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Visalia Biz Briefs

November was good month for local hotels. Smith Travel Research reports that November hotel rooms sold in the Tulare/Visalia metro area jumped 7.9% compared to November of 2011. Occupancy jumped 6.4%.The numbers are the best of 2012 with year-to-date rooms sold up a paltry 1.4%.Perhaps things are picking up.

Visalia building permit activity for 2012 paints a mixed picture. The number of single family homes permitted compared to 2011 was down 6% while residential addition valuation was up 11%. The number of new commercial permits  was up 35% but their overall value was down 64% largely based on one large project in early 2011, the $22 million VWR complex in the industrial park. Total permits were up 2% while total valuation was down 23%.While the number of new home permits increased most months in 2012 compared to the same month in 2011 – December 2011 saw a flood of 77 permits filed to beat the new sprinkler ordinance that went into effect in January of last year.For the year -Visalia permitted 252 new homes, a far cry from the go-go days of 2003-2007 when builders annually did 1000 to 1450 new homes here.

Visalia’s median price home sold in December for $165,000-up 24.6% from November 2011 when they sold for a median price of $133,000 according to DataQuick.

Growth Issue Returns. Visalia City Council and Planning Commission are expected to take up the 2030 General Plan Update January 22 and we should see a lively debate over growth projections. A citizen committee and their consultant have projected faster growth than several recent studies and as a a result their plan requires more land than may be needed to accommodate population growth between now and then says one council member. Councilman Greg Collins expects we can handle city growth “within the current city limits” with enough room, he says, to add another 40,000 to 50,000 residents.Others will argue for a trigger mechanism to allow expansion. Debate will also be heard on allowing new commercial growth beyond Packwood Creek on Mooney and on Highway 99.

JG Boswell’s new ranch office in Corcoran( click to enlarge)

Architectural Firms Merge. Both launched their firms in Visalia over 33 years ago and now the two have joined up. Stan Canby Jr’s Canby Architecture Studio has joined Glen Teter’s larger group,Teter LLP that will now be 87 staffers strong says Canby. The combined company has offices in Fresno,Visalia and Bakersfield. The expanded firm offers both architectural and engineering design and is now the largest such firm between Sacramento and Los Angeles. Canby moved his 10 member group to the Teter building at 125 S Bridge in Downtown Visalia and will lease out his former office on Santa Fe.

Canby is known for his aesthetic design putting his stamp on some familiar landmarks like the Mangano-built Main St Promenade complex and the Visalia Transit Center.  Teter is well regarded for his hands management ability of complex projects. ”We are a one-stop-shop for all types building design.” Both firms have built a number of energy- saving, LEED Certified projects.

Teter is well known for their design of other local landmarks  including the Buckman Mitchell building in Downtown Visalia and the new Tulare City Council/Library building.The firm is taking on design of a new minor league stadium that ties into a mixed-use project in Bakersfield and has recently completed a new ranch office for Boswell Farms in Corcoran. Teter has both a strong ag and industrial portfolio  recently completing one of the largest customer-owned rooftop solar plants in the U.S in Delano for Paramount Citrus.

”We’re bullish on growth for the Valley” says Canby and we “expect to be in forefront. “

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