Building permit values up more than 20% in Fort Smith metro through October

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

Building activity in the Fort Smith metro area exploded in October with permitted values up almost 250% from October 2020. The area’s three biggest cities reported $38.48 million in October building permit values, up 245.9% from the $11.125 million in October 2020.

Year-to-date the region is reporting values that are 20.5% higher than through October 2020. Through the end of October the region has reported a total permit value of $285.68 million compared to $237.05 million reported through the end of October last year.

The three cities ended 2020 with $264.757 million in permitted building activity, a 9.5% 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.

Fort Smith issued 168 permits in October with a value of $29.67 million, up 85.3% from the $16.01 million value of the 160 permits issued in September and a 267% increase from the $8.08 million value of 184 permits issued in October 2020. Fort Smith’s year to date total through the first 10 months of the year is $244.31 million, 16.4% higher than the $209.92 million reported through October 2020.

There were 18 permits issued for residential new construction in the month with a combined value of $4.59 million, a 58.7% increase from the $2.895 million combined value of nine permits issued in September and a 118.4% increase from the $2.104 million value of new residential construction permits issued in October 2020.

CNG AND BATS
The city issued two new commercial construction permits last month with a value of $2.704 million, down 48.98% from the $5.3 million value of two new commercial projects in September and down 6.1% from the $2.88 million value of three new commercial projects in October 2020. The two new commercial projects are the $1.5 million CNG compressed natural gas) station the city is installing at 5900 Commerce Road. The Fort Smith Board of Directors approved resolutions April 20 to build a CNG fueling station at the Fort Smith Sanitary Landfill.

The directors approved resolutions to enter into contracts with Clean Energy of California, Inc. out of north Texas for the construction of a CNG fueling station at the landfill and to renovate the sanitation maintenance facility to CNG compliance. The construction of the fueling station will cost about $1.8 million, and the renovations will be $373,280, said Kyle Foreman, director of solid waste services. The station will have 50 slow fill stations and one fast fill station that can be used for other city vehicles that are converted to CNG.

Regions Park LLC also filed for a $1.204 million permit for D-Bat Fort Smith. D-BAT Baseball & Softball Academies offer indoor, climate-controlled facilities with batting cages, professional instructors in baseball and softball, state of the art amenities and party rental opportunities. Club memberships are available, which allow for discounts on lessons, camps, clinics, cage rentals and pro shop merchandise. Members also have the benefit of using the pitching machines free everyday. Those without memberships can also use the facility with non-member cage rental starting around $40 for 30 minutes and non-member lessons starting around $70 an hour, according to the website.

VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD PROJECTS 
Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, issued 62 permits in October with a value of $7.44 million, up 187% from the $2.586 million value of the 88 permits issued in September and a 227% increase from the $2.272 million value of the 55 permits issued in October 2020.

The monthly activity included $1.162 million in residential building, a 33% decrease from the $1.745 million in residential building in September and a 23% decrease from the $1.52 million in residential construction reported in October 2020.

The big jump came from commercial construction last month with 5 permits issued with a combined value of $6.277 million, including a $4.6 million project by Bekaert, a steel wire production facility in Van Buren. In July, the company announced it had plans to add a 50,000-square-foot expansion estimated at $8.4 million. The expansion is expected to add 35 new jobs. The Belgium-based company primarily makes fence products and high-strength wires used for highway safety at its Van Buren plant. The plant was built in 1976.

Year-to-date, Van Buren has had $31.55 million in permitted activity, up 59.4% from the $19.7 million reported through October 2020.

Greenwood issued 13 permits in October with a value of $1.373 million, a 6.93% increase from the $1.284 million value of the 20 permits issued in September and a 78% increase from the $769,626 value of 17 permits issued in October 2020. The city’s value of permitted activity through the first 10 months of the year is $9.82 million, a 21.2% increase from the $8.10 million through October 2020.

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