A strong month of construction in Fort Smith kept activity in the region ahead of 2019 even though Greenwood and Van Buren declined compared to September of last year. Through September, permitted building in the region is up 39.1% over the first three quarters of 2019.
Building permits issued in Fort Smith, Van Buren and Greenwood in September had a combined value of $35.94 million, a 64.5% increase from August’s combined $21.85 million. The region’s September total was a 42.7% increase from the $25.19 million in permitted activity in September 2019. Year to date, there has been $224.65 million in permitted activity, a 39.1% increase from the $161.49 million during the same time period in 2019.
Fort Smith issued 171 permits in September with a value of $33.63 million, a 64.7% increase from the $20.41 million value of the 175 permits issued in August and a 113.7% increase from the $15.74 million value of the 250 permits issued in September 2019. Year-to-date permitted activity in the city is $201.83 million, up 50.3% over the $134.29 million issued in the first nine months of 2019.
On the residential building side, the city of Fort Smith issued 10 permits for new construction worth $2.25 million, up 17.8% from the $1.91 million in new residential construction projects permitted in August. New residential construction was down 61.6% from $5.847 million on issued permits for new residential construction in September 2019.
The city issued 4 permits for new commercial construction in September for a total of $21.657 million, a jump from the $600,000 value of one permit issued in August. It is also a large jump from the $1.118 million worth of new construction permitted in September 2019.
September’s new commercial construction in the city was anchored by two large projects — the new U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs stand-alone clinic on Phoenix Avenue and a new Crain Kia dealership at 6700 Auto Park Drive. The VA announced in late December last year it would build a 45,900-square-foot facility on Phoenix Avenue that would more than double the space the VA operates at 1500 Dodson Ave., which is rented from Little Rock-based Baptist Health. The new facility, according to a press release from the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce, will add about 100 jobs with doctors, nurses and support staff.
The $15.7 million facility is expected to open in 2021 along with development at 5700 Phoenix Ave. in Airport-North Commercial Park. Vacant commercial lots priced at $12 to $20 per square foot are now available in that development, according to a real estate listing of the lots.
The new $4.4 million Crain KIA will be a 25,000-square-foot facility located on six acres, said Barton Hankins, chief operating officer for Crain Automotive Holdings. Crain KIA has been located at 8200 U.S. 71 in Fort Smith since February 2016. The new location should be completed in about eight months, Hankins said, allowing it to be ready for summer 2021. The new image-compliant facility will work better for customers because of the larger space and customer-centered design
“We felt like in an effort to support the brand, we needed a new location,” Hankins said. “The new location will help grow our business. We couldn’t really do that where we are now.”
VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD NUMBERS
Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, issued 70 permits valued at 1.61 million in September, a 40% increase from the 38 permits valued at $1.15 million in August. The total was an 81% decrease from the $8.5 million value of the 48 permits issued in September 2019.
Van Buren’s total permit valuation came from 14 residential construction permits. By comparison, the city issued $129,000 in commercial construction and $1.02 million in residential construction in August. Permitted activity in September 2019 included those for residential construction valued at $868,000 and for commercial construction valued at $7.64 million.
Van Buren’s year-to-date total permitted activity is $16.26 million, a decrease of 18.94% from the $20.06 million issued in the first three quarters of 2019.
Greenwood issued 28 permits valued at $705,652 in September, up 146.4% from $286,364 value of 27 permits issued in August. The total value of permitted activity in September is a 25.87% decrease from the $951,893 value of the eight permits issued in September 2019. Through September, Greenwood has issued $6.56 million worth of building permits, a 7.91% decrease from the $7.123 million issued in the first nine months of 2019.
REGIONAL BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP
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
2019: $204.008 million
2018: $187.678 million
2017: $169.958 million
2016: $185.783 million
2015: $191.631 million
2014: $174.252 million
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