Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Last year was a record year for construction activity in Rochester. Development, some of it spurred by the Destination Medical Center initiative, surged in both the commercial and residential sectors in 2017.

Overall, the Rochester Building Safety Department approved 2665 building permits valued at almost $524.7 million last year. The valuation total set a new record for a single year, while the 429 permits for new single-family homes issued last year was the highest since 2006.

2017 was also another big year for apartment and other multi-unit housing construction. The city issued 22 permits covering the construction of 613 housing units. Over the past three years, the city has authorized the construction of multi-unit projects containing 2750 housing unit. The surge started in 2015 when a record 1156 housing units were approved by the city. The year before, the total was only 124.

For the month of December, the city issued 33 permits for new single-family homes, while overall 136 building permits valued at almost $30 million were approved by the city. The largest permit approved last month was for the expansion and renovation of the Rochester Public Utilities Service Center that was valued at $11.2 million.

The director of the Rochester Building Safety Department described 2017 as challenging. Randy Johnson noted his department lost three highly experienced employees. He says construction activity in the city had the potential to be even stronger last year, but a shortage of skilled construction workers likely put the brakes on some proposed projects.