Madison growth still solid despite permits downBy MEGAN PHILLIPS,
Madison residential and commercial permits are down a bit this year, but officials are saying growth is as good as ever.
Last year from January through September, the city had 91 new residential permits issued for the city. For the same months this year, Madison had 78.
Construction costs for last year in the residential sector were slightly more than $31 million.
This year, construction costs have already surpassed the $28 million mark.
“A quick drive around the city reveals numerous in-progress residential and commercial projects,” Ken Wilbanks, director of building permits, said. “A lot is going on. It’s exciting to see all the things taking place.”
Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler’s phrase, ‘rooftops before businesses,’ still rings true for the city.
“I believe that we redefine economic development. We knew Madison would not be a community for labor-intense industry, and that if we treated housing as our industry and people as our business, that we would build a place to live with good schools, quality of life, a safe community,” Butler previously told the Sun.
When rooftops multiply, businesses come to make a profit, she said.
“Madison under the guidance of Mayor Butler has always been strongly community-oriented with a genuine interest in smart growth,” Wilbanks said. “(She has a) continued mission to not just build homes but good, quality neighborhoods and build a community that residents are proud to call home.”
The city has “incredible demand,” according to Wilbanks.
“Mayor Butler and the board of aldermen have created a cherished quality of life that continues to be a magnet for people and businesses to move here.”
Commercially, Madison is also slightly down from last year, but it’s still doing well — if not better — when taking construction costs into account.
Last year between the months of January and September, the city issued 13 commercial permits. So far this year, the city has issued nine permits.
However, there is much more construction underway this year for commercial development.
Last year, construction costs totaled a little more than $12 million.
So far this year, construction costs are nearing $37 million.
Currently underway is a shopping center, Crawford Farms, which will have a Hobby Lobby and Academy Sports.
The city is extending Welch Farms Road from Mississippi Highway 463 to Madison Avenue to create a new north-south artery and connect to the stores.
“Developers want to build here and businesses want to locate, invest and grow here,” Wilbanks said. “The professionalism, dedication and stability of the city’s elected leadership, its employees, our quality schools and our residents, who are active in their neighborhoods and this community, all play a huge role in Madison being a terrific place where people want to invest.”
Interests to invest commercially in the city remain high, Wilbanks said.
“Retailers are coming to us. They follow rooftops and see the opportunity in being a part of this community. New stores are built in areas that are vibrant. Madison definitely fits that bill.”
Besides the new Crawford Farms shopping center, Wilbanks said Madison is always looking for new business development opportunities.
“We will continue working with developers, builders, retailers, architects and others to maintain the integrity of the mayor’s vision… (Mayor Butler) has always encouraged responsible residential and business growth. It’s no secret what we build and how we build has helped the city reach and maintain a sustained period of growth.”