Construction trends upwards in Grand County |

Construction trends upwards in Grand County

Crews work Tuesday on completing the Sitzmark project, which is to help “revitalize” downtown Winter Park. Divided into a north and south property, the project will bring affordable housing, a parking garage and community center to the town along Highway 40.

Grand County’s long winter freeze is right around the corner and as such the busy summer construction season is winding down after a modest year of building in Middle Park.

There are various ways to gauge construction trends in Grand County, from building permits issued, to electrical service applications, to the anecdotal experiences of local contractors. Regardless of the source of the data though it seems Grand County is on an mild upward trend for construction with some industry insiders anticipating a significant boost in next year’s building season.

Over the last two years Grand County has witnessed a marked increase in the number of applications for new electrical service received by local electricity provider Mountain Parks Electric. According to Mountain Parks Manager of Engineering Scott Simmons there have been 220 applications for new services in Grand County so far this year. That figure keeps pace with last year’s tally of applications for new electrical service.

In 2016, through the end of the third quarter, Mountain Parks received 224 requests for service and eventually received 274 throughout the entire year. Both 2016 and 2017 featured significantly higher service applications. By the end of the third quarter in 2015 Mountain Parks received 187 applications for new service and just 212 for the entire year, less than the total received through the third quarter in 2016 and 2017.

There are various ways to gauge construction trends in Grand County, from building permits issued, to electrical service applications, to the anecdotal experiences of local contractors.

Figures from the Winter Park Building Department offered the same snapshot with 2016 and 2017 keeping pace with one another while both years featured figures well ahead of 2015 numbers.

Through June 22 of this year the Winter Park Building Dept. issued six building permits for new “noncommercial” structures along with 16 permits for alteration work. Those figures are roughly half of the total issued by the department in 2016. Through the end of the year in 2016 Winter Park issued 12 permits for new “noncommercial” structures and 31 permits for alterations.

Remodel applications on noncommercial structures were higher in 2015, totaling 40, but permits for new noncommercial structures were lower, at eight for the entire year.

The picture becomes less clear when looking at commercial construction. In 2015 Winter Park issued three applications for commercial properties that were not for “alteration” and issued nine permits for commercial alteration work. In 2016 that non-alteration permits remained at three though alteration permits climbed to 14. Through June 22 of this year Winter Park had already issued two permits for non-alteration work but had issued only five building permits for commercial alterations.

Regardless of the data though the Grand County Builders Association is anticipating a significant boom in construction next year. Last week representatives of the Builders Association addressed the Grand County Commissioners during a public hearing on building department fees. During that hearing Builders Association past-president Joe Gould told the commissioners the Builders Association anticipates a 20 percent increase in construction in Grand County in 2018.

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