The redevelopment of a building at 692 Main St. last May received a building permit that valued the addition at $533,333. It was a busy construction year
The redevelopment of a building at 692 Main St. last May received a building permit that valued the addition at $533,333. It was a busy construction year along Main Street in 2013. Christopher Reeves/Park Record

Park City's bellwether construction industry in 2013 enjoyed its best year since 2008, as measured by dollar value, the Park City Building Department indicated in its year-end report.

The industry throughout last year posted solid numbers as property owners put up new buildings or renovated or expanded existing ones. Last year was seen as somewhat of a comeback year for the construction industry even if the numbers did not approach the record-setting years between the 2002 Winter Olympics and the onset of the recession.

According to the report, the Building Department in 2013 issued permits with a combined value of nearly $75.5 million, up from the $63.4 million in value tallied in 2012. The figure last year nearly doubled from the worst year since the end of a construction boon in 2008. The industry in 2011 posted approximately $40.9 million.

Some of the key details from the report include:

  • the department issued 34 permits for single family houses. The permits were valued at $26.8 million combined. Both figures were the best since 2007.

  • four permits for duplexes were issued. They were valued at a little more than $6 million combined. Both of the figures were the best since 2007.

  • one permit was issued for commercial construction. It was valued at $150,000. Commercial construction has fallen sharply in the past three years after six consecutive years of posting seven-digit dollar figures.

  • the number of permits issued for alterations and additions to residential properties -- 965 -- was the most since at least 2003. The number soared from any of the years since 2003, when the figure ranged from 409 in 2003 to 657 in 2008.

  • the number of permits for alterations and additions to commercial buildings -- 134 -- was up from the year before but within a tight range seen since 2010.

    The permits for alterations and additions to residential properties are especially notable. It was apparent from the Building Department's monthly reports last year that many property owners were either fixing up their places or expanding them as both the number of permits for alterations and additions and their value were unusually high.

    The alterations and additions have played a more important role in the overall numbers since the recession. The recession struck at a time when Park City's construction numbers were anticipated to level off anyway as the number of large development parcels dwindled, leaving some owners with limited options beyond working with their existing properties.

    "It just demonstrates the fact the economy is bouncing back," said Michelle Downard, the plan check coordinator in the Building Department.

    Other details of the report include:

  • the department issued 1,349 building permits in 2013, a record in the category. The number jumped 46.3 percent from 2012. It was the first year since 2007 that more than 1,000 permits were issued. Downard said another record in the category is possible this year.

    "All the building inspectors have full days," she said.

  • City Hall brought in $947,316 in plan check and permit fees, the most since 2009.

  • the number of relocation or demolition permits climbed to 127, the highest tally since at least 2003.

  • a broad "other" category of construction projects reached 25, the most since 2010. The reports said projects in the category included excavations, footings and foundations, the building of retaining walls and ski lifts.

    Geri Strand, the executive officer of the Park City Area Homebuilders Association, is pleased with the 2013 numbers. She noted the importance of remodels -- defined as alterations and additions in the Building Department report.

    "They want to keep their land where their house is," she said about property owners who remodel their places, adding, "That keeps them there in Park City."

    Strand said 2014 is promising for the Park City construction industry. She mentioned the Stein Eriksen Residences project in Deer Valley as one that could push up the numbers.

    "We feel good about the movement . . . meaning that people are ready to start developing," Strand said.

    The uptick in construction in 2013 was particularly notable along Main Street as crews worked on a series of projects on or just off the street. There was major work at some locations like the building once known as the Main Street Mall and the Silver Queen Hotel alongside numerous smaller construction sites.

    The construction activity on Main Street prompted concerns toward the end of the year that business could be hurt along the street. City Hall, in an extraordinary move, ordered a construction shutdown during the busiest parts of the Sundance Film Festival in January to ensure the crews did not disrupt the festival operations.

    Decade of construction

    The construction industry in Park City in the last decade enjoyed an upswing, a downturn and then a comeback. The year-by-year dollar figures since 2003:

  • 2013: $75,453,052

  • 2012: $63,420,146

  • 2011: $40,942,801

  • 2010: $57,174,850

  • 2009: $68,474,533

  • 2008: $148,708,696

  • 2007: $239,707,119

  • 2006: $173,295,583

  • 2005: $115,543,426

  • 2004: $95,510,073

  • 2003: $59,215,824

    Source: Park City Building Department