Value of construction drops 42 percent

The 190 building permits issued by the city of Princeton in 2011 have an estimated construction value of about $10.84 million, which is an approximately 42 percent decrease in value from the city’s approximately $18.7 million in construction in 2010.

One similarity between 2010 and 2011 is the low number of new homes constructed – only two each year. The two built in 2010 were Habitat for Humanity homes. One of the two homes built in 2011 was also a Habitat for Humanity house and it was at 310 9th Ave. N. The city’s other new home was at 711 4th Ave. S.

The small number of homes built within Princeton city limits has been a trend since 2008, the year many call the start of the recent economic recession. Looking back seven years from 2011 shows the following number of homes built: 23 in 2005, 20 in 2006, 12 in 2007, two in ‘08 and none in ‘09.


Downturn in permits for commercial

The permits for commercial construction is what boosted 2010 in terms of construction value. The Sterling Pointe senior living apartment complex did not open until this year, but the permit was taken out in 2010. Three industries in the city’s main industrial park also took out permits in 2010 to boost the overall total for that year, even if the projects may have continued into 2011. The industrial-expansion permits in 2010 were United States Distilled Products (USDP)  for $4.4 million, Glenn Metalcraft for $1.98 million and In-Line Packaging for $700,000. McDonald’s Restaurant, on the commercial end, took out a permit in 2010 for its addition.


School, industrial and wastewater projects in 2011

If it were not for the North Elementary addition/remodeling project, another addition at USDP and the start of the city’s wastewater plant expansion, the value of construction listed on permits in 2011 would be much less than it is.

The permit taken out in March 2011, for North Elementary showed a value of $2.26 million, followed by permits for other aspects of the project such as plumbing and utilities.

USDP picked up a permit in August 2011, for an addition of about 186,000 sq. ft. valued at $5.4 million for construction, not counting the permits taken out for fire protection equipment, heating and more.

The permit for the start of the wastewater plant expansion shows a construction value of $502,881, though that does not reflect the total value of the project once it is completed, which is slated for the end of 2012. Total project cost when including engineering and design, and equipment for the wastewater plant expansion is close to $18 million.


What’s in store for 2012?

Princeton Community Development Director Carie Fuhrman was asked last Thursday for predictions on what kind of development might occur in the city in 2012. The city is processing the building permit that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. applied for in 2011, for a planned construction start this coming spring. Beyond that, Fuhrman didn’t know of any other businesses or industries that have declared they will build in the city or expand during the year.

Walmart is locating in the Rivertown Crossing area, and thus not in the downtown where there are about 15 vacancies. Fuhrman said she has been calling various businesses outside Princeton to make sure they are aware that Princeton has spaces to locate in.

As far as housing, the city also has vacant homes. “Obviously we would like to see new homes built as it would add construction jobs and help contractors,” Fuhrman said. But the priority now is to fill the various homes that are vacant in the city of Princeton, she said. The number of vacant homes in the city was not known as of this writing, as the list of 15 vacancies reported in 2010, and 19 during 2011, has to be updated.