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Lawrence home builders have best first quarter since 2010, according to new report; Hallmark undertakes another $3.3 million in construction

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Shine that hammer and sharpen that saw. There are signs that the Lawrence homebuilding industry is getting busier.

According to a new report released by City Hall, builders started 23 new single-family or duplex homes in Lawrence during March. That brings the total number of single-family and duplex permits to 42, which is the highest first-quarter total since 2010.

For decades, single-family home construction has been the bread and butter of the Lawrence construction industry, and a major driver in the overall Lawrence economy. But the industry has hit hard times. In 2011, only 95 single family building permits were issued for the entire year, snapping a 55-year streak of the city issuing at least 100 new single-family building permits annually.

Since then, the industry has been creeping back. But this latest report is the best sign yet that the industry is getting a new footing. The first-quarter single-family and duplex numbers are 40 percent higher than the 2012 first-quarter numbers and are double the 2011 first-quarter totals.

The latest report also had strong numbers for several other parts of the local construction industry. Here’s a look at other figures from the March report:

• The city issued permits for $12.1 million worth of projects in March, the highest March total since 2009.

• For the year, the city has issued permits for $34.9 million worth of projects, the highest first-quarter total in the past five years.

As we’ve previously reported, Hallmark Cards is moving all of its U.S. greeting card production to its Lawrence plant as part of a reorganization. That project is continuing to pay dividends for the local construction industry. Hallmark took out a $3.3 million building permit to make interior renovations to the plant. That’s in addition to $1.2 million worth of permits Hallmark already had received for the project earlier this year. If your abacus is a bit rusty, that means Hallmark now has undertaken $4.5 million worth of work at the plant during the first three months of the year.

• The city didn’t issue any permits for new apartment construction in March, but for the first quarter, that sector has been busy. Through the first three months of the year, the city has issued permits for 286 apartment units, the highest first-quarter total of the past five years.

Comments

Richard Heckler 12 months ago

BTW ...... Thank you Hallmark for choosing Lawrence.

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Richard Heckler 12 months ago

Are the banks again signing off on risky loans? That took down the economy like never before in history. There are plenty of homes on the market as we speak.

Will homes bought today be worth less tomorrow?

Spring always generates some seasonal employment but nothing to take the nation into recovery.

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workinghard 12 months ago

That means 286 more empty apartments in existing apartment units.

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cabmando 12 months ago

city planners say no to more retail(menards) but yet they issue more and more and more permits for apt's go figure.

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KansasLiberal 12 months ago

Who is going to be buying these homes and moving into these apartments? There are already a ton of houses on the market and plenty of apartments to choose from, so why build more? KU's tuition hikes and higher admission requirements will lead to fewer students and cuts in state funding to KU will lead to fewer faculty and staff. Lawrence will be shrinking in the future, not growing, and the city planning department needs to take that into account when deciding to issue new construction permits.

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