TREASURE ISLAND — Commercial and residential building activity is escalating with several big projects on the horizon including a proposed $8.5 million expansion of the Club at Treasure Island.
The need for more inspections and plan reviews has prompted city officials to move toward hiring a part-time building inspector, a decision expected to be approved by the City Commission at its meeting on Tuesday.
"We are seeing an increase in building inspections and permits," said city planner Paula Cohen. In the past six months, there have been 749 permits and 1,482 inspections for residential and commercial property. In the same period in 2011-2012, there were 819 permits and 1,666 inspections. However, there were two full-time building officials during that time and the city also was doing inspections for Madeira Beach and the city of South Pasadena, Cohen said.
The Club at Treasure Island is in the process of requesting a plan review for a second building, measuring 34,475 square feet, on the west side of the Treasure Island causeway property that will be a ballroom and large catering kitchen designed to accommodate weddings, live entertainment events and formal dinners, Cohen said.
The original plans for the property, owned by millionaire developer Bill Edwards who bought it in 2009, included 24 luxury suites and a spa. But Cohen said those were dropped when Edwards realized he would have to apply for a change in land use.
There will be renovations to the current 22,000-square-foot building but Cohen said she didn't know the renovation details yet. The Club officials are expected to submit details for a plan review soon.
"They are showing a great investment in the community," she said.
The city had a full-time in-house building official and building inspector until last year when the two left, one to take another job and another who was injured and could no longer work. City officials then decided to contract with M.T. Causley for a full-time inspector who later became the building official and handled both jobs. With the recent increase in building activity City Manager Reid Silverboard said it is time to hire another part-time inspector through M.T. Causley.
"Because applications in the past few months have increased, we need a part-time person," Silverboard said.
That person is expected to start July 22, said Michelle Orton, interim community improvement director, and will work 20 hours per week doing residential inspections.
"With the Club coming in and a couple of houses valued over $1 million, we need a part-time building inspector to help out," Orton said.
The Club addition, to be built on the site of the old tennis courts, is the first major commercial project for Treasure Island in 2013. There are more projects in the pipeline, officials said.
"I think we are starting to turn around and see more development," Orton said. "People have decided to stay in their homes and either update, remodel or add on to them.
"It is a good sign," she said. "We are excited about seeing some growth."
The city planner agreed. "We are very pleased," Cohen said. "We are going to see some very, very positive growth in the community and new construction."