By AUSTIN MONTGOMERY
BELOIT — Development and related construction is so hot in Beloit this summer the city already has surpassed last year’s total building permit value.
As of July 1, Beloit had issued 623 building permits worth $26.19 million, easily exceeding the 2017 total of around the same period of 329 permits worth $5.9 million.
“Hopefully this trend will continue,” said Drew Pennington, the city’s planning and building services director. “Our totals are already higher than last year.”
In all of 2017 the city issued 944 building permits worth $21.7 million.
And Pennington said the 2018 figures did not include the School District of Beloit’s new district welcome center or the Hendricks Commercial Properties speculative industrial building planned along Willowbrook Road.
Projects included in the total this year range from the Beloit College Powerhouse redevelopment, new building and security office at Fairbanks Morse, all Hendricks-backed development including the downtown Hotel Goodwin/Velvet Buffalo Cafe, Truk’t tequila and taco bar, Blue Collar Coffee Shop and 70-unit apartment plan for the former Kerry Ingredients
Other commercial development in the downtown included the opening of Cup and Cake dessert shop, and Nine Bells and Cat Tails specialty retail.
In terms of industrial development, the total includes the NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes new production facility.
Bryden Motors has applied for a floodplain variance to allow for a quick lube vehicle facility, Pennington said.
In residential development, 10 single-family units and 70 multi-family and 12 condo units are expected to be completed this year, while work on the Holiday Inn Express and Home2Suites extended stay hotels look to bolster the city’s tourism sector.
The condo plan — 12 new units totaling six new buildings — in the Walnut Grove area was filed for construction permits last week, to finish the plans behind Menards near the Maple Creek apartments.
Phase three of the Eagles Ridge residential plan is moving forward as the some of the privately-held land near the Gateway Business District will be turned into around 20 executive-style single-family houses.
Also out in the Gateway, work on the G5 Brewing Company is under construction. The project could be the first of future commercial projects in the area that’s typically devoted for industrial development.
Pennington said real estate agents working with clients in Beloit say the city housing market remains “hot” with high demand but a tight inventory of houses for buyers.
He added that he was in the process of drafting a plan that would need council approval to waive the $1,500 single-family building permit for those looking to develop on vacant land in the city’s approved Neighborhood Revitalization and Stabilization Areas plan for the Merrill and Hackett neighborhoods.
Pennington estimated about 20 percent of the city’s overall vacant property inventory of 500 properties were spread across the two areas.
Overall retail development interest has been low, Pennington conceded, but said there had been some “preliminary interest” for retail development on the city’s west side looking into the Madison Road area and the future redevelopment of the Shopko Plaza shopping center.