Fort Smith building activity off 75% in October, region down 6.9% year-to-date

by Aric Mitchell (aric.mitchell@gmail.com) 15 views 

Fort Smith building activity momentum came to a halt in October, setting regional activity back after three strong months in July, August, and September.

While the tri-city region saw gains in Greenwood and Van Buren — mostly on the back of residential activity — Fort Smith’s $12.708 million total permit tally fell far short of last October’s $50.376 million.

The large gap was caused due to the lack of an equivalent for October 2015’s $42.135 million building permit for the ArcBest Corporate Headquarters at 8401 McClure Drive. The fallback places the city behind once more just as it stayed through the first six months of 2016 due to the lack of a new construction equivalent to 2015’s $22 million permit issued to the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine. The metro region, which consists primarily of Fort Smith, Van Buren, and Greenwood, depends on Fort Smith activity to determine gains or losses since that is where most commercial and residential permitting occurs.

For the first half of 2016, Fort Smith wasn’t doing its part, but that changed in July as permit values moved past the first seven months of 2015, posting a 3.3% gain. The city expanded its gains in August and September prior to this month’s dip.

Combined numbers for the tri-city region through October are $183.852 million, down 6.9% compared with $197.405 million during the same period in 2015. However, that’s a one-month swing of around 23% when considering the region ended September 15.88% ahead. Fort Smith logged $160.769 million through the first 10 months of the year, a drop of 7% compared to the $172.946 million valuation from the same period last year.

For the last 30 days, Fort Smith saw 390 fewer permits from September as roof repairs from the April 29 hailstorm slowed considerably, though residential roof repairs still drove much of the overall activity. New commercial construction was also stagnant with two new permits totaling just under $2.3 million compared to September’s $7.877 million.

One permit was for $730,000 issued for Water Tech Inc. and a second for Glatfelter in the amount of $1.559 million as a smaller portion of the company’s plan to employ 83 by late 2017 at the old Mitsubishi plant in the Chaffee Crossing district. Glatfelter moved to acquire the building in March.

VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD
Van Buren’s October permits totaled $1.092 million on 107 projects, a 30.7% increase from last year’s $835,700 total. Most permitting activity was on the residential side, but approximately $500,000 was tied to two commercial remodeling permits for Simmons Foods ($350,000) and the Van Buren Housing Authority ($150,000). Through the first 10 months of the year, the city has logged $13.757 million in permits against 2015’s $14.666 million, down 6.2% year-to-date.

Greenwood more than doubled October 2015’s output with a $1.716 million value on nine permits against last year’s $851,640. The performance edged the city closer to break-even, but it continued to lag behind for the year. Most of the month’s activity came on the residential side with seven permits. The overall number was up approximately 101% from the same period last year, but it was not enough to catch up to the $9.792 million in permits logged through the first 10 months of 2015.

REGIONAL BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP
Combined total for the three cities
2015: $225.78 million (With 83.33% of the year complete, the 2016 YTD is at 81.43% of the 2015 total.)
2014: $198.983 million
2013: $202.389 million
2012: $154.64 million
2011: $201.079 million
2010: $149 million
2009: $164 million

Fort Smith
2015: $191.369 million (With 83.33% of the year complete, the 2016 YTD is at 92.96% of the 2015 total.)
2014: $174.252 million
2013: $185.057 million
2012: $136.248 million

Van Buren
2015: $20.708 million (With 83.33% of the year complete, the 2016 YTD is at 93.8% of the 2015 total.)
2014: $7.918 million
2013: $8.283 million
2012: $8.609 million

Greenwood
2015: $13.703 million (With 83.33% of the year complete, the 2016 YTD is at 95.24% of the 2015 total.)
2014: $16.813 million
2013: $9.049 million
2012: $9.983 million

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