Fort Smith metro building activity slips 6% in July, remains up year-to-date

by Aric Mitchell (amitchell@talkbusiness.net) 210 views 

Regional building activity for Fort Smith, Van Buren, and Greenwood dipped slightly after multiple months of gains and a breakthrough May that pushed the combined Fort Smith metro region to its first year-to-date increase of 2018.

In July, activity slipped 5.99% with $18.989 million in valuations against $20.199 million in July 2017. For the first seven months of 2018, however, the region is up 11.77% with $133.812 million against $119.726 million the previous year.

Leading the way is Fort Smith, the region’s largest city, which logged $15.958 million over the 31-day period, a decrease of 13.78% when compared to July 2017’s $18.508 million. The tally came via 160 total permits. Year-to-date, the city was up 12.3% with $112.68 million against $100.343 million.

Around $7.558 million of the July total was on 41 commercial building permits, led by a $3.5 million new construction permit at 2305 South Vicksburg St. across from Tri-State Enterprises’ existing facilities. Tri-State did not respond to inquiries from Talk Business & Politics regarding the purpose of its investment, but a building official with the city of Fort Smith confirmed Tri-State was the holder of the permit, and the expenditure would be for a new 86,000 square-foot warehouse. It’s unclear whether the investment will result in new jobs.

The remaining half of Fort Smith’s valuations fell mostly on the residential side at $8 million total on 102 permits. About $6.325 million was single-family while duplex and multi-family (mostly duplex) made up the remaining $1.675 million.

VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD
Van Buren also continued to realize gains with $2.751 million on 47 projects in July against July 2017’s $820,521. Approximately 80% of valuations ($2.178 million) were for several small-scale commercial remodeling and construction projects, including remodeling on the shopping center at 2215 Fayetteville Road ($357,000); remodeling at USA Truck ($200,000); and a new track and concession area for Van Buren High School ($200,000).

On the new business front, Dollar General obtained a $600,000 permit to begin construction on its new store at 1311 Pointer Trail. Also, Freddy’s Drive-In obtained an $808,000 permit to begin work on remodeling the former Schlotzsky’s Deli location at 1906 Fayetteville Road. In January, the Fort Smith Freddy’s opened after remodeling a former Kentucky Fried Chicken location. For the year, the region’s second-largest city has logged $16.76 million against $10.113 million through last July, a 65.73% increase.

The only down spot for the region’s building activity remains Greenwood. Over the last 30 days, it logged just $280,736 on four residential permits, a month-to-month decline of 67.75%. The performance did little to add to the year-to-date tally, inching the seven-month total upward to $4.372 million against $9.27 million last year, a drop of 52.84% year-to-date.

REGIONAL BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP
Combined total for the three cities
2017: $210.844 million
2016: $211.345 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
2017: $169.958 million
2016: $185.783 million
2015: $191.631 million
2014: $174.252 million
2013: $185.057 million
2012: $136.248 million

Van Buren
2017: $19.665 million
2016: $15.327 million
2015: $16.009 million
2014: $7.918 million
2013: $8.283 million
2012: $8.609 million

Greenwood
2017: $15.23 million
2016: $10.235 million
2015: $11.259 million
2014: $16.813 million
2013: $9.049 million
2012: $9.983 million

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