Fort Smith metro building activity down 2.3% compared with 2015

by Aric Mitchell ( 107 views 

Fort Smith building activity made gains in December, but not enough to close the gap between 2016 and 2015’s year-end performances.

A large deficit in October eroded gains from July through September, with the city posting a $42.135 million building permit for the ArcBest corporate headquarters expansion at 8401 McClure Drive. The big ticket item comprised most of October 2015’s $50.376 million valuation.

The monthly decline placed the city behind the eight-ball with just two months left to make up the difference. Slight gains in November and December were not enough to pull it off. Further complicating the effort, the city also had to make up a $22 million permit from 2015, issued to the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Even so, the tri-city region saw noteworthy gains in Fort Smith during the final month of the year. The metro region, which consists primarily of Fort Smith, Van Buren, and Greenwood, depends on Fort Smith activity to determine gains or losses since that is where most commercial and residential permitting occurs.

During the last 30 days, Fort Smith posted $15.709 million in permit values compared to $12.137 million in December 2015, a gain of 29.4%. For 2016, Fort Smith closed at $187.675 million compared with $191.631 million for 2015, a decline of approximately 2.06%. Combined numbers for the tri-city region through December are $213.734 million compared with $218.899 million in 2015, a drop of approximately 2.36%.

In December, Fort Smith saw 236 total permits as roof repairs from the April 29 hailstorm continued to slow in frequency, though they still accounted for 94 of the total permits (approximately 40%). The heaviest valuations came on the commercial side with a $4.1 million permit issued to Beshears Construction for an addition at 11512 Old U.S. 71 South, the site of Rye Hill Baptist Church.

Additionally, a $1.294 million permit was issued for an addition at GNB Industrial Power at 4115 S. Zero St.. A new construction permit in the amount of $1.039 million was also issued to Petree Construction for work on a new retail space at 4620 Rogers Ave., the former site of Red Rooster Bistro and Toscana Italian. Construction on the space is expected to begin this month.

Van Buren’s December permits totaled $292,000 on 45 projects, a 42.12% drop from last year’s $504,500 and almost a complete about-face from the 52.7% gain the city enjoyed in November. Most of the valuation came on the residential side, with $223,000 on 11 projects. Year-end-to-date, the city logged $15.328 million against 2015’s $16.009 million total, down approximately 4.25%.

Greenwood exceeded December 2015’s output with $1.051 million in values on four permits against the previous $526,100. The city fell just short of its overall performance from the prior year, however, with $10.731 million in permit values for 2016 versus the $11.259 million in 2015. The comparison shows a slight drop of 4.69% for the year.

Despite the shortfall, 2016’s final month was a busy one for the Fort Smith metro’s smallest city with $555,660 in values on three residential permits and $495,548 on one public permit.

Combined total for the three cities
2016: $213.734 million
2015: $218.899 million
2014: $198.983 million
2013: $202.389 million
2012: $154.64 million
2011: $201.079 million
2010: $149 million
2009: $164 million

Fort Smith
2016: $187.675 million
2015: $191.631 million
2014: $174.252 million
2013: $185.057 million
2012: $136.248 million

Van Buren
2016: $15.328 million
2015: $16.009 million
2014: $7.918 million
2013: $8.283 million
2012: $8.609 million

2016: $10.731 million
2015: $11.259 million
2014: $16.813 million
2013: $9.049 million
2012: $9.983 million