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By DENNIS GRUBAUGH
    Buoyed by major warehouse, student housing and apartment development, Edwardsville was closing in on $200 million worth of building permits at year’s end, an astonishing increase from one year before.
    Between Jan. 1, 2018, and Dec. 14, 2018, the city issued 1,274 building permits for projects totaling $199,145,462 in value — a $96,335,583 million increase over the previous fiscal year. The number was a new high.
    “We enjoy working with our investors to create jobs for our residents,” Mayor Hal Patton said. “The increase in private investment and the additional sales tax revenue allow the city to pay for our public safety building, rebuild old roads and infrastructure and acquire green space and other amenities for our park system.”
    The building permits included new construction and rehabs of both residential and commercial property, in addition to smaller permits for alterations or additions.
    The permits issued over the past 12 months reflect some major projects underway, including:
    - Whispering Heights, a new a mixed-use development going up along Illinois Route 157, across from the Esic subdivision. It will include 153 apartment homes and more than 18,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. That project should be done by the fall of 2019.
    - Richland Residential Project, a 486-bed student housing complex that is comprised of nine buildings, clubhouse pool and bathhouse; That project going up along New Poag Road will be done by the fall of 2019.
    - Town Center, a 197-unit luxury apartment and mixed-use development on the former Madison Mutual headquarters site on Illinois 157 near the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campus. The first tenant, Kloss Furniture, should be finished by May 2019 and the rest of the project rolled out as it is done. No other tenants have been officially announced.
    - World Wide Technology, which is constructing two, 1-million-square-foot warehouses in the Gateway Commerce Center. They are the first of the buildings on the east side of Illinois 255 for drivers headed south.
    Two more development firms, Tri Star Properties and Panattoni, have also recently built spec buildings on the east side of 255 and are working to lease them out, Economic Development Director Walter Williams said.
    Farther down 255, very close to Interstate 270 and on the opposite side of 255, is the first of two spec buildings being constructed by Exeter, an Indianapolis firm.
    “They have committed to two spec buildings, and one is going up right now. The first one is 673,920 square feet, expandable to a million feet,” Williams said.
    The Exeter project is just inside Edwardsville’s limits.
    Beyond the large-scale construction projects, the city of Edwardsville issued 68 permits in the downtown area valued at $16,773,989, way up from the prior year’s $1,946,363.