“We’re all hurting, every one of us,” said Marty Schlumberger, owner of Schlumberger Construction. He has been in business in Aspen for 35 years and said he has experienced previous down cycles, but none this severe.

ASPEN REAL ESTATE — Last year was the worst for Aspen-area construction businesses since 2001, the last time an economic slump crippled the industry, according to data tracked by the city of Aspen.The city building department issued 575 building permits for residential and commercial projects last year. Those projects had a valuation of $68.92 million — down 60 percent from the year before, and the first time since 2002 the value of the work fell below $100 million.The recession started slowing construction activity in 2008 after banner years between 2005 and 2007. The city issued 631 building permits in 2008 for a total valuation of $170.07 million. The biggest year for the industry was 2006, when projects valued at $300.26 million were undertaken.The slowest year this decade was 2002, when the city issued 295 permits for $56.14 million in work. That year was plagued by an ailing national economy and the fallout from 9/11.Activity also sagged last year in unincorporated Pitkin County, but the data isn’t as complete. The county building department issued 169 permits for about $142 million in 2008. Through September last year, it had issued 96 permits for $51.26 million. Few projects were started in the fourth quarter of the year.
By Scott Condon, Jan. 22, 2010 Aspen Times

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