Aurora building projects decline significantly in 2020

Ken Lahmers
Special to the Aurora Advocate
Aurora, Ohio logo

AURORA — Possibly because of the coronavirus situation, the total value of residential, commercial and industrial building projects in the city hit at least a six-year low in 2020, and was down nearly $20 million from 2019.

The final 2020 figures were released recently by the planning-zoning-building department. Overall, building activity was valued at $31.77 million, compared to $51.33 million in 2019. The highest value in the last six years was in 2018 at $60.18 million.

The figures were $44.68 million in 2017, $33.67 million in 2016 and $42.94 million in 2015.

“I think the numbers reflect the uncertain marketplace largely brought on by the coronavirus pandemic,” speculated Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin.

The biggest decline last year was in the industrial projects category, with only a value of $1.82 million, compared to $18.22 million in 2019. Previous figures were $18.64 million in 2018, $11.69 million in 2017, $6.79 million in 2016 and $14.95 million in 2015.

“Expansions that were anticipated earlier in the year were delayed or canceled, with many employees working from home and the need for additional space being re-evaluated by companies,” said Womer Benjamin.

“We have several expansions expected in 2021. Prior years saw significant expansions and new buildings in the industrial park for Piping Rock, McMaster-Carr, Trelleborg and Pyrotek, to name a few.”

Residential building projects were down more than $4 million at $26.29 million, compared to $30.8 million in 2019, $27.79 million in 2017, $26.03 million in 2016 and $21.85 million in 2015.

“We expect an increase in residential construction this year with the Pulte development in the Geauga Lake area moving forward,” said the mayor.

Commercial projects rose slightly to $3.66 million from $2.3 million in 2019. Previous figures were $3.46 million in 2018, $5.2 million in 2017, $843,315 in 2016 and $6.1 million in 2015.

There were only four industrial building permits applied for last year. They were an addition at Robeck on Lena Drive at $850,000, a Pulte Homes pump station on Squires Road at $557,040, a racking system at Piping Rock on Lena Drive at $300,000 and conveyors at McMaster Carr at $110,000.

Leading the list of 19 commercial building permits was Pulte Homes’ $1.9 million five-unit townhouse, followed by a $600,00 addition at Anna Maria, a $180,000 pavilion at the Hawthorn apartments, $177,171 in fire repairs at the Aurora Inn, $176,438 in interior alterations at American Eagle, $175,000 in interior alterations at the Hawthorn clubhouse and $165,000 in interior alterations at CVS/Pharmacy.

Smaller commercial projects took place at Anna Maria, Aurora High, the city of Aurora, Ohio Artisan Collective, Demming Financial, Olchefski’s, Tide Cleaners, Munn Chiropractic, McDonald’s Aurora Nutrition, Aurora Animal Care and Charm Salon.

In 2020, new single-family home construction (36 permits issued) was valued at $18.04 million and eight condominium units were value at $3.06 million.

The values of other categories of construction were: Additions, $1.53 million; alterations, $1.3 million; garages, $197,150; decks, $903,486; utility buildings, $382,164; in-ground pools, $515,355; above-ground pools, $282,907; and other, $74,248.

A total of 784 licenses were issued, and city workers made 3,857 total inspections in 2020, including 3,450 at residences and 407 at commercial-industrial facilities.

Building department revenue in 2020 was $898,428, compared to $1.43 million in 2019. The breakdown of revenue was: $379,399 for building permits, $78,400 for licenses, $59,473 for miscellaneous, $39,205 in impact fees, $2,377 in state fees, $75,800 in completion deposits and $430,000 in topography deposits.

The balance of completion deposits was $37,600 as of Dec. 31, 2020 and the balance of topography deposits was $345,000.

For the last quarter of 2020 (October to December), projects for which building permits were issued were valued at $10.17 million. The breakdown is: $6.4 million for residential, $2.91 million for commercial and $857,040 for industrial.

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