First quarter building activity robust in the Fort Smith metro

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 1,484 views 

Building activity in the Fort Smith region rebounded in March with a 118% increase in permit values from February. The region issued permits valued at $44.832 million in March compared to $20.499 million in February’s 28 days. March activity also was 16% higher than a particularly robust January that saw $38.699 million in valuations.

The three month total of $104.03 million brings building activity for the region in 276% higher than the first quarter of 2019, which had a total in $27.66 million in building activity.

Fort Smith issued 168 permits during March with a $41.74 million value, a $124% increase from February’s $18.6 million on 166 permits. With two strong months and a weak February, which still came in significantly higher than the same month in 2019, Fort Smith’s first quarter building activity of $92.8 million is an impressive 313% higher than 2019’s first quarter activity of $22.5 million. First quarter building activity is coming in at 39% of the city’s total for 2019, which at least starts the city off strong.

Fort Smith posted $18.69 million in new commercial projects in March, of which $18.5 million was for construction at Northside High School. Fort Smith voters approved a 5.558 millage increase for Fort Smith public schools in 2018. The new rate is expected to raise $120.822 million, of which $29 million is earmarked for a multiphase construction project at Northside. The project will include a 12-classroom freshman center addition, a secure entry that will lead to new administration offices, a competition gym with seating for 2,300 plus an integrated storm shelter, cafeteria renovation and more, according to information from Hoar Program Management (HPM) of Dallas, the project manager hired by the school district. A similar project is underway at Southside High School.

March’s new commercial projects come in 185% higher than February’s $6.56 million and gives the city a first quarter total of $51.16 million, a huge jump over the $1.64 million in commercial construction in the first quarter of 2019.

On the residential side, Fort Smith issued $4.81 million in construction permits, a 124% bump from $2.14 million in new residential construction permits in February. For the first quarter, Fort Smith is 22.8% ahead of the same quarter in 2019 with a total in new residential building of $8.55 million compared to $6.96 million in the same period of 2019.

Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, climbed in March with 74 permits issued valued at $2.55 million, a 36.5% increase $1.87 million on 54 permits issued in February. Van Buren’s total includes $435,000 in commercial construction and $2.01 million in residential construction, compared to $948,000 in commercial construction and $814,000 in residential construction in residential in February.

Greenwood issued five permits valued at $539,077 in March, up significantly from $50,400 on one permit in February. The city’s total for the first quarter of the year is $981,021, a 49% drop from $1.93 million in the first quarter of 2019.

Combined total for the three cities
2019: $238.752 million
2018: $231.780 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
2019: $204.008 million
2018: $187.678 million
2017: $169.958 million
2016: $185.783 million
2015: $191.631 million
2014: $174.252 million

Van Buren
2019: $27.731 million
2018: $37.946 million
2017: $19.665 million
2016: $15.327 million
2015: $16.009 million
2014: $7.918 million

2019: $7.013 million
2018: $6.156 million
2017: $15.23 million
2016: $10.235 million
2015: $11.259 million
2014: $16.813 million

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