GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - A new library and apartment complex that are currently under construction, new and expanded auto dealerships and the valleywide bus system expansion helped drive an increase in new building permit valuations for the city last year.
While the total number of building permits issued by the city of Glenwood Springs was down slightly, from 338 permits issued in 2011 to 332 in 2012, the valuation increase was more than three-fold over the previous year.
Total permit valuation for 2012 was $39.5 million, compared to $11.5 million in 2011, according to the city's year-end building activity report.
The largest new construction project to break ground last year, in terms of valuation, was the 60-unit Glenwood Green low-income apartment complex at Glenwood Meadows.
That project alone, which is being built by Denver-based Steele Properties, came in at a more than $9.2 million permit valuation, according to Glenwood Springs building official Pat Seydel.
It's the first significant residential building the city has seen in several years since the recession hit in 2008.
Compared to 2011, when new construction produced only six new residential units, 71 new residential units were permitted in 2012.
Not far behind Glenwood Green in terms of permit valuations for 2012 were a string of public-sector projects.
The new Glenwood Springs Library and Colorado Mountain College building at the corner of Eighth and Cooper came in at just under $9 million in valuation.
And, the city's new two-level parking structure at Ninth and Cooper had a permit valuation of nearly $3.8 million.
The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority's Bus Rapid Transit expansion was also notable.
Among RFTA's projects that broke ground last year were a new compressed natural gas bus fueling station and compressors, with a combined permit value of almost $3.8 million, at the RFTA facility on Wulfsohn Road in West Glenwood. The new BRT bus station at 27th and South Glen came in at just under $1.8 million.
Private-sector construction projects also made their mark on 2012, especially automobile dealerships.
The Berthod Motors Chrysler dealership expansion at 27th and South Grand came in at $4.4 million.
And the newly opened Mountain Chevrolet dealership in West Glenwood had a construction permit valuation of a little more than $2 million.
Other large commercial projects that began construction in 2012 and are now open for business included:
• First Bank, $749,773
• Bighorn Toyota remodel, $510,000
• Tractor Supply Co., $527,672
• Colorado Mountain Express, $200,000
• Jimmy Johns Subs, $180,000
Valley View Hospital, which has had a major influence on construction activity in Glenwood Springs over the past decade, continued to make a mark in 2012 as well.
The hospital remodeled its imaging department, which had a permit valuation of $510,000. And finish work in the building addition above the new Calaway-Young Cancer Center came in at almost $1.2 million.
While only one new permit for a single-family detached home was pulled in 2012, worth $251,000, the city did see one new accessory dwelling unit and seven new mobile homes.
Building activity in unincorporated Garfield County was also up in the commercial sector in 2012, though the number of residential permits declined compared to the previous year.
According to the county's year-end building report, a total of 246 building permits were issued in 2012, compared to 311 in 2011.
Of those 246, 99 were for new commercial structures, including oil and gas well pad housing. In 2011, 75 commercial permits were issued by the county.
New single-family residential permits outside city and town limits dropped to 19 last year, from 23 in 2011. However, the county saw eight new mobile homes last year, compared to just one for the previous year.
Most of the county's residential building activity was in the Glenwood Springs and Carbondale areas.
Total permit valuations in the county have dropped for the past two years, according to the year-end activity summary.
Valuations came in at $15.8 million in 2012, compared to $17 million in 2011, and $19.8 million in 2010.