Construction activity up 37.5 percent in Aspen

Karl Herchenroeder
The Aspen Times

Construction activity in Aspen showed a 37.4 percent increase from 2012 to 2013 in terms of total permit valuation.

The numbers, provided by the Aspen Community Development Department, represent permitting from Jan. 1 through Dec. 16 for each year.

In 2012, Aspen had a total residential- and commercial-permit valuation of $148.1 million, while 2013 shows a total valuation of $203.5 million. Department manager Johannah C. Richards said she expects to see about $6 million more in total valuation over the last two weeks of 2013.

“Right now, what it’s showing for us is that investment is up in the community,” Richards said.

She added that commercial-permit activity is outpacing residential, which she said is evident by all of the commercial development in the downtown core. Large commercial projects include the $18.1 million Benton Building redevelopment and the $14.5 million Aspen Art Museum development.

From month to month, the median permit valuation was between $6,000 and $20,000, with two major residential projects in March and May, both valued at $10.3 million. Median valuation peaked in March at $17,000, while July showed the lowest median valuation, $6,000. For master permitting, 35 percent of projects this year have been commercial, while 65 percent have been residential. Those percentages do not include sub-permitting, which is not broken down by construction category.

Richards said the report, which will be finalized at the end of 2013, shows a steady increase in construction activity since 2010. Numbers for 2011 show a total valuation of $147.2 million, though the Aspen Valley Hospital expansion accounted for $52.2 million of that amount. Taking the hospital out of the equation, 2011 is more in line with post-recession years 2009 and 2010. Total valuations for those two years were recorded at $79 million and $76.2 million, respectively, while 2012 and 2013 were recorded at $148.1 million and $203.5 million, respectively.