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Santa Cruz County construction boom puts people to work

Posted by Yijy8kNUMO on July 26, 2017

WATSONVILLE >> Bill Hansen is building “The Terrace at 445 Main”, a $21 million four-story 54-unit solar-powered apartment complex in Watsonville.

He said the project will create 250 construction jobs before opening in spring 2018.

About 80 percent of those jobs will go to subcontractors, said Jared Bogard of Bogard Construction, contractor on the project.

Bogard just finished building Abbott Square in Santa Cruz and remodeling the Santa Cruz Subaru dealership in Capitola; is nearing completion on the Pasatiempo water tank project; and is about to start expanding the operating room lobby and creating a healing garden at Dominican Hospital.

Juggy Tut of Elite Development hopes to start construction on a 112-room Hampton Inn in Watsonville by the end of August.

He’s started demolition work at 1715 E. Beach St. for the hotel, gas station and retail store approved last year.

“We’re taking bids from general contractors,” he said. “Everyone’s really busy right now.”

He declined to put a value on the project, but city building staff said a permit was submitted for $9.6 million worth of work.

Tut has city approval for Blackbird Homes, 48 town homes at 35 Harkins Slough, but hasn’t chosen the contractor yet.

“Demand for workers is at a new high,” said Shanna Crigger, spokeswoman for Watsonville-based Graniterock, which has two dozen job openings including carpenters, cement masons, mixer-truck drivers and laborers in the Monterey Bay area.

After a slowdown that lasted nearly a decade, construction is booming in Santa Cruz County.

The result: More higher-paying jobs in an economy where the two biggest sectors, agriculture and tourism, often have lower-paying jobs.

Figures from the state Employment Development Department show 4,900 construction jobs in Santa Cruz County in June, up from 4,500 a year ago and the highest for that month in nine years.

Unemployment for the county is 5.3 percent, down from 6 percent a year ago and the lowest for June in nine years.

In Watsonville, where unemployment is the highest, the jobless rate is down to 6.9 percent.

Only 7,800 people out of a county workforce of 147,300 were jobless, with 21,900 commuting to jobs outside Santa Cruz County.

Jobs in the county grew to 117,600 in June, up from 113,600 in May and surpassing the June 2008 peak of 111,900 before the recession and housing market collapse.

The count is taken as of the twelfth of the month.

Trade was a bright spot, with 18,200 jobs, up 600 compared to May, mostly in retail.

Leisure and hospitality tallied 15,100 jobs, up 800 compared to May.

Agriculture grew to 11,700, up 2,400 from May.

Hansen is positioning The Terrace as upscale living, with 18 studios and rents starting at $1,650 per month, 18 one-bedroom units starting at $1,950 per month and 18 two-bedroom units starting at $2,450 month. There will be a choice of floor plans, outdoor barbecue areas and firepits and six electric vehicle chargers.

Top-floor units with an ocean view are pricier. Hansen said rents include water, electricity, sewer, garbage, gas, cable television and internet.

Three more big construction projects are in Watsonville.

The developers of the $35 million Sunshine Gardens have applied for permits to build four model homes at 1773 Santa Victoria Ave. The project when complete would have 87 homes.

Organic grower Dick Peixoto is building a $10 million 61,000-square-foot produce cooler at 25 Sakata Lane.

Construction is nearing completion on 14 rental apartments on Riverside Drive, according to owner Mike Elward.

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 24, 2017 6:35pm

Author: Jondi Gumz

Image Credit: Shmuel Thaler — Santa Cruz Sentinel

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