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Worthington City Hall (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

Worthington experiencing a building bonanza

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Worthington experiencing a building bonanza
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON -- The city of Worthington issued more than $30 million worth of building permits in 2012, only the second time in the last 28 years it has reached that mark.

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"From an economics standpoint, it's showing that we are a community that is continuing to invest in itself and that is making improvement toward the betterment of its future and a community that believes in its future," Director of Community and Economic Development Brad Chapulis said. "If that wasn't the case, we wouldn't have the private sector making that investment."

The total of building permits issued in 2012 was $30,507,538.

"This is yet another significant indicator of the strong economic health of our community," City Administrator Craig Clark said. "What's even better is it's not just been isolated to just last year. Over the last five years we've seen over $100 million of investment in our community. That's outstanding testament to the economic climate of our community."

The city has been keeping records since 1984, and only one other time has the total eclipsed the $30 million mark -- in 1999.

"A large part of that had to do with the school. Prairie Elementary started commencement of construction in 1999," Chapulis explained.

There has been a gradual rise recently, with more than $100 million worth of permits in the past five years.

"We've seen a steady increase, and that's based upon the continued investment that's being made by the private sector in our community, whether that be residential contractors building homes or local businesses or businesses choosing to open a facility in Worthington," Chapulis said.

"What I would take out of it is what you've seen during the five years of this report," he added. "We've continually seen growth within the city of Worthington. The most important part of that is it's private-sector driven. There are people and companies who are continuing to make an investment into Worthington."

The city issued $15 million in building permits in 2008; $21 million in 2009; and $20 million in 2010. In 2011, the value was lower, at $13 million.

"I think it was just the community taking a deep breath," Chapulis said. "If you go back to '07 and such, we were doing $13 to $15 million. It was pretty steady. I think what does come into play was the economy still hand't recovered nationally, and we were just starting to see hits of it."

But the city recovered in a big way in 2012.

"The numbers in 2012 are reflective of several major projects," Chapulis said. "Avera Clinic is one, the hotel is another, as well as the event center. There are three projects right there that have a huge impact on that overall. But they are not the sole contributing factor to the final number that we achieved here at $30 million."

The two areas that grew the most in 2012 were new commercial and industrial additions, which were valued at more than $18 million in 2012, and new single-family houses, which increased almost $1 million.

There were eight new single-family homes built, plus three premanufactured houses.

Other categories calculated in the report were fireplaces, decks, storage sheds, residential garages and additions, remodeled commercial and industrial and new public buildings and additions.

While $30 million may not be a realistic goal for 2013, there are plans in place for expansion -- should there be a need.

"I think the biggest thing from the city's perspective is to make sure the business climate is good and there is available land for new development," Clark said. "By having the 59 North land available for commercial and some industrial available and the bioscience park, we are keeping the canvas open so that there's a good climate and good places they can do their expansions and that sort of thing."

The city is projecting a slightly lower number next year, but it has already issued permits for this year.

"We always put in our number projection based on the five-year," Chapulis said. "We're looking at that $15 million. We're already off to a good start in 2013. The Goodwill store, while it started construction in 2012, they only had footing and foundations; the actual construction permit was issued in 2013."

Chapulis said there are possibilities already for 2013.

"We've had continued conversations of existing businesses looking to expand, others that are looking to locate in Worthington," he said. "While they are in various stages of conversation, you just don't know when the trigger is pulled. There are several things that are being discussed, and all are very positive for Worthington."

Daily Globe Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.

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