77 permits issued last year in Oil City

Oil City saw a major resurgence in new construction dollars plugged into the local economy in 2019.

And while the overall estimated construction figures were pegged at nearly $9.5 million, the bulk of the hefty building spree was attributed to a single project – a new Venango County transportation complex on Elm Street.

The complex, now under construction adjacent to the PennDOT district office on Elm Street, will be a county-owned facility that will serve as a transportation hub and office. The $7,670,000 estimated construction cost accounts for about 80 percent of estimated building figures filed with the city in 2019.

Overall, there were 77 building permits filed with the city last year. That is considerably lower than the 99 permits ($3.6 million) issued in 2018 and 110 permits ($2.5 million) filed in 2017.

Business projects

Of the 2019 building permits, 13 were for commercial construction projects.

In addition to the county transportation project in the city’s North Side business district, the commercial development trend included a bank, health care center, private club, manufacturer, auto parts store and more.

— Primary Health Network filed a permit listing estimated construction costs of $398,000 for a new Oil City Health Center facility in the city’s Hasson Heights neighborhood.

The new business, located in the former Twin Creeks Head Start Center Building at 811 Grandview Road, opened in January and offers family medicine and behavioral health services. Darling’s Oil City Pharmacy, owned and operated by Chris Darling, will be located within the Oil City Health Center.

The Oil City Health Center is part of the Primary Health Network, listed as Pennsylvania’s largest community health center organization.

— Advance Auto Parts opened in 2019 after renovation costs totaling $240,000. The franchise moved into a portion of the former Thorne’s Market in Oil City’s East End.

Thorne’s market closed in the fall of 2016 and stood vacant until May 2018 when Goodwill Industries signed a lease to operate a retail, distribution and training center. Renovations for that space tallied $522,000 in 2018.

— First United National (FUN) Bank on the South Side has a major interior renovation underway. The building permit listed estimated construction costs of $179,632.

— The Oil Region Alliance, owner of the Downs Building at 201 Center St., filed a permit to do $189,300 in electrical and plumbing work on the first floor.

— Emmaus Haven of Venango County listed a permit for $135,000 for renovations at 580 Colbert Ave. in the city’s Siverly neighborhood. The organization is renovating the former Our Lady Help of Christians parish hall for a 16-bed interim residential group home.

— Webco, a manufacturing plant on North Seneca Street, filed a permit for a project with an estimated cost of $65,000. The work included the addition of an exterior wall to an existing building.

— A new handicapped accessible entry was built at the Belles Lettres Club on West First Street. The permit lists a construction amount of $30,000.

— Other commercial businesses filing lesser amount building permits included Latonia Enterprises, Oil City Area School District, Marvic Tavern building, Kings Family Landscaping and U.S. Post Office.

The bulk of the city’s building permits were for residential projects. The heftiest permits were five filed by the Oil City Housing Authority.

The work, estimated at a cost of $198,471, involved interior renovations at several of its public housing units.

Other projects that required a city building permit included roof replacements, interior renovations, garage and shed construction, pool installations, new windows and other work.

In tallying up the permit filing fees, the city received $82,336 in 2019 as a result of the commercial and residential construction work.