Archive for Saturday, September 8, 2001

Builders brace for slowdown

August permit total tops last year’s pace

September 8, 2001


Even a $3.4 million deal to build a new medical office building won't be enough to heal emerging financial wounds from an increasingly sluggish economy, a building estimator said.

Rich Rosene, of Lawrence-based Harris Construction Co. Inc., said his company's building permit for a new Lawrence Family Practice building in western Lawrence was plenty welcome these days, given that many companies are beginning to cool their construction plans.

"For the past 10 years, from May until late in the year, there wasn't any contractor in the land running as fast as was needed to keep up," Rosene said. "It's not that way now, but we're still busy."

The permit for the 20,840-square-foot, one-story medical building with room for five physicians and 44 exam rooms recorded the city's highest single valuation in August, according to a new report from City Hall.

Builders took out permits worth $16.4 million during the month, up from $15.2 million a year earlier. That pushed the total for the first seven months of 2001 to $111.3 million, up from $86.1 million a year ago.

Last year's $175 million total valuation ended up as the city's most lucrative building year on record.

Luella Penner, a business consultant for Lawrence Family Practice, said the new building would open late next summer along the south side of 18th Street, west of Wakarusa Drive. The practice currently operates at 3510 Clinton Parkway.

Among the other commercial permits written last month by city inspectors were:

Mar Lan Construction LC, $2.4 million for a building to accommodate retail, office and apartment uses at 947 N.H. The building is part of the ongoing Downtown 2000 redevelopment.

Mar Lan Construction, $625,000, for a new Central National Bank branch at 2321 Harper St.

Schweiger Construction, $92,357, for a roof penthouse atop Hallmark Cards, 101 McDonald Drive.

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