New level achieved for private sector construction

Private sector construction in Prince George hit a record-setting high over the course of 2016.

Building permits for an unprecedented $122.5 million worth of work were taken out over the year, city hall said. Until now, the value has never exceeded $120 million.

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"According to our digital records at city hall, which go back to 1990, 2016 was a record year in a very positive way for Prince George's economy," said the city's economic development manager Melissa Barcellos in a statement.

"The fact that private sector dollars are driving the development of Prince George reflects the confidence that business owners and investors have in the current economy and their expectations for the future."

Work on residential projects led the way at $72.6 million, based on 143 permits for single-family homes, 36 secondary suites and 14 duplexes. The 173-unit RiverBend seniors housing facility at 1975 Oak Street in Ron Brent Park accounted for $20 million.

Commercial projects contributed $46.4 million. Major projects there included the $13.4-million Inland Kenworth building at the corner of Highway 97 South and Boundary Road in the Prince George Global Logistics Park.

A permit for $11 million worth of work on the Marriott Courtyard hotel on Patricia Boulevard next to the public library, was taken out in July. The total value of that project has been pegged at $35 million.

Work on five new industrial ventures added another $3.6 million.

Add on permits for $5.2 million worth of institutional work and the total for the year was $127.9 million, making it the fourth best year on record. Tops was 2007, when activity reached $154 million.

Second and third were 1992 and 1993 at $138.4 million and $138.8 million respectively, aided largely by construction of UNBC and $50 million worth of residential work in each of those two years.

In addition, the city saw 446 new businesses established, over $100,000 of grants awarded for projects totaling $750,000, and façade improvements on 17 downtown businesses.

"At each meeting over the past year, council has looked at the building permit numbers and remarked at how well the city has been performing," Mayor Lyn Hall said in the statement

"We are pleased to share these numbers with the public and the business community. As many developers have stated recently, 'Prince George is open for business.'"

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