Year-to-date building permit values up almost 20% in the Fort Smith metro

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 718 views 

Building activity in the Fort Smith metro made a huge leap in August, coming in more than 70% percent higher than earlier in the summer.  The area’s three biggest cities reported $44.46 million in building permit values, up 103.48% from the $21.85 million in August 2020.

The August activity was also up 71.6% from the $25.91 million in July. At the end of August, the region’s year-to-date permit value total of $227.31 million is 19.64% higher than the first eight-month total of $189.978 million reported at the end of August 2020.

Fort Smith issued 187 permits in August with a value of $41.08 million, an 84.4% jump from the $22.28 million value of the 232 permits issued in July and up 101.3% from the $20.41 million value of the 175 permits issued in August 2020. Fort Smith’s building permits for the first eight months of this year total $198.63 million, up 18.08% from the $168.21 million reported through August 2020.

Though there were only four permits issued for residential new construction in August in the city with a combined value of $1.55 million, the drop in new home construction did not hurt the city’s total building values much. August’s new residential construction was down 59.7% from the $3.85 million value of new residential construction in July and down18.8% from the $1.91 million value of new residential construction permits in August 2020.

The city’s four new commercial projects gave a big push to building values in August. The four projects have a combined value of $21.73 million, almost four times more than the $5.51 million value of the three new commercial permits issued in July and more about 36 times more than the $600,000 value of new commercial building permits issued in August 2021.

New commercial construction permits included a $1.03 million AutoZone Auto Parts at 8650 U.S. 71 to be located next to the Walmart Neighborhood Market, the $8.1 million new Fort Smith Emergency Hospital at 4701 Phoenix Ave., and a $12 million new construction project at 5401 Excelsior Drive by Owens Corning. Toledo, Ohio-based Owens Corning announced in February it is building a new 550,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Fort Smith that will replace the existing plant the company built in 1984. The estimated $115 million project is expected to add five jobs. The city issued a building permit for a $3 million project at the site in July.

CBM Construction Co Inc. of Little Rock filed for a building permit Aug. 3 for the new emergency hospital. Jimmie Deer, director of building services for the city of Fort Smith, said the owners are an independent company out of Houston who will hire local emergency room doctors.

Clark McClothin, chairman and CEO of CBM, would not say who the owners are but said the company has built two other emergency hospitals for them, one in Texarkana and one Cabot. Websites for those hospitals say they are partnered with NuTex Health of Houston. McClothin said the hospital will have five to six rooms available for overnight emergency stays as well as its own MRI, CT scan and x-ray equipment, lab and pharmacy.

VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD PROJECTS 
Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, issued 99 permits in August with a value of $2.59 million, a 77.4% increase from the $1.46 million value of 135 permits issued in July and a 125% increase from the $1.15 million value of 38 permits issued in August 2020. The monthly activity included $$2.48 million in residential building, up 95.3% from the $1.27 million in residential building the previous month and up 143% from the $1.02 million in residential building activity in August 2020.

There was no commercial activity in the month as compared to $48,500 in commercial activity in the July and $129,000 in commercial activity in August 2020. Van Buren’s permit totals through August were $21.52 million, an increase of 35.3% over the $15.91 million in the first eight months of 2020.

Greenwood issued 19 permits in August with a value of $793,835. Though that is a 37% decrease from the $1.26 million value of the 24 permits issued in July, it is an increase of 177.2% over the $286,364 value of the 27 permits issued in August 2020. For the first eight months of the year, Greenwood has had $7.164 million in permitted building activity, up 22.4% from the $5.854 million valuation through August 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