Park City builders pull back slightly but hit $100 million again
The Park City construction industry pulled back slightly in 2015 from the year before but posted strong numbers nonetheless as builders continued a solid recovery from the recession, pushing the numbers above $100 million for the second consecutive year.
The Park City Building Department issued permits worth a little less than $138.4 million in 2015, dropping from the approximately $144.9 million dollar figure in 2014. The 2014 numbers, the first to top the $100 million mark since 2008, represented a comeback year from the recession. The $138.4 million logged last year made 2014 and 2015 the first consecutive $100 million-plus years since a four-year string from 2005 until 2008.
"It was a real strong year," Chad Root, the chief building official at City Hall, said, adding, "I think last year was an overall good year."
The Building Department in 2015 issued 51 permits for single family houses with a combined value of a little more than $34.4 million. The number of permits dropped by one from the year before, but the figure was up from the six years prior to 2014. The department also issued permits for five multi-family projects involving a combined 49 units, beating the previous two years combined.
Commercial projects received three permits in 2015, up by one from the year before. The value of the permits for commercial projects, nearly $18.2 million, was the highest since 2007.
Alterations and additions, meanwhile, continued an especially strong streak. The number of permits for alterations and additions to residential properties reached 984 in 2015, the most since at least 2005. Permits for alterations and additions to commercial properties 197 in 2015 were also the most since at least 2005. Alterations and additions have had an outsized role since the depths of the recession as property owners decided to fix up or expand existing buildings instead of breaking ground on new ones.
The Building Department estimates the market value of construction is three to four times the value attached to the permits, putting the market value in 2015 between approximately $415 million and $553 million.
Root said a strong economy spurred the numbers, calling 2015 "more of an investment year, meaning there was a lot of buyers out there." He explained that some developments that secured approvals in previous years but did not move forward immediately were under construction in 2015.
"The investors were right there to put their money behind projects," Root said.
He said the increase in permits for multi-family projects included development at Park City Heights along the S.R. 248 entryway, a development close to the Old Town roundabout and a site in upper Deer Valley. Over time, Root said, increases in multi-family projects typically follow after an uptick in construction of single-family houses.
Some of the other highlights from the Building Department’s annual report included:
The consecutive $100 million years were welcomed by the construction industry as builders climbed back from the recession. The dollar value fell to as low as $40.9 million in 2011 and did not come close to nine digits between 2009 and 2013. The recession came after an impressive run of years after the 2002 Winter Olympics. The downturn also came at a time when the numbers were expected to level off and possibly fall as the number of large development sites inside Park City dwindled.
Root predicted the dollar figure in 2016 could fall slightly from the year before. He said he anticipates an increase in the single-family home category, describing that there could be a "pretty high spike" in permits at Park City Heights. The multi-family project numbers are expected to be similar to 2015, he said. Root said the number of alterations and additions could increase in 2016 as contractors become available for the projects after work on larger developments.
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Park City officials have scheduled an event on Monday designed to introduce the possibilities of a workforce or otherwise restricted housing development in the southern reaches of Old Town. It is a gathering that is planned early in the discussions about the prospects for ground along Marsac Avenue.