WASHINGTON — New residential development in the city declined steeply in 2017 compared to 2016, while retail and industrial development remained the same.
Eighteen permits for new residences were issued by the city last year, down from 33 in 2016, a 45 percent drop, according to an annual development report put together by Jon Oliphant, Washington's planning and development director.
Construction values for the residences also fell, from $11.1 million to $5.6 million, a 49 percent slide.
In both years, all the permits were for single-family homes.
Washington issued 109 permits for new residences in 2013 and 90 in 2015. Each year included 52 units in a multi-family facility and there were 17 duplex units in 2013.
Sixteen permits were issued in Washington in 2016 and 2017 for retail and industrial projects.
But construction values dropped from $5.3 million in 2016 to $2.3 million in 2017, a 56 percent reduction, because most permits last year were for small- to mid-sized projects.
"Development activity has slowed significantly throughout the region. Washington has felt that as well," Oliphant said.
"But our staff is cautiously optimistic there will be a slight upswing in 2018, with much of the optimism based on Caterpillar showing some positive momentum. It won't be a gangbusters year, but it will be better."
Caterpillar Inc.'s Jan. 31, 2017, announcement that it was moving its global headquarters from Downtown Peoria to the Chicago suburbs played a role in last year's area development slump, Oliphant said, but the slump could have been worse.
"Had an announcement like that happened 20 years ago, it would have had a much more detrimental effect here," he said. "Our region is better positioned now to withstand something like Caterpillar's move because we're more diversified economically."
The only permit issued for new retail/industrial construction in Washington in 2017 was for a Domino's Pizza outlet on Washington Road, across from Washington Plaza.
Not far from the Domino's venue at 2168 Washington Road is Team Works by Holzhauer, where a 36-by-64-foot attached addition has been built.
The addition, which will soon house Team Works' textile screen-printing operations, is one of the larger 2017 retail/industrial projects on Washington's development list.
"It was a leap of faith to build the addition, and we're glad we did it," said Team Works co-owner Roger Holzhauer.
Holzhauer said the cost for the addition and related renovation work in another building where the screen printing has been done is about $235,000.
Team Works will be open 15 years in April. The business is perhaps best known for printing about 21,000 orange "Washington Strong" T-shirts that raised more than $400,000 for tornado relief efforts shortly after the 2013 storm.
For weeks after the T-shirts were first printed, customers waited in lines outside Team Works' doors to buy the shirts.
Oliphant reported that seven residential tornado rebuild permits and eight other tornado-related permits were issued by the city in 2017, bringing the totals to 503 residential rebuilds and 927 other tornado-related permits since the twister.
A dozen single-family lots in Washington affected by the storm remain vacant.
Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.