New housing permits up significantly

Not quite ready to open, but getting there.


Telegraph Editor

Permits for new single-family houses in Bradford County jumped 69% in 2022, according to the Building and Zoning Office.

After slight drop to 59 last year, the number of permits pulled for new houses through Dec. 21 was up to 100, including four that were pulled inside the city limits of Starke.

Many of the others — 31 permits — were for new homes in the 32091 zip code outside of the city limits. The Keystone Heights and Melrose areas withing Bradford County claimed the highest number of new housing permits — 38.

More than a dozen projects exceeded $300,000 with the most expensive being a $600,000 near Sampson and Crosby lakes.

In addition, 79 mobile homes were installed or replaced, just shy of the 81 mobile homes last year.

Arborside Preserve offered new apartment living with 120 units.

Residential accommodations expanded otherwise with the opening of Arborside Preserve. The 120-unit apartment complex was permitted last year, opening the first of its two phases in the spring, while phase two was completed later.

The Keystone Heights RV Resort continues to expand. The permit for a new bathhouse counts as one of the four new commercial construction permits pulled in 2022. The venue Belle Oaks Barn in Brooker pulled a permit for a chapel. A new ministorage facility off of Southeast Ninth Avenue in the Keystone Heights area was permitted an office and restroom facility.

The fourth and highest profile new commercial project for 2022 was MainStreet Family Care. The urgent and primary care center across from Walmart pulled its permit in May and opened its doors in November.

Just up the highway, the Holiday Inn Express, which began construction last year, remains a work in progress, although Aleshia Wilsey in the building office said the hotel is close to opening. A certificate of occupancy has not been issued yet.

While new commercial construction was limited, some expensive remodels took place, including Walmart. According to city records, the exterior and interior remodel was estimated at $2.37 million.

Aldi, which opened next to Tractor Supply in the Deerfoot Shopping Center, spent $1.9 million to open its Starke location this year. Pizza Hut also moved into the shopping center, closing its sit-down location next to the courthouse, and spending $300,000 on the remodel of its new location.

Now Harbor Freight is working on opening its Starke location in the Bradford Square Shopping Center, with the remodel estimated at $250,000. Five Below is said to be joining them in the shopping center.

“We’ve started seeing an upswing in redevelopment of some of our larger vacant properties in 2022, and if the local real estate market continues to hold steady, I think you’re going to see that trend continue and potentially increase next year,” said Brandon Ludwig, Starke’s director of community services.

Also next year, Bradford’s first new school in 30 years will be ready by summertime, and 2023 will see the railroad overpass construction project wrap up.

Harbor Freight has already interviewed candidates for jobs.
Aldi provided a new grocery shopping experience after remodeling its Deerfoot location.