The value of new construction starts in Evanston dropped in October to its lowest level since February, but permits issued early this month for a major project on the Northwestern University campus mean November’s report will show a big rebound.

Construction value

The city’s Community Development Department reports issuing permits for $9.9 million in construction work in October, the lowest level since the $7.4 million issued in February.

But Community Development Director James Wolinski announced the receipt early this month of a check for $1.012 million from Northwestern for permits build the $50 million Silverman Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory on campus.

Wolinski said it’s the largest single building permit check the city has ever received, although the total value of the Sherman Plaza project in March 2005 was larger.

For the year through October, the value of construction activity totals $252.6 million, compared to $165.2 million in 2006 and $234 million in 2005.

New multi-family construction projects represent 43 percent of the construction work begun this year in Evanston. The next largest categories include rehab work on existing residential properties, at 18 percent, and miscellaneous projects, which include demolition, at 17 percent. New and existing school construction totals 11 percent.

The city typically gets nearly five percent of its general fund revenue from building permit fees. As of the end of October, fees collected for the fiscal year that began in March totaled $3.9, slightly over the amount projected for the full year.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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