St. Augustine Record
Posted January 9, 2017 03:06 am – Updated January 9, 2017 03:10 am
By SHELDON GARDNER
From 2015 to 2016, St. Augustine saw an uptick in building permits and a jump in the combined price of projects.
The total number of permits the city’s Planning and Building Department issued in 2015 was 1,731, with a combined value of contract prices of more than $45 million, according the department’s year-end summary. The total number of building permits the city issued in 2016 was 1,953, with a combined value of contract prices of more than $69 million.
That’s an increase of 222 permits, worth close to a $24 million increase in projects.
The report from the Planning and Building Department is one item on Monday’s City Commission consent agenda. The meeting, which will also include discussion on affordable housing, begins at 5 p.m. at Fullerwood Auditorium at 10 Hildreth Drive.
Officials called the increase in project cost an indication of improving economic conditions and real-estate interest in the city.
“We have some big high-dollar projects that have come in,” said David Birchim, planning and building department director.
In the past couple of years, the city has seen a number of big projects break ground — including one that likely took up a large chunk of the increase.
In 2016, Flagler College started construction of a parking garage and residence hall project, which officials estimated would cost $23 million. Also a number of hotels and businesses started developing, including a La Quinta on Anastasia Boulevard.
James Whitehouse, St. Johns Law Group attorney, has worked on a number of projects in the city. He said he’s noticed increase development interest, and more interest in the city from “higher-end” development.