Building permits, values down but likely to rebound in Springfield

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
The values are a snapshot of investment in the region's economy.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The value of commercial building permits in Springfield and Clark County plummeted in 2016, but it’s likely those might tick back up this year as several big projects are on the horizon.

A number of major projects in 2015 also might have skewed the data, local leaders said.

RELATED: Construction permits, values down in 2014

Both the number of commercial building permits filed in Clark County and their values fell a little more than 30 percent in 2016, according to the Clark County Community Development Department. The number of commercial permits filed in Springfield dipped only slightly — from 150 in 2015 to 143 last year — but the value of those permits fell close to 38 percent.

Commercial and residential construction is one indication of how much investment is taking place in the region’s economy and its overall health, local experts said. However it’s important to look at the figures over several years, local officials said.

“It’s easiest explained as a cycle,” Springfield Community Development Director Shannon Meadows said. “It depends on when the company or contractor actually comes in and pays for the permit that the construction value gets captured.”

Residential permits in Clark County and Springfield showed a similar trend. There were only 9 more residential permits filed in 2015 compared to last year in Springfield, but construction value fell about 23 percent. In Clark County, the number of residential permits actually increased slightly in 2016, but construction values still fell about 23 percent.

RELATED: Springfield commissioners approve plans for expanded Kroger store

Those numbers are likely to tick up again in 2017, Meadows said. Developments such as a proposed $20 million Kroger Marketplace on Ohio 72 will likely be on the books this year.

She also cited projects like Topre America's plan to open a new manufacturing plant this year at the Champion City Business Park in Springfield. The Japanese auto parts firm has said it will open a new manufacturing site in Springfield to manufacture high-strength steel parts for the Acura MDX.

Several other factors affect construction, including weather, which can also impact the annual permit figures, she said.

The figures are also skewed because the value of commercial building permits saw a major spike in 2015, largely because of a handful of multimillion dollar projects. That included a $4.5 million commercial permit for Yamada North America Inc. in South Charleston and an expansion at Vancrest Health Care Centers in New Carlisle.

That’s why building permits are only one of several factors local leaders to look at to assess the economy, said Horton Hobbs, vice president of economic development for the Chamber of Greater Springfield.

“They’re not always an indication of whether the economy is growing or businesses are investing because they may make investments in their businesses that don’t require building permits being pulled,” Hobbs said.

RELATED: Construction project values soar in Clark, Champaign Counties

Some projects, like the recently opened Love’s Travel Stop, likely overlapped across both 2015 and 2016, Meadows said.

“We really didn’t see a decline in construction activity from 2015 to 2016,” Meadows said. “I do anticipate seeing an increase in construction from 2016 to 2017.”

Champaign County’s figures remained relatively stable over the past year. There were 60 permits filed in 2016 for a value of about $29.7 million.

The bulk of that was a $21 million permit filed as part of a new high school construction project in the Urbana City School District. Several large permits also were filed as part of an expansion at KTH Parts Inc. in St. Paris, a Champaign County auto parts manufacturer.

There were 50 commercial permits filed in 2015 in Champaign County valued at about $30.1 million. That was due mostly to a $27 million permit at the West Liberty-Salem School district, which began a major renovation project.

The city of Springfield’s building inspectors saw steady work throughout 2016, Meadows said, a good indication that construction remained steady overall, even if the values fell.

“It’s just a snapshot,” Meadows said. “It makes us feel good and it shows that work is happening. But it is like reading tea leaves because when you’re only looking at a 12-month period it really doesn’t show the full picture.”

Caption
In Clark County, residential permits appear to have ticked up but commercial permits and their value are down compared to 2015. It’s an indication of whether people are investing in the region’s economy. The Love’s Travel Stop at the intersection of I-70 and Route 41 was one of the commercial permits. Bill Lackey/Staff

In Clark County, residential permits appear to have ticked up but commercial permits and their value are down compared to 2015. It’s an indication of whether people are investing in the region’s economy. The Love’s Travel Stop at the intersection of I-70 and Route 41 was one of the commercial permits. Bill Lackey/Staff
Caption
In Clark County, residential permits appear to have ticked up but commercial permits and their value are down compared to 2015. It’s an indication of whether people are investing in the region’s economy. The Love’s Travel Stop at the intersection of I-70 and Route 41 was one of the commercial permits. Bill Lackey/Staff


By the numbers:

Commercial permit values in Springfield

2013 — $25.9 million

2014 — $9.57 million

2015 — $32.8 million

2016 — $20.4 million

Source: City of Springfield

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