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Business Observer Friday, Sep. 5, 2003 15 years ago

Building Starts on the Rise

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Construction, which increased nearly $71 million, migrated south in Manatee and Sarasota counties during the first part of the year.

Building Starts on the Rise

Construction, which increased nearly $71 million, migrated south in Manatee and Sarasota counties during the first part of the year.

By Sean Roth

Real Estate Editor

The Sarasota-Manatee construction industry fared well in the first seven months of the year, despite a sharp decline in multifamily construction.

According to a regional study of Manatee and Sarasota counties by the Construction Guide, building starts increased 16.8% to 8,473 from 7,257 starts for the same period last year, and the value of new construction grew 6.3% or $70.9 million to $1.19 billion from $1.1198 billion.

Multifamily construction starts, however, fell 44% to 112 starts from 200. Multifamily values mirrored the decline in starts and fell by 64.5% to $70 million from $197 million. In addition, the value of new commercial construction fell by 11.2% to $206.7 million from $232.8.

But those declines were offset by growth in other categories.

Duplex starts led all categories with a growth of 36.8% to 119 starts from 87. At the same time, single-family starts increased by 27.8% to 4,687 from 3,667. Commercial starts saw little growth at 0.8% from 497 to 501 starts.

Construction starts moved from Palmetto, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach to the south. Many of the region's southern locations, except for Sarasota, experienced heavy increases in building starts.

In Venice, starts more than doubled to 473 from 209, a growth of 126.3%. Sarasota County starts increased 15.2% to 2,770 from 2,405. North Port saw new starts shoot up 50.9% to 1,560 from 1,034. Manatee County was one of the few northern spots in the region to buck the trend: County starts increased 8.1% to 3,177 from 2,938.

Duplex and single-family construction values grew along with their growth in starts. The biggest leading value was in the sector of duplex construction, which grew by 52.8% to $15 million from $10 million. Single-family values increased by $211 million to $802.6 million from $591 million.

Values in some areas decreased, some drastically. Sarasota County's value during the first seven months decreased slightly (0.8%) from $416.6 million to $413 million. Others saw large decreases: Bradenton (72.2%), Bradenton Beach (89.5%), City of Sarasota (50.6%) and Holmes Beach (74.4%). However, the biggest declined appeared in the values for Palmetto construction, which fell from $8.6 million in the first seven months last year to $1 during that period this year.

The biggest increase in new construction value was in Venice, which increased 87% from $39 million to $73.8 million.

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