
The process of obtaining grant money from the chamber includes a pre-application, inspection, approval by the CDBG board and then a bidding process for contractors to complete the work.
“We have to put out all of the jobs to bid, and if the homeowner doesn’t approve of the company that comes in with the lowest bid, the homeowner must pay the difference,” Ms. Borland said. “The entire process from application through the start of construction takes about a month.”
Ms. Borland noted cash awards are income-based. Contact the chamber, 493-3590, to learn more about how to obtain CDBG funds in the Carthage area.
Kyle R. Hayes is associate magazine editor for NNY Business. Contact him at email@example.com or 661-2381.