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Residential towers buoy construction sector

A two-tower development on No. 3 Road at the end of the Canada Line helped carry the local construction sector in the first half of 2013.

From January to the end of June, Richmond City Hall issued 871 building permits with a value of $247.2 million—a seven per cent drop from last year's six-month total.

Among the approved projects is the $60.8-million Mandarin Residences: two 16-storey towers with 348 homes and a new home for Scotiabank. Fairborne Group and the Wall Group of Companies are building the towers, located next to Richmond-Brighouse Station.

In June, the city issued 151 permits worth $23.7 million. Permits approved last month included one for a $4-million alteration of a former hotel at 9020 Bridgeport Rd. The alteration is part of a Vancouver Coastal Health project to transform the building into a complex care facility that will house residents of the aging Lions Manor facility in Steveston.

Pricey single-family homes also contributed to the city's building permit values this year, including one with a construction value of $2.1 million on agricultural land at 9431 No. 6 Rd.—one of the most expensive house projects in recent years.

But June's total pales in comparison to April, when the Mandarin Residences towers buoyed the value of 146 permits to $115.5 million.

April proved to be a strong month across Metro Vancouver, according to the Vancouver Regional Construction Association. Interim president Jan Robinson said in a news release the month was the strongest for residential permits since July 2012.

Meanwhile the association's overall forecast for 2013 calls for a slight decline from 2012.

"The outlook for regional commercial and industrial investment is modestly favourable since the regional economy and population base will continue to grow,” noted Robinson. "However, stronger economic and market conditions in general will be needed for a significant upturn in commercial and industrial permits beyond 2013. This month's residential performance is not expected to be repeated as the mild correction phase in the housing market is ongoing."

Building permits for required for new construction, change of use, additions or alterations to structures

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