Big spikes in construction last year in Springfield, Champaign County


The value of commercial building permits ballooned more than $50 million in Champaign County last year compared to 2016, and the city of Springfield also saw a spike due to large projects like Topre and investments at Wittenberg University.

The value of commercial permits is one signal of the amount of investment in the region, local leaders said, but they also noted various issues can affect the results year to year. Officials in both Clark and Champaign County said they’re expecting 2018 to be another strong year for investment.

MORE BUSINESS NEWS: Autonomous cars may cut workplace deaths, official says in Springfield

“2017 was a really strong year and I’m looking at 2018 to be even stronger,” said Jene Gaver, Springfield’s chief building official. He noted the city expects additional construction at Topre’s manufacturing site this year and more investment downtown.

The city of Springfield saw a big jump in construction values to about $29.3 million, up from about $11.3 million in 2016, according to information from the city.

Wittenberg kicked off a project last year to build a roughly $40 million indoor athletic facility and make improvements to some existing buildings.

And Topre, a Japanese manufacturing firm, began work on a $55 million dollar project to build a new manufacturing facility at the Champion City Business Park, a roughly 30-acre industrial site at the intersection of Lagonda and Belmont avenues.

DETAILS: Champaign County wind farm now wants 50 turbines, half of initial plan

The city saw 1,494 commercial construction permits filed in 2015 in Springfield, for a value of about $23.5 million, Gaver said. The next year, 1,564 permits were filed, but the value fell to about $11.3 million. Last year, 1,519 permits were filed in 2017, when the values rebounded to about $29.3 million.

Clark County, which has its own building department, saw a slight dip from about $16.3 million in 2016 to about $15 million last year, although local officials said the majority of investment in Clark County usually takes place in the city limits.

The value of construction permits filed with Champaign County’s building regulations department was about $31.3 million in 2016. But that number swelled to more than $83.4 million last year, due largely to major projects like new construction at Urbana City Schools, investments at local medical facilities and a roughly $12 million project by Navistar to build a new distribution center on Phoenix Drive.

MORE: Upward purchases Dayton-area graphics firm

“We are looking forward to further investment opportunities in 2018,” said Marcia Bailey, economic development director for the Champaign Economic Partnership. “The clean-up of the former Q3 JMC property on Miami St. is on track to be ready for redevelopment in 2018. This is a great asset to Urbana and Champaign County. It is currently zoned for manufacturing with all utilities on site. We are anxious to continue working on the possibility of a new hotel and revitalization of Urbana North Elementary, South Elementary and the Douglas Hotel, along with the potential of continue growth of other existing businesses.”

READ MORE: Plan might find new use for Douglas Hotel, longtime Urbana eyesore

Several factors can skew the values, including if there happens to be a number of major projects in a given year. And the results depend on when the company or contractor pays for the permit that the construction value gets captured.

But more companies are investing in Clark County in recent years, said Horton Hobbs, vice president of economic development for the Chamber of Greater Springfield.

“It’s a good sign, absolutely,” Hobbs said. “We are seeing more companies making investments in capital, which wouldn’t show up necessarily in building permits but we’re also seeing physical expansions as a result of increased capital.”

He’s optimistic 2018 will continue to bring additional investment to the region.

“I certainly feel that there is some momentum here,” Hobbs said. “We had a year last year with investment and job growth that are historic highs for us. Those are very good signs and I see no indication that in 2018 other than the fact it’s going to continue. Our pipeline is very strong right now both on the employment side and capital infrastructure.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Kroger finalizes merger with Home Chef meal delivery company
Kroger finalizes merger with Home Chef meal delivery company

The Kroger Co. finalized a merger with meal delivery company Home Chef this week as the Cincinnati-based company seeks to speed up growth in the meal kit market. Home Chef will operate as a Kroger subsidiary and will assume responsibility for the grocer’s meal kit initiatives. Home Chef meal kits will now be featured in Kroger’s portfolio...
Dream job alert: Ohio’s first Legoland Discovery Center hiring 40 people
Dream job alert: Ohio’s first Legoland Discovery Center hiring 40 people

Ohio’s first Legoland Discovery Center is looking for 40 full-time and part-time employees in a July hiring push. Open interviews at the indoor playground’s job fair will be July 13 to 15. The company is looking for experience in food and beverage, retail, admissions and custodial roles, according to a release. Legoland will open Sept....
Recalls: Ladders and scarves 
Recalls: Ladders and scarves 

Dangerous ladders and women’s scarves are on this week’s list of recalled products from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. One person has reportedly been hurt in a fall from a broken Werner Multipurpose Telescoping Aluminum ladder.  There are five models with the following model numbers, date codes, and sizes, under recall: ...
Fifth Third Bank to lay off undisclosed number of employees
Fifth Third Bank to lay off undisclosed number of employees

Fifth Third Bancorp is cutting jobs in the region, bank officials are telling the media. The company is not discussing the number of employee layoffs or how many are happening in the Dayton area. No notice of layoffs appeared on the state’s “WARN” (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice Act) notice board as of early Friday. Typically...
Documenting growth: O’Neil seeks up to 100 new workers
Documenting growth: O’Neil seeks up to 100 new workers

A year ago, Hernan Olivas was several months into his new role as chief executive of technical documentation and engineering firm O’Neil & Associates. After the unexpected passing of his predecessor, Robert Heilman, Olivas saw his mandate pretty clearly: Raise the revenue bar. Explore revenue possibilities locally, including at Wright-Patterson...
More Stories