Fort Smith metro building activity down 37% in January-May period

by Tina Alvey Dale (tdale@talkbusiness.net) 300 views 

Building permit values in Fort Smith, Greenwood and Van Buren have combined for a total of $65.077 million for the first five months of 2019, down more than 37% from the $103.348 million in the same period of 2018.

Fort Smith issued 153 building permits in May for a total valuation of $9.45 million, down 61% from April’s $24.6 million and 68.5% from the $30.044 million in May 2018. The May 2018 numbers were boosted by new construction at the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education. The $9.45 million is much closer in line with May 2017’s $9.408 million.

Comparing to April, that month received a big boost from a $2.757 million permit for renovation of the former Shipley Baking building, a $1.5 million permit for a Raising Cane’s restaurant on Rogers Avenue and $6.6 million in new residential construction, including $3.87 million for construction of phase one of University Park Place in Chaffee Crossing.

May’s new residential construction permit total of $3.807 million includes permits for more work on phase one of University Park Place — $1.29 million for construction on Lincoln Lane in the project.

The city only issued $786,000 in new commercial construction in May. $750,000 is for construction at Gateway Park at 1300 Garrison Ave. 64.6 Downtown, the group behind the Unexpected Festival and other efforts to revitalize downtown Fort Smith, is building the park located where Rogers and Garrison avenues converge. They will initially own and develop the park, and then transfer ownership to the city. The park will include statues of Judge Isaac Parker, John Carnall, and Mother Superior Mary Teresa Farrell. Carnall, born in 1818, was an early leader in the Fort Smith Public School system, and Farrell, who arrived in Fort Smith in 1853, was instrumental in bringing healthcare to the region.

Year-to-date, Fort Smith has issued $56.55 million in building permits, a 34.61% drop from the January through May 2018 amount of $86.483 million. The 2018 permits received a boost in May 2018 when Arkansas College of Health Education filed a permit for construction of a $14 million College of Health Science, which will open in 2020.

Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, was down 19.2% from April. The city issued 64 permits totaling in May totaling $920,804. This includes $822,800 for residential construction and $42,899 for commercial construction. In April, Van Buren issued $1.14 million in building permits, which included $183,000 for residential and $953,000 for commercial projects. Van Buren’s May numbers are down 19% from the $1.148 million in May 2018.

For the year, Van Buren stands at $5.293 million in building activity, down 58.6% from the $12.789 million reported through this time in 2018.

Greenwood also is down from last month with five permits totaling $357,700. The city issued seven building permits totaling $945,753 in April, which is almost half of the total number amount on permits the city issued for the first quarter of the year — $1.93 million.

The city is still well below 2018 numbers. Though Greenwood only issued $241,520 in building licenses in May 2018, it had posted $4.076 million for the year by the end of that month. For January through May this year, Greenwood has posted $3.234 million in permitting activity, down 20.67% from last year.

REGIONAL BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP

Combined total for the three cities
2018: $211.463 million
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
2018: $187.678 million
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
2018: $17.629 million
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
2018: $6.156 million
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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