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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 5 years ago

Business on the Key is building for contractors

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Realtors aren’t the only ones to benefit from improvements in the housing sector in 2011 and 2012 on Longboat Key.

Total valuations for permits rose slightly from 2011 to 2012, with the new Publix and CVS stores accounting for most of the increase.

But contractors also report that they’ve built their businesses in the past two years because clients have taken on more homebuilding and remodeling projects.

New-home construction is rare on the almost entirely built-out Longboat Key, but has risen in the past two years.

“We’re starting to see an uptick in permits, especially single-family home permits,” said Robin Meyer, director of the town’s Planning, Zoning and Building Department.

In both 2011 and 2012, the town issued 11 new and replacement single-family home building permits, up from four in 2008, when many contractors say construction bottomed out.

The total valuation of 2012 new single-family home construction fell from $10,958,123 in 2011 to $7,574,450, but contractors say that remodeling business is on the rise.

“There’s a big uptick in remodeling,” said Rusty Chinnis, owner of Rusty Chinnis Contractor Inc., who found that in 2012 customers sought bigger remodels, often of their entire home, rather than just a kitchen or a bathroom compared to past years. “I think they both (real estate and construction) respond to increased consumer confidence.”

Chuck Wickersham, co-owner of C&M Construction, said building picked up in 2011 and 2012.
New construction depends on the real-estate market working through the supply of foreclosed homes, according to Wickersham.

“It’s definitely a better environment,” Wickersham said, referring to the relatively low number of foreclosures on the Key. “The ZIP code we’re in is still up there.”

Wickersham expects increased levels of activity to continue, at least through the first quarter of 2013.
The cost of building materials didn’t change much throughout the downturn. The real savings continue to come from the decrease in labor costs, which Wickersham estimates at about half what they were during the real-estate boom because workers are willing to accept jobs for less pay.

For the first time in nearly a decade, construction of a new Key residential subdivision is under way.

The Tampa-based Collier Walker Real Estate Holdings put plans for the mid-Key enclave, now known as Triton Bend, on hold in 2008, because of the economic downturn. The company put the project on the “front burner,” according to developing agent Walter Hackett, of Michael Saunders & Co., because of encouraging signs in the real-estate market. Construction on the first two of 13 planned homes began in November.

“Sales are up, inventory is way down and, therefore, those conditions are very supportive of new construction,” Hackett said. “There really is no supply of new construction of single-family homes on Longboat. The demand is there on Longboat.”


Building permits
Year | Total | Valuation
2011 | 1,006 | $39,919.329.99
2012 | 995 | $42,083,385.18

Single-family home construction/replacement permits
Year | Total | Total valuation
2008 | Four | $2,335,024
2009 | Six | $4,380,700
2010 | 10 | $8,675,274
2011 | 11 | $10,958,123
2012 | 11 | $7,574,450

Source: Longboat Key Planning Zoning & Building Department 

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