Amid a busy year for the region, Hudson saw a strong year of development in 2017, one of its strongest in recent years.
"Development in general, not just on the home side, has been really robust," Community Development Director Mike Johnson said.
From new development to alterations after storms, surrounding areas like River Falls and New Richmond also saw an above-average number of permits issued.
In 2017 the city of Hudson issued 362 building permits. These include new construction, additions and a handful of demolitions for commercial, industrial, institutional and residential properties. The total fees for 2017 amounted to above $1.1 million.
Building Inspector David Gray said the year had more than $69 million in construction, compared to about $36 million in 2016.
"We'd have to go back as far as 2012 when we did $58 million, 2005 we did $58 million so 2017 was one of our busiest years in terms of construction value," Gray said.
The number doesn't reflect one of the biggest projects, the high school.
Commercially, the city saw four new construction permits and two commercial permits to start with one overlap between the two. The city also had 48 commercial additions and alterations. Five commercial demolition permits were also approved in 2017.
With industrial properties, the city had 12 additions and alterations. The industrial side also saw one accessory building, one permit to start and one demolition.
Three institutional new construction permits were issued, as well as two institutional additions and alterations.
Residential properties saw 97 new constructions, with five multi-family, 74 one-family and 18 two-family construction permits. Three permits to start and three demolitions were approved. Additions and alterations, including pools, decks and accessory buildings, totaled 180. In this category, one-family additions and alterations were the most common at 130, followed by decks at 38.
Looking forward, Gray said a few projects permitted in 2017 will run their course in 2018, including a Holiday Inn Express and the high school project.
"2018 should be a good busy year as well," Gray said.
Though Hudson has a limited amount of open space for development, both in the current municipal bounds and on the periphery, Johnson said that hasn't deterred interest from developers.
"It's just a matter of finding the space," he said.
City representatives hailed 2016 as the "Year of Wow" for economic development in River Falls.
River Falls had $47,595,221 of construction in 2016, far surpassing the $15,163,861 in new construction in 2015 (according to building permits issued in the city in those years.)
Part of 2016's big "wow factor" was $35,844,796 in commercial development.
Simpson said River Falls saw a total of $21,185,600 worth of construction in 2017. That includes significant single family housing development. Residential construction totalled $11,177,714 in 2017; about $9,957,790 was new single family dwellings; $1,012,715 was in additions and alterations. There were no new multifamily dwelling permits issued, but Simpson said the city is seeing interest in multi-family residential projects.
He hopes it's the start of a "trend up."
Many projects started in 2016 continued into 2017, including groundbreaking and the opening of Turnkey Corrections and Three Square Market's 115,000 square-foot building, a grand opening of the Winfield United Innovation Center, and groundbreaking on the St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center.
In addition, Simpson said, there was significant new commercial construction as well, about $3,535,704 worth, in addition to $6,370,207 of additions and alterations, for a total of about $9,998,611 of commercial construction in 2017.
The five-year average for commercial construction in River Falls is $6 million, Simpson said. Though 2017 didn't meet the 2016 record, Simpson said the past year was still significantly ahead of average.
River Falls was not the only city in the area that had a good year for development.
In 2017, New Richmond had a total of 1,073 building permits issued with 102 dwelling units, compared to 2016, which saw a total of 307 permits issued and 57 dwelling units.
According to New Richmond City Administrator Mike Darrow, a majority of the building permits issued in 2017 came from residents looking to replace their roofs or siding after a summer hail storm.
"The storm definitely had an impact on the community," Darrow said. "I've talked to several of the local contractors and they have told me that they are still busy and are booked into next year still."
The construction value for commercial properties for 2017 was $18,719,119, while residential values totaled $45,230,950. In 2016, the commercial value was at $20,754,923, while the residential value came in at $30,691,054.75.
Total fees in 2017 reached $950,522.08, which is almost double the fees collected in 2016 ($535,336.30). A majority of the fees in 2017 came from building permit fees ($391,078.08), and impact fees such as sewer access charges ($103,179), transportation fees ($117,150) and water facilities fees ($103,179).
In 2017, Prescott had a total of 158 building permits issued. Most of the permits, about 78 percent, were for residential property permits, while only about 22 percent of the permits were for commercial properties.
However, the estimated value of the permits (which is submitted by those who apply for the permits) listed commercial property values at $984,495 and residential property permits at $378,236.
The majority of the residential permits were for home repairs such as roof and window replacement and re-siding. On the commercial side there were also a number of businesses that were re-roofed.
GGR Investments on Canton Street applied for a building permit for construction of a new storage building and had the largest estimated value for any one permit with $406,631.
The largest estimated value for a residential permit was for the finishing of a basement on Tower Heights Court which had an estimated value of $50,000.
In 2016, the estimated value of the commercial building permits was $2,257,597 and the estimated value of the residential building permits was $759,738. The largest estimated valued permit in 2016 was for the metal building at Dollar General on Orrin Road.
Overall, the amount of building permits went up in 2017 to 158 from 117 permits in 2016 but the estimated value decreased from $3,017,335 to $1,362,731 in 2017. However, not all building permits supplied an estimated value, so these numbers only reflect the information supplied by the building permit applications that were submitted to the City.
Building permits in Ellsworth had an increased reported value from 2016 to 2017 of just under $4 million. A large portion of this was because of the new Ellsworth Elementary School, which opened its doors in January. The new school had a reported value of $25,642,084 for 2017 while the entire estimated value of permits issued was $28,722,629.
In total, 47 permits were issued; eight permits were for new house construction, compared to 2016 when there were 52 permits issued with a reported value of $24,820,592.