Building permits for the three largest cities in the Fort Smith region dropped 55.86% from September 2013 to the same month this year.
The cities of Fort Smith, Greenwood and Van Buren had collective permits of $22.728 million in September, down 55.86% from September 2013's total of $51.494 million.
Driving the totals during September of last year were two commercial building projects. One, a $26.2 million permit for the new Mercy Orthopedic Hospital set to officially open Friday (Oct. 3) at the intersection of 79th Street and Phoenix Avenue. The other permit was a $6.35 million permit for relocation of Smith Chevrolet from the corner of Zero Street and Towson Avenue to a location at 6500 Autopark Drive along Interstate 540.
Permits for September 2014 were on par with September 2012, when $22.822 million in permit values were issued.
Collectively for the year, the three cities have seen a decline of 9.49% in permit value from $175.487 for the first nine months of 2013 to $158.836 million for the first three quarters of 2014.
Driving permits during the first third of the year was the city of Fort Smith, with $136.634 million in permits. Van Buren tallied $16.404 million in permits, while Greenwood came in last at $5.799 million.
The city of Fort Smith had a total of 195 permits issued in September to reach its $22.078 million value for building permits. That value represents a drop of 55.82% from the same month last year, when 191 permits were issued at a value of $49.976 million.
Commercial projects were the low point for the city of Fort Smith in September, only bringing in $5.179 million on 42 permits.
It was a different story for residential permits, which includes multi-family and duplex. In total, $11.009 million in residential permits were issued across the spectrum from single family to multi-family. The total number of permits issued across the three different residential categories stood at 128, bringing the average residential permit to $86,009.
Only three permits were issued in Greenwood last month with a total value of $194,000.
The figure represents a decline of 73.77% from last year's total permit value of $739,650, largely driven by residential developments in the city.
The total last month also represents a decline of 76.29% from September 2012, when the city issued permits valued at $818,360.
The city of Van Buren also had a large decline from September 2013 to September 2014, dropping 41.35% in value from last September to the same month thisyear.
Driving Van Buren's building permits during this same month last year was new duplex construction, with eight new units being approved along North 24th Street for a collective total of $425,000.
Residential construction continued to drive figures last month, with $367,000 in permits issued in the city. An additional $73,500 in permits were issued for construction of swimming polls and two sign permits were issued at $16,060. No commercial building permits were issued in the city last month.
Combined values in the three cities during 2013 were $203.037 million, compared to $157.32 million during 2012. The 2013 value is above the $201.079 million in 2011.
Fort Smith closed 2013 with the largest share of valuations, logging $177.687 million (a one-year increase of about 30.24% from $136.428 million in 2012), while Van Buren was the next largest with $17.067 million (a one-year increase of 38.96% from $12.282 million in 2012). Greenwood posted an additional $8.283 million, the only city to show a decrease from the previous year's total of $8.609 million (a decrease of 3.79%).
The gains in the Fort Smith market were largely from industrial construction projects at Chaffee Crossing, the construction of Mercy's new orthopedic hospital along Phoenix Avenue and various municipal construction projects across the city.