Apartments fuel Oxford building increase

By Errol Castens/Daily Journal Oxford Bureau

OXFORD – The dollar value of construction for which the city of Oxford issued permits in December 2012 more than tripled over the same period in 2011.
Building permits were approved for $6,363,140.65 worth of construction last month. The totals included $554,000 in single-family residential, $89,338 in non-housekeeping shelter (sheds), $250,000 in offices and $124,000 in utilities and public works.
One category that went down is mercantile: A single $1,750,000 project was begun in December 2011, while no new stores were begun last month.
The biggest positive difference last month over a year previous was apartment construction. With a several-years’ trend of record enrollment continuing at the University of Mississippi last fall, property owners are adding several hundred new units to the market to meet demand for student housing.
City Planner Tim Akers agreed that the multifamily complexes are driving the current boomlet, which is still far below the levels of the mid-2000s.
“It’s primarily the large apartment complexes,” Akers said. “I can count six starts in the last year.”
Some $535,000 worth of pool starts outpaced either residential renovation ($254,700) or commercial renovation ($328,000).
While building of single-family residences is slow – only three were begun last month – commercial and retail prospects may soon add to the building momentum.
“We’ve been looking at some commercial site plans, but none have really started construction,” Akers said.
errol.castens@journalinc.com