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WATERLOO — Recent permits to rebuild Friendship Village and develop a new apartment complex along Greenhill Road helped the city to its second-best construction year ever.

The Waterloo Building Department issued a $45 million permit June 18 for Friendship Village to reconstruct its 50-year-old independent living apartments and skilled nursing center at 600 Park Lane.

That was followed a week later by a $7.2 million permit for the three-story, 47-unit Greenhill Point affordable housing project at Greenhill and South Hackett roads, near the entrance ramp to University Avenue.

Those projects helped the city tally nearly $142.3 million in construction activity for the fiscal year that ended June 30. The amount tops the $104.6 million in the previous fiscal year and is second only to the $181 million total in 2007 when the Isle Hotel Casino Waterloo was built.

“Obviously Friendship Village is a huge one,” said Community Planning and Development Director Noel Anderson. “That project and Greenhill Point also helped us set a record for residential units constructed in a year.

“This was an exciting year,” he added. “We’ve seen a lot of infill projects happen, and we’ve got a good blend of different types of projects in different parts of the community.”

Many of the high-dollar projects started during the last fiscal year, including Friendship Village and Greenhill Point, are being constructed in the already-developed areas of the city with existing infrastructure.

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Those include a $7.8 million expansion at Tyson Fresh Meats; the $4.5 million Art Block building under construction at the RiverLoop Amphitheater; a $3 million medical office on the former Logan Middle School location at 1631 Logan Avenue; and a $2.3 million Otto Schoitz Teen and Educational Center for the Boys and Girls Clubs where a blighted building was demolished on East Fourth Street.

Other large projects started during the 2018-19 fiscal year include a $2.6 million office and warehouse for Cardinal Construction at 1246 Martin Road; a $1.8 million dental office at 1866 W. Ridgeway Ave.; and a $1.8 million addition at John Deere’s Westfield Avenue site.

Anderson noted the 314 residential units was the most ever built in Waterloo since records were kept. The 44 single-family home starts was just two more than the prior fiscal year, but the numbers were boosted by the multi-family housing.

The Friendship Village project includes 130 units, although they will be replacing existing homes; Greenhill Point and the Art Block projects combine for 119 more housing units; and a $1.8 million renovation of the Webberking Building downtown includes seven apartments.

“We’re always hoping to get more single family than we do,” Anderson said. “A lot of that has to do with the availability of lots.

“The multi-family has really kind of exploded,” he added. “You’re seeing that nationwide. Millennials are looking at that type of living environment where they have less maintenance to deal with.”

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