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Commercial Building Permits In Houston Soar, Outstripping Residential

A rendering of The Ion, the 270K SF former Sears building in Midtown.

The city of Houston issued $4.6B in commercial building permits in the 12 months ending January 2020, up by 35.9% from the prior year, the Greater Houston Partnership reports.

Total building permits issued during the period amounted to $7.3B, up by 15.3% from the same period in 2019. While commercial permits rose significantly, residential permits fell by 8.2% to $2.7B.

Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of research at Greater Houston Partnership, told Bisnow that the group saw no clear reason for the decline in residential permits during the period. 

April was the most prolific month of 2019, when the city issued building permits totaling $1.0B. That amount reflected the permitting of the Texas Tower, Hines’ 47-story, 1M SF office tower located in Downtown Houston. Construction of the tower began in July and is slated for completion in late 2021, the report said.

In January 2020, the final month included in the report, two significant projects received permits: The Ion, a public-private facility that is intended to be an innovation hub for the Houston region; and KIPP Texas Public Schools, which obtained two building permits to build a new high school and gymnasium in East Downtown.

The Ion’s permit was valued at $110M, and the project is expected to reach completion in 2021. KIPP Texas Public Schools’ two permits were valued at $17M, and the high school and gym are expected to be completed by the summer.