Fort Smith area building permit values up 54%

by The City Wire staff ( 78 views 

The value of building permits in Fort Smith, Greenwood and Van Buren were a combined $34.602 million in May. The figure is up significantly from last month, with $18.35 million in permits issued, and May 2012, with $13.577 million. The total value is up 154.86% over last year.

Year-to-date, values are at $80.643 million for the largest cities in Crawford and Sebastian Counties, up 54.29% over the same period last year.

The city of Fort Smith issued 206 permits during the month of May, with a total value of $30.506 million, up 164.44% over the same month last year.

The explosive growth in construction was largely driven by two projects – a new pump station on Jenny Lind and renovations of the Phoenix Expo Center.

The new pump station, advertised for bidding as the Zero Street Pump Station, is being constructed at 5601 Jenny Lind Road by Archer Western Construction at a cost of $13.6 million and will include a new pump station, screenings building, electrical chemical building, two 5-million gallon pre-stressed concrete equalization tanks, site piping and a standby generator.

The renovation of the Phoenix Expo Center has a value of $1.986 million. The former expo center is being converted to office space for HMA, the parent company of Sparks Health System, which announced earlier this year the re-location of its service center, which will bring 500 jobs to the area.

The city of Greenwood did not issue any construction permits for May, according to Don Oliver with the city's planning department.

Last year the city issued five building permits totaling $733,540.

The city of Van Buren saw improvement of 213.42% over the same period last year, with 38 projects worth $4.096 million permitted last month. The same month last year only saw $1.307 million in construction.

A large project in the city's industrial park totaling $3.164 million helped the city top last year's numbers. The construction, at 3203 Industrial Park Road, is part of an expansion project at Tankersley Food Service.

2012 RECAP
Combined values in the three cities during 2012 were $157.32 million, compared to $201.079 million during 2011. The 2012 value is above the $149 million in 2010, but below the $164 million during 2009.

Fort Smith closed 2012 with the largest share of valuations, logging $136.428 million (a one-year decline from $179.288 million of about 23.9%), while Van Buren was the next largest with $12.282 million (a one-year decrease from $12.39 million of approximately 0.87%). Greenwood posted an additional $8.609 million, which was down slightly from last year’s $9.461 million (down about 9%).

The 2012 figures were compared against a $28.5 million permit for the construction of a Mitsubishi wind-turbine assembly plant at Chaffee Crossing. The plant has been mothballed by the company. Even without that permit, the Fort Smith metro area lagged when compared to 2011 showing a decrease of around 8.8%.