Building permit value gains in Fort Smith and Van Buren helped push regional permit values up almost 6% in 2014 compared to 2013. Several taxpayer-funding projects – water park, police station and schools – helped boost the 2014 regional numbers.
For the year, Fort Smith permit values were up 6.61% and Van Buren permit values were up an impressive 85.7%. Greenwood had a 4.4% decline in permit values compared to 2013.
The combined value of permits in the three cities was $214.176 million, up 5.82% over the $195.019 million in 2013, and up more than 38% over the $154.840 million in permit values issued during 2012.
Van Buren building permit values (new construction only) totaled $16.813 million, well ahead of the $9.049 million in 2013. Van Buren's rise in building permits was largely driven by construction tied to a sales tax vote in November 2012. The vote approved a one cent sales tax for construction of a new fire station, police department, and to expand parks and build a new senior center.
During the year, the city issued a $3.127 million permit for a new senior center to be built at 607 Knox St. Also, a new Van Buren police station was issued a permit valued at $3.567 million.
Also driving permit values higher in Van Buren was the issuance of a $4 million permit in January for the new alzheimer's unit at Legacy Heights Retirement Center.
Building permit values in Fort Smith during 2014 totaled $189.445 million, up 6.61% compared to the $177.687 million and up 39% compared to $136.248 million in permit values in 2014.
Of the 2014 total, $114.809 million was for commercial permits, $40.732 million was for residential work, and $22.918 million was for apartment/duplex construction
Following are some of the larger commercial projects receiving permits in 2014.
• $26.2 million permit for the new Mercy Orthopedic Hospital at the intersection of 79th Street and Phoenix Avenue.
• $13.3 million building permit issued for the new Mill Creek Wastewater Pump Station, located at 210 Navy Road.
• $9.764 million building permit issued for the Ben Geren Aquatics Center at 7300 S. Zero St.
• $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.
• $5.1 million building permit for a 40-bed expansion that will add 25 jobs at Valley Behavioral on the far east side of the city.
• $4.7 million addition to Morrison Elementary at 3415 Newlon Road.
BUILDING PERMIT VALUES
2014: $189.445 million
2013: $177.687 million
2012: $136.248 million
2014: $7.918 million
2013: $8.283 million
2012: $8.609 million
2014: $16.813 million
2013: $9.049 million
2012: $9.983 million
Combined total for the three cities
2014: $214.176 million
2013: $195.019 million
2012: $154.840 million