Through the first quarter of 2002, Lawrence builders are off to their slowest start since 1997, according to recently released figures from the city's Building Inspections Department.
Builders in March took out permits for $8.77 million worth of projects in Lawrence. That marked the highest monthly total for the year, but overall 2002 construction totals are about $20 million behind where they were in 2001.
A slower construction market for duplexes and apartments accounts for a portion of the slowdown. Builders have taken out permits for 32 duplexes during the first three months of 2001 compared to 56 units during the same period a year ago.
City officials have yet to issue any permits for new apartment construction during the year compared to permits for six apartment buildings with 127 units during the first quarter of 2001.
Construction of single-family homes, long considered the backbone of the Lawrence building industry, is progressing at a pace similar to last year. Permits for 57 new single-family homes have been issued compared to 62 during the same period last year.
During March, a new $1.1 million Intrust Bank building at Ninth and Vermont streets checked in as the biggest project.
Other large projects included a $393,000 commercial building at 3104 Haskell Ave., the $300,000 Rock Chalk Car Wash at 1215 E. 23rd St., a $120,000 remodeling of KFC at 658 W. 23rd St., and six duplexes totaling $807,000 in the 4000 and 4100 blocks of West 26th Street Terrace.