The pace of new construction projects in Evanston picked up last month, to $16.4 million from $13.1 million in April.

Construction values

For the year so far the pace of construction work is running 60 percent ahead of last year’s level, with $98 million in new construction so far this year, compared to $61 million in the same period last year.

But that’s far below the total of $170 million in new construction starts during the first five months of 2005.

The figures come from reports prepared by the city’s Community Development Department, which issues building permits.

This year got off to a strong start with the beginning of $40 million in work on the Bristol Chicago rental high-rise at 413-421 Howard St. But that was less than half the peak achieved in March 2005 when work began on the Sherman Plaza complex downtown.

Over half of May’s construction value came from $8.8 million in new multi-family construction projects. No new condo conversions or single family homes were permitted during the month. Renovation work on existing residential and business buildings made up most of the rest of the total.

The city gets nearly five percent of its general fund revenue from building permit fees. Fees collected this calendar year so far total just under $1.9 million, compared to less than $1.3 million during the same period last year.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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