Van Buren project boosts Fort Smith metro building activity to August gain

by Aric Mitchell (amitchell@talkbusiness.net) 457 views 

Regional building activity for Fort Smith, Van Buren, and Greenwood rose in August, but not for the reason one might think. Fort Smith, the region’s largest city, is normally the decider on the direction of monthly performance. But over the last 31 days, Van Buren bested it by more than $1.6 million with $14.198 million in valuations against $12.521 million.

The performance was due mostly to one $13.5 million project — the construction of Oliver Springs Elementary School at 505 Northridge Drive. The school was enough to boost Van Buren by 340.93% when compared to August 2017’s $3.22 million. It also moved the needle significantly year-to-date as the region’s second largest city climbed to $30.958 million, a gain of 132.19% from last year’s $13.333 million.

As for Fort Smith, the city fell short of August 2017’s $18.362 million performance, a decline of 31.81%. However, the year-to-date tally remained favorable with $125.201 million against $118.705 million, an improvement of 5.47%. Major commercial projects for August included a $1.261 million new construction permit assigned to KMW Properties; a $2.3 million new construction permit to Northside United Pentecostal Church; and a $1.6 million roof repair at 4411 Midland Blvd., the site of Georgia Pacific/Dixie Products. Altogether, Fort Smith had $6.727 million in commercial activity across 37 permits. On the residential side, there were $5.254 million in activity across 108 permits.

August’s performance marked the second consecutive down month for the city, which logged $15.958 million in July, a decrease of 13.78% when compared to July 2017’s $18.508 million.

However, Greenwood, the region’s smallest city, has been the only consistent weak link for 2018, with eight consecutive months of deficits and the majority of the city’s $4.706 million year-to-date coming on the residential side. The city is down 60.11% from 2017’s year-to-date performance of $11.797 million. August offered no signs of life with $334,905 in valuations across eight permits — an 86.75% decline from August 2017’s $2.527 million.

COMBINED PERFORMANCE
Despite its ups and downs, the region as a whole continues to perform well when compared to the previous year. In August, activity rose 12.21% to $27.053 million from $24.109 million.

Given the slight $2.944 million difference, Oliver Springs Elementary proved to be an important project for the region’s overall monthly performance as well as Van Buren’s. Without it, the region would have logged just $13.553 million. That would have been a decrease of 43.78%. Year-to-date, building activity hit $160.865 million in August, an 11.84% increase from 2017’s $143.835 million.

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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