The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

April 16, 2014

Building boom: Athens shakes off long winter's nap of recession

— Athens appears to be waking from the long winter’s nap of recession.

Pent up demand, the availability of loans, low interest rates and retail sales seems to have nudged the city from sleep.

Building Inspector Bert Bradford says the city has already issued 23 commercial building permits for $13.1 million in new commercial projects, and there are still six months remaining in the fiscal year. Bradford shared the good news with City Council members during a premeeting work session Monday.

The number of commercial permits this year is already leaps and bounds ahead of permits issued in previous fiscal years, which run from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30. Here are the numbers from the previous four years:

• 2009-10 — 8 permits for $2.5 million in new commercial property;

• 2010-11 — 13 permits for $4.8 million in new commercial property;

• 2011-12 — 17 permits for $8.8 million in new commercial property;

• 2012-13 — 5 permits for $7.2 million in new commercial property.

Why the boom?

Athens developer Bill Ming attributes the increase in commercial building permits to several factors.

“For the last three years, we’ve been experiencing a national economic downturn, but last year we’ve been kind of coming out of that,” Ming said. “It’s like having a favorite fishing hole that you haven’t harvested fish from for three years, and you go back and they are biting like crazy.”

Ming said there are probably a lot of drawing board projects now being built that were put off due to the economic downturn.

“If you look at Athens, Decatur, Madison and Huntsville, you will see the same trend,” he said. “Banks started lending money and interest rates are still low, so people are building.”

The city has two major projects well underway — the new city hall at 200 W. Hobbs St., which should be completed in spring 2015, and the Athens-Limestone Public Library at 603 S. Jefferson St., which should be completed in September. Limestone County, meanwhile, is renovating its temporary courthouse at 503 S. Jefferson St.

Text Only
Local News


Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

None of the above
     View Results
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee