New Permit Center Building Project Moves Forward

In a governmental twist on the old adage “If you can’t beat them, join them,” St. Johns County is meeting all the building underway — and still to come — with some new construction of its own.

Commissioners approved an agreement with Passero Associates for design services for a new permit center building to handle the increased load. The new facility is expected to be an approximately 30,000 -to 40,000-square foot standalone multi-story building. The $928,875 price tag includes design, permitting, bid services and some construction administration.

According to county officials, the new facility will provide “much-needed additional space” for the county’s building department.

The facility will include an improved integration of the county’s geographic information system and other advanced technologies to improve workflow and will alleviate space concerns in several county offices, according to the county.

“Once complete, the new permit building will allow the county to provide an even more efficient, higher quality of service to its residents,” the county statement said. No taxpayer dollars are being used for the building’s construction.

Seth Kelley, vice president of purchasing at MasterCraft Builder Group in St. Augustine and secretary/treasurer of the Northeast Florida Builders Association, said the increased pace of development and additional population in St. Johns County makes the project a necessity.

“It absolutely is a direct result of the continued growth that we all continue to see locally,” he said.  “That growth is not only in residential building, but also especially commercial development, which requires more staff to accommodate.”

Kelley said the new facility will enhance the county’s business friendly reputation.

“Having applied for permits not only in St. Johns, but also in our surrounding counties, without question St. Johns County and its building department do have a business-friendly attitude and approach,” he said.  “Always fair, always willing to discuss concerns or issues involving permitting and inspections. It is in that approach, and that attitude, that I believe the expansion is further warranted in addition to the growth.  It will allow the building department to continue serving the community and its businesses at the levels that are being asked of it.”