Minneapolis has already passed the $1 billion mark in construction permits this year, the fastest it has reached that milestone, the city said Friday.

It’s the fifth straight year for the city to break the $1 billion ceiling. This year’s activity has been driven by permits for a mix of large projects, the biggest of which was $135 million for the Hennepin County Medical Center’s 377,000-square-foot Ambulatory Outpatient Specialty Center. That permit represents most of a project that is ultimately expected to have $160 million in construction costs and a total cost of $224.6 million.

“The really good news here is it’s a robust mix,” said Steve Poor, director of development services for the city. “It’s just a remarkably robust development scene right now, and there’s a lot of stuff in the pipeline.”

Work on the second-most valuable project the city has permitted this year formally began this week: NordHaus, a $75 million, 20-story apartment building by Lennar Multifamily at 315 1st Av. NE.

The next three largest permits so far this year have been for the $50 million Veterans Home Building at 5101 Minnehaha Av., for $42 million of the eventual $129 million remodeling at Target Center downtown, and for the $36 million south Minneapolis Regional Service Center at 3029 22nd Av. S.

Several large projects could still pull building permits by the end of the year, such as the 374-unit Legacy condominium in the Mill District.

This year, Minneapolis passed the $1 billion mark on Aug. 8, a month earlier than last year.

In 2014, building permits surged to just more than $2 billion — the only year that has happened — with the big push coming from the U.S. Bank Stadium and the surrounding development of what’s now being called East Town.

Before 2012, Minneapolis hadn’t seen $1 billion in construction since 2000.

For a few years after 2012, the construction boom could be attributed to pent-up demand following the recession, plus the giant stadium project.

But now, development dollars are being spread a little more across the city. And civic leaders touted the billion-dollar threshold as a sign of the broader prosperity.

“I think what you are seeing is a shift of the downtown core closer to the central riverfront,” said Council Member Jacob Frey, who represents Third Ward, where a lot of development is taking place. “It’s shifting more to the river.”

Still, others would like to see more development outside of downtown.

“Downtown and the neighborhoods around downtown are really hot right now,” said City Council President Barbara Johnson. She later added, “I represent north Minneapolis I would like to see some of that spread over there. I think our adjacency to downtown is going to help us. There’s only so many sites.”

Rounding out the list of the largest construction projects permitted in the city so far this year are: the Maverick at 100 Hennepin Av., $32 million; the Kraus Anderson Block Parking Garage, $24.5 million; Mount Olivet Care View, $23.8 million; the Hagfors Center for Science, Business and Religion at Augsburg College, $23.5 million; Baker Building, $21.9 million.


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