Builders obliterate the old record deck: A huge October pushes industry above $200 million for the year |

Builders obliterate the old record deck: A huge October pushes industry above $200 million for the year

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Park City’s blistering construction industry, already basking in record-setting numbers, posted epic figures in October, pushing the totals in 2007 to well over $200 million.

It is the first time Park City’s bellwether industry has surpassed $200 million, and the number, which sat at $217.9 million at the end of October, obliterates the previous record.

The city’s Building Department says the construction industry tallied almost $43.8 million in October, 20 percent of the year-to-date totals.

Ron Ivie, City Hall’s chief building official, says his department in October issued a high-dollar permit to build a hotel, planned as a St. Regis, in Deer Crest. The department also approved a highly priced building permit for the Quinn’s Junction hospital.

The figures represent about one-third of the market value of the construction.

"I did say I thought it would be a strong year," Ivie says of his prediction at the start of 2007. "I wasn’t willing to forecast records."

But as the year progressed, it seemed certain the previous record, set in 2006, would fall. It was unclear, though, by what margin the industry would beat the previous standard.

Ivie had indicated in mid-October, after the all-time mark was set, there was a chance the industry would push well above the $173.3 million recorded in 2006.

Ivie says November and December could also be strong months, depending on whether the developers of the Montage, planned in Empire Pass, receive their building permits. Those will be "pretty substantial numbers," Ivie says, but the permits might not be issued until 2008.

Ivie, a City Hall veteran who became the chief building official in 1980, before Park City’s boom years started, recalls leaner times. In the mid-1980s, as the city’s economy slumped, he says the construction industry finished with just $12 million in work.

Even then, though, Ivie expected Park City to thrive later. It has easy access to an international airport and an interstate highway connects the city to the Salt Lake Valley, he notes.

"I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the growth," Ivie says.

Real estate agents, meanwhile, have long promoted Park City as a bargain compared to other well-known mountain resorts like Aspen, Colo., Sun Valley, Idaho, and Jackson, Wyo. They say buyers are interested, creating demand for new construction and remodeled places.

In Ivie’s department, the corps of building inspectors is busy, exceeding 30 worksite visits each weekday, he says. The department hired a full-time inspector on a contract basis to help handle the work, Ivie says, noting complaints about the construction this year are about the same as before or up slightly.

"That’s difficult to maintain at a quality level," he says about the workload. "We’re struggling."

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