Construction projects climb

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The volume of projects coming through the Routt County Regional Building Department indicates this construction season will be just as busy, if not busier, than last year.

With large multi-family and commercial developments in the works, Routt County is on a healthy course to possibly break the record set in 1998 for construction valuation.

"We could see more values than we did in 1998, which was our banner year," said Routt County Regional Building Official Carl Dunham.

That year, with large projects such as the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel and the Yampa Valley Medical Center, there was $203,611,826 in construction valuation. Last year, builders came close to breaking the record with $202,874,754 in construction valuation.

The building department estimates that there has been $98 million worth of projects that have been submitted to the building department this year, a significant increase compared with last year at this time, when there were $76 million in projects.

Those values to not necessarily reflect what the property will sell for. Sale prices tend to be higher than the construction valuation.

Amid fears of rising interest rates and a cooling housing market, there are some national indicators that show new construction may slow as new-home sales decrease. New-home sales decreased nearly 10 percent nationally in the first quarter compared to the last year's fourth quarter, according to the National Association of Homebuilders.

The busiest time of year for the building department is not until June, but already Dunham said historical averages help them predict how the year will shape up in Routt County.

Based on the first four months of this year, the county is on a track to $225,000,000, which exceeds the 1998 record year.

Large multi-family developments in Steamboat will continue to drive those numbers, including projects such as the 99,000-square-foot Riverfront development, 74,000-square-feet at Trappeur's Five, a 119,000-square-foot Harbor Hotel project and possibly some base area redevelopment.

"I think we're going to see a start of all these," Dunham said.

Last year was the year of the duplex, and all residential projects accounted for more than 80 percent of construction evaluation.

The trend of building duplexes, continues in Steamboat. Last year 107 duplex permits were issued. In the first four months of this year, duplexes accounted for about half of the residential new construction permits issued. Throughout the rest of the county, single-family homes accounted for most of the new construction permits.

-- To reach Matt Stensland, call 871-4210

or e-mail mstensland@steamboatpilot.com

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