OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A surge in new construction may be a sign of an improving economy for the metro area. Last month, Johnson County's largest city issued building permits for more than $89 million in new residential and commercial projects. In 2013, Overland Park saw its best year historically for new development since the construction of Sprint's $1 billion campus.
Even without a huge project like the work on the wireless carrier's campus, construction activity is on the rebound. More than $71 million in new home construction is currently underway in Overland Park, which still has space to grow near 159th and Quivira.
A real estate agent told FOX 4 News that existing homes are selling quickly and there's not enough inventory to meet pent-up demand that's fueling new home construction.
Commercial projects also are sprouting up out south. The Corbin Park development at 135th and Metcalf stalled during the 2008 recession. Now it's part of more than $600 million in construction taking place on 135th street between Nall and Metcalf.
"Construction is a big part of any economy," said Jack Messer, Overland Park's Planning Director. "It drives so many other aspects of your economy from a single-family residential area, rooftops bring offices and they also bring commercial developments, and so all of that builds the overall economy."
Messer believes speculative home building is not nearly as prevalent as what we saw before the recession. He says demand is driving this new home construction. The city is also starting to see more interest in redevelopment of older established areas in northern Overland Park. Infill development also provides a big boost to the metro area.
Professional and support services that provide many of the jobs in Overland Park are helping drive this building boom. As people move to the metro area, the city wants to make sure they see they can create their homes here as well.