Home building booms in Columbia Falls


KALISPELL, Mont. - Columbia Falls is seeing an increase in houses being built.

Over the last year, the city issued $7.8 million of construction permits. 28 are for homes ranging in value from $170,000 to $340,000. Compare that to 2011, when 10 permits were issued all year.

They're calling in a mini boom. New houses in Columbia Falls are being built in various spots across town and many tell us they expect to see more of that in the coming years.

"Within the past year or two it's steadily been growing," said Alex Gietzen.

Gietzen met us to talk shop. He's the operations manager for Glacier Steel, a metal roofing and siding manufacturer. He tells us business is good.

"I would say overall in the valley it's booming. (In) Columbia Falls we've seen a lot of residential, more commercial, whether it's remodels or new construction," Gietzen said.

It's not just Glacier Steel that's busy. We called several home building supply companies and contractors. But no one had time for an interview. Turns out, they're too busy.

Gietzen's hearing the same thing.

"Everyone that I've talked to whether it's concrete guys, framers, roofers, most of the roofers that we recommend and a lot of the contractors that booked through the summer and into the winter," said Gietzen.

Gietzen says if things continue to be this busy for them, they'll be able to open a second shop in Kalispell.

"It's not what it was a few years ago, but it's slowly getting up that way," Gietzen said.

Officials say commercial business building is up as well with Xanterra, the new Glacier Park concessionaire, being the biggest business setting up shop in Columbia Falls.