The combined value of building permits fell 26.8% during May in Fort Smith, Greenwood and Van Buren. However, permit values in the three cities are up more than 16% during the first five months of 2015.
Permit values in the three cities during January-May total $82.042 million, up 16.28% over the $70.55 million in the same period of 2014.
The early 2015 numbers were pushed higher in March when a $22 million permit was issued in Fort Smith for construction of the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine. Located on 27 acres at Chaffee Crossing. The college is expected to open in the fall of 2016. College officials on Friday at 11 a.m. are holding a topping out ceremony on the $32.4 million project.
May marked the second consecutive month of permit value declines for Fort Smith. The city issued 64 permits for a total value of $9.291 million during the month, below the 180 permits valued at $13.494 million in May 2014.
A big decline came from new home starts. Permit values for new home construction in the city totaled just $453,640 in May, well below the $2.498 million in May 2014. New home starts during the first five months of 2015 total $13.255 million, essentially flat compared the $13.261 million during the same period of 2014.
New commercial construction also was off the pace in May. Permits during the month totaled $6.327 million, down from $9.354 million in May 2014. The biggest permit in May was $3.85 million for the Burlington Coat Factory store at 5721 Rogers Ave.
GREENWOOD, VAN BUREN PERMITS
Building permit values in Greenwood totaled $355,157 on five permits in May, below the $532,466 in May 2014. Activity in the city is trending higher in 2015. Permit values during the first five months of the year total $3.976 million, better than the $2.299 million during the same period of 2014.
A majority of the permit values in Greenwood are for residential construction. For example, of the $355,157 in total permit values in May, a new home permit was valued at $235,440.
Van Buren permit values totaled $2.307 million in May, with commercial projects accounting for $1.76 million of that. The May total is just below the $2.319 million in May 2014 permit values.
For the first five months of 2015, Van Buren permit values total $7.615 million, well below the $12.748 million in the same period of 2014. A $4 million Legacy Heights addition and $3.567 million Van Buren police station were permitted in the first quarter of 2014, which results in the tough comparison.
2014 BUILDING PERMIT VALUE TOTALS
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.
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