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Archive for Tuesday, August 11, 1998

BUILDING ACTIVITY IN CITY FALLS IN JULY

August 11, 1998

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For the year to date, the value of building projects in Lawrence is up more than 40 percent from the same time a year ago.

Lawrence building activity fell during July but is still on track to beat last year's totals, according to a new city report.

Home building led the July dip, with the number of permits issued for new home construction falling to 17. That was down from 34 permits issued by the city a month earlier and 28 issued last July.

But a city building official said such down months are an annual occurrence in home building.

``We have a bust month every summer, it's usually either July or August,'' said Jim Sherman, building inspector. He blamed the dip on the fact builders are finishing homes they started in the spring and haven't yet begun taking out permits for fall and winter construction. When that happens, probably in September or October, the number of residential building permits will jump. For the year to date, permits for home building is down about 5 percent from last year, to 199.

The total value and number of all types of construction projects receiving permits during July also fell. For all categories, including home building, the city issued 279 permits valued at $7.14 million.

That's down from 365 permits issued during June and that month's total valuation of $17.02 million. A year ago, 294 projects received permits, and the total valuation of those projects was $8.06 million.

``That's not much in the grand scope of things,'' Sherman said. ``Year-to-year, it's been pretty steady.''

For the year to date, the total number of permits issued is actually ahead of last year's pace, at 1,665. And total valuation is up more than 40 percent, to about $79 million.

Big commercial construction projects are boosting this year's valuation totals. Last year, 27 commercial projects had been permitted; this year, there are only 15. But because this year's projects are larger, the valuations are higher.

They include a wastewater treatment plant, new department stores and some big industrial plants.

-- Richard Brack's phone message number is 832-7194. His e-mail address is brack@ljworld.com.

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