The value of new construction starts in Evanston soared last month with permits issued to begin work on the Winthrop Club condo complex at 1567 Maple Ave.

The city’s Community Development Department reports issuing $64 million worth of building permits in September, three times the level in August and the highest monthly total in more than two years.

For the year so far, the value of construction activity totals $242.7 million, compared to $150 million in 2006 and $222 million in 2005, when work began on the Sherman Plaza project.

New multi-family construction projects represent 45 percent of the construction work begun this year in Evanston. Rehab work on existing residential properties and miscellaneous projects, which include demolition, each added another 17 percent. New and existing school construction projects total another 11.5 percent.

The city gets nearly five percent of its general fund revenue from building permit fees. Fees collected for the fiscal year that began in March now total $3.7 million, nearly the amount projected for the full year.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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