SUMMERSIDE — Economic confidence has resulted in a significant increase in the construction business inside city limits, says Nancy Quinn, Summerside’s economic development officer.
Total building permits so far this year have soared against last year’s numbers.
Year-to-date figures show Summerside has issued permits totalling more than $7.8 million. Just $4.3 million were issued during the same time frame in 2013.
Quinn said driving the increase are commercial and industrial permits, at 375 per cent over last year’s numbers. Industrial and commercial permits totals for 2014 represent $3.9 million, as compared to just over $800,000 in 2013.
Residential activity is also trending upward, with an overall increase of just over 9.3 per cent. The city to date has issued in excess of $3.8 million worth of residential permits versus just over $3.5 in 2013.
“Clearly it’s on the non-residential side,” Quinn said. “Residential is good and permits are still coming in. There aren’t a lot of new homes. It’s more on the renovation end of things. That’s good news to me because to me, that really talks of consumer confidence. People are investing.”
Quinn said, there is new construction on Water Street at the site of the former Shell gas station, an investment of $500,000 into a new super-convenience centre with fully upgraded fuel station.
Uptown, the APM development at the corner of Granville and Ryan streets, will soon be completed with Starbucks and the Pita Pit opening shop.
Tim Hortons on Water Street is spending almost half a million in renovations. As well, upgrades to County Fair Mall with Sport Chek and renovations in the Holman Building are providing additional expenditures — almost $1.5 million into the economy just in construction costs.
“We’re hoping to see this increase go right through (the rest of year). It’s nice to see that big burst through the first quarter. It’s about confidence in the economy. It’s an early start in the confidence. It signals something to our commercial/ industrial development.”
Quinn said there was new construction last year, but not as early as what has happened in 2014.
“Getting those big new pieces out this early in the year is a good sign. It’s a really good early start and it has been trending up since the middle of the season last year.”