Fort Smith metro building permits see big rebound in April

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 792 views 

The Fort Smith metro area’s three biggest cities had $68.728 million in April building permits, a 245.7% jump from the $19.879 million in March building activity. The April total was a 96.5% increase from the $34.98 million reported in April 2020.

Year-to-date building activity is valued at $133.03 million, 4.3% lower than the $139.03 million for the first four months of 2021. April’s strong building activity brought a dramatic increase to the region’s permitted building value that was down 38% after the first quarter of the year compared to values through the first three months of 2020.

Fort Smith issued 176 permits in April with a value of $62.47 million, up 17.7% from the first quarter total of $53.09 million. April values are up 266% from the $17.06 million value of 205 permits issued in March and 85.4% from the $33.7 million value of 175 permits issued in April 2020.

The city issued 3 permits for new commercial construction during the month with a value of $7.52 million, up 163% from the $2.86 million on four new commercial construction projects in March. The city did not issue any permits for new construction in April 2020. New construction for the month includes a new specialty dental clinic at 2300 S. 58th St, the site of the old Western Sizzlin location off Rogers Ave. Baw Properties of Fort Smith is listed as the contractor.

This month’s building permits also included a permit for a $9.366 million project at Mars Pet Care at 10000 Roberts Blvd. that is part of the company’s expansion of its Fort Smith plant. Mars Petcare announced Jan. 15 a $145 million expansion of the company’s plant at Chaffee Crossing that will create more than 120 jobs. The 200,000-square-foot expansion began in January and is scheduled for completion in 2022.

The city of Fort Smith also announced construction of a Panda Express Restaurant will begin soon at 8400 Rogers Ave. A building permit is being reviewed for the restaurant, according to Jimmie Deer, Fort Smith director of building services. Panda Express’ drive-thru variance was approved by the Board of Zoning Adjustment in April. Panda Express is Rosemead, Calif.-based fast food restaurant chain that serves American Chinese cuisine. With over 2,200 locations, it is the largest Asian segment restaurant chain in the United States. The company reported $3.5 billion in sales revenue in fiscal year 2019, according to a Forbes report.

On the residential side, Fort Smith issued nine permits for new construction in April with a value of $2.514 million, down 28.2% from the $3.5 million value on 16 permits issued in March and down 48.6% from the $4.89 million value in new residential construction permits issued in April 2020.

Fort Smith’s building activity for the first four months of the year totals $115.56 million, down 8.68% from $126.54 million in the first four months of 2020.

VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD
Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, issued 63 permits in April with a value of $4.974 million, a 147.5% jump from the $2.01 million value of the 83 permits issued in March and almost a 300% increase from the $1.26 million value of 25 permits issued in April 2020. The monthly activity included $2.23 million in residential building, up 50.7% from the $1.48 million in residential building in March and up 77.3% from the $1.26 million in residential building in April 2020.

There was $2.64 million in commercial building activity in the month, up 411% from the $517,000 in commercial building activity in March and almost 53 times greater than the $50,000 in commercial building activity in April 2020. April’s commercial building activity includes a $2.3 million commercial building addition to Tankersley Foodservice headquarters at 3203 Industrial Park Road in Van Buren.

Van Buren’s permit totals for the first four months of 2021 were $14.11 million, up 22.8% from the $11.49 million in building activity through April in 2020.

Greenwood once again had a strong building month, issuing 20 permits in April with a value of $1.283 million, up 58.9% from the $806,976 value of 17 permits issued in March and more than 64 times greater than the $20,000 value of three permits issued in April 2020. Through April, Greenwood has had $3.352 million in building activity, up 234.9% from the $1.001 million in the first four months of 2020.

The three cities ended 2020 with $264.757 million in permitted building activity, a 9.52% increase over the $241.741 million in 2019. The gain came mostly from Fort Smith, as Van Buren and Greenwood showed drops in their building numbers from 2019.

REGIONAL BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP
Combined total for the three cities
2020: $264.757 million
2019: $241.741 million
2018: $231.78 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

Fort Smith
2020: $234.165 million
2019: $204.285 million
2018: $187.678 million
2017: $169.958 million
2016: $185.783 million
2015: $191.631 million

Van Buren
2020: $20.569 million
2019: $28.221 million
2018: $37.946 million
2017: $19.665 million
2016: $15.327 million
2015: $16.009 million

Greenwood
2020: $7.99 million
2019: $9.235 million
2018: $6.156 million
2017: $15.23 million
2016: $10.235 million
2015: $11.259 million

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