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Monday, August 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Higher Ed, housing and medical push Spokane to near-record permit levels

Higher education, the medical industry and affordable housing were big drivers of construction activity in Spokane last year.

Projects at local universities and colleges, a new psychiatric hospital and housing projects for low-income and homeless people helped push Spokane into near-record territory for building permits.

The city issued $516 million in building permits in 2017, which was just under the 2013 record of $538 million, said Gavin Cooley, the city’s chief financial officer.

The Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center at Gonzaga University, with permitted value of $34.6 million, was the highest-valued project to receive a city building permit last year.

Gonzaga’s Center for Athletic Achievement also made the top 10 list of projects in Spokane, as did Spokane Falls Community College’s gym addition and renovation.

The list also included the Copper River Apartments, 240 low-income housing units being built on the former Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary convent site along the Spokane River. The area also includes the Holy Names Haven project, a complex with 76 units for homeless families.

“These permits are indicative of a lot of things going right in Spokane,” Cooley said.

Gonzaga has become “a real powerhouse” for Spokane’s brand, with out-of-area residents identifying the success of the university’s basketball teams with the city, Cooley said.

Other projects on the top 10 list reflect the growth in medical jobs and investment in housing and the city’s downtown, he said.

The values listed in the permits are the estimated cost for each project but may differ from the final cost.

Last year’s near-record level of building permits is notable, because it competed with several very large projects in 2013, such as the construction of the Davenport Grand Hotel and the Convention Center’s expansion, Cooley said.

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