Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Growth, Growth and More Growth in St. George

TODAY IN ROTARY we heard from Greg Whitehead who gave us a brief “Know Yer Ro” and a more in depth update on what’s up here in Southern Utah in housing and commercial real estate.  Says Greg, a member of SGR for about a year, “I love to travel (he’s been to Korea, Canada, Belize, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and lots of other places), his wife and kids.  He attended DSU where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Accounting, then went on to earn a Masters in Business Administration at SUU.  He is a lifetime member of Beta Gama Sigma, the international honor society serving business programs accredited by AACSB International and the highest recognition for a business student anywhere in the world.  He ran – but did not win – for a place on the St. George City Council and currently serves on the Housing Authority Board of Directors.  He currently works in NAI’s commercial real estate division.

He spoke with enthusiasm about the current growth and construction in the St. George area, including:

·                a 400,000 square foot addition at Dixie Regional Medical Center currently under construction at a cost of $600 per s/f
·                construction in Ivins of Rocky Vista Medical School
·                several assisted living facilities
·                downtown property purchases and renovation by the City of St. George
·                a rebuild of the Washington County Administration building
·                a new facility for DXATC on the old airport bluff
·                a new Tech and Business Center at DSU
·                Crimson High School, Middle School and two elementary schools

The retail marketplace is bustling as well, including:

·                a less than 3% vacancy rate for all existing properties
·                a new Dairy Queen on Main Street
·                a new Magleby’s in the renovated Crystal Inn Motel
·                a new Starbucks
·                several new or newly renovated Maverik stores
·                an expansion at Stephen Wade
·                a new building on St. George Blvd. for Brent’s Interiors
·                CLYDE Company is buying a large block of land off Exit 2

Multi-family developments are being built to address the need for affordable housing (currently at .04% … or basically no vacancies) offset by a 6.5% income in monthly rental costs and going up again in 2017.  There are also high impact fees – about $15,000 per door – with large and wealthy companies around the country buying up single family homes and turning them into rentals averaging a minimum of $1100 per month rent.

According to Greg, “our economy is robust.  There are numerous new motels coming on line this year and office space is at a premium with only about 5% available for rent or purchase.” 

Haven’t we been here before?