Commercial Construction Busy in Jamestown – Jamestown Sun

JAMESTOWN — Developers in Jamestown could be very active in 2024, but residential projects won't keep them busy, according to Tom Blackmore, building inspector for the city of Jamestown.

“Residential construction is pretty slow right now,” he said. “Even workshops and renovations have been canceled.”

Building permit documents indicate that construction of a single-family home in Jamestown is currently planned for the summer. A number of smaller projects such as fences, garages and home conversions have been approved, Blackmore said, but that number is also down from previous years. Currently, multi-family housing construction is not permitted in Jamestown.

“There’s quite a lot going on in the commercial space,” he said.

Blackmore said his department has already issued about $4 million in construction permits for Jamestown in 2024. Additional building permits for $18 million worth of commercial properties are currently under review and additional permit applications are expected.

In 2023, the Jamestown Building Inspector's Office issued approximately $24 million in commercial and residential building permits.

One of the commercial projects already approved will add office space, storage and seasonal housing at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department's facility near Jamestown Reservoir.

“Our existing building outgrew about five years ago,” said Brian Kietzman, wildlife resource manager for the Jamestown District of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

The proposed new construction has an estimated cost of $1.2 million and is expected to begin next week, weather permitting.

“It’s essentially an office building for staff dedicated to aquatic nuisance control,” Kietzman said. “It includes offices, laboratories and a sleeping hut for seasonal workers.”

Currently, Game and Fish hosts some seasonal employees in park-model camping trailers on the property where the office is located. The new facility will accommodate up to 10 seasonal workers with separate facilities for men and women.

Kietzman said the ability to offer seasonal housing is a big plus when it comes to hiring seasonal workers who have difficulty finding short-term housing in Jamestown.

The need for the new building stems from increasing concerns about aquatic nuisance species, particularly zebra mussels.

Other large commercial projects planned this summer include a warehouse building at Stutsman Harley-Davidson, Central Sales' new agricultural equipment sales building, an addition to Vorhees Chapel on the University of Jamestown campus, and an addition to Victory Christian School, Blackmore said.

Contractors are also concerned about having enough staff for the work in Jamestown.

“With interest rates so high, it’s surprising how much work is being done there,” said Trent Hillerud, owner of Hillerud Construction.

A worker cuts some steel for a new roof over a commercial building in downtown Jamestown on Thursday, May 16, 2024.

John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Hillerud said residential construction appears to be down across the state, not just in Jamestown, although the commercial projects his company has planned for the summer will keep them busy.

“We filled our calendar from last fall through September of this year,” he said. “It may be a little slower in the late fall through Christmas, but that’s always the case.”

Hillerud Construction has hired local employees when possible, but plans to explore another source of labor this summer.

“We are going the route of foreign workers,” said Hillerud.

The foreign workers are expected to begin work in Jamestown in the next few weeks, Hillerud said.

Blackmore said he hopes the number of housing projects in Jamestown will increase over the summer. He noted that a low-interest home renovation program is available. The program is a partnership between the City of Jamestown and Gate City Bank.

“It’s residential real estate that’s lagging behind,” he said. “The commercial has been doing really well since May.”

Anna Harden

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