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Report: Kalispell building should be strong in 2019

January 22, 2019

Residential contractors should enjoy a busy 2019 building season in Kalispell.

The Kalispell Planning and Building Department recently released its annual report on building-sector statistics, and it showed the city issued 181 residential building permits in 2018, the highest number in five years. The value of the approved residential construction is more than 91 million. The low point in the last decade was 2010 with 129 million.

• Commercial, office, industrial and utility permits combined were down significantly from two years ago, with 80 issued in 2018 after 126 were approved in 2016.

• After a building boom in the health-care industry a few years ago, permits issued for health-care construction dropped off by two-thirds in 2018 from the two previous years. Twenty-one permits were issued in both 2016 and 2017, with seven applications approved in 2018. In 2018, the construction value of new health-care permits was just over 69 million.

• New residential units built in 2018 - which includes single-family, townhouse, duplex and multi-family housing - numbered 215. This compares to 195 units in 2017. The year 2004 was a recent high point for residential construction, with 480 units.

• From 2017-2018, construction of multifamily units rose 86 percent and townhouse units went up 36 percent. Single-family housing building was down by 20 percent in the same period.

• Square footage of new or significant non-residential construction rose from less than 250,000 square feet in 2017 to about 275,000 in 2018. In 2016, however, that number was more than 450,000, boosted by big projects such as the 55,000-square-foot Hobby Lobby store and the 40,000-square-foot Herberger’s addition.

• The biggest retail project in 2018 was the new REI store at 20,000 square feet. My Place hotel was the biggest commercial endeavor, at 37,000-plus square feet.

• Industrial construction hasn’t been a major element of the Kalispell building picture in the last decade, but two major projects were recorded in 2018 - the CHS Mountain West Co-op dry fertilizer storage building and grain elevators in the new Glacier Rail Park.

• New government and public-building construction was down from around 267,000 square feet in 2016 (with 214,481 of that in health-care projects) to less than 29,000 square feet in 2018.

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