City had $16 million in building permits for 2018

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Nucleus Avenue at night.

Columbia Falls saw significant growth in 2018. Commercial building permits were $8.98 million and residential building permits were $6.969 million.

In both cases, nearly all of it was new construction.

All told, the city saw just under $16 million in new construction, compared to $12.871 million in 2017, an increase of 24 percent.

The total number of commercial building permits was 15 and the total number of residential permits was 58. Of the residential, 20 were single family homes, while 13 were townhomes, city manager Susan Nicosia noted.

Two of the bigger residential projects were the recently completed 18-unit condo complex, known as Glacier Courtyards by Ruis Holdings for $2.1 million. Also recently completed on Nucleus Ave and 7th Street was Columbia Crest, a new building with business/retail units on the main floor and four residences on each of the second and third floors totaling $1.2 million by Compass Construction.

The 2018 commercial activity also includes a $320,000 equipment foundation for SmartLam and an additional Western Building Center Truss Plant at $1.7 million. Pat Carloss completed a significant remodel of the former Bandit/Sportman Bar on Nucleus Ave, now known as Gunsight Saloon that includes a landscaped outdoor courtyard and bar and a complete new kitchen and bar. On Highway 2, Whitefish Credit Union completed a $1.7 million new construction that was started in 2017.

The next big project on tap is “The Highline,” that will include six apartment buildings totaling 216 units at full build out. The contractor, Compass Construction has started construction on the first two units of 36 apartments each. They’re a mix of studio, one -bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. The residential project is located on the east side of town on Bill’s Lane, just south of River’s Edge Park with a building permit of $5.5 million.

The city council also recently allowed the company 10 years to pay back the necessary sewer and water fees, which are more than $100,000. The city typically allows for a five-year payback on the fees, but extended the payment plan because of the size of the project.

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