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Construction not slowing for snow

Tamera Manzanares

A healthy layer of snow on the ground doesn’t mean less business for construction contractors, many of whom will hardly have a breather between what’s been an exceptionally busy fall and what many expect to be an equally busy winter.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this busy,” Nancy Albertini of Albertini Construction said.

Nancy Albertini has seen business steadily increase in the 12 years she and her husband, Rob Albertini, have been doing business in Steamboat Springs. The growth has been a pleasant surprise to the couple, who expected a 10-year slump similar to what they experienced in California, their home before Steamboat, Nancy Albertini said.

“I’m just in shock that it’s still going good,” she said.

Monthly revenues from building permits and other fees, which have topped 2003 revenues nearly every month this year, reflect the “awesome” year that has kept the Albertinis and other builders on their toes.

Routt County’s revenues from the fees through September reached almost $2.2 million and are about 29 percent higher than revenues during the same time in 2003.

For the first nine months of the year, the estimated value of construction based on the permits and fees was more than $127 million, about 26 percent more than construction values last year.

Some of that, however, was the result of higher square footage costs, which the county raised 10 percent to 15 percent in estimating construction values this year, chief building official Carl Dunham said.

Still, the increase in overall construction values may suggest not only more projects, but that those projects are getting bigger and more expensive.

New construction, mostly big custom homes, makes up the bulk of the Albertinis’ business.

“A 4,500-square-foot home is considered small to us nowadays,” Nancy Albertini said, noting that two to three projects typically keep the company busy through the winter.

Gary Cogswell of Cogswell Construction Inc., which specializes in new homes and remodels, said his three crews will be busy through the winter.

A busy year overall is nothing new for Cogswell, who has been a builder in Steamboat since 1977 and attributes his steady business to a solid reputation and a good working relationship with others in the construction community.

“I’ve had a remarkable career in Steamboat. … I’ve had a wonderful following, and we are generally booked out in advance,” he said.

Cogswell’s schedule typically fills a minimum of four to six months in advance, though at times he’s had projects lined up for two years, he said.

Although 2004 has been a busy year for contractors like Cogswell, others, particularly those focused more on commercial projects, have seen somewhat of a rebound in business.

“It’s much better than last year,” said Mark Halvorson of Snow Country Construction Inc. “It started slow, but it’s ending good.”

Halvorson said this fall has been the busiest he’s ever seen in terms of jobs. Commercial jobs comprise about 70 percent of his work, and many projects come from returning customers, he said.

Travis Holmquist of Holmquist-Lorenz Construction Co., which also focuses primarily on commercial projects, said his company is extremely busy and has jobs lined up for the winter, he said.

“The big thing for us was the first half of the year was not as good as in the past,” Holmquist said. “It took jobs awhile to get started.”

— To reach Tamera Manzanares call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com


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