A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

BIA sees large uptick in permits, especially in Boone County; Amazon’s Air Hub is driver

After a brief pause in the residential construction sector of the building industry, it has seen a large increase in permitting activity in Northern Kentucky. Single-family permits have risen 20 percent over last year. That increase is higher in Boone County, which saw an increase of 35 percent for the first three quarters over 2019’s same timeframe.

Multifamily construction has cooled as those more affected by the pandemic-caused recession are more apt to live in this style of housing.

“Residential remodeling, a part of our industry that took a longer pause during the onset of the pandemic is now back and exceeding last year’s volume by 5 percent,” says Brian Miller, Executive Vice President of the Building Industry Association of Northern Kentucky. “What is more noticeable is a 50 percent increase in permitted residential remodeling activity over a two-year period. We mention permitted activity as many smaller remodel work or do-it-yourself work goes unpermitted and is not reflected in our data.”

New commercial/industrial investment, on the surface, is 70 percent greater than last year, largely due to the Amazon Prime International Air Hub.

If Amazon’s presence is omitted in the data, commercial construction on all other projects would be down 40 percent. Amazon’s presence is significant to our region.

Brian Miller states, “Commercial/Industrial reinvestment is up 51 percent over the same period in 2019. Amazon has a significant share of this increase as well and if not included, we would have no increase over reinvestment activity in our region.”

Total commercial/industrial investment in Northern Kentucky increased 63 percent in the first three quarters of 2020 over 2019. You cannot ignore the impact that the Amazon Prime International Air Hub brings to our region. It is also the catalyst behind many other commercial/industrial activities in our data.

According to Miller, “Roughly half of the commercial/industrial construction activity is happening on the Air Hub site, while another 15 percent are likely tied to the fact that the Air Hub is here.”

This data, when compared to nationwide data, is particularly good. Residential single-family homes are far outpacing the Nation as a whole, even as other regions of the country are experiencing increases. Residential remodeling is performing in accordance with the national trend.

Miller explains, “Our region’s commercial/industrial activity is a direct opposite of what is happening across the country and that is all tied back to or related to the Amazon Prime International Air Hub.”

2020 Q1 – Q3 Permit Analysis

The mission of the Building Industry Association of Northern Kentucky is to promote and enhance the integrity and visibility of the construction industry and the members of the organization through advocacy, communication, education, and political action.

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