Thunder Bay enjoys record building year

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The City of Thunder Bay is experiencing a record building boom.
The city issued a record $216 million in building permits in 2012.
“It was a good year,” city building division manager Des Stolz said Wednesday.
The previous best year for building activity was in 2002, he said, when the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre was being finished, and building permits hit $173 million.
Stolz said the city has had a couple of good years of building activity and he expects that trend to continue into 2013.
“The city is enjoying a building boom,” he said. “The numbers have been strong for the last few years.”
In 2010, the city issued $151 million worth of building permits, and $127 million in 2011.
Last year, the biggest construction project in the city was the new courthouse worth about $100 million.
“That was the big one,” Stolz said.
Others included conversion of Zellers stores to Target and WalMart stores, condominium development on Golf Links Road, Fort Garry Industries upgrade, construction of a new condensing turbine at Resolute Forest Products, and the start of a Mariotte Hotel on the Harbour Expressway.
Stolz said permits for residential construction also increased last year.
New construction of single-family dwellings rose to 188 units in 2012, compared to 152 units the previous year.
Meanwhile, Stolz anticipates another huge year in 2013 with private development at the marina, St. Joseph’s projects and a new office building at Regional hospital.
About 180 new housing units are also expected.
Permits for new development on the waterfront are to be issued this month, he said.
“We’re expecting close to $200 million in permits again this year,” he said, with the start of construction of a marina hotel and condos.
“There’s a couple of other hotel chains we’ve been talking to and other developers looking at building apartments in the city,” he added.
The interest by developers is welcomed, Stolz said, noting that “it’s been quite awhile since we’ve built an apartment in Thunder Bay.”