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Grow Sarpy: County Boom Continues

Grow Sarpy: County Boom Continues

Sarpy County’s economic boom continues unabated for the second quarter of 2021.

The numbers are gob smacking, with nearly $1.2 billion in property valuations in April, May and June. Added to the $700 million in valuations in the first quarter, and 2021’s year-to-date $1.9 billion already bests 2019’s total yearly record of $1.5 billion in valuations.

The city councils of La Vista and Papillion, as well as the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners, each received a second quarter economic report card from the Sarpy County Economic Development Corporation at their scheduled meetings last Tuesday.

While building permit valuations are not the same as capital investment numbers, they are proxy in analysis when estimating coming economic growth, with valuations over $75,000 tracked.

“We are really rocking and rolling out there,” said Andrew Rainbolt, Executive Director of the Sarpy County Economic Development Corporation.

Actually, scrap that. Rainbolt told the board that things were going so well for Sarpy, the organization has rebranded and updated itself to “continue to sell to the outside world.” The “economic development corporation” didn’t roll off the tongue as well as the new name, “Grow Sarpy.” Grow Sarpy is still the same nonprofit group which has served the county and its entities since 1975.

Sarpy County has seen substantial growth since the arrival of Facebook. Prior to Facebook’s 2017 announcement, the previous decade saw yearly valuations between $300 and $500 million.

“I really couldn’t have a better story to tell here,” Rainbolt said to the Papillion City Council. “We are really knocking it out of the park in the year so far.”

“Bottom line is there is a lot of new construction going on out there.”

Facebook continues to be the building behemoth, with two valuations of nearly 885,000 square feet totaling nearly $698 million in the second quarter. The next five biggest builders include the Sarpy County Correctional Center ($68,489,774 in valuation for 153,000 square feet,) Amazon ($54,255,085 in valuation for 2,692,288 square feet), Google ($45,138,000 in valuation for 171,209 square feet,) Avamere ($28,850,000 in valuation for 196,693 square feet,) and FXG Commercial Distribution Center ($27,903,949 in valuation for 321,696 square feet.)

Lower down the list, but no less important to the members of the Facebook group “Let’s Talk Papillion”: Yes, the Olive Garden is coming to town.

Rainbolt said unemployment remains low at 2.6%, while the labor force is almost up to pre-pandemic levels. With more jobs coming, businesses are raising wages to expand the county’s base of employees. He said future manufacturing jobs, particularly in the medical field, look promising.

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