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Building permits soar 18 %

Calgary has once again raised the roof on annual record construction plans for this city, as the municipality said today $5.6 billion in building permits were issued in 2007.

It's an 18-per-cent gain from 2006, with residential permits ahead 6.3 per cent to $2.53 billion and non-residential surging nearly 30 per cent to $3.1 billion.

The overall figure means Calgary has posted record building permit values for seven consecutive years and with the latest record has once again dominated all Canadian cities, eclipsing even Toronto, where $4.3 billion in permits were issued.

(Nonetheless, based on larger census metropolitan areas, which include the Calgary region, Greater Toronto easily surpassed Calgary, with at least $12.2 billion compared to $6 billion-plus for the Calgary area.)

Increasingly, Calgary's construction activity is being driven by non-residential projects, the city said, with non-housing permits accounting for 55 per cent of the 2007 total compared to an average of 43 per cent between 2000 and 2006. Similarly, within the housing sector itself, a growing proportion of residential construction is being devoted to multi-family units, the city said.

About 58 per cent of Calgary's 12,983 residential units permitted in 2007 were attributable to multi-family units, up from an average of 43 per cent between 2000 and 2006. Major projects announced in 2007 included EnCana's $645-million Bow office complex downtown, the $148-million Chinook Centre retail expansion and the $80-million WestJet Campus office development.

2008 Calgary Herald