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Building permit values surge in Branson

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The city of Branson reported its building permit values in 2019 soared beyond the two previous years combined.

Last year, more than $122 million worth of building permits were filed, compared with $52.4 million in 2018 and $53.9 million in 2017. The bulk of the 2019 figure — $110.7 million — came from commercial projects, according to the Branson Planning & Development Department’s quarterly status report provided in a news release yesterday.

The largest contributors were Aquarium at the Boardwalk, which listed a $27.4 million estimated value in a first quarter building permit; Westgate Branson Woods Waterpark, at $15.5 million in the fourth quarter; and a $13 million estimated value for WonderWorks in the first quarter.

The actual construction cost for Aquarium at the Boardwalk, at more than $50 million, eclipses the building permit estimate, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting. The attraction is slated for completion in August.

Additionally, economic development specialist Jonas Arjes previously told SBJ more than $820 million in area projects were in some stage of development as of the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce’s December board meeting.

Branson Planning & Development Director Joel Hornickel cited the first-phase launch of Citizenserve, an online portal for building permits and other processes, as a contributor to the growth.

“We are very excited about making the process to develop and build in Branson easier,” Hornickel said in the release. “Being able to accept, review, process and track requests electronically is truly a game-changer for the city. While we will continue to look for and identify other ways to further improve the system, it has already impressed us with its capabilities.”

Hornickel via email also cited the city’s investment in the 76 Country Boulevard corridor and downtown, as well as updated development codes over the past five years.

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