The new Edward Little High School in Auburn takes shape in May as crews construct sections of the large building on Harris Street. The $104.7 million project began in March 2021 and is expected to be completed by the start of the 2023-24 school year. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

AUBURN — It’s been a busy year for construction and investment in the city, which just closed out fiscal year 2022 marking a new milestone in permitted construction, exceeding $74 million in estimated cost.

In announcing the new record of permit numbers and activity, officials noted the numbers do not include the single largest permit of the year, the $104.7 million state-of-the-art Edward Little High School, which is under construction. The figures combine commercial and residential permits approved between January 2021 and June 2022.

“Next year is looking strong as well,” Eric Cousens, the city’s director of planning, said. “If half the projects in current discussion move forward, I’m confident we will see our third consecutive record year.”

Auburn’s construction permitting has risen steadily since 2016, with the exception of fiscal year 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck and brought construction across the country to a halt.

Included in the mix of commercial and residential permits approved are 106 single-family homes and duplexes and 285 new apartments. City officials said the total of 391 new units show that Auburn is making significant progress toward the City Council goal of 2,000 new units in five years. “With more than 1,500 new residences in discussion, next year looks strong for continued growth,” Cousens said.

Mayor Jason Levesque, who touted the city’s population growth at a recent LA Chamber of Commerce breakfast, applauded the city’s new record and said he’s proud that Auburn is doing its part to help address the statewide housing shortage.

“This is proof that when we are focused on excellence in everything we do, from delivering a message of opportunity and cooperation to businesses and people throughout New England to executing aggressive permit and zoning reform, Auburn can and will continue to grow in a positive direction,” he said.

City Manager Phil Crowell acknowledged the city staff for their responsiveness and hard work. “In four out of the last five years, our planning and permitting team has handled a record number of permits, and as always, I’m proud of the work our team has done.”

Auburn City Planning

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