Jonesboro building permit values totaled $122 million for the first seven months of 2016, up an impressive 43% compared to the same period in 2015. The increase was largely fueled by expansions at Frito Lay and St. Bernards Healthcare.
Frito Lay received a $9.3 million permit in July, and St. Bernards applied for a $2.8 million construction permit the same month. Frito Lay announced in 2015 it planned a nearly $50 million addition to its Jonesboro plant. St. Bernards is in the initial phase of a $130 million renovation project. Lesser valued permits for both projects were issued during other months throughout 2016.
The 2016 numbers are a 33% increase from the same time in 2014, and a more than 50% increase from 2013, according to the city. Jonesboro issued about $92 million in permits in 2014, and $80 million in 2013 for the comparative period. The numbers are positive, and local leaders hope those figures hold throughout the rest of the year, Mayor Harold Perrin told Talk Business & Politics.
“There’s no denying it … Jonesboro is absolutely growing,” Perrin said. “We really haven’t had a major dip in the last few years in permits unless the weather is bad.”
Methodical population growth, low unemployment numbers, and low interest rates have compelled many businesses to startup or expand in the city, said Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mark Young. Population numbers and sterling unemployment numbers mean there is a broad customer base for business to tap into, he said.
Building permit numbers and construction values are key tools in determining local economic health, he said. The numbers have been excellent, but building permit numbers can fluctuate based on numerous factors. The key is to have growth from year to year, Young said.
“Our trend lines in recent years have been steadily moving forward,” Young said. “Our numbers have been solid.”
At least 489 permits have been issued in 2106, seven more than were issued during the first seven months of 2015. Those numbers are down from the 536 permits issued in 2014, and the 505 permits issued in 2013.
New commercial construction projects have nearly doubled in the last year, according to the city. Commercial permits for the first seven months totaled $57.7 million, well above the $26.5 million in commercial permits the same time in 2015. New residential construction projects are up 22% from a year ago to $31.6 million through the end of July.