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Building and development showing signs of life

Things are starting to stir in Auburn's building and development sector.

For one thing, the number of single-family resident permits issued in 2012 was the highest it has been in years, according to Kevin Snyder, planning and development director.

"As we come to the end of 2012, we're fast approaching 406 new single-family home building permits issued, which is our best year since 2004," Snyder said. "And although there are a lot of external factors that we cannot control that may upend what I'm about to say, from all our conversations with the building community, we certainly have the potential to see those numbers, or better, next year."

Snyder added that a number of plats long frozen in place have shaken off the frost and found legs, particularly on Lea Hill, whether in terms of people bringing them forward to develop or banks selling them and finding prospective developers.

"External factors and other things may impact us, but next year could be as good as this year. Right now, we're roughly $800,000 ahead of revenue projections for building permits," Snyder said. "The last numbers I saw, we were four or five times ahead of what Tacoma was issuing."

COSTAR, a real estate tracking data company that tracks available properties, showing who leases and for how much and offering statistical data to the real estate market reported a net absorption this year of 564,000 square feet of industrial, manufacturing and warehouse property in Auburn.

"That's a huge number, considering whatever moved out, we ended up surpassing that number with almost 600,000 square feet of space absorbed," said Doug Lein, economic development manager for the City of Auburn. "It shows our vacancy factor is down to 2.9 percent. That's a lot of new businesses, a lot of new jobs. We're seeing a lot of activity come in the door."

By the numbers, in 2012 City of Auburn's Development Department:

• Provided customer service via in-person discussions, phone calls and electronic mail messages to 27,750 clients

• Facilitated the issuance of 4,170 business licenses.

• Facilitated the issuance of 25 commercial building permits with a total construction valuation of $14,256,701.

• Facilitated the issuance of 405 new single-family residential building permits with a total construction valuation of $95,222,788.

• Facilitated the issuance of 3,148 other permit types (e.g. residential and/or commercial additions and alterations, construction permits, utility permits) with a total construction valuation of $65,897,083.

• Performed 2,314 building plan reviews for residential and commercial development.

• Completed 9,780 building inspections averaging 40 inspections per day.

• Completed 237 residential Fast Track permit reviews within 24 hours from submittal date.

• Completed 26 commercial Fast Track permit reviews within 24 hours of submittal date.

• Facilitated 13 pre-application conferences.

• Processed 9 Facility Extension Agreements (FACs).

• Facilitated 19 pre-construction meetings.

• Completed engineering reviews for 183 projects.

• Conducted 46 environmental reviews for City permit applications.

• Managed the completion of the City's timely development review for 74 separate Boeing projects with a cumulative construction valuation of approximately $31,000,000.

• Managed the completion of the City timely development review for 120,000 square foot Coastal Farm and Ranch at the previous Walmart store location - opened in June 2012.

• Managed the completion of the City's timely development review for Hospital Cooperative Services Administration (HCSA) 145,000 square foot Laundry Facility - ground breaking in August 2012 with anticipated completion in the summer of 2013.

• Managed the completion of the City's timely development review for AutoZone on A St. SE resulting in its September 2012 opening.

• Managed the completion of the City's timely development review for Terry Homes II with an anticipated opening in the first quarter of 2013.

• Currently managing the City's timely development review for the Downtown Auburn High School Renovation Project that is expected to break ground in the summer of 2013.

• 2 final plats approved by City Council totaling 85 lots in 2012:

• Vintage Place (Lea Hill project) - 26 lots

• Brandon Meadows (Lea Hill project) - 59 lots

• 2 preliminary plats approved by City Hearing Examiner totaling 96 lots in 2012:

• Lakeland Villas - 80 lots

• Hazel Heights - 16 lots

The City of Auburn also provides contracted building plan review and inspection services to the cities of Algona and Enumclaw. In 2012, Auburn performed 20 plan reviews and 87 inspections for the City of Algona, and 12 plan reviews and 229 inspections for the City of Enumclaw.

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