Published: Sunday, July 5, 2015 at 10:35 p.m.
SARASOTA COUNTY – Growth in southern Sarasota County is on a record pace, rivaling and in some cases exceeding the numbers set during the building boom prior to the Great Recession.
A major indicator that the economy is on the upswing, and tradesmen are back to work, is the increase in building permits for new construction and renovations in both the residential and commercial sectors.
Both North Port and Venice in Sarasotsa are issuing record numbers of permits. The cities are on pace this year to exceed more than 5,000 permits issued in 2014 and are bumping up staffing levels to accommodate the demand for services. Numbers of permits also are up in the city of Sarasota, town of Longboat Key and unincorporated Sarasota County.
One will find that the entire southwest Florida corridor is surging in construction, said Ed Lavallee, the city manager of Venice, where about 6,000 new houses have received approval to be built, mostly in the city’s northeast sector. That includes 1,700 homes in Tuscana Isles and more than 700 in Village of Milano.
“There is pent-up demand and there is growth, but not like 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007,” said Pat Neal, of Neal Communities, a builder and developer with projects from Tampa to Naples.
Though activity is finally resuming, Neal said, tougher mortgage standards are reining in rampant home sales. He called it a healthy recovery on a strong foundation. His company hired 80 new employees in the past year; late Thursday afternoon, he was headed into interviews to hire four more.
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