Fort Smith metro building activity rebounds in June

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 1,100 views 

After a slower month in May, building activity in the Fort Smith region rebounded in June. Fort Smith, Greenwood and Van Buren had a combined $22.549 million in permit values, up 28% from the $17.609 million in May and up 90% from the $11.87 million in June 2021.

The region’s year-to-date total is $199.07 million, up 28% from the $157.85 million combined value of permits issued in the metro area’s largest cities in the first half of 2021.

Fort Smith issued 668 permits in June with a value of $19.382 million, up 24.4% from the $15.591 million value of 568 permits issued in May and a 73.4% increase from the $11.181 million value of 237 permits issued in June 2021.

In the first six months of this year, Fort Smith has issued $139.982 million in building  permits, up 3.48% from the $135.271 million issued through June 2021.

There were 20 permits issued for new residential construction in June with a value of $3.592 million, up 31.3% from the $2.62 million value of 18 residential new construction permits issued last month, but 31.3% lower than the $5.23 million value of 38 new residential permits issued in June 2021.

There was one new commercial construction permit issued in June for Circle K convenience store at 3120 Jenny Lind listed with a value of $1.26 million. This is the third Circle K permitted this year. Two new Circle K convenience stores were permitted in March, one at 9811 Highway 253 and 4101 Brooken Hill Drive. Jimmie Deer, director of building services for the city of Fort Smith, said a fourth Circle K has gone through planning but has not been permitted yet.

New commercial construction was down 31.9% from the $1.85 million value of four new commercial construction projects in 2022 but significantly higher than in June 2021, when there were no new commercial construction permits issued.

Along with the new commercial construction last month, there were some large renovation projects permitted: a $1.176 million project at 6201 Rogers Ave. for the face change with three lease spaces at the former Logan’s Roadhouse; a $1 million project at 7720 Rogers Ave. for a 7Brew Coffee; and $1 million for continuing renovation at the former Golden Living building at 1000 Fianna Way.

It was announced in June that Chipotle Mexican Grill will open in Fort Smith later this year as part of a multi-tenant redevelopment of the former Logan’s Roadhouse restaurant in the northeast corner of Rogers Avenue and Interstate 540. Eric Nelson, principal and vice president of brokerage for Little Rock-based Moses Tucker Partners, confirmed with Talk Business & Politics that the restaurant company has signed a lease for the Fort Smith space. Nelson said the about 10,500 square foot building will be gutted on the inside and a new facade will be built. The development cost is around $2 million, Nelson said.

VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD GAINS
Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, issued 72 permits in April with a combined value of $1.357 million, a 26.81% decrease from the $1.854 million value of 81 permits issued in May but a 136% increase from the $575,000 million value of the 216 permits issued in June 2021.

The city issued 6 residential permits in June with a value of $997,000, a 99% drop from the $1.077 million value of 19 residential permits issued in May but a 90% increase from the $524,000 value of residential permits issued in June 2021.

There was $240,000 in permitted commercial activity in the month, a 58.32% decline from the $575,800 in permitted commercial construction in May but 96 times the $2,500 in permitted commercial construction in June 2021. Year to date, Van Buren has had $52.229 million in permitted activity, a 198.98% increase from the $17.469 million reported in the first half of 2021.

Greenwood issued five permits in May with a combined value of $1.8 million, more than 11 times more than the $162,765 value of 16 permits issued in May and about 16 times more than the $111,946 value of nine permits issued in June 2021. Among the permits issued was a $1.318 million new commercial project for storage buildings at 2509 W. Center St. Greenwood’s year-to-date total of $6.851 million is 34.2% higher than the $5.106 million in permit values issued in the first six months of 2021.

The Fort Smith region ended 2021 with $343.289 million in permitted building activity, up 29% over the $265.975 million in 2020. The Fort Smith metro has seen continuous growth over the  past several years, but no recent year has performed as well in building activity as 2021 with all three of the larger cities in the region seeing an increase in building numbers from 2020.

REGIONAL BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP
Combined total for the three cities
2021: $343.289 million
2020: $265.975 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