Construction value

The value of new construction projects in Evanston in the first quarter is year is running slightly ahead of the torrid pace set two years ago.

The value of new construction projects in Evanston in the first quarter is year is running slightly ahead of the torrid pace set two years ago.

The monthly average so far this year is about $23 million in construction work, based on permits issued by the City of Evanston. That compares to a monthly average of $21 million in 2005 and $15 million in 2006.

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. Of course that’s less than half as big as the peak achieved in March 2005 when work began of the Sherman Plaza complex downtown.

Since January new work has dropped off, with just $7.4 million in total construction value listed for February and $15 million for March.

Among the top categories so far this year — new multi-family construction has accounted for 59 percent of the total, rehab work on existing residential adds another 13 percent, with work on existing businesses adding another 6 percent.

The city gets nearly five percent of its general fund revenue from building permit fees. The fees for the fiscal year that ended in February totaled $4.3 million, up from $4.2 million the previous year, despite a decline in construction work in 2006, because of an increase in fees for multi-million dollar projects.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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