Prince George Boom Town

By
Real Estate Agent with Royal LePage Prince George

Record construction year in sight for P.G.

The total for 2007 is the third-largest on record with two months still to go

Prince George is on pace for a record-setting year in construction.

As of the end of October, permits for $112 million worth of work had been issued, according to the latest report from city hall, making the total for 2007 the third-largest on record with two months still to go.

And city planning manager Dan Milburn said the $42-million seniors "campus of care" slated for 20th and Victoria will be entered into the books next month, which will make 2007 the biggest year ever -- before inflation is considered.

Taking inflation into account, there were bigger years in the 1960s when the pulp mills were being built, and the '70s when plenty of homes and apartment buildings were being built to house the new families coming to Prince George.

"We generally saw very high numbers in the 1970s," said Milburn, who estimates a $4-million project then would cost $20 million now. "In today's dollars, they were ranging from $140 million to $270 million."

In nominal terms, the previous peak years were 1992 and '93, when the totals reached $138 and $139 million, respectively, thanks to construction of the University of Northern B.C. and more than $50 million worth of residential work in each year.

After reaching $95 million by the end of 2006, Mayor Colin Kinsley said he expected this year's total to break $100 million "and we've smashed it."

"It shows that what we've been doing to try and attract business, what we've been doing, in partnership with provincial and federal government in attracting business and marketing ourselves globally is starting to pay off," he said.

"We've been in the face of a lot of people from a lot of different industries and such. We've done a lot of very, very hard lobbying as a council and a region and I think some of that's bearing fruit."

Permits for new homes and commercial work, combined with a general rise in the cost of construction, are at the heart of this year's total.

New homes account for $45 million of the year-to-date total, compared to $27 million by the same point last year, although exactly the same number of permits, 192, had been issued by the end of October both years.

New commercial added a further $37 million to the total, spread over 21 permits, nearly $28 million over 2007's year-to-date total, when nine permits had been issued.

Looking strictly at October, 88 permits for $8.7 million were issued, compared to 73 for $4.6 for the same month last year. Fifteen were for $3.6 million worth of new homes, compared to 17 for $3.1 last year, and 13 were for $2.4 million worth of commercial alterations, up from four permits for $645,500.

Significant projects for October included a new BK Two Way Radio building at 3907 15th Ave., worth $850,000, and $750,000 worth of improvements to the new Integris Credit Union branch at River Point Shopping Centre.

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