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Originally published: 2014-02-03 13:23:46
Last modified: 2014-02-03 13:24:32

Building activity increases in Boone

by Anna Oakes

Construction activity in Boone continued its rebound from the recession in 2013, numbers from the Boone Planning & Inspections Department indicate.

The department issued 518 residential and commercial building permits in 2013, up from 393 in 2012 and 425 in 2011, according to department staff.

Commercial remodels continue to represent the largest portion of permits, with 299 issued in 2013, 218 in 2012 and 231 in 2011. Next was residential remodels, with 201 in 2013, 161 in 2012 and 164 in 2011.

The town saw fewer permits for new construction, with 13, 8 and 27 permits for new residential in 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively, and five, six and three new commercial permits issued in the same years, respectively.

New construction could be rebounding more vigorously outside of town, however.

"We've seen a real resurgence in the second home residential and vacation home market," said Kevin Troyer, owner of Blowing Rock-based contractor 4 Forty Four Inc.

The years 2010 and 2011 were "down" years for the company, Troyer said, but 2012 and 2013 were two of the best years in its history -- even better than 2005 and 2006. The company started in 2001.

"The recession was tough," he said, noting that he wouldn't want to go through it again. "But in hindsight, looking back, I'm actually very grateful for just the things you learn and what comes from experience. The truth is you learn a lot."

New home construction has been fastest growing segment of 4 Forty Four's business in the past two years, a change from 2010 and 2011, when renovation and remodeling work "was just about the only thing we were doing," said Troyer. He said his clients are people who have visited the High Country for years, staying in hotels and cabins, but who had put their home plans on hold.

"The people we're talking to are done waiting and ready to move ahead," he said.

Troyer said that residents are also choosing to spend more time in their second homes, perhaps forgoing trips to Europe or out west. Others build second homes with plans to make them primary residences in the future, he said.