Monday, October 1, 2012

Manhattan building permits jump

New permits for renovation projects also rose significantly in the borough this year. The growth could spur more hiring. 

By Tania Karas 

New building permits in Manhattan are up 94% since the beginning of the year, the city Department of Buildings said Monday, and that's good news for the city's economy. The jump in construction comes even as the cost to build reaches a rate almost on par with costs at height of the building boom.

The city Buildings Department has issued 70 permits for construction of new buildings this year, as of Sept. 30, compared with just 36 during the same period last year. New permits for major renovation projects are also up 12%, year-over-year.

Since new buildings in the city tend to be expensive, multi-story projects, all that new construction equals big revenues and new employment opportunities.

"Big building in Manhattan is on the rise, and that's good news for all New Yorkers," city Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said. "These major construction projects mean more homes, more jobs—and a stronger economy for our city."

Meanwhile, the New York Building Congress released a report Monday that shows rising construction costs may be approaching the inflated rate they hit at the height of the last decade's construction boom.

Construction costs in New York City rose nearly 3.6% in 2011, according to a construction costs index tracked by trade magazine Engineering News-Record, which the Building Congress referenced in its report. That increase came on top of a 2.4% rise in 2010.

Engineering News-Record projects a 4.3% jump for 2012.

But that jump is less pronounced than during building boom years, the Building Congress said. In 2008, construction costs increased by 5.7%.

"Given that the rise in New York City construction costs now surpasses national trends, the numbers are of concern," Buildings Congress President Richard Anderson said. "Rising costs will make it even more difficult for private sector developers to obtain financing for new projects, while further constraining the capital budgets of city and state agencies."


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