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VALUE OF CONSTRUCTION PACTS OFF 34 PERCENT ON FRONTIER

The value of construction starts along the Niagara Frontier plunged 34 percent in September compared with a year ago, the F.W. Dodge Division of McGraw-Hill Cos. reports.

It was the sixth decline this year, the second straight and the highest percentage decrease in 1997.

Dodge found the value of all starts in Erie and Niagara counties totaled $46.6 million, versus $70.39 million one year ago.

Nonresidential starts plunged 45 percent to $22.47 million from $40.94 million, while the value of residential starts dropped 18 percent to $24.13 million from $29.45 million.

Through the first nine months of the year, the local construction news is a bit brighter. Total building is off a slight 2 percent to $544 million from $552.76 million in 1996.

Nonresidential pacts are up 11 percent year-to-date to $299 million from $269.78 million, while residential starts are off 13 percent to $244.99 million from $282.98 million.

Numbers statewide were much more positive, both for September and the first nine months of the year.

The value of all nonresidential and residential construction starts during September throughout the Empire State totaled $1.05 billion, up 2.1 percent from $1.03 billion one year ago.

Nonresidential starts fell 5 percent to $684.1 million from $717.67 million, while residential activity climbed 18 percent to $364.63 million from $309.72 million.

New York State tracks a third construction category, nonbuilding, which includes such things as infrastructure improvements and airport projects. In September, the value of nonbuilding was off 5 percent to $272.98 million from $286 million.

Year-to-date, total nonresidential and residential building statewide is up 4.7 percent to $8.22 billion from $7.86 billion. Nonbuilding is off 1 percent to $3.26 billion from $3.3 billion.

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