The BuildZoom blog

BuildZoom office burglary — $5000 reward — update!!

Thanks for checking out BuildZoom! We help people remodel their homes by looking at the building permit records (55 million permits indexed so far) for millions of contractors. Let’s say a contractor has worked in your neighborhood 3 times in the past year . We view that as a positive signal that the contractor is getting word of mouth business because they do a good job. We use that kind of information to help identify great contractors. Then we help you hire them, and provide a layer of accountability. People who hire contractors through us are pretty happy! Please give [...]

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Controversial Chicago school annex approved for construction

rendering via Public Building Commission A three story, 36,000+ s.f. annex, plus an additional 8,500 s.f. rooftop play area, is being added to Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in the affluent Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. The school is responding to overcrowding, but the cost of the project has generated some controversy in the community.

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Top San Francisco solar contractors (2014)

An increasing number of businesses and home owners in San Francisco are taking advantage of aggressive federal and municipal incentives to go solar.  Buildzoom compiled data on the most active contractors in the SF area who have completed solar panel projects and ranked them by the number of solar projects they completed in 2014. Click the names of the contractors on the list to see what kinds of projects they typically work on and if those jobs resemble the project you’re considering.  The list is based on analysis of building permits issued by the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection. [...]

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Apple building $74 million fitness center at new headquarters.

Apple is building a $74,163,495 million workout facility at their new campus, according to building permit records from the city of Cupertino. While Silicon Valley is famous for offering employee perks like shuttles with WiFi and free gourmet meals, spending more money than all but a few companies have ever raised in their lifetime on a fitness center is really taking things to the next level. At BuildZoom, we’ve created technology to automatically collect and analyze all of the building permits and contractor licenses from across the United States. The $74 million dollar expense for a fitness center definitely jumped [...]

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Apple spending $161 million to build a theater at new headquarters

How much will Apple pay to have complete control of their event venues? A lot, apparently. The world’s most valuable company will spend $160,999,985.00 to construct a “theatre” at its new headquarters in Cupertino, according to building permits on file with the city. And they’ve hired BNBT Builders, Inc to do the work. At BuildZoom, we’ve developed technology to automatically collect and analyze building permits filed as public records across America. Not surprisingly, our system picked up on the huge amounts of money Apple is spending on their new spaceship-like headquarters. Given how important Apple’s announcements have become in their product launches, [...]

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Pot Barons’ construction costs are as high as their customers

Medicine Man growing operation via medicinemandenver.com As cartels and distilleries have known for some time, intoxicants are perennially profitable. Demand is high (no pun intended), production can be scaled. And until now, to sell a drug like marijuana you didn’t need a brick-and-mortar storefront, just a suitably empty parking lot. But for states like Colorado and Washington, an experiment in government regulation is underway that looks to make some legitimate entrepreneurs legitimately rich. The legal pot business is essentially an agricultural industry with a front-facing retail brand. Scaling production of pot requires large indoor cultivation and processing facilities, and distribution points [...]

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Chicago spending millions on green development for low income families

Rendering by DesignBridge, Ltd. Chicago is proud of its architecture – despite Donald Trump’s cringe-worthy addition to the riverside – and rightly so. But beyond the striking high-rises that line the Chicago River, the city has seen a quiet renaissance of green, safe, beautifully designed, and affordable housing projects. A permit for one such project – known as “Casa Querétaro” – at 1614 South Damen Avenue in the working class Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, has just been issued, according to Chicago building permit data analyzed by BuildZoom. The development is being spearheaded by The Resurrection Project (TRP) and the construction will [...]

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$20M for Better Bleacher Seats at Wrigley

Photo via Nick Uilivieri Maybe this is all an attempt to exorcise the curse of the billy goat. Whatever the motivation, the Chicago Cubs are embarking on The 1060 Project, a $575 million, 4 year renovation of one of baseball’s best loved ballparks, Wrigley Field. The plan is privately funded and calls for expanded bleachers and VIP seating, upgraded infrastructure, larger storefronts, bigger parking lots, and a state of the art new TV broadcast center, among many other improvements. Building permit data shows contractor activity kicking into gear on October 15th, beginning with some infrastructure upgrades and the first of many [...]

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Home Improvement Patterns In San Francisco Suggest A Growing Divide in The Living Standards Of Owners And Renters

We recently used our collection of building permit data at BuildZoom to explore whether remodeling and home improvement activity  in San Francisco has tended to rise or fall with home prices and rents.  From the BuildZoom Remodeling Index, we know that home improvement activity in San Francisco has been rising steadily since 2009, but we wanted to better understand the surge in home improvement.[1] Common intuition is that the increase in remodeling activity is part of the recovery from the Great Recession, and that it must be closely tied to rising home prices and rents. While the intuition is consistent with what [...]

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