Fort Smith building activity pushes metro numbers up more than 30%

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 757 views 

A busy month of building activity in Fort Smith kept the region on pace for annual growth though November’s regional building activity was down from last November. For the first 11 months of the year, permitted building in the region is up 30.5% from the same period in 2019.

Building permits issued in Fort Smith, Van Buren and Greenwood in November had a combined value of $9.94 million, down 10.7% from October’s combined $11.125 million and down 25.3% from the $13.21 million in permitted activity in November 2019. The region is still looking to end the year strong. The $245.7 million in permitted activity issued through November is a 30.5% increase from the $188.3 million issued during the first 11 months of 2019.

Fort Smith issued 167 permits in November with a value of $8.83 million, a 9.3% increase from the $8.08 million value of the 184 permits issued in October and a 28% increase from the $6.89 million value of 143 permits issued in November 2019. Year-to-date permitted activity in the city is $218.743 million, up 43.4% over the $152.526 million issued through November in 2019.

The city issued one permit for new construction during the month for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkoma. Value of the new building, located at 6929 Rogers Ave., was listed as $2.96 million. That puts new commercial construction up 2.8% from the $2.88 million value of the three permits for new construction issued in October and up 119% from the $1.35 million value of the one new commercial construction permit issued in November 2019 for Andy’s Custard at 6565 Rogers Ave.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkoma announced a $3.015 million capital campaign to build a new Ronald McDonald House on the Mercy Fort Smith campus in July. The house will be one of five programs operated by RMHC of Arkoma and will increase the total number of families served each night from 14 to 25. Families with ill or injured children have the option of using the Ronald McDonald Family Room inside Mercy Hospital, one floor from the hospital’s Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The family room opened in December 2010.

The house will include 11 overnight-stay bedroom suites with full baths, a laundry room, kitchen and fully stocked pantry, dining room, playroom, media room and covered porch. Families are not charged for their stay in the house, according to a press release. Construction is expected to be complete and the house open in spring 2021. It will be located behind Mercy Fort Smith’s medical building, near the labor and delivery department.

“This is such a needed benefit for our community. Many times our NICU babies have big brothers and sisters, and with the opening of the RMH, the whole family will be together during the NICU stay in a house-like environment that allows mom and dad to be close,” said Samantha Cole, director of maternal child services at Mercy Fort Smith.

On the residential building side, the city of Fort Smith issued permits for $1.89 million in November, down 10% from the $2.104 million of new construction permits issued in September and up 188% from $653,615 issued for new residential construction in November 2019.

VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD NUMBERS
Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, had a significant drop in building permit values in November. The city issued 66 permits valued at $546,150, a 75.96% decrease from the 55 permits valued at $2.272 million issue in October. The total was a 91.02% decrease from the $6.085 million value of the 40 permits issued in November 2019. That month had the benefit of work beginning on the $5.8 million renovation of 415 Main St., which is the future new home of the Center for Art and Education. The new center, which will be called Arts on Main Street, is expected to open in early 2022.

Van Buren’s total permit valuation included four residential construction permits for construction valued at $342,100 and three commercial construction projects valued at $204,050.

Van Buren’s year-to-date total permitted activity is $19.078 million, down 29.9% from the $27.212 million issued in the first 11 months of 2019.

Greenwood issued 23 permits valued at $560,523 in November, down 27.2% from the $769,626 value of 17 permits issued in October. The total value of permitted activity in November was up from the $23,000 value of one permit issued in November 2019. Through November, Greenwood has issued $7.89 million worth of building permits, a 5.82% decrease from the $8.378 million issued in the first 11 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

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

Greenwood
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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