Ryan's Crane Service ferries slabs of granite, 107 in all, from a flatbed semitrailer to the shop at Columbine Granite & Stone on 13th Street on Thursday. The stone is destined for countertops in the Casey's Pond senior living campus, which is under construction off Walton Creek Road.

Photo by Tom Ross

Ryan's Crane Service ferries slabs of granite, 107 in all, from a flatbed semitrailer to the shop at Columbine Granite & Stone on 13th Street on Thursday. The stone is destined for countertops in the Casey's Pond senior living campus, which is under construction off Walton Creek Road.

Permits for new single-family homes continued gradual growth in 2012

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Single-family building permits in Routt County

Year Permits Units Value

2012* 33 33 $19.5M

2011 29 29 $19M

2010 7 7 $3.4M

2009 50 50 $29M

2008 86 86 $51.7M

2007 142 161 $55.9M

2006 159 159 $59.4M

*Does not include 1 permit from Hayden

Single-family building permits in Steamboat

Year Permits Units Value

2012 21 21 $137.3M

2011 11 11 $56.5M

2010 7 7 $33.3M

2009 8 8 $35.7M

2008 20 20 $100.3M

2007 31 31 $112.7M

2006 45 45 $163.2M

Source: Routt County Regional Building Department

— The recovery in Routt County and Steamboat’s homebuilding market has been a little like climbing a set of stairs — one step at a time.

At the end of 2012, 54 permits for new single-family homes had been issued, with 21 of them within the city limits of Steamboat Springs and 33 more outside the city, according to the Routt County Regional Building Department. It serves the city and county outside of Steamboat, with the exception of Hayden.

The combined permit valuation of the new homes in the county was $19.55 million (not the same as the final cost to build). In the city, the 21 permitted new homes had a combined value of $14.8 million.

The 21 permits issued in the city compares to 11 in 2011 and seven in 2010. There were eight single-family permits issued in 2009.

“It’s actually like a little stair step, going up a little more each year,” Building Department official Carl Dunham said Friday. “We’ve been driven by single-family residences and second homes, basically, for a long time. We’re 14 single-family homes ahead of (2011), and that’s good.”

The self-funded Building Department also finished in the black in 2012, with permit fees exceeding operational costs.

As recently as 2006, there were 206 single-family building permits issued in Routt County and Steamboat with a combined permit valuation of almost $85 million.

But the big number missing from the local construction scene is attributable to the lack of permits for multifamily residential projects.

Last year marked the fourth year in a row that multifamily projects were missing from the county’ year-end total. Even in 2008, with the national economic crisis under way, Steamboat saw 33 permits issued for 149 units with a combined permit value of $47.13 million. The peak for multifamily in terms of valuation had come a year earlier in 2007 with 265 units valued at $61.5 million.

Dunham said that as 2013 began, there were a couple of developers doing their diligence on multifamily projects.

“We’ve got some people that are looking at things, and there are some unfinished projects out there people think they might” resume construction on, he said.

The figures from the Building Department do not reflect permits issued in the town of Hayden, which has its own building department. However, building official Charlie Davis said Friday that his office issued just one permit for a single-family home in Hayden last year compared with three in 2011 and four in 2010.

The home construction business in Hayden may be stymied by the low cost of existing homes there. Flat, buildable lots with all utilities and streets in for as low as $25,000 and $31,500 in Lake Village and $41,900 in Dry Creek Village do not seem to have stimulated demand.

Davis said he has talked with contractors who told him anecdotally that the appraised value of a newly completed home in Hayden would be lower than the cost to build, presumably because of the low prices of comparable sales that appraisers use in their research.

Casey’s Pond made a difference in 2012

The total valuation of building permits issued in Routt County in 2012 was $78.8 million compared with $51.42 in 2011 and $55.2 million in 2010. However, one project, the Casey’s Pond senior living campus on Steamboat's south side, accounts for the bulk of the increase this year. The permit for Casey’s Pond was valued at about $21 million.

Among local business people doing work on the Casey’s Pond project are Columbine Granite & Stone owners Stacey and Charles “Chuck” Lorimer.

A semitrailer delivered 107 slabs of granite for Casey’s Pond to the shop on 13th Street this week, and that was just the first of two deliveries.

“It was our biggest single delivery by far,” Stacey Lorimer said.

She confirmed that her company gradually has been ramping up the number of its employees from 5 or 6 toward as many as 10 needed to complete the Casey’s Pond work. Chuck Lorimer said Columbine will purchase lumber for countertops from a local lumber yard and use a local crane service in the course of doing the work for Casey’s Pond.

The business also purchased a large, programmable diamond-bladed bridge saw that can make bevel cuts to very fine tolerances, varying no more than four one-thousandths of an inch along a 12-foot cut.

“We needed it to be able to do this job correctly,” Stacey said.

Alterations to existing homes and commercial buildings, in particular, accounted for about $11.5 million in permit valuations this year, and the 190 jobs they represented helped to support businesses in the building trades.

The Building Department issued 107 permits for residential remodels valued at $4.9 million and 83 for other buildings with a combined value of $6.6 million.

The Associated General Contractors of America issued a report Friday showing that Colorado ranked sixth in the nation in terms of growth in construction jobs in 2012.

Colorado saw construction jobs grow by 6,800 to 119,500 last year, an increase of 6 percent.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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