Year's construction at $48.5 million

Monday, December 10, 2001

The Division of Inspection Services in Cape Girardeau issued two million-dollar commercial building permits the first week of December, which could help push the year's construction totals into a new record.

The two permits added to a $454,000, 6,500-square-foot residential permit, and the 2001 construction totals are suddenly in contention to become the second highest city totals on record.

The largest of the two million-dollar permits is for $1.4 million for an 18,000-square-foot facility to house Soskin Cape Toyota auto dealership.

"We're moving to Siemers Drive," said Alan Soskin. "We hope to be in our new quarters by mid-March."

Soskin purchased the Toyota dealership at 835 S. Kingshighway in 1998. The new dealership will be located at 357 Siemers, next door to Wieser Honda.

"The building and showroom will be larger, and we have a lot more land at the new site," said Soskin.

The other December million-dollar permit is for Best Buy, which will be located at 3025 William, near the proposed Logan's Roadhouse.

Going into the final month of the year, construction totals were at $46,640,000.

The early December figures boosts that total to $48,574,00, just shy of the 1998 total of $49,785,550, currently the second highest total in Cape Girardeau construction history. Construction totals for 1999 rank the highest for the city.

Eleven residential permits since Oct. 1 have boosted the city's construction totals by more than $1.3 million in just over two months.

One of the largest buildings, however, does not count on the city's totals -- a 500,000-square-foot warehouse near the Procter & Gamble plant, which is a dozen miles north of Cape Girardeau.

The big warehouse is more than three times as large as the Cape Girardeau Wal-Mart Supercenter, and is almost complete and ready for use. The warehouse is the third giant building at the P&G complex, which includes the 850,000-square-foot facility for the manufacture of towels and tissues, and the $1.2 million square foot plant that produces disposable diapers and feminine hygiene products.

Of course, the biggest chunk of the 2001 totals is the giant $17 million permit issued for the new high school in early April. A construction schedule is being developed to ensure completion of the building before fall 2002, when the school is scheduled to open.

Holding its own

Meanwhile, construction totals are holding their own statewide. Missouri's October construction activity was up 6 percent from the previous October. And, total state construction is up 6 percent, minus November totals, which were not immediately available.

It's been a long climb back since first quarter totals revealed that state totals were down 16 percent from a year-ago totals, according to the F.W. Dodge Division of McGraw-Hill, an authority on the construction market.

Dodge issues monthly totals in its Dodge Report. After 10 years, the state's nonresidential totals are just a bit ahead of last year, $2,355,381,000 to $2,351,256,000. This includes commercial, manufacturing, educational, religious, administrative, recreational, hotel, dormitory and other buildings.

Residential construction, which includes one- and two-family houses and apartments, for the year were up 3 percent -- $2.88 billion to $2.78 billion. Nonbuilding construction, which includes streets, highways, bridges, river and harbor developments, airports and a few other projects, is on the plus side for 2001 at $1.7 billion, up 23 percent from the $1.4 billion totals of a year ago.

Overall, the state's building totals are at $6.9 billion, up 6 percent from the $6.5 billion last year.

Residential real estate sales have remained mixed across the Federal Reserve's 8th District, which includes portions of eastern Missouri, Southern Illinois, western Kentucky, western Tennessee, southern Indiana, all of Arkansas and northern Mississippi.

The Beige Book report is not a comprehensive report, but is a collection of anecdotal information compiled from various business and community leaders throughout the district. Housing construction and sales have remained stable in St. Louis, Mo., and Kansas City, Mo., but has slowed in Chicago. Declining mortgage rates made lower-priced homes more affordable for first-time homebuyers but did little to boost sales of homes in the upper price ranges, according to the report.

Reports from the Federal Reserve Districts indicate the economic activity remained soft in October and half of November but that the pace of residential mortgage refinancing activity overall accelerated as mortgage interest rates fell further. Lower rates have also accounted for some activity with commercial expansion and building.

rowen@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 133

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